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News & Event

Celebrating Black Philanthropy

The celebration of Black Philanthropy Month is a recent tradition; the legacy of Black giving is centuries-old. In recognition of the enduring traditions and generous priorities of Black giving, we’re sharing the inspirations and perspectives of Black donors and grantees in our region.

August 2020

The celebration of Black Philanthropy Month is a recent tradition; the legacy of Black giving is centuries-old. In recognition of the enduring traditions and generous priorities of Black giving, we’re sharing the inspirations and perspectives of Black donors and grantees in our region.

 

Steve Hightower

What inspires you to give and share your time, talent, treasure, ties (relationships) or testimony (stories)?

  •  As I was building my company there were three things to remember: who treated you respectfully, those who were willing to provide a helping hand, those who worked overtime to see that you would never succeed if it was up to them. 

    I often heard my father say that a lot of people helped him along the way, both Black and White. He was always grateful to have lived in Middletown, after growing up in Mississippi, and as I look back that was my story as well. It’s all about how you treat people. Because of that, I take time to listen to people’s stories and dreams. 
  • Why is now the time to give toward the betterment of racial and economic equity?I’ve developed and managed Hightowers Petroleum Co. (HPC) which has grown from two employees, to now over 50 employees. HPC provides fuel services in every state in the United States and are known globally for my international business acumen. My company is considered among the best in class in this industry, which is a non-black industry. We service esteem customers like Duke Energy, Kroger, AK Steel, General Motors, ATT, Nissan, Honda, FedEx, City of Cincinnati and 200 other customers in the United States, Mexico and South Africa. We buy products from Shell, Husky, PBF, Marathon, Exxon, Phillips 66 and others. 

    Being told by the banking financial community that my business is not worth as much as other comparable businesses because I am a Minority Business tells a story of being a Black Business in America.

    In 2020, I still get asked the question, “what if I were white?” Even with all my skills, hustle, ingenuity, tenacious attitude and demonstrated leadership. What I never allowed was for my mind to believe I had to be small. I wanted to be a large company. I am destined to be a larger company than I am. 

    When we talk about America and its greatness, we must talk about Liberty, Justice and Economic Access for all. It’s not my imagination of the challenges. It’s because of my imagination that greatness awaits.
     

 

Beverly Grant

What inspires you to give and share your time, talent, treasure, ties (relationships) or testimony (stories)?

  • My inspiration for giving is simple. My desire is to assist in making life better for other people. I choose to actively support the goodwill of my fellow members of the human race through volunteering, mentoring and coaching where I can be helpful. In addition I give financially to organizations and individuals to deliver on my commitment to make life better for others. I have a strong passion for and affinity to causes that provide support to Black Women, Single Mothers and Children.

Why is now the time to give toward the betterment of racial and economic equity?

  • As I read, see, listen and experience all that is going on in our community, region, country and world today; now is the time to take strong, courageous and bold steps to improve racial and economic equity. There is a spotlight on the issues that create the disparities today. There is also a strong desire from many to have productive dialogue that will lead to creative plans and sustainable solutions. We must act now. We must take advantage of the moment.   

 

Tyran Stallings

What inspires you to give and share your time, talent, treasure, ties (relationships) or testimony (stories)?

  • People of African descent have a legacy of thriving through community. Be it building civilizations or surviving atrocities, our people (Black) have been at their best when functioning as a collective.This was modeled for me by my parents who stood in the gap for many youth during my childhood. I understand that by giving my time, talents, experiences and facilitating relationships not only do I help to uplift individuals, but I strengthen a community and consequently create a better world for my own family. The aphorism "a rising tide lifts all boats" is applicable beyond economy.I believe that recapturing the spirit of collectivism that we (Black people) are born of is key to ensuring future generations of African Americans thrive – socially, emotionally, academically and financially.

Why is now the time to give toward the betterment of racial and economic equity?

  • "Now" has ALWAYS been the time to give toward the betterment of racial and economic equity. We are long overdue. An investment in creating a world where people are not born into a fight against predetermined adversity should be a matter of basic human decency. Be it your time or your dollars, giving to ensure that a young person of color has the opportunity to march, unabated, toward success should be seen as a responsibility for those who have succeeded despite race-born tribulation. Giving should be deemed a moral obligation for those who have reaped from a legacy of oppression. We stagnate this country's growth by ostracizing an entire section of talent through selfishness and bigotry. It is much easier to climb a ladder that has all its rungs. The U.S. slows its progress as it drags an antiquated, suppressive philosophy. Investing in the greatness of all Americans will yield true moral standing and economic power.

 

Kyla and Allen Woods

What inspires you to give and share your time, talent, treasure, ties (relationships) or testimony (stories)?

  • We understand that we have been truly blessed, and want to be a blessing to others. It's also important for us to set an example for our children (and other future philanthropists) what it looks like to give back to our community. We find ways to sacrifice our time and money for the organizations that are doing work that we believe in.

Why is now the time to give toward the betterment of racial and economic equity?

  • It's important to note that the time isn't just now (when it's in the news and trendy) but that now is the perfect time to begin a perpetual pattern of giving. It's past time to support the organizations that serve communities who have experienced systemic oppression and other challenges that have held them back.