Monday, January 12, 2015

#SelmaForStudents: Black Business Leaders Join Forces for NYC and NJ Youth

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Tamara Harris Robinson, right, one of  the many business leaders supporting the NYC and NJ
"Selma" fund for students.

An unprecedented effort has brought together 27 African-American business leaders to create a fund for 7th, 8th and 9th grade NYC students to see the Golden Globe-nominated film “SELMA” for free in participating theaters. The response has been overwhelming. NYC has completely sold out and new cities are joining the initiative.

Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor and Viacom Director stated, “The response to our program in New York is better than we could have anticipated and we are truly moved by the generosity and outpouring of support. The story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s heroic efforts in Alabama during the civil rights movement is an important chapter in our country’s history – and one that still resonates deeply today. Due to the many generous donors, tens of thousands of students around the country will have the opportunity to experience this extraordinary film.”

Inspired by NYC’s efforts, 26 African-American leaders in New Jersey have joined forces to fund 10,000 local students to see the film for free. “New Jersey is honored to join its friends in New York in bringing ‘SELMA’ to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO, CastleOak Securities, L.P., who is spearheading the effort along with Anré Williams and Carla Harris in Northern New Jersey. “We are grateful to the leaders in New York, whose generosity and vision led to this movement.”

BlackGivesBack talked to Tamara Harris Robinson, CEO of Haramat Advisory Services who donated to both the NY and NJ funds, to learn more about this inspiring effort and how she became involved:

“During New Year’s weekend, Charles Phillips reached out to me and shared that a group of business leaders were trying to create a fund for NYC students to see the film Selma. The minute he told me about it, I was in. I didn’t need to know much else. There were more calls and lots of conversation back and forth via email on what this effort would look like, how we would spread the word and find others who were interested. The effort got up to speed pretty quickly and out of this, 27 business leaders put up $10,000 each.

Our biggest concern was that we wouldn’t find enough kids to get them to take advantage, but New York is completely sold out. We funded 27,000 tickets and the demand was well over 100% of that. That’s a testimony to the donors engaging their financial and social capital, as well as tapping their networks to get the word out.
This effort parallels the historical events of Selma in that it’s a collective process. It’s about connecting people, feeling part of a community and people giving back. What’s so incredible are the prestigious executives in this group who were willing to do the work. Sending emails, posting on social media, marshalling resources – it’s amazing to be a part of. It’s humbling. This is what a movement looks like.”

Other cities who have joined this effort include Boston, MA; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Sarasota, FL; and Westchester, NY. More cities will be announced soon. Visit for more information.

Donors contributing to the NYC fund:

Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, Owners of The Amsale Group
Gerald Adolph, Senior Partner, Booz & Company and Gwen Adolph
Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox and Lloyd Bean
Valentino D. Carlotti, Partner, Goldman Sachs Group
Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express and Kathryn Chenault
Tony Coles, former CEO, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Robyn Coles
Edith Cooper, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs Group and Roger Taylor
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and CEO, TIAA-CREF and Annette L. Nazareth
Bruce Gordon, Chairman, ADT, former CEO NAACP and Tawana Tibbs
Charles J. Hamilton, Jr., Senior Counsel, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP and Pamela G. Carlton, President, Springboard
Vernon Jordan, Senior Managing Director at Lazard and Ann Dibble Jordan
Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks
Bill Lewis, Co-Chairman of Investment Banking, Lazard and Carol Sutton Lewis
Ed Lewis, founder of Essence Magazine and Carolyn Lewis
Tracy Maitland, CEO and Founder, Advent Capital Management and Kimberly Hatchett
Ray McGuire, Head of Global Banking, Citigroup and Crystal McCrary
Scott Mills, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Administration, Viacom and Iva Mills
Adebayo Ogunlesi, CEO, Global Infrastructure Partners, Lead Director, Goldman Sachs and Dr. Amelia Quist-Ogunlesi
Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners and Laura Parsons
Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor, Viacom Director and Karen Phillips
Jonelle Procope, President, Apollo Theater and Fred Terrell, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Credit Suisse
Tamara Harris Robinson, CEO, Haramat Advisory Services
Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President, Global Inclusion Strategy, Viacom
Frank Thomas, The Study Group
John Utendahl, Vice Chairman, Deustche Bank Americas
Reginald Van Lee, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen
Ted Wells, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Nina Wells

Northern New Jersey donors:

