Friday, October 31, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Spotlight: Barbara Bates Foundation

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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

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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 Рactors 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.

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Don Freeman, Karen Hudson, Hattie Winston and Harold Wheeler

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Denise & Earl Billings

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Windy Barnes performs

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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).

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Insider: Timothy Simons, Giving Back to Black Brooklyn

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Weeksville Heritage Center Board Chair Timothy Simons (center) with former NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin and former Brooklyn
Borough President Marty Markowitz at the Center’s ceremonial ribbon cutting for its new 23,000 square-foot Education and Cultural Arts Building in December 2013.

By Akira Barclay, Contributor

Timothy Simons is a successful Washington, DC-based government relations executive who works with Congress, housing constituents, and the financial service industry to ensure the continued viability of mortgage lending for all communities. When the Brooklyn, NY native began seeking opportunities to give back, he set his sights first on Brooklyn, the community that raised him. Today, he serves on the board of the Brooklyn Historical Society and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

He is also board chair of Weeksville Heritage Center, a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn - one of America’s first free Black communities.

According to the Center’s website, Weeksville, part of the present-day neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, was an independent free black community, named for James Weeks. Weeks purchased property in 1838, along with other African American investors, in order to create an intentional landowning community. Continuing the legacy of self-determination, Weeksville’s history was rediscovered in 1968 when urbanization threatened to erase the physical memory by destroying the few remaining historic homes. Instead, a grassroots preservation effort was led by artist and activist, Joan Maynard to preserve the Hunterfly Road Houses and the memory of historic Weeksville.

Read on to learn more about what inspires Tim to give back to Black Brooklyn, and how you can get involved.

What sparked your initial engagement with Weeksville Heritage Center?

As a Brooklyn native living in Washington DC, I was seeking opportunities to give back to the community where I was raised and nurtured. After conversations with family, friends and associates in New York, including Maurine Knighton, now at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, I learned of several organizations in Brooklyn looking for board members committed to helping the community. I was introduced to Pam Green, then Executive Director of the Weeksville Heritage Center. Pam taught me so much about this hidden treasure in Brooklyn, a place I had never heard of while growing up there. I learned about the important role that Weeksville plays in creating a different, very positive narrative about the history of Brooklyn’s Black community and the broader narrative of the Black community in this country and I had to get involved.

Why do you support Weeksville? What is the most important aspect of your role as Board Chair?

Weeksville Heritage Center is a hidden gem of not only Brooklyn’s history, but America’s history. It is critically important to tell the real story about the migration of Blacks in America, telling the story the way it really happened rather than what was told for centuries in history books. There was so much positive about the obstacles overcome by Blacks and their fight for freedom and equal rights, but the history books focused largely on the oppression.

Weeksville’s story is about self-determination, political activism, and community ownership and accountability. This story is rarely read in history books or in the storytelling that unfolds on today’s communications channels, including the media. Therefore, our board has set course on the critical mission of being ‘Ambassadors of the Greatness’ that exists at Weeksville. We promote the legacies of James Weeks, Joan Maynard, and Pam Green to create positive narratives of Black determination and pride, as we ensure that the institution has the resources and expertise to effectively craft and deliver these messages through programming and exhibits.

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A recent New York Times article gave a glowing review of “Funk, God, Jazz and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn,” Weeksville’s most recent project in partnership with Creative Time, but cast Weeksville Heritage Center as an institution in protracted financial crisis. What do you say to those who may doubt that Weeksville can be successful?

Many arts and cultural institutions across the country are constantly in financial flux because of the nation’s economic instability and its impact on philanthropic donations by individuals, foundations and corporations. Furthermore, what we know is that Black institutions suffer even more in uncertain economic climates. But, Weeksville Heritage Center is on an upswing. Our amazing new president, Tia Powell-Harris, is placing a priority on building critical partnerships that are paying major dividends for Weeksville. We have a stunning new facility that allows Weeksville to provide programming throughout the year. We have a Board of Trustees that is growing to meet the institutional needs of the organization. We will soon hire a development manager, who will raise funds to sustain our growth. These important developments over the last 10 months reaffirm our bright future, as does support from the Ford Foundation. Still, part of our message is that Black institutions need support from the Black community to thrive. We are encouraging ‘our community’ to follow the lead of the Ford Foundation and other supporters by making a long-term commitment to sustaining our work.

