Friday, November 21, 2014

Kenya T. Boswell Named President of BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, PA – Kenya T. Boswell, charitable giving manager at BNY Mellon, has been named President of the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, effective January 1. Boswell will succeed James P. McDonald, who previously announced plans to retire at year-end.

“Kenya has successfully advanced workforce development programs in partnership with local non-profit organizations and has led a series of funding initiatives to help veterans, young people aging out of foster care, families in economic distress and many others in need,” said Jeep Bryant, BNY Mellon’s global head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs. “This appointment is well-deserved recognition of Kenya's contributions to the growth of the Foundation and her role in deepening its community impact across the Pittsburgh region.”

Prior to joining BNY Mellon in February 2008, Kenya worked in Duquesne Light’s Corporate Communications and Community Affairs department, where her responsibilities included managing the company’s signature Partners in Education program, developing innovative signature initiatives, such as the Power of Warmth, and identifying opportunities for executive volunteerism.

Kenya is an Advisory Committee Member for Carnegie Mellon University’s Program for Research & Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS), a Community Advisory Board Member for WQED Multimedia, a Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board Youth Policy Council Member and a member of the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics Workforce Development Committee. Kenya was recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of Pittsburgh's 40 under 40 leaders in 2008, by the New Pittsburgh Courier as one of their 2011 Fab 40 honorees and was most recently named a 2014 Black Achiever in Industry by the Harlem YMCA for her professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to diversity.

Kenya is also a founding member of the Pittsburgh based Sankofa Fund of Southwest PA, a giving circle comprised of African American philanthropists who join together to strategically invest their time, talent and resources towards the issues and organizations in their community.

Kenya received a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.S. in Management from Robert Morris University and recently completed Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women.

The Foundation recently launched a $1 million Social Innovation Challenge in partnership with The Forbes Funds that will enable nonprofits in southwestern Pennsylvania to solve critical social challenges and crowdsource technical solutions. Each year, BNY Mellon invests more than $7 million in the Pittsburgh region through a combination of grants and charitable sponsorships.

Press release

Photos of the Day: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity & Thurgood Marshall College Fund Gala

 photo DTGWinnerPhoto2_zps72b56c0d.jpg

The Lincoln Motor Company presented Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity with a check for $25,000 on November 6, 2014 as the luxury automaker wrapped up its Divine Nine Driven to Give program. As part of the program, Lincoln teamed up with African-American fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council to bring the Lincoln experience to key markets in an effort to raise funds for local charities. Each competing organization received $30 for every completed test drive, to be donated to their local charity of choice. In addition, more than $5,000 was donated on behalf of the fraternity to Alpha Phi Alpha Education Foundation, the fraternity’s nonprofit charitable arm that focuses on scholarship programs as well as training and development for its members.

 photo tmcfgala2014_zpsa1fe933f.jpg
Event host LL Cool J, TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., and Georgette "Gigi" Dixon of Wells Fargo 

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) hosted its 26th Annual Awards Gala on November 12, 2014 in Washington, DC, raising 4.1 million for HBCU students. Announced during the evening was a 3.3 million dollar investment by Wells Fargo, the largest corporate donation to date. Wells Fargo's gift will support capacity building efforts for TMCF's 47 member-schools and students on these campuses.

“The increased costs of college, coupled with stricter PELL grant and PLUS loan requirements, limits college access for thousands of students today,” said TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “Every five seconds a student drops out of college usually because of money. For this reason, each year TMCF brings together the nation's most influential people to recognize our honorees, celebrate HBCUs, and to raise money for nearly 300,000 students who attend their institutions.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What’s Next for Black Philanthropy? An Interview with ABFE’s President and CEO

 photo ABFEJAGUnitySummitEDs_zps8149f3ba.jpg
Susan Taylor Batten (right), president and CEO of ABFE with the executive directors of Emerging Practitioners
in Phlanthropy, Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Native Americans in Philanthropy, Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Women's Funding Network at the JAG Unity Summit, June 2014 in Washington, DC

As 2014 comes to a close, BlackGivesBack caught up with ABFE President and CEO Susan Taylor Batten to learn more about their projects and accomplishments this year, and what’s on the horizon for Black philanthropy in 2015. ABFE (Association of Black Foundation Executives), a membership-based organization that advocates for responsive and transformative investments in Black communities, was founded in 1971 and is credited with many of philanthropy’s early gains in diversity. Read on to learn more about their current projects in advocacy, professional development and networking and convening; highlights from their first-ever retreat for Black women in philanthropy; and how you can get involved in their work.

