4 Questions with IU Black Philanthropy Circle Chairperson and Founding Member, Louis G. Jordan
*These answers have been slightly edited to ensure cohesion.
The 2023 Black Philanthropy Month theme is “Love in Action” – what does this mean to you?
My father was a Baptist minister, so I turned to the scriptures and what I learned growing up. To me, love is synonymous with philanthropy. Philanthropy that originates from a place of love lifts all people, underscoring what the IU Black Philanthropy Circle is about and seeks to accomplish.
What impact does the IU Black Philanthropy Circle seek to make?
We seek to increase the financial impact of Black-related giving more broadly, specifically within the Indiana University context. We have expanded the scope of what Black philanthropy entails and how those dollars are used to help make tangible differences within IU communities across the state. Whether we are talking about showcasing significant charitable impact from key IU families who also happen to be Black Americans or increasing the scope of Black philanthropy through representation and cultural awareness. Significantly, the BPC has exceeded 50 members since its inception in 2018, has generated about 1 million in private funds – of which 20% has been distributed –and has established an endowment to support high-impact initiatives across the IU’s campuses into perpetuity.
What has the BPC sought to accomplish thus far?
We have raised the visibility of the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis. The purpose of the institute is to understand better the perceptions, practices, experiences, and needs of the individuals and institutions that operationalize philanthropy in underrepresented communities. The Mays Institute works to develop programming and services to engage philanthropic practitioners, scholars, and the public at large in conversations and activities to advance the work. The IU BPC accomplished our goal with a major gift to the Mays Institute when the circle was established. In addition, the IU BPC has established an awards committee that has now distributed over $100,000 across the various IU campuses. We have fulfilled or exceeded our goals from a university perspective and can also boast of receiving national recognition.
What is the profile of an ideal IU Black Philanthropy Circle Member?
We are an organization that has been very diverse in its composition since our inception – we embrace a diverse circle of supporters bound by a shared commitment to expanding access to Indiana University. An ideal member also embraces our mission and goals – to elevate the recognition and involvement of the Black community within and beyond the state of Indiana.