The Black community has a vested interest in ensuring that our collective history is around for generations to come. As board chair, I actively make donor visits with the president, and one of the first questions asked is about the composition and demographics of our contributors. It’s always a difficult conversation when we have to acknowledge that only two of our top ten individual donors are Black. This must change. Your readers can be part of that change. If every reader could contribute something, $10 a week, $40 a month, or $500 a year, it would support Weeksville and help preserve a vital component of Black history in America. Your donations would help us change the narrative from negative to positive, as we tell the authentic story of Blacks in America and Blacks in Brooklyn.

Beyond donations, in what other ways can readers support Weeksville in preserving this important part of African American history?

The next best way to support Weeksville is by participating. Show up for our programs and exhibits; plan a trip to tour the houses; join our mailing list to stay abreast of the latest happenings; learn the history of Weeksville and open the door to introducing someone else in your community, especially youth, about our story. There is always something going on at Weeksville. Our most recent partnership with Creative Time is a demonstration of the programmatic excellence that partnerships will yield for Weeksville. Expect more of these collaborations in the coming months, including ‘In Pursuit of Freedom,’ the story of Black Abolitionists in Brooklyn. It’s a collaboration with two other Brooklyn based organizations, Brooklyn Historical Society and Irondale Ensemble.

There are plenty of programs coming to Weeksville in partnership with some equally great organizations in Brooklyn such as the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, BRIC Media House and DIVAS for Social Justice. These collaborations are part of an overall push by the president to focus Weeksville on achieving the things we do well while ensuring that the community has the programming that it needs and wants at Weeksville. We invite the BGB community to join us at every opportunity.

Learn more about Weeksville Heritage Center and the history of its Hunterfly Road Houses at

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lake Institute Hosts First African American Distinguished Visitor in Philanthropy

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Valaida Fullwood, 2014 Lake Institute Distinguished Visitor (2nd from right), David King, Lake Institute Director (far right) and guests

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – On October 16-17, the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy hosted its 2014 Distinguished Visitor for a series of special engagements and events. The Distinguished Visitor is a visionary philanthropic practitioner selected to share their story with community leaders, local philanthropists, public groups and various faith communities. This year marked their first African American in the role, Valaida Fullwood, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.

Fullwood was a match for the Distinguished Visitor Program because of her uncanny ability to unite imagination, social innovation, culture and giving. She helps individuals write stories that should be told, while reframing philanthropy to include all givers.

Her activites included a special visit with Ice Miller Legal Counsel, speaking to partners, attorneys and their clients to reinforce the importance of a strong commitment to the communities they serve; meeting with female giving circle leaders in the greater Indianapolis community; and speaking to students enrolled in Historical Contexts and Contemporary Approaches to Philanthropy, where she shared the linkages between historical giving and the current movement in giving circles, Black Philanthropy Month, and reframing philanthropy. On October 17, a public lecture was held at the Indianapolis Urban League where Fullwood inspired rich conversation about both traditional giving and the consideration of new points of entry for donors. The event underscored the importance of each person being a change agent within their community.

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Aimee Laramore, Lake Institute Associate Director (2nd from left) with guests.

The main goals for the events were for guests to explore the importance of collaboration across race, ethnicity and culture; gain key insights for starting a giving circle and participating in collective giving; embrace their personal giving story; reflect on the intimate collection of giving stories presented by Fullwood; and discover the role that reframing philanthropy has in crafting a richer picture of generosity, social justice and community engagement.

Learn more about the Distinguished Visitor Program at the Lake Institute website.