As you look back over the year, what accomplishments are you most proud of?

2014 was an important year for us, namely because we had the full complement of staff that we’ve needed for so long to move our work forward. We added a new program assistant and a chief financial officer this year which gave us more capacity. With this team in place, I would highlight a few accomplishments of note. In the area of advocacy, we released two reports on philanthropy’s ability to engage and retain Black talent – one in the area of foundation program and executive staff and the other in the area of endowment management. In each of these areas, our research filled critical gaps relative to our participation in the field. As it relates to professional development, we were able to draw an exceptional cohort for the 2015/2016 Connecting Leaders Fellowship Program. Their Leadership Summit held in Birmingham, Alabama provided as much learning for the ABFE Fellows as it did to bring resources to Black leadership in that city. We are excited about what might come to fruition in this city as a result of our week-long Summit there; a place that has such importance to our history as a people. Relative to our networking and convening, it also is important to name the Unity Summit held in partnership with our colleagues of the Joint Affinity Groups (JAG) in June. Rather than hosting our two day conference, we joined with JAG representatives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP); the Women’s Funding Network; Native Americans in Philanthropy; Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy to host one event focusing on advancing equity for all communities. 2014 was indeed a busy year!

 photo ABFEFellowsinfrontofBethelBaptistChurchwithBirminghamMayorWilliamBell2_zpsbc285296.jpg
ABFE's 2015/2016 Connecting Leaders Fellows in Birmingham, AL
with Mayor William Bell

This year ABFE released two significant reports, one that shed light on the decreasing number of black professionals in philanthropy, and the other a case study of W.K. Kellogg Foundation's work to engage minority investment managers. What has been the response to these reports and what are next steps?

Both publications were well received. The Exit Interview was our first look at the issue of retention of Black professionals in the field of philanthropy. Many reports out there have focused on the recruitment of professionals of color or how to help them advance – we wanted to know why people were leaving because national data (and our anecdotal information) suggests that there has been a slight decrease in the number of Black program officers in the field. I think this provided a different perspective on the issue and the report gained traction across the country. I believe that if we don’t see more dollars targeted to communities of color, particularly as this country gets browner, we will not be able to retain diverse talent. We produced the report in partnership with the Black Philanthropic Network and we will work together to advance next steps that are spelled out in the report’s recommendations.

The report, Who Manages the Money? How Foundations Should Help Democratize Capital is part of an ongoing series of reports we are producing about the field’s inability to engage Black talent in another area of philanthropy – investment management. We are so thankful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the leadership of LaJune Montgomery Tabron for sharing this case study and partnering with us to get it out to the field. There is an entire research base that suggests that Black investment management firms perform as well as mainstream investment firms yet they don’t have access to opportunities in the field. Same old story, right?! But we also know that many of these firms are important funders and donors to Black communities so their access to business opportunities helps to support our children, youth and families. Our Smart Investing Initiative aims to increase the number of minority and women-owned firms managing foundation endowments and we will continue our efforts to educate the field on these issues with reports, webinars, conferences, etc. In addition, our new Directory of Minority-and Women Owned Investment Manager Firms is now available on our website that includes minority managers of all asset classes for the field to further research. We often hear the excuse, “we can’t find any!” With this database, that is not an excuse anymore.

 photo ABFEWIPRetreat2014_zpsbffffd58.jpg
ABFE Black Women in Philanthropy Retreat

Tell us more about the Black Women in Philanthropy retreat ABFE recently hosted.

Yes, this was a major highlight of the year as well. In October, ABFE convened the first-ever Black Women in Philanthropy Leadership Retreat. This gathering was nothing less than phenomenal and made us realize that we never have had a space designed solely for Black women in the sector. Thirty Black women from around the country gathered at Sheila Johnson’s Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast Florida for three days of learning, exchange and support. We addressed issues of work/life balance; philanthropy’s role in improving outcomes for Black women and girls and strategies to strengthen the network of Black women leaders in the field. Amazing sisters planned the event including Sherece West Scantlebury of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; Karen McNeil Miller of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; Gladys Washington of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation; Toya Randall of Casey Family Programs and Dani Johnson of Special Gathering. Susan L. Taylor, Editor Emeritus, Essence Magazine was our special guest and inspired all of us to love ourselves and each other so we can work on behalf of our people. I have never had an experience like this before and this event may clearly become an annual gathering.

You recently served as the featured speaker for The Black Benefactors Member Dinner Series on the topic, “The Power of Black Giving.” What were some highlights of your presentation?

