Businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald provided funding to build more than 5,000 schools for African American children in the pre-civil rights South. The Rosenwald Fund gave fellowship grants to black artists and writers like Augusta Savage, Katherine Dunham, Marian Anderson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. He also brought a refreshing humility to his giving, once saying, “Do not be fooled into believing that because a man is rich he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary.” And yet, Rosenwald is not well-known today, in part because he believed in “giving while living.” His foundation closed in 1948, 16 years after his death.
The documentary “Rosenwald,” created by The Ciesla Foundation and producer Aviva Kempner, gives people an opportunity to learn about Rosenwald’s philanthropic work and approach. The Hewlett Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group provided support for the distribution of film, which has been shown in more than 100 school and community events in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and continues to be screened at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the U.S.