Daniel L. Black
Alicia R. Carter, MD, Integrative Spine & Orthopedic Rehabilitation LLC
Michael Carter, Co‐Head of Technology Investment Banking RBC Capital Markets and Bonnie Carter
David Crichlow, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Rhonda Crichlow
Charles E. Corpening, Chairman, Joshua Partners
Ken Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co. Inc. and Andrea Frazier
Gregg Gonsalves, Chairman, The Jackie Robinson Foundation and Charmaine Gonsalves
Carla A. Harris, Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley
David R. Jones, President and CEO, CastleOak Securities, L.P. and Tammye Jones
Kim Y. Lew, Co-Chief Investment Officer, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Virgil Jackson
Kevin Liles, Founder KWL/Partner 300 Entertainment and Erika Liles
Mark Mason, CFO, Citi Institutional Client Group and Carolyn Mason
Derek Medina, SVP, Business Affairs, ABC News and Rhonda Adams Medina, SVP & Deputy General Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, Nickelodeon Networks
Glenda McNeal, EVP/GM Global Client Group, American Express
Marc Morial, President, National Urban League
Colbert Narcisse, Managing Director, Global Head of Alternative Investments, Morgan Stanley and Deirdre Narcisse
Tamara Harris Robinson, CEO, Haramat Advisory Services
Charles E. Simpson, Partner, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP
David B. Stith, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Lois Stith
Errol Taylor, Partner, Millbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Paula Taylor
Sharon C. Taylor, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Prudential Financial
Reggie and Al Tindall
Elnardo Webster, Partner, Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor
Ted Wells, Partner, Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Nina Mitchell Wells, President, Vonn Real Estate Group
Anré Williams, President, Global Merchant Services, American Express and Paula Williams
Terry and Rita Woodard

Museum of the African Diaspora Reopens with $1.3 Million Makeover

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Museum named an official Smithsonian Affiliate in conjunction with reopening

Reopening activities include the new exhibitions Drapetomania and Lava Thomas: Beyond

SAN FRANCISCO – Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), a San Francisco-based arts and cultural institution dedicated to preserving and sharing stories of a common African heritage, reopened on December 3, 2014 following a six-month makeover. The museum, now a Smithsonian affiliate, joins a national network of cultural institutions that partner with the Smithsonian to share resources and expertise. Among the new exhibitions on display: Drapetomania and Lava Thomas: Beyond.

Renovations to the building, which first opened in 2005, refreshed the museum’s overall look and feel and also created more exhibition space. The renovation is the first major step in an effort to transition the facility from a museum that houses temporary exhibits into a fine arts museum with a national presence that showcases both permanent and rotating collections. Designed by Gensler, the refreshed look and expanded exhibition space also will give MoAD the capacity needed to grow its community, educational and outreach programs.

“We could not be more excited to unveil MoAD’s grand makeover which will give us the space we need to explore how African culture has – and continues to – influence our world,” said Linda Harrison, executive director of MoAD. “Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a MoAD alumnus, we hope this transformation of the museum and our new exhibitions will help you to understand the important connections we all share with Africa and the African Diaspora.”

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Deborah Santana, Vice Chair, MoAD Board of Directors (left) and Linda Harrison, MoAD Executive Director (2nd from right) with MoAD board members

As a new affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, MoAD will have access to its 136 million artifact collection for research, exhibits and programming. MoAD joins a network of more than 190 organizations in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama with a shared goal of creating lasting experiences that educate, inspire and broaden perspectives on science, history, world culture and the arts. In addition, MoAD will have the opportunity to offer its members the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Program, exclusive use of the Smithsonian Affiliate logo and professional development opportunities in Washington, D.C.

“We’re delighted to begin this new affiliate partnership between MoAD and the Smithsonian Institution, one that builds on shared missions, a commitment to education and prior collaborations,” said Harold A. Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations. “Since its founding in 2005, MoAD has been a beacon to the museum community by applying innovative exhibition ideas to the study of living communities and their cultures. We welcome the opportunity to work together through the sharing of our knowledge base, collections and traveling exhibits to place the story of human migration in local, national and global contexts.”

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MoAD is uniquely positioned as one of the few museums in the world to focus exclusively on the African “Diaspora,” or the migration of people from their homeland. MoAD explores the cultural shifts that resulted from African people moving around the globe throughout history by way of art, exhibitions and community programs.

