Press Release

Celebrating Excellence in Philanthropy: ABFE Announces 2024 JJL Awardees

james a joseph

ABFE is thrilled to announce the distinguished honorees of ABFE’s 2024 James A. Joseph Lecture and Awards! This year’s celebration of philanthropic excellence promises to be an unforgettable event, highlighting remarkable individuals and institutions whose outstanding contributions align with ABFE’s mission of empowering Black communities through philanthropy. 

This prestigious event, part of ABFE’s sold-out Annual Harambee Conference, is scheduled for Friday, April 26th, 2024, at 7pm. You can purchase a virtual seat for the formal awards ceremony. Below are this year’s James A. Joseph Lecture and Award honorees:  

James A. Joseph Lecturer 



Mark S. Lewis, President and CEO of the POISE Foundation, is the distinguished recipient of the 2024 James A. Joseph Lecturer Award. This accolade commemorates Ambassador James A. Joseph’s visionary leadership and celebrates innovative leaders like Mark, whose stewardship of progressive philanthropic ideals has significantly advanced ABFE’s mission.  

With over two decades of experience driving impactful change in his community, Lewis’ exemplary leadership has set a benchmark for excellence, embodying ABFE’s commitment to fostering dialogue and innovation to address the pressing needs of Black communities through philanthropy. As the President of the Poise Foundation since 2002, Lewis has utilized his expertise gained from Price Waterhouse and Ernst & Young LLP to spearhead transformative initiatives, while also serving on multiple boards and co-founding initiatives like the African American Funders Group and the Sankofa Fund of Southwest PA. His dedication to collaborative and inclusive philanthropy, coupled with his unwavering commitment to community engagement showcases his influential role in shaping the philanthropic landscape. 

Philanthropic Emerging Leader Award 



We proudly present the Philanthropic Emerging Leader Award to Monique Carswell, Director of the Center for Racial Equity at Walmart. Monique  epitomizes the essence of the Philanthropic Emerging Leader Award through her distinguished career spanning philanthropy, marketing communications, and community advocacy.  

Monique’s impressive achievements in the philanthropic sector mark her as a rising star dedicated to effecting positive change. As Director of the Center for Racial Equity at Walmart, she pioneers innovative initiatives, such as online charitable round-up and national donation matching campaigns, amplifying the impact of corporate philanthropy. With accolades including being an ABFE Connecting Leader Fellow and receiving recognition as a “Woman of Influence” by the New York Business Journal, Monique’s commitment to leveraging her expertise for social good aligns seamlessly with this award. Her leadership within Walmart’s Black and African American Associate Resource Group further underscores her dedication to fostering equitable change, making her a deserving recipient of this esteemed honor. 

Institutional Award for Philanthropic Leadership 



The Roy + Patricia Disney Family Foundation stands as a shining example of the values embodied by the ABFE Institutional Award for Philanthropic Leadership. Established in 2002 to recognize grant-making organizations’ significant efforts in promoting philanthropy as a catalyst for social change in Black communities, this award honors institutions that model effective and responsive grant-making practices. 

The Roy + Patricia Disney Family Foundation’s philanthropic investments, guided by principles of human rights, civil rights, economic and environmental justice, gender, and racial equity, addresses the deep-rooted inequalities affecting Black communities. Their mission-driven approach optimizes opportunities to activate change through grantmaking, internal investment tools, leadership development, and vendor contracting, placing communities at the forefront and amplifying their voices in pursuit of a more just and equitable society.  

There are countless individuals and institutions doing great philanthropic work in Black communities, but less than a handful earn these awards each year. These distinguished awardees offer invaluable insights into navigating philanthropy, critical for producing a more equitable nation and world. Their exemplary practices strengthen Black families and communities, underscoring the transformative power of philanthropy in creating positive change. Let’s continue to pull together and make a difference through philanthropy!