Sankofa Fund of Southwestern Pennsylvania
has awarded its first grant, which was given to the Kingsley Association
's Plant A Seed Project. The $6,000 grant, awarded earlier this month, will be used for programs that expand effective parental involvement in the academic lives of African American students living in Allegheny County.
The Sankofa Fund is one of a growing number of community-driven philanthropic organizations known as "giving circles." These circles consist of individuals who come together to pool their time, talent and resources to contribute to their communities and increase their awareness and involvement in giving. The mission of the Sankofa Fund, one of the first African-American giving circles in southwestern Pennsylvania, is to inspire, educate and unite a community of givers to make contributions that transform communities in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
"A giving circle is a more united community of givers who are more involved in the process of giving and more aware of the problems that really need tackling in their community," says Sankofa Fund Chairman Justin Laing.
Laing sees giving circles as meaningful for donors, because "as a person who is contributing, you're learning about the issues you're contributing to. And that has an impact your life … I'm a parent of three, and I think most kids and parents would attest that we could all improve in that area." Learning about the Kingsley Association's work with parents has gotten him thinking more deeply about his own efforts with his children. "I've asked myself, 'How involved am I with my own high school student?"
Sankofa's members chose to award this first grant to the East Liberty-based Kingsley Association partly because their proposal included not just benefiting kids academically but also boosting overall parenting skills.
"It was difficult to decide, because there were a number of applicants that were compelling," Laing says. "What we're excited about with the Kingsley "Plant a Seed" program is the idea of a number of activities that work with parents in a range of ways -- academically, socially -- and the range of choices of how they wanted to use the funding."
Laing also points out that this is Sankofa's first investment in the local African-American community. "We hope it leads to both growth in our circle and many more opportunities to contribute to the community," he says.
Writer: Melissa Rayworth
Source: Justin Laing, Sankofa
Image courtesy of Sankofa Fund