In the newly designed space, MoAD continues to focus on its four key themes: origins, movement, adaptation and transformation. These provocative exhibitions present the contemporary art of people of African descent, and they also help to present the culture and history of the African Diaspora.

To learn more and to support MoAD, visit

Source: Press release

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

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Blake Ansari

Young Philanthropist Gives Back to NYC’s Homeless Children

Six-year old philanthropist Blake Ansari from New York City takes the top spot as our most popular story of 2014! Blake was inspired to launch a book drive after learning about a young girl who lived in a homeless shelter without an adequate supply of books. With the support of his parents, Blake began collecting books to donate to homeless children on Valentine’s Day and to date, he has donated over 700 books! For his efforts to ensure that homeless shelters have a library of books available for youth to read, Blake was selected as a 2014 regional winner of the Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program, receiving a $1,000 scholarship for higher education. Blake’s mother shared with us, “BlackGivesBack, it was your interview that earned Blake Kohl's Regional Philanthropist of the Year. Because of BlackGivesBack, children as far as Brazil support Blake Mini Libraries . Thank you for embracing the heart and soul of a six-year old and giving our youth a voice as philanthropists. Most of all, thank you for giving my family and me the best Kwanzaa gift ever!” Congratulations Blake and continued success to you!

Among the most popular stories of the year include coverage of a civic engagement forum kicking off Black Philanthropy Month 2014, a video release featuring stories by Black philanthropists, profiles of community leaders and more:

What’s Community Got To Do With It? A Civic Engagement Forum in Observance of Black Philanthropy Month
Black Philanthropy Month 2014 kicked off in Charlotte, NC with a reception and forum that featured Dr. Emmett Carson, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Xavier University Graduate and Scholarship Recipient Pays It Forward
Jade Romain’s experience teaching in Africa inspired her to take action.

Community Investment Network Set to Mark a Decade of Impact Through Giving Circles
If you’re interested in collective philanthropy and giving circles, then this annual conference is for you. Stay tuned for information on the 2015 conference!

The Insider: Giving Is A Lifestyle for Professor/Artist Najjar Abdul-Musawwir
One of our Insider profiles of the year highlights the work of this internationally renowned artist, professor and social activist.

Diversity Affluence Hamptons Brunch Convenes Powerbrokers and Pioneers
Coverage of this must attend event with a who’s who guest list of multicultural affluent consumers, business influencers and innovators is always popular with our readers.

Diverse Voices in Giving: New Video Shares Stories of African American Philanthropists
Released by the D5 Coalition, the video shares the giving stories of some of the nation’s most prominent Black donors, including Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Brickson Diamond and Maureen and Roy Roberts.

#BPM365: Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month Year-Round
A recap of Black Philanthropy Month 2014.

African American Board Leadership Institute Building Pipeline of Future Leaders
This blog post highlights the efforts of the African American Board Leadership Institute (AABLI), an organization that prepares Black professionals in California for board service.

What’s Next for Black Philanthropy? An Interview with ABFE’s President and CEO
Susan Taylor Batten talks with BlackGivesBack about ABFE’s (Association of Black Foundation Executives) current and future projects that included the first-ever retreat for Black women in philanthropy.

Thank you for reading and supporting BlackGivesBack.  Have a happy, healthy and philanthropic New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

8th Annual Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2014

Introduction by Akira Barclay, Contributor

It is that time of year again! As 2014 comes to a close, BlackGivesBack is pleased to present our 8th annual top ten black celebrity philanthropists list.

We live in a society where we are inundated with images of celebrity. Details of their lives are chronicled by nearly every media outlet, drawing either cheers or jeers from fans. As rich and famous artists navigate each day in the public eye, celebrities endure intense scrutiny of their art and actions. This is especially true when celebrities engage in philanthropy.

While some celebrities quietly give back in ways that fly under the radar, others strategically emphasize their good deeds to enhance their public personas. This year BlackGivesBack is acknowledging the celebrities on our top 10 list simply as humans, who like the rest of us are imperfect, but make a positive impact by giving.

Our philanthropists are honoring the memory of their loved ones, speaking out in the wake of national tragedy, empowering women and girls, building sustainable social enterprises and providing youth with hope and opportunity through sports and education.

One of the most important aspects of celebrity is the ability to influence the masses. As you read on about our philanthropists, think about how you give. Do you give back in similar ways? How can you make an impact on the issues that are most important to you?  Presenting our top 10 list of 2014:

5 Time Honorees
Founders, Mourning Family Foundation

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Tracy Mourning (left) presents a donation to Howard University on behalf of her mentoring program, Honey Shine, Inc.

