Advancing African American Philanthropy

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BY Erika Kelly

FELLAS had the opportunity to interview
Jeanette Mitchell, Ed.D., Leadership by
Dr. Jeanette and Chief Creative Officer
of the African American Leadership Program.

As a respected leadership development expert, we asked Dr. Mitchell her thoughts on what it means for African American leaders to become involved with philanthropic efforts for our community. Dr. Mitchell identifies five distinct leadership traits that African American leaders must
possess when advancing philanthropic efforts.


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When pursuing philanthropic initiatives, Dr. Mitchell offers her insights on the first steps that are needed to initiate those conversations with funders. “It is very important to have access to knowledge of what’s happening in the philanthropic community, as it relates to the social policies and programs that are receiving grant dollars,” says Dr. Mitchell. In order to take action, African American leaders must be aware of issues that are impacting the people in their community and be willing to build connections to leverage resources.

Dr. Mitchell asserts that if we build the capacity of people it brings a collective power that is unwavering. Dr. Mitchell encourages leaders to
always find new approaches to get closer to the shared goal, even if it appears that you are breaking the rules. “The African American community must change their mindsets to believe they deserve to have a more abundant quality of life that is not limited,” says Dr. Mitchell.