August is Black Philanthropy Month! We asked our donors how they came to be philanthropists.
Here’s what Marion Ervin had to say:
How did you come to be charitable? Were there influences in your life that got you started?
I was brought up in a culture where people looked out for each other as a matter of survival. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Syracuse was a second home for me. It owed its financial life to the United Way. I was given much as a young man in Syracuse, so it was my duty to return something as an adult.
What do you want Central New York to look like in the future? How can philanthropy be a part of that change?
I want a diverse community free of sub-standard housing, crime and bad schools. Someone has to pay for the dreams, therein lay the need for philanthropy.
What do you feel are the greatest needs in our community right now?
Better housing options for low-income citizens. Good schools that are strong in college preparatory courses, a strong vocational/technical curriculum and a school atmosphere free of disruptions and stress. Something must be done about crime in disadvantaged areas of the community.
Is there a quote that sums up or has shaped how you live your life?
“An ounce of good work outweighs a pound of good intentions.”
Marion Ervin is a co-founder of the Kappa Alpha Psi scholarship at the Community Foundation, a U.S. Vietnam Veteran and the finance officer at the American Legion Dunbar Post 1642.