Since 1997, the Mournings have raised over 10 million for youth development programs that aim to produce positive, contributing citizens in Miami. Two of the foundation’s signature programs supported are the Overtown Youth Center and Honey Shine mentoring program for young girls, founded by Tracy Mourning. In October, Tracy visited her alma mater, Howard University, to participate in a panel discussion on mentoring and philanthropy, and announced plans to expand the Honey Shine mentoring program nationally.

1st Time Honoree
Singer/Songwriter and Actress

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Who runs the world? Girls! Beyoncé’s philanthropic giving in 2014 included a $500,000 donation that benefited four organizations, all supporting women and girls around the world. The donation was part of the Chime for Change initiative, a global campaign for girls’ and women’s empowerment founded by Gucci. (Read our feature on one of the grantees, Girls for Gender Equity here.) Want to learn more and get involved with Beyoncé’s giving? Check out her website #BeyGOOD and while you’re there, apply to become an official #BeyGOOD ambassador:

CC & Amber Sabathia
1st Time Honorees
Founders, PitCChin Foundation

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Service doesn't consist of only donating money, so giving back can start at any age. I begin teaching the lessons of service to each of my children at age 5. At this age, I feel that each can understand the purpose of donating not only money, but giving their time.” – Amber Sabathia

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and his wife Amber, an entrepreneur, are founders of the PitCChin Foundation, an organization that serves to enrich the lives of inner city youth to raise self-esteem through educational and athletic activities. They are the proud parents of four children and giving back is a priority for the family as Amber shared in an op-ed for the Huffington Post. Earlier this year, the foundation co-hosted the Summer Classic Charity Basketball Game at Barclay’s Center and last month, the Sabathia’s and their friends raised money for their foundation by running in the New York City marathon. Learn more about the foundation and how Amber is strengthening its impact in our previous post here.

1st Time Honoree
Point Guard, Chicago Bulls

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The NBA MVP and three-time All-Star made philanthropic headlines when he announced a $1 million dollar donation this year to After School Matters, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides innovative out of school time programs for youth. Rose stated, “To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world. So many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.” According to a press release by the NBA, the funds will be used to drive the growth of unique programming experiences for teenagers throughout the city in the arts, communications, science, sports and technology.

1st Time Honoree

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Williams’s Twitter bio reads that he’s a former teacher, art collector, board member of Advancement Project, and executive producer of Question Bridge, an innovative transmedia project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America. What caught our eye? Williams uses his celebrity and social media platforms to call attention to racial injustice in our country and other important issues.

1st Time Honoree
Musician and Founder, We Are Family Foundation

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Diana Ross. Madonna. David Bowie. These are just a few of the names that multiple Grammy-award winning music producer Nile Rodgers has collaborated with over the past four decades generating numerous number one singles and sales of more than 100 million records. One of his best known songs is “We Are Family,” co-written for the group Sister Sledge in 1979. The title of the song inspired the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF), founded by Rodgers after the tragedy of the September 11 attacks. The mission of the foundation is to promote the message of a global family by creating and supporting programs that foster respect, understanding and cultural diversity. The foundation hosts an annual event that raises funds for its signature programs. Learn more at

1st Time Honoree
Singer, Actress, Fashion Designer and Founder, Clara Lionel Foundation

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One of the most popular celebrity charity events of 2014 belongs to Rihanna, who hosted her 1st annual Diamond Ball in Beverly Hills, CA that benefited the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), named in honor of her grandparents. The foundation supports efforts promoting health, education, and arts and culture globally. According to CLF’s website, Rihanna has raised tens of millions of dollars for charitable dollars and has personally donated $2 million of her own earnings.

1st Time Honoree
Musician and Co-Founder, GrassROOTS Community Foundation

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Trotter is best known as co-founder and lead MC of The Roots, the Grammy-award winning house band for The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. He is also planting roots in philanthropy as the board chairman of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, an organization that is developing the capacity of community based organizations that offer educational and recreational services to disadvantaged women and girls. The foundation is a collaborative effort of Trotter and sociologist, Dr. Janice Johnson Dias. GrassROOTS targets its work in ten US cities where women and girls experience the highest incidences of obesity, breast cancer, suicide and HIV/AIDS. This year, Trotter partnered with Moscot eyewear (pictured above) to create “THE GRUNYA for Tariq Trotter” with proceeds benefiting GrassROOTS and MOSCOT's Mobileyes Foundation.

