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Black Philanthropy Month 2020: Mawuli Davis on Looking Forward and Giving Back

This year’s theme for Black Philanthropy Month is “Foresight 20/20.” SCHR explored this theme with our Board Member Mawuli Davis, of the Bozeman Davis firm.

SCHR: We believe that we all have the ability to be philanthropists, if philanthropy is broadly defined as giving of yourself to benefit others. What does being a philanthropist mean to you, and how do you manifest this definition in the way you live your life?

Mawuli Davis: We believe I have a responsibility to contribute as much as I can to be a part of those committed to changing the world.  We are here to fundamentally and radically improve the condition of those who have historically been oppressed.  We have to give financial resources, time, and energy to the organizations we believe in. 

SCHR: The theme for Black Philanthropy Month this year is “Foresight 20/20.” Please tell us how you think foresight is important to philanthropy?

Mawuli Davis: We have to imagine a future where our children are safer and more secure.  If we can see a better future before we actually manifest it, we have our launching pad. 

SCHR: Some of us grew up watching our parents or grandparents give of themselves to their communities, and that shaped our interest in giving back. What’s your story? What inspires you to give back?

Mawuli Davis: My father was a professional basketball player with the Harlem Globetrotters and my mother was an educator.  My father and mother started the Mel Davis Youth Foundation, where he hosted all-star games, clinics, and after school programs in Chicago. My mom founded a group called the Chicago Young Minority Role Models for young college graduates to give back to high schools students in Chicago.  All of these community efforts to give back by my parents helped instill a desire to contribute to my community.  

SCHR: Why is SCHR a part of your giving strategy?

Mawuli Davis: SCHR is literally engaging in life saving work. SCHR has not only worked to impact individual lives, but to transform the criminal justice system as a whole. In addition to supporting the work of SCHR, I also support a local African centered school, Kilombo.  We not only have to support SCHR, we have to ensure that we continue to develop socially conscious children to continue the work.