Photo credit: Paul D'Andrea

Monday, October 20, 2014

African American Board Leadership Institute Building Pipeline of Future Leaders

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2013 AABLI Board Leadership program participants: Kaci Patterson, Derrick Waters and Ikiah McGowan 

Premier organization prepares African Americans for board service

Numerous studies have underscored the need for increased diversity among the nation’s nonprofit and governing boards. A diverse board can enhance an organization’s effectiveness and better reflect the communities they serve. In California, the African American Board Leadership Institute (AABLI) is directly impacting this issue by recruiting, preparing and placing African Americans on a broad range of governing boards. Since February 2013, AABLI has successfully assisted in placing 47 African American professionals on nonprofit boards and local/state commissions. Their work is accomplished by providing a two-day board leadership program for professionals who require more in-depth preparation for board placement and for those who wish to sharpen their board skills, along with on-going professional development workshops in partnership with local organizations.

Katarina V. Eleby, manager of programs and operations for AABLI, shared with BlackGivesBack more about the importance of their work and how you can apply for the program.

How do you support AABLI in your role as manager of programs and operations?

As manager of programs and operations at AABLI, my primary focus is to connect nonprofit organizations with leaders that have a passion to serve the community. Diversity on governing boards leads to a more thoughtful allocation of resources and services to the populations served by the organizations. Through my work at AABLI, I am able to build capacity in nonprofit organizations by assisting with the placement of thought leaders in positions of influence and by developing accessible programs that provide insight into various areas of board leadership in the nonprofit sector.

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Katarina Eleby served as a speaker at the 2014 Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit in Washington, DC. In 2013, Eleby was appointed for a four-year term by
Governor Edmond Brown, Jr. to serve as the Public Member on the Physical Therapy Board of California through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Why is it important that nonprofit, public and private organizations have a diverse board?

It is so critical to ensure African Americans have a seat at the table when important decisions are being made about underserved and minority populations. They are able to apply their personal experiences and a fresh perspective to the challenges many nonprofits face today. It is not uncommon to find nonprofit boards that are comprised of individuals who do not reflect the populations served by their mission. Now, more than ever, funders are examining the demographics of boards to ensure they are supporting organizations that have skills, experience and expertise necessary for long-term sustainability.

What are some of the topics presented in the workshop sessions?

AABLI partners with organizations across the state to provide outstanding professional development opportunities to individuals and nonprofit organizations in the community. The workshops are designed for lifelong learners who wish to share ideas and maintain ongoing membership in the organization. Previous topics have included: Public Policy Advocacy for Your Organization, Nonprofit Budgets & Business Plans, California State Boards & Commissions, Pathways to Corporate Boards, etc.

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AABLI Faculty: (bottom left) Brickson Diamond, COO, Executive Leadership Council; head faculty, Latonya Slack, Slack Global Consulting; Virgil Roberts, managing partner,
Bobbitt & Roberts; (top left) Zachary Green, Ph.D., associate director, University of San Diego, School of Leadership and Education Sciences; Paul C. Hudson, Paul C. Hudson Consulting

Share a success story.

Out of 47 placements, one alumna in particular stands out. She was elected to serve on the board of a nonprofit organization that assists women with addiction by providing wrap around services to ensure long-term sobriety. Although she has not served for very long, her presence on the board has already made a significant impact. Her experience and network from the entertainment industry has brought invaluable resources to the organization. Her enthusiasm to serve emanates from her personality and will have an immeasurable effect on the women’s lives who are touched by the work of the organization.

How can one apply and when does the next class begin?

Our next Board Leadership Program is scheduled for Spring 2015. To apply visit:

Visit the AABLI website to learn more about its programs, services and upcoming events.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daily Do Good: Philanthropic Focused Email Service Debuts in DC

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Saranah Holmes (center), founder of Daily Do Good with Friends of Ebonie's
Ebonie Johnson Cooper (right) and guest at the Daily Do Good launch party in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC – On September 24th, DC’s millennial community gathered at Lost Society for the launch of Daily Do Good, a new e-newsletter service that caters to the philanthropic community and organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The e-newsletters – Daily Do Good and Do Good Now – will provide opportunities for the area’s thousands of nonprofits to advertise their events and causes to service-minded professionals.