2nd Time Honoree
Radio Personality and Founder, Tom Joyner Foundation

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Tom Joyner celebrates with Spelman College students, winners of the 2014 Ford HBCU Community Challenge

Since 1998 Tom Joyner has supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with scholarships, endowments and capacity building enhancements through the Tom Joyner Foundation. The signature program, “School of the Month,” selects 11 HBCUs to receive fundraising support for scholarships and other initiatives. The foundation collaborates with corporate partners, such as the Ford Fund’s HBCU Community Challenge. Now in its second year, the Challenge builds on an existing Ford Fund educational program that focuses on helping to create sustainable communities. The program awards a total of $100,000 in scholarships and grants.

Named “Ones to Watch” in 2012
Professional Athletes and Founders, Serena Williams Foundation and Venus Williams Scholars Program 

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In November 2014, the Williams sisters cut the ribbon to the Williams Arena (also known as the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center), a 48,000-square foot indoor tennis court facility in the nation’s capital. The sisters have been longtime supporters of the center that was founded by Cora Masters Barry, wife of the late Marion Barry, Jr., former Mayor of Washington, DC. The expanded center features six tennis courts, a glass encased fitness and conditioning room with modern equipment, and enhancement of the education and computer areas, designed by Venus Williams’ design firm. Barry told the Washington Post about the Williams sisters, “Those are our babies. They’ve supported us since day one.”

Coming up....the top 10 posts of 2014!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Charmaine Chapman Society: Black Donors Raise Over 2 Million in St. Louis

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Charmaine Chapman Society 2014 co-chairs Reuben and D'Anne Shelton (left)
with guests at the 20th anniversary gala in September 2014.

ST. LOUIS, MO – The Charmaine Chapman Society of the United Way of Greater St. Louis is comprised of African-American donors who pledge an annual gift of $1,000 or more, benefiting local charities. The Society celebrated its 20th anniversary on September 13, 2014 with a gala for over 600 people that featured a black tie reception, dinner and entertainment by Grammy-award winning artist Howard Hewett. On December 9, the Society celebrated another achievement – hitting their 2014 fundraising goal of 2.25 million.

Among the donors who contributed to the Society’s annual campaign are David and Thelma Steward, who pledged 1 million to the United Way, becoming the first African-American philanthropists in St. Louis to do so. Johnny Furr Jr., former co-chair of the Charmaine Chapman Society stated that the United Way has been actively involved in meeting the needs of families and individuals in Ferguson and neighboring communities in coordination with a variety of agencies: “In the wake of recent events in our community, we have been asking what we can do to make a difference, particularly with our young people.” Read more at the St. Louis American.

Photo credit: Cedric Scott Photography

Friday, December 12, 2014

Philanthropists Mark and Brenda Moore Dedicate New Hospital Tower

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Deborah Addo, CEO of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital with Mark and Brenda Moore as the new
Mark and Brenda Moore Patient Tower sign is lit for the first time.

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Inova Mount Vernon Hospital officially dedicated the new Mark and Brenda Moore Patient Tower building at a special ceremony on December 9th. Hospital leaders joined with major donors and more than 125 dignitaries and VIPs representing community, business, political and Inova Health leadership from across the region to celebrate the culmination of more than four years’ work and planning.

The Mark and Brenda Moore Patient Tower features new all-private patient rooms, greatly expanded facilities for the Inova Joint Replacement Center and Inova Rehabilitation Center, a dedicated new gymnasium, and new cognitive suites and other state-of-the-art patient care areas.

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Deborah Addo, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital Chief Executive Officer, remarked that this aesthetically pleasing, world-class facility will enhance privacy and promote a healing environment for patients. “Already,” Addo said, “patients have remarked about the strong sense of healing it brings. Every detail in the tower has been designed with the patient in mind. The Mark and Brenda Moore Patient Tower combines the best in medical technology and patient safety with many thoughtful aesthetic touches. It’s a great example of what we mean at Inova Mount Vernon when we say ‘we put the patient first.’ For physicians and staff members, the tower has already led to an increased sense of pride in our facility and healing mission.”

In his remarks, lead donor Mark Moore added that “we dedicate this new facility in honor of the physicians, nurses and staff of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital and to all future patients who will benefit from the wonderful care rendered here.”

