No. No. I am not doing a local gift guide for the holidays. Why? Because they are little more than advertorials (yougotzotopayforproductplacement). And I annually want the same exact thing for Christmas… Obscure old jazz and R&B albums I don’t already own. Pricey and pure potato vodka. And as much Hedi Slimane gear, always black, as I can stuff my lean frame into.
Oh… Gift guides are for you? Ha. What you want is sort-of irrelevant. Forget it.
What I do want to touch on here is the last seven days of Philadelphia philanthropy and charitable donations. Gifts that have been heaped unto the city by those we know, and those we never would have expected.
Like we know Meek Mill.
The Philadelphia rapper who surely didn’t dig being called cheap after handing a big group of local kids one $20 bill after they recognized him on the street. Even Tweeting out how appreciative they were, when they weren’t. He just dropped a $2 million scholarship fund that would quickly benefit underprivileged kids in Philadelphia, in need and want of educational tools. The charitable donations all made through a scholarship fund that he started with his billion-dollar buddy, 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin.
Then there is the familiar-to-Philly Knight Foundation who spent the weekend gifting a handful of notable Philadelphia cultural organizations so that each could make art accessible to old audiences and new during the COVID lockdown and into the future. While that list of Knight-ed organizations and projects include the Philadelphia Film Society. $100,000 to maintain its outdoor drive-in theater program. And the Asian Arts Initiative. $75,000 to open a digital broadcast studio and startup a fresh slate of online programs. The biggest cash grant went to the Bearded Ladies Cabaret and the BlackStar Film Festival. While John Jarboe’s Bearded Ladies snag $250,000 to start fresh programming approaches to a multidisciplinary cabaret performance, planning and development, Maori Karmael Holmes’ BlackStar got $225,000 for its film fest and developmental efforts. Such as the Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab and its Filmmaker Seminar geared toward 150 artists of color working in or on film.
Then there are those unfamiliar to Philly who dropped big time charitable donations or ducats. Like MacKenzie Scott. No, I didn’t know who she was either, until I saw her photo and realized that this was the woman who was once married to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Once married to the devil with cold dead eyes but, for her troubles and inconveniences, awarded a divorce settlement of four percent of outstanding stock in Amazon. Or 19.7 million shares, valued at about $38.3 billion, according to the New York Times that with the surge in C-19 spending went up to about $62 billion. With that, Scott recently announced, according to the New York Times that she is giving away more than $4.1 billion to 384 charities.
That a bunch of those charities are in PA and Phil-ay, makes her our fresh hero of help and good cheer. Here’s a list of ten of the organizations in Pennsylvania that received a donation from Scott:
Community First Fund, Lancaster with offices in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown and Philadelphia
Easterseals Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Goodwill Keystone Area, Harrisburg with offices in Lancaster, Reading,
Elizabethville, Montgomeryville, Pottsville, Allentown and Chambersburg.
United Way of Berks County, Reading
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Philadelphia
Greater Philadelphia YMCA, Conshohocken
YWCA Greater Harrisburg, Harrisburg
YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
YWCA Lancaster, Lancaster
YWCA York, York