christal jackson (headshot)

Christal Jackson

*August is Black Philanthropy Month, and “Head and Heart Philanthropy held its third annual Philanthropy on the Vineyard 2014, August 10-12, 2014, at Martha’s Vineyard.

Foundation leaders, corporate brand executives and philanthropists involved in the non-profit sector from across the country, joined Head and Heart Philanthropy’s Founder and President Christal Jackson, for three days of intense workshops, education and networking. The summit was a huge success.

“There’s a misconception about philanthropy; that it is for the uber-wealthy. I think every person can be a philanthropist. That’s part of the work I promote through the summit, and my work is that there is space for every person to be engaged in philanthropy,” she explains. “If you have a scholarship fund, a book scholarship fund, you are a philanthropist. It’s part of what I try to do to demystify this — I can’t be a part of this. It’s for people who care about others who want to be about social change,” says Jackson in a recent interview.

“In order to be impactful and to see a systemic and impactful change, we have to stretch ourselves beyond what’s familiar and the way we operate and the summit provides that opportunity,” says Jackson. Head and Heart Philanthropy is the only philanthropic consultancy that addresses the specific needs of communities of color that connects philanthropists and practitioners of color.

Panelists and speakers included MSNBC hosts, Joy Reid, host of “The Reid Report” and Touré of “The Cycle”; Credit Sussie’s Michelle Gadsen-Williams; The White House’s Director of Social Innovation Fund, Michael Smith; New York Times bestselling author, dream Hampton; the Kapor Center of Social Impact’s Mitch Kapor and Freada Klein Kapor; NBA Retired Players Association President and CEO Arnie Fielkow; Comcast’s Vice President of Community Investment and President of the Comcast Foundation, Charisse Lillie; Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson; and more.

Sponsored in part by Wells Fargo, “Philanthropy on The Vineyard 2014,” began at Lola’s Restaurant with panelists juxtaposing the economic state of African Americans from 50 years ago to today. According to a post-press release, during the conversation, moderated by Reid, Skillman Foundation’s President Tonya Allen shared that it’s imperative for African Americans to have a seat at the philanthropic table because, “we bring a different voice and texture that is needed at this time.” Fellow panelist Charisse Lillie further explained, “The reason we give is because there is a need. Right now.” As members of the Head and Heart Philanthropy Cohort listened intently, Allen also stressed, “we have to move from a beating the odds mindset to a changing the odds mindset.”

This year, an invite-only session with Valerie Mosley, president and CEO of Valmo Ventures, was added for funders and investors only: The Influencers. Influencers: Mitch Kapor and Freasda Kapor Klein of the Kapor Institute were welcomed. The Influencers is a network of funders/investors who share a focus around issues impacting communities of color. This network is a for-profit, non-profit, group of funders/investors. The rest of the events were opened to all cohort members and their guests.

In addition to panel discussions and cohort workshops, a special reception honoring Color of Change and hosted by Hampton and Jackson, was held on Monday night, August 11, 2014. Noted attendees included writer and creator of BET’s “Being Mary Jane” Mara Brock Akil, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), MSNBC’s co-host of “The Cycle,” Touré, and many others. Workshop topics included Communications and Grant Making, Reciprocity Circle, Faith and Philanthropy, Sports, Media, Arts and Entertainment on Philanthropy, Global Philanthropy, and many others.

About Head and Heart’s Philanthropy Founder Christal Jackson
Passionate about philanthropy for nearly two decades, Jackson’s journey in the non-profit/philanthropy sector began her senior year in high school when her Principal introduced her to philanthropy. After working hard and seeing the successful outcome of a campaign designed to raise money for teenagers, she was hooked, and Jackson knew what she wanted to pursue. “Seeing all the lives positively impacted, I knew that I wanted to pursue this as a profession. I must admit I wasn’t certain what those steps would look like. From an education perspective, I knew I needed great communication skills and great analytical skills, so I looked for the education path or career path to enhance those areas,” says Jackson. Jackson brings a unique perspective to her work based on her diverse experience and broad roles in the field. Her efforts are focused on education, health, poverty, and women’s issues. Ebony Magazine recognized her as one of the “Future 30 Leaders of America.” She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and Duke University in Durham, NC.

When asked about philanthropists giving to people of color and their reasons behind giving, Jackson says:

“They are very much engaged in leveling the playing field. I think that is a term they would use in particular around the technology and the business divide and the business of color versus the mainstream community.”

She continues:

“I think because what the undercurrent of philanthropy is love, love for community and love for self. And, often times when I work with people like the Kapors, I’ve heard people like them speak and they say what good is it to offer their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren everything they have when they are going to have to live in a world with people who don’t have access to those things,” says Jackson.

“They felt and they feel a sense of obligation to live out their humanity by helping where they can. And, it’s quite obvious there is a huge divide in this country between ‘the haves and the have-nots’. I think it’s great when people recognize (not just the Kapors), is that ‘to whom much is given, much is required’, and part of that is you want to reach back and give back and help the community. I try to make certain people understand that they may not have lived your experience or know your experience intimately but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you as a person,” she says.

It is evident that Jackson’s organization is making a huge impact on philanthropy, philanthropists and their giving, and people receiving much needed help in communities and programs across the country. Jackson already has a waiting list for next year’s event, and she is happy that philanthropists want to help make this a better world to live in.

For further information on Head and Heart Philanthropy, visit

Christal Jackson & Comcast Foundation President Charisse Lillie

Head and Heart Philanthropy’s Christal Jackson presents an award to Comcast Foundation President Charisse Lillie during a luncheon in her namesake, Monday, August 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Peter Graves — at Martha’s Vineyard)

Christal jackson, Rashad Robinson & Dream Hampton

Head and Heart Philanthropy’s Founder and President Christal Christal M. Jackson, Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson and “New York Times” bestselling author, Dream Hampton at Monday’s invite-only reception, Monday, August 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Peter Graves — at Martha’s Vineyard)

The Head and Heart Philanthropy 2014 Cohorts!

The Head and Heart Philanthropy 2014 Cohorts! (Photo credit: Head and Heart Philanthropy — at Martha’s Vineyard)

Wells Fargo Tonya Griffith, Comcast Foundation's Charisse Lillie, Christal M. Jackson, MSNBC's Joy Joy-Ann Reid and Skillman Foundation president Tonya Allen

Wells Fargo Tonya Griffith, Comcast Foundation’s Charisse Lillie, Christal M. Jackson, MSNBC’s Joy Joy-Ann Reid and Skillman Foundation president Tonya Allen at “Philanthropy on The Vineyard 2014″‘s opening conversation, Sunday, August 10, 2014. (Photo credit: Rick Matteis — at Martha’s Vineyard)