I am really inspired by The Black Benefactors and the leadership of its founder, Tracey Webb. Their work, and those of other Black giving circles builds on the legacy of Black giving in this country. I believe that the gains we have made as a people are the result of our values and principles of self-help and collective responsibility as well as the use of legal tactics to combat racism, discrimination and bias. But our own giving to our community has been key. That night, I sought out to remind the guests that we are a force when we think about philanthropy in this country; the data we have suggests that Black people donated $11 billion dollars to charitable causes in recent years – foundations, in total donate about $40 billion. My other key point was that if we could target that $11 billion in ways that we think will make substantive change (not charity) for our people, we can make a serious mark. Lastly, I shared ABFE’s thoughts on the characteristics of responsive philanthropy for Black communities. I think this is paramount – a shared agenda for our giving. (Visit here for a recap on the dinner.)

What does ABFE have planned for 2015?

After a good holiday break (smile), we are excited about 2015. A major body of work will be in the area of Black philanthropy – namely, our outreach to, and partnership with, Black civic organizations. With the support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, our Catalyzing Community Giving Initiative will provide us with the capacity to reach out to our own philanthropic organizations – Black fraternities and sororities and groups like The Links, Inc., -- to mobilize philanthropy for our community. We want to build our work in the area of Black giving in ways that leverages mainstream philanthropy. I think it can be done and ABFE can play an important role in connecting the dots.

How can readers get involved and support ABFE’s work?

ABFE is the center of effort and energy around responsive philanthropy in Black communities. We are, with you. We can use your support in a few key areas: contributing articles and/or blogs about what works in Black communities to distribute to our network; volunteer support at a national conference or regional meeting; and donating to our work through membership or sponsorship at

Visit the website at

Friday, November 7, 2014

Executive Leadership Foundation Honors Diversity Leaders for Commitment to Black Leadership and Achievement

 photo ELC2014-6508-2_zps4ce2c170.jpg
Executive Leadership Foundation gala honorees: Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks; Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton;
and Rachel Robinson, founder of The Jackie Robinson Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Executive Leadership Foundation (ELF), the charitable arm of The Executive Leadership Council, hosted its annual gala on October 30 that honored diversity leaders for their commitment to Black leadership and achievement, and featured the announcement of grant awards to innovative nonprofits to improve the educational outcomes of Black students.

Highlighting the importance of diversity on the global stage, The ELF honored Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her lifetime commitment to inclusive policies and leadership. In presenting the award, Carla Harris, chair, The Executive Leadership Council, said, “Hillary Clinton remains committed to making the American Dream an American reality. The Secretary’s personal story represents a daily reminder to future generations that through educational excellence, intellectual curiosity and commitment to task, all is possible.”

Clinton served as Secretary of State after nearly four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator. As First Lady, she advocated for health care reform and led successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, establish Early Head Start and provide health care to millions of children through the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Today, through the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, Clinton continues to build on the nonprofit work she began nearly four decades ago. The Clinton Foundation works to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment by creating partnerships of great purpose among businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals to deliver sustainable solutions that empower people to live better lives.

Also honored were Rachel Robinson, civil rights activist and founder of The Jackie Robinson Foundation, who received the Alvaro L. Martins Heritage Award that honors the legacy of global Black business leadership; Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks, who received The Achievement Award that honors global Black business achievement; and AT&T Inc., which received The Corporate Award that recognizes achievement at the highest level in creating policies and enlivening practices that promote Black executives and their contributions. Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

In keeping with the gala theme of “Going All IN: INsight, INnovation, Inspiration,” The ELF announced the recipients of its Community Impact Initiative, which provides financial contributions to select organizations and partners with them to improve the educational outcomes of Black students, thereby preparing the next generation of Black business leaders. This year, the National Society of Black Engineers and Management Leadership for Tomorrow will share a grant of $450,000 over two years.

To date, the Community Impact Initiative has contributed approximately $1.2 million to select nonprofits. The gala also highlighted the foundation’s scholarship programs that reach 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students through The ELF pipeline programs and educational initiatives.

Well-known names were part of the celebration. Grammy award winning singer Brandy performed as did “America’s Got Talent” singer Quintavious Johnson. “Entertainment Tonight” co-anchor Kevin Frazier delivered remarks and recording artist Doug E. Fresh provided post-gala entertainment.

Sponsors included Cisco (lead gala sponsor); Prudential (pre- and post-gala sponsor); Morgan Stanley and Shell (supporting gala sponsors); Alcoa, Chevron, Nationwide and U.S. Bank (contributing sponsors); and Voya (partner gala sponsor).

