You Said . . .

From readers and audiences


“OMG…Valaida, I finally got the book. I sat down and could not put the book down as I found myself in tears basking in the awesomeness of the work! To God, be the glory! AWESOME!…Be blessed!” — DFC

“Your book looks stunning. Just stunning. Peace.” — GR


“Wonderful presentation and compelling stories….Your labor and your love shine through!” — TM

“Giving Back is an outstanding and refreshing portrayal of philanthropy. It captures real life people making a difference. It shows people that are not only giving their money but also their time and their talents to make the world a better place. The author and photographer have brought this to life beautifully. A splendid must have book that is not only well done but inspiring. Bravo!” — GJ

“When you think of the amazing triumphs in African American entrepreneurship over the last two centuries +, despite institutional discrimination by banks and other lenders it is refreshing to learn that the seeds of business investment, home ownership and advanced education were germinated through philanthropy. Yes PHILANTHROPY in the African American community! This wonderful book chronicles philanthropists and those who inspired them to give of their time, talent and money in an authentic, thoughtful and creative manner. My hats off to the committed folks who inspired this work and more importantly for inspiring me to give back.” — EC

Well done and most enjoyable. Thank you. — RC

“Finally a book that chronicles the true spirit of African American philanthropy. Our sense of community is amazing and should be shared more often. Kudos to Valaida, Charles & NGAAP Charlotte (Next Generation African American Philanthropists)!” — RD

“Giving Back’s beauty resonates as a rich and deep tapestry of old and new voices who are honorably given sacred space to tell their stories. To be heard, really heard, is a gift indeed. It is a book offered in gratitude for all that has come before and in hope for all to come. Giving back sings like a hymn,reads like a poem,and touches like a painting. It is a book that richly deserves a place of honor in your home and heart.” — ML

Giving Back highlights the way every-day African Americans make a difference in their community. It gives one pause to think how the smallest of actions can have tremendous, positive impacts in the lives of others. The book offers portraits of local philanthropists mainly from North Carolina, but the book has broad appeal, and would be an inspiration for any reader. The black and white photography adds depth to the stories, especially when the authors of the individual vignettes are pictured with those that have inspired them.” — EW

“We seldom see such a provocative compilation of generosity and spirit that is emboddied in this book. Inspirational stories combine nicely with poignant gems of wisdom of the famous, and not so famous. The vivid photography captures the essence of generosity and warmth included in the stories. This is a must have!” — J

“This collectible is more than a nice book to display on your coffee table. But it is indeed a resource that will inspire people and communities to “see” themselves in a positive light. Images are powerful tools that can illuminate your perspective about an issue. Well, this book weaves a dual purpose of providing commentary to complement those images. The photo of the hands on the cover conveys a compelling story that accentuates the title, Giving Back. I plan to give copies of this book during National Philanthropy Month as gifts for friends, family, and colleagues.” — KA

“This book will make you remember the hands that nurtured you and inspire you to serve! Our traditions of giving in the African-American community are alive and well.” — MS

“I love this book! I’m so glad to know that something like this exists. We all need reminders of the good works we have accomplished, especially in light of all the bad news in the media. I will be purchasing more of these to give to the young people in my family for the holidays and will use it to have conversations with them about our family’s legacy.” — Lolo

“I read your book last night, and was so moved. Your vision and your eloquence are amazing. Thank you for such a beautiful gift to our community.” — JC

“A fabulous book of inspiration that tells countless stories of ordinary people undertaking extraordinary efforts. The words tell thousands of stories and the pictures are worth a thousand words. The characters captured within it tell personal testimonials. A few tell a story of an elder or mentor who embodied the strength and resolve needed to live.

“It harkens back to the timeless collections Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats and I Dream A World published in 2000 and 1989, respectively. I Dream a World was reviewed in the NYTimes as “portraits of a vanguard,” and the same could be said for the people filling the pages of Giving Back.

“Giving Back is a reminder of why we still publish books, and will continue to do so for years to come. It is an experience, packaged beautifully and brilliantly. It is a social book that will inspire people to glance at the cover, pick it up, and start talking with others about it.” — CJ

“This is an amazing collection of moving photographs and quotes regarding African American philanthropy. Something you will relate to and wish you had contributed your own stories and memories to!” — DL

“Giving Back touches so many parts of my life—and hits many chords that I believe I share with your family.  Though I am not from African descent, I spent over two years of my life on that continent. Many of the things that you shared about your African roots rang so true to my experience. Africans are people who understand philanthropy at its core—taking  care of one another, sharing what little we have with someone who has less, respecting and caring for your elders….  It is a beautiful work of  art and love.” — CA

“I LOVE your book and I look forward to delving into it even deeper in the days ahead. For now, it looks absolutely beautiful on my coffee table.” — LB

“I bought Giving Back from Amazon. It is a wonderful book. It reminds me of my community when I was a child, 65 years ago. I love it and I need you and Charles to sign it…Thanks for presenting the information in such a beautiful way. The photography
 was magnificent.” — GW

“I am a real philanthropist! I did not know this until I read my life on the pages of Giving Back and saw myself—mother, father, elders and children—in this book. I cried as I read and looked at the awesome pictures. By the end, I realized how I was so wrong about what a philanthropist is. Now when I give, large or small, money or time, I do so with a raised consciousness that I am, in deed, a philanthropist. I am so thankful for the unsung, courageous, ordinary people in this book who help us all see just how extraordinary we can be just by paying it forward through our Giving Back. Little becomes much when we all Give Back. Bravo!!!”
 — SM

“This is an awesome book! Not to mention I recognize a number of the people in photographs in the book as well. I absolutely love it!” — 


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