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In addition to supporting healthcare, Mark and Brenda Moore are founding donors of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. As Milestone Donors, the couple pledged a minimum of $1 million dollars prior to the museum’s opening in 2016.

Source and photos: Inova

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Insider: Andrea Hoffman – A Connector in Business, Technology and Philanthropy

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Andrea Hoffman (2nd from left), founder of Diversity Affluence with Mitch Kapor, Freada Kapor Klein and Van Jones
Our latest Insider helps luxury brands, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations connect with African-American and multicultural affluent consumers, influencers and innovators for meaningful opportunities in business, technology, and philanthropy. Andrea Hoffman is the founder of Diversity Affluence, a full service business advisory firm founded in 2006 that creates engagement strategies to reach the diverse elite. She was inspired to create Diversity Affluence stemming back from 2000, after working for AllianceBernstein and luxury brand clients at a time when their companies were shifting toward a younger and more diverse audience. After conducting a marketing and business development audit for a company using her proprietary process, Andrea found that the only way the brand was going to achieve their goals was to engage affluent multicultural consumers – a group she has termed the “Royaltons.”

Clients such as Credit Suisse, Carnegie Hall, General Motors, Platform, Jaguar, Hermès, Time Life, Draftfcb, Baume & Mercier, #YesWeCode, JPMorgan Chase and others have called upon Andrea to work her magic for them and as a result, she has carved out a unique niche as an advisor who is able to provide assessment, strategy and execution because of what, and who, she knows.

Many people are familiar with Andrea as the co-author of Black is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans (Palgrave Macmillan), or her convenings such as the annual Diversity Affluence Brunch in the Hamptons and her invite only social impact dinner program, The Secret Supper Club, but she is most regarded for her innovative strategies and advising on business model re-invention that help brands and businesses reach untapped markets and business opportunities aimed at this highly sought after, but hard to reach group.

“Andrea has the ability to convene thought leaders around essential issues and get them to put intentions and actions into motion” says Robert F. Smith, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. Read on to learn more about the work of Diversity Affluence:

Why is your work important?

First, the “Royaltons” continues to grow in size, economic and social clout. Secondly, organizations today are looking for growth, innovation and diversification. As a solutionist, my job is to design business to business and business to consumer strategies and tweak existing or create new business models that improve outcomes. I help my clients tap into untapped intellectual and social capital in their own backyard. In addition, we create connections across our curated network. All of which helps to catalyze business growth and brand differentiation. That’s important because everyone wins. Our database includes over 1000 accomplished innovators and influencers available for business collaboration, mergers and acquisitions, technology related corporate board seats and more. We demystify for our clients who they are, how and where to authentically engage them. It’s a way to leapfrog over the competition.

It has been four years since the release of your book, “Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans.” What has been the response?

The book still sells and people continue to spread the word. I was in Atlanta recently when a saleswoman recognized me and stopped to thank me for writing the book. The same thing happened this year at a Jazz at Lincoln Center fundraiser, an AdWeek event and even at a NJ toll booth. I also met author Laurence Otis Graham recently. He expressed being a fan of my book too. It was humbling. The Kindle version has made sharing this body of work easier as well. Len (the book’s co-author) and I plan to update the book with new case studies soon.

Please share more about your current and future projects.

I’m excited about our Digital Directors initiative, which creates corporate board seats for diverse candidates who have innovation, digital and technology expertise. Our database of these candidates is impressively large. I’m excited about our Culture Shift Innovation Labs where we implement cross functional teams of diverse and accomplished experts to help organizations enhance innovation. I’m excited about our work with highly regarded executives and societal impact leaders from Nigeria who we help engage with U.S. corporations and vice versa. Most importantly, I’m excited to be expanding the business to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. That work began 18 months ago.

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Goldman Sachs executive Valentino Carlotti, Hoffman,
and Robert F. Smith of Vista Equity Partners

Anything else you'd like to share?

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge those who helped my business launch, sustain and grow. One person is my original investor, Ivan Burwell. When I pitched Ivan the idea of Diversity Affluence in late 2005, he immediately got it. The other person is Reggie Van Lee. His consistent guidance has enabled my firm to sustain itself for the last eight years. And of course my stellar advisory board members including Denmark West, Chloe Drew, Candice Cook Esq., John Dokes and about 10 others who help my firm remain relevant and an enabler of success.

Visit the website at