By Alfred Thutloa, Philanthropy Programme Coordinator at Inyathelo.
On 22 April 2013, lifestyle magazine Ebony published a column by community engagement blogger Ebonie Johnson Cooper titled “Young Black Philanthropist is not an Oxymoron”. Cooper said she recently had to defend the use of the word “philanthropist” to describe herself and the cohort of young, Black community leaders who gave of their time and financial resources to help those less privileged. She had been challenged by a member of one of the wealthiest Black families in the United States, who told her that calling herself a philanthropist is like calling an average student a scholar.
Ironically, Cooper is a young African American woman living in the developed world and one would assume that with the United States boasting a long history of volunteerism and institutionalised philanthropy, her words are just meanderings of a prolific blogger. However this is not the case.