The Executive Leadership Council represents senior Black executives at Fortune 1000, Global 500 and equivalent companies and is focused on increasing the number of global Black executives in corporate suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. For more information, please visit

Source: Press release

Monday, November 3, 2014

Apollo Theater Kicks Off 2014-2015 Season, Names New Board Trustees

Charles Phillips, Robert Kraft, Karen Phillips and Jonelle Procope at
Apollo in the Hamptons event in August.

Harlem, NY – The legendary Apollo Theater has announced the election of six new members to its Board of Directors: Robert K. Kraft, Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group; Jason L. Mathews, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs; Carolyn Minick Mason, seasoned labor and employment lawyer; Charles Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Infor ®; Pharrell Williams, Grammy-award winning artist and music producer; and Bronson van Wyck, hospitality and event design expert. These notables join the now 32 member Board chaired by Richard D. Parsons comprised of business, civic, philanthropic and cultural leaders.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome these six individuals to the Apollo Board. It is such a wonderfully diverse group of professionals, each representing the very best in their respective fields. They all understand the incredible legacy of the Apollo’s contributions to American culture and are equally committed to investing in its future,” said Richard Parsons. “I know that the collective knowledge and insight of these new Board members will be a wonderful and valuable addition as we guide the Theater forward.”

Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater stated, “As a cultural and economic anchor for the Harlem community, and a driving force for shaping so many up-and-coming artists today, we rely on the visionary leadership of our Board of Directors to help ensure we fulfill every aspect of our mission. We are pleased to welcome Bob, Jason, Carolyn, Charles, Pharrell, and Bronson to our Board of distinguished leaders.”

Charles Phillips, former President of Oracle ® Corporation and co-founder of Phillips Charitable Organization shared with BlackGivesBack, “I am delighted to join the Board of the Apollo Theater which is a national treasure that has contributed so much to American culture and influenced artists globally. As a life-long lover of music and New Yorker for 30 years, it’s been gratifying watching the Apollo Theater thrive under Jonelle’s leadership.”

The Apollo Theater recently kicked off its 2014-2015 season with the third installment of the annual Africa Now! Festival, spotlighting today’s South African music scene. The Theater’s season continues with The New Orleans Project on November 7-8, 2014, featuring Irvin Mayfield curating a weekend of events including a mainstage concert on the Apollo’s legendary stage with Aaron Neville and two special Apollo Music Café shows with Stefon Harris and Jonathan Batiste, respectively. The Apollo will also present an international tour for the first time in its history during the 2014-2015 season — its original production of James Brown: Get on the Good Foot—A Celebration in Dance.

The Board of the Apollo, a nonprofit institution since 1991, is a vital force guiding the growth of the Theater’s artistic, education and community programming, fundraising, and strategic planning. The Theater is currently in the midst of fundraising for its 21st Century Apollo Campaign, created to extend the institution’s role in fostering artistic innovation and in building appreciation of American culture around the world. For more information, visit

Source: Press release

Friday, October 31, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Spotlight: Barbara Bates Foundation

 photo batesfoundation_zps6675de91.jpg

Chicago fashion designer, philanthropist and breast cancer survivor has funded over $100,000 for breast cancer education

By Sandra Davis, Contributor

CHICAGO, IL— Barbara Bates, a Chicago-based fashion designer, has dressed many of the city’s notables, including Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey and Steve Harvey. In 1999, she founded the Barbara Bates Foundation to give back to her hometown by donating prom dresses and formal wear to inner-city high school students who excel despite difficult circumstances. In 2009 Bates was diagnosed with breast cancer and in 2012, the foundation added breast cancer awareness and education as a focus.

This past August, the foundation hosted its first annual “Walk Where You Live” 5K Walk/Run to benefit breast cancer awareness programs operated by Mount Sinai Health System in Chicago. Nearly 200 runners and walkers helped to raise $10,000. “We could not be more pleased with this first year effort,” said Barbara Bates, president of the Barbara Bates Foundation. “Our goal was to engage more community members in this effort and call attention to the great work Sinai is doing and their outreach to the community it serves.”

