Blog Entry Health & Healing, Philanthropy

A Youth Perspective on Black Philanthropy

For Black Philanthropy Month, CBMA interviewed Zachary Smith, who is among our 2018 Transformational Leadership Fellows training to become Health & Healing Ambassadors for their schools and communities. An aspiring author hailing from Detroit -- one of our five Promise of Place cities -- Zachary shares a youth perspective on Black philanthropy, and also talks about his forthcoming book Love in Various Strengths, which is expected to be released in the next year. Check it out below!

CBMA: August is Black Philanthropy month. As a young Black male, what is your perspective on Black philanthropy? 

Zachary: From my perspective of Black philanthropy, I understand it as a powerful process of investing positive energy in fellow African-Americans to bring strength and wellness to Black culture. My book brings awareness of everyone’s ability to love and invest in themselves first so they can give stronger investments of true love and positivity to others. Strengthening yourself to understand your greatness will naturally bring you to a purpose to invest in others. This gives understanding to how philanthropists live with their purpose to invest in others because they invested in their bodies, minds, and spirits first, not in processes that are unhealthy, unaware, or unfaithful. 

CBMA: What motivated you to write your book?

Zachary: My motivation to write Love in Various Strengths started with my will to be the best Zachary Smith I can be. At a young age, I faced many adversities like depression, poverty, homelessness, abuse, heartbreak, and hunger. From a single moment of being seventeen waking up alone on a bench, I decided to bring myself awareness of my soul. Opening my perspective of not what I was but what I can be gave a perception of positivity and purpose of my past, present, and future. 

From that moment, I made it my goal to be the best me I can be physically, mentally, and spiritually. Independently from all negative energy I developed my own understanding of wellness, mindfulness, and spirituality. When I lived by my purpose to truly love myself as best I could, I realized that I could always be a stronger Zach. Naturally from understanding anyone can be great, I found a purpose to unconditionally love others. I knew my knowledge and experience was something new and powerful, and would be one of the greatest lessons to ever learn. I explored methods of spreading awareness. I found writing a self-help book as my first big step towards making the world I love a more self-loving one. 

CBMA: What message would you like to send to Black people who are or want to be philanthropists? 

Zachary: The message I will send to African-American people who are, or want to be, philanthropists will be to understand your purpose. You are loving others by investing positive energy in them. Understand that the stronger you are mentally, physically, and spiritually, the stronger your ability to empower others will be. Lastly, to always remember that putting energy in processes that are not in accordance with your purpose will bring you further from your goal. 

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