North Carolina Giving Documentary Project

The North Carolina Giving Documentary Project
The North Carolina Giving Documentary Project results from an 18-month process, during which producers at Minnow Media traveled around North Carolina capturing numerous giving stories on film. The full set of documentaries, available from NCGives in early 2010, includes the one-hour piece broadcast on UNC-TV as well as six shorter documentaries examining specific populations:

  • African Americans and Giving
  • American Indians and Giving
  • Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and Giving
  • Latinos and Giving
  • Women and Giving
  • Young People and Giving

Learn Stories of the Extraordinary Philanthropy of Ordinary Citizens:


The Cherokee were among the earliest residents and philanthropists in what we now know as North Carolina. Like other American Indian tribes, the Cherokee lived off the land, were fiercely loyal to their own, and took care of each other. Sharing was a way of life. Today, the Cherokee continue to operate with a strong spirit of voluntarism.

Young pottery students in Asheville are working to feed the hungry through the Empty Bowls project. As a hands-on creative project making bowls teaches young people about making art and making a difference.

At Pigeon Community Center, African American families have opened their doors to new Hispanic families coming to their mountain town, sharing language lessons and monthly fundraisers advertised as "Fish Fry and Tamales."

Bob White looked out his window in the Pisgah View housing project and realized that children never played on the ball fields. The neighborhood is known for high violence and drug crimes. He asked the city if he could turn the area into a community garden and then he went to work. Bob engaged the children in after-school gardening and borrowed a tiller. Now he and his neighbors are growing their own food. They also have healthy cooking classes and a weekly market.


Young professional women have pooled their money as the Fondue Fund to create scholarships for other women who want to go back to school in nontraditional careers like electrical contracting and auto repair.

Francisco Rodriguez and his wife, Maria, work with other immigrants from the same home town in Mexico to raise money for the Patronato. They have built a nursing home there.

Pam Pompey grew up on the southwest side of Charlotte. She’s a grassroots organizer who started the Ujamaa Project, exploring the history of African American traditions of giving. Ujamaa participants talk about money in terms of what it means to become a philanthropist—how to give—and examined the legacy gifts of enslaved people and civil rights activists in the United States as a means to encourage young people to recognize the sacrifices that they have benefitted from.

Chatham County
Volunteers from SWOOP—Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects—build barns at a therapeutic riding center for children with disabilities.

Shivani Sud, a high school student in Durham, was inspired by the illness of a relative who had cancer to volunteer more than 1,500 hours in a medical research lab at Duke University.

Moe Fanene and his wife Heather are regulars in the Hawaii Club but recently they were surprised to be the recipients of the club’s generosity. They were expecting their fifth child and had just moved into a new home. The club was there to help.

Sandhills/Coastal Plains

Dr. Roytesa Savage is a Greenville pediatrician and a faculty member at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Dr. Savage and one of the pediatric residents at East Carolina launched TEEN MOTHERS ACHIEVING SUCCESS or T-MAS in 2004. It’s a program for young mothers who are still in high school.

Hollister American Indian teenagers from the Haliwa Saponi tribe have come together to build a greenhouse so they can grow traditional native plants.

Youth offenders in Wilmington are court-ordered to attend DREAMS, a volunteer-based arts education center. Artists from the community teach children ages 8-17 in classes ranging from African dance and drumming to visual arts, drama and writing. The students also create public art. Their sculptures can be seen all over town.