On October 12th, the foundation hosted “Knocking Out Breast Cancer,” a fashion show fundraiser hosted by actor and comedian Sinbad that featured a special collection of clothing created by Bates and modeled by breast cancer survivors.

 photo bbates4_zps28fee59d.jpg
Barbara Bates (2nd from right) with guests at the Knocking Out Breast Cancer fashion show.
(Fun fact: Bates showed her design skills as a former contestant on NBC's Fashion Star.)

 photo bbates5_zps63972cf6.jpg
Kenny Williams, executive VP of the Chicago White Sox, shows off a specially designed scarf  with proceeds
benefiting a $500,000 commitment to create the Barbara Bates Foundation Imaging Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago.

 photo bbates3_zps55e4b605.jpg
Event host Sinbad and Barbara Bates

Since 2012, the Barbara Bates Foundation has contributed over $100,000 to fund an institutional grant on ‘Disparity and Education of Breast Cancer’ in partnership with the Sinai Health System. The grant serves to address and educate individuals about the disparities in access to breast cancer care faced by women in the African-American and Latino communities. Karen Teitelbaum, Sinai Health System President and CEO shared with, “We are grateful for our partnership with the Barbara Bates Foundation. It is a powerful grassroots commitment to fight breast cancer in our community.” Visit the foundation’s website to learn more.

Story Submitted by Sandra C. Davis
Sandra is a Purpose-Driven Marketing Communications/Branding Strategist and Realtor, who connects people, events, nonprofits, and companies with complementary brands and social causes that share their missions and target markets in order to amplify each entities social impact. Ms. Davis is the Creative Director of Lioness Communications and a member of the Chicago Ideas Week Cooperative. Follow Sandra on Twitter at @Sandraloves and @LionessRealtyGp.

Photo credit: Buzz McBride

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

L.A.’s Black Donors Gather in Support of Girls and Young Women

 photo girlscouts1_zps8487ed43.jpg
Rocky Carroll, Kai Brown, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles CEO Lise Luttgens and Gabrielle Bullock

Actor Rocky Carroll and wife host event to benefit Girls Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

By Robert Lewis, Guest Contributor

Actor Rocky Carroll, star of the television show NCIS, and his wife Gabrielle Bullock, hosted a fundraiser at their beautiful home in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles this past summer to raise funds for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. The event was a first for the organization that was spearheaded by L.A.’s African-American community.

Approximately 100 guests were in attendance, including notables from the entertainment industry – actors Jackée Harry, James Pickens, Glynn Turman, Roz Ryan, and Earl Billings among others.

Gabrielle Bullock welcomed the guests and implored them to support the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Kai Brown, a high school senior and a Girl Scout for 10 years, shared heartfelt words about her experience with the organization and highlighted the need for supporting underserved young women and girls. She had just completed a summer internship with Kaiser Permanente and plans on attending a four-year college in fall 2015.

 photo girlscouts2_zps8058000b.jpg
Don Freeman, Karen Hudson, Hattie Winston and Harold Wheeler

 photo girlscouts4_zps24f9531e.jpg
Denise & Earl Billings

 photo girlscouts6_zps5ba75a53.jpg
Windy Barnes performs

 photo girlscouts5_zps8a4f49d0.jpg
Jeffrey and Debbie Turner with Kai Brown

“Each of us needs to commit to girls like Kai by investing our time and money,” said Gabrielle. “Rocky and I both come from a supportive family upbringing that fostered and encouraged us to follow our dreams, regardless of social or economic status. Girls are very susceptible to confidence and self-esteem challenges that often hinder their ability to not only achieve their dreams, but even have a dream. The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles’ mission of building confidence, character and courage in girls represents precisely our passion for helping build powerful girls of the future. I proudly serve on the Board of Directors with a specific interest in serving the under-represented girls of Los Angeles.” Rocky and Gabrielle pledged $1,000.

Regarding the role of Blacks in philanthropy, Gabrielle shared with BlackGivesBack: “It takes a village … and all of us to commit time and resources to building and strengthening our communities. Our friends and colleagues have been mutually supportive of each other’s causes. Through this collective power and commitment to philanthropy WE build and sustain OUR village.”

About Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles serves more than 40,000 girls in partnership with more than 20,000 volunteers throughout the diverse communities of Los Angeles County and parts of Kern, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. The council engages girls through programs in Leadership, Business and Financial Literacy, Outdoor Adventure, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math), and Healthy Living. To join, volunteer, reconnect, or support, visit or call (213) 213-0123.

About Robert Lewis, Guest Contributor

Robert Lewis has 20 years of professional experience working in philanthropy and the nonprofit human and social services sector in various capacities. Currently, Robert is the President/CEO of NEX-Impact, a management consulting group that provides relevant and culturally competent capacity building and technical assistance services to nonprofit organizations and helps social investors better engage and support nonprofits. Robert is a board member and advisory board member for several nonprofit organizations. He was also recently featured in Exceptional People Magazine (July/August 2014).