“After close to a decade of experience in the nonprofit and charitable giving fields, I’m excited to create and share this new resource for the Washington, DC area,” said Saranah Holmes, founder of Do Good LLC. She adds, “Supporting altruistic causes are important to the overall future of our society, and I look forward to the Daily Do Good and Do Good Now making it easier for others to learn about these opportunities and share their time and their good.”

Saranah was recently featured on the blog of, a young philanthropy coaching consultancy that caters to black millennials. She shared how Daily Do Good (DDG) will support young black philanthropy:

“While I know I represent the young black professional, the nonprofit worker, and the female entrepreneur, the Daily Do Good target is very broad. We are looking to attract anyone who is looking to get involved in giving. There will be something for everyone at the DDG but there will also be opportunities for niche topics. The blog will be the area where we can focus on those specialty areas. For example, August is Black Philanthropy Month. In August we can use the blog to highlight the importance of that month.
Not to mention, the DC metro area has billions of dollars in giving power. As we heard at the Black Benefactors dinner, there are lots of resources for the black community. In a city whose population is more than 50% black, DDG will reach the black community no matter what.”

Visit the website at to sign up for the e-newsletters and to learn more about featuring your nonprofit organization.

Photo credit: Gee James

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harlem School of the Arts Celebrates Fall 2014 Benefit

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Rashid Silvera, Christopher J. Williams, Gala Co-Chair Janice Savin Williams, Yvette L. Campbell,
Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe

On Monday, October 6, 2014, Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) celebrated their Fall Benefit at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room in New York City. Special guests in attendance included Terence Blanchard, Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker as HSA honored GE Asset Management (Corporate Award), Christopher M. Keogh of Goldman Sachs (Leadership Award) and Hearst Foundations (Philanthropy Award). The evening was hosted by WNBC’s David Ushery.

For nearly a half-century, Harlem School of the Arts has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people through world-class training in the arts, and this annual benefit offered the iconic art institution an opportunity to thank its various donors and supporters. “I relish the opportunity to honor each and every person and organization that supports what we are trying to do at the Harlem School of the Arts, which is to keep our doors open all year long so that young people can explore the future artist within themselves,” explained Yvette L. Campbell, HSA President & CEO.

This year’s gala featured an array of musical, dance and theater performances, including HSA’s Advanced Jazz Combo, an excerpt from the theatre department’s Soul Nativity, and more.

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HSA Board Members Dawn Davis-LaFollette, Michelle Fizer Peterson and Lydia Carlston (far right)
with Dr. Henry Jarecki and Yvette L. Campbell

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Gala Co-Chair Erica Reid and Yvette L. Campbell; 
HSA Board Chairman Charles Hamilton and Pamela Carlton

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Terence Blanchard (center) with Lydia Carlston and Nicole Ari Parker

About Harlem School of the Arts
HSA’s mission empowers young people mainly from under-served communities in Harlem to find and develop the artist and citizen within themselves. The school’s environment teaches discipline, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence and adds a dimension of beauty to the lives of each student. HSA annually serves nearly 4,000 children through on-site instruction and its vital partnerships with NYC schools. It stands apart among the premier arts institutions in New York City, as the sole provider of quality arts education in 4 distinct disciplines – music, dance, theatre, and visual arts. HSA boasts an impressive alumni base of Tony-award winning actors, celebrated operatic voices and jazz musicians, visual artists, dancers, and inspired citizens who cite HSA as the platform from which they launched careers in law, business and other professional fields. For more information about Harlem School of the Arts, visit

Submitted by Akira Barclay

Photo credit: Julie Skarratt