Friday, August 31, 2007

In The News

What's going on? Check these out:

Atlanta's leading role in the new era of women's philanthropy: Atlanta girls and women to benefit from a $1 million dollar donation to the Atlanta Women's Foundation.

Hip Hop Helpers: How the hip hop generation brings positive growth and development back into their communities.
The Real Reason for the Drop-Out Crisis, Part I

Looking to start or expand your business? Visit the Black Entrepreneur's Toolbox: 100 Networking Resources, Guides and Links
Enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Corporate Philanthropy: Johnson Publishing Company


Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), the world's largest African American owned and operated publishing company, granted 2.5 million dollars to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California to establish the Johnson Communication Leadership Center.

The center will feature a new undergraduate scholarship program — the first at the school to focus on the specific interests of the African-American community. Recipients of Johnson Scholarships will be selected for the program based on academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and a strong interest and involvement in issues related to African Americans in the world of journalism and communications.

In addition to scholarships, students will be exposed to leaders who influence the fields of journalism and communication, receive mentorships, participate in research projects and scholarly activities such as internships, including the opportunity to work for leading media entities.

Linda Johnson Rice, who is JPC CEO and President, as well as an USC trustee and alumna, stated:

"Johnson Publishing Company is excited to fund this new initiative at USC. The scholarships as well as the extensive exposure to mentorship, research, and travel are innovative ways to support the African-American perspective in the journalism and communication fields."

Source: PND News

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Conversation with Michelynn ‘Miki’ Woodard, President and COO of West Brands, LLC & Vice Chair of the Kanye West Foundation

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I feature many posts on celebrity philanthropy. Now more than ever, African American entertainers are using their status to highlight issues of importance to them, such as singer Alicia Keys increasing awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Michelynn ‘Miki’ Woodard, who is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Kanye West’s business company, West Brands, LLC and the Vice Chair of the Kanye West Foundation. This post is first in a series of profiles on individuals who have made a significant impact in the field of philanthropy.

In Miki’s current role as President and COO, she is responsible for overseeing Kanye’s growing portfolio of businesses, which includes his record label, touring and music publishing enterprises. Prior to this position, Miki served as the Program Director at the Creative Artists Agency Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading talent and literary firm.

A Hampton University graduate, Miki was inspired to enter into philanthropic work from a personal experience with a friend who was a mentor. It was through this experience that she met her future boss at CAA and subsequently served on boards of various non profit organizations, such as Peace4Kids and the Community Coalition.

While in that role, Miki guided CAA clients who wanted to donate their time and use their celebrity for philanthropic causes. She worked with the Twenty-First Century Foundation, an African American led grantmaking foundation assisting individuals such as Jamie Foxx and Earth, Wind and Fire to focus their efforts by giving information and advice. Miki was also instrumental in the creation of the ONE campaign, a non-profit advocacy and humanitarian organization dedicated to raising public awareness about global AIDS and poverty, which includes Angelina Jolie and Bono as supporters.

When asked what advice she has for those interested in a career in philanthropy, she says, “the act of giving back is phenomenal...understand that philanthropy is a business and the approach needs to be systematic and strategic.”

Dr. Donda West, mother of Kanye West and Chair of the Kanye West Foundation told me about Miki:


Read most recent interview here.
“She is wonderful and very detail oriented…she is very adept in this
area [philanthropy] and we are very fortunate to have her.”

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hip Hop Superstar Kanye West Combats School Drop Out Rate Through Hip Hop Music


“I still can’t grasp that...”
--Kanye West referring to the alarming 50% school drop out rate.

As the world anticipates the release of Kanye West’s third album titled Graduation on September 11th, Kanye wants youth to experience an important milestone – their own graduation day.

That’s because of a growing epidemic threatening the black community, the staggering 50% school drop out rate among African Americans, as well as Latinos.

This is distressing.

Recent data shows that only about half of the nation’s Black and Latino students graduate on time and only 46% of black males graduate from high school.

On Friday, August 24th, the Kanye West Foundation, with title sponsors Ariel Capital Management and Strong American Schools, held its inaugural benefit concert and auction in Chicago. The foundation is a California based non profit, dedicated to combating the severe drop out rate in secondary schools by providing music production programs that motivate students and compel them to stay in school. The foundation partners with schools and community organizations to provide underserved youth access to such programs.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Kanye West Foundation programs, particularly Loop Dreams, its signature initiative, which aims to create a curriculum that combines core subjects with aspects of hip hop.

Now of course, yours truly attended the inaugural benefit….especially since Kanye is the most searched celebrity on this blog. I attended some of the events, including the concert (Kanye gave an amazing performance!) and here are my highlights:

As I was walking to the press conference, I saw yellow school buses outside of the House of Blues. The buses brought 300 students ages 11-16 for a pre-sound check bash. The students experienced a behind the scenes look at Kanye preparing for his concert.

During the press conference, it was announced that Kanye and Strong American Schools, one of the title sponsors for the benefit, taped public service announcements (PSAs) that will urge the presidential candidates to address America’s education crisis. Dr. Donda West, Kanye’s mother, will also participate in an upcoming PSA. Marc Lampkin, Executive Director of Strong American Schools, stated that Kanye is a role model and he can’t think of a better person to inspire the next generation of young people to finish school.

Kanye and his mother both emphasized that hip hop is a powerful medium to get students excited about education. Incorporating hip hop into the classroom and in curriculums could encourage school systems to create classes on subjects such as hip hop history, music production and music engineering. Dr. West stated “we have to start where the learner is ……..its one thing to say ‘stay in school, ‘stay in school’, but its another when you give youth a curriculum that they’re involved in.”

I then went to the Microsoft sponsored silent auction lounge for the VIP reception because I wanted to see the items up for bidding. The selection included Chicago Bulls autographed items, a Dwayne Wade autographed jersey, Casio G-shock watches, and of course, a Louis Vuitton carry all (Kanye loves Louis Vuitton). At the reception, John Rogers, Jr., chairman and CEO of Ariel Capital Management, the country’s largest African American money management firm and mutual fund company, was honored for his corporate social responsibility.

Access Hollywood’s Shawn Robinson and actor David Alan Grier served as the emcees for the concert that opened with several Chi- town rappers, including GLC. Kanye gave a spectacular two hour show, performing hits from his previous albums such as Gold Digger, Jesus Walks and Touch the Sky, as well as songs from his upcoming album, including I Wonder and Champion. My fave performance was Big Brother, a song inspired by Kanye’s relationship with fellow rapper Jay-Z. He even stopped his performance to make sure the spotlight on him was just right. Rapper Mos Def joined Kanye on stage for 2 Words and hit a freestyle. What was evident by looking at concert goers is that Kanye’s music appeals to a very diverse audience. I saw just about every nationality represented and ages ranging from early 20s to seniors.

Future plans for the foundation include expanding efforts to Chicago (the city where Kanye grew up), Atlanta (Kanye’s place of birth), Washington, D.C. (my hometown!) and New York City.

About Strong American Schools:
Strong American Schools is a Washington, D.C. based non partisan public awareness and action campaign aimed at elevating education to the top of the list of our nation’s priorities. Their ED in ’08 e-campaign seeks to unite Americans around the crucial mission of improving our public schools across the nation.

Read my previous post on the drop out epidemic here.

 
Photos AP/Brian Kersey

Thursday, August 23, 2007

::Event: Foundation for Ethnic Understanding Honors Entertainment Leaders::

On August 22nd, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding honored leaders in entertainment with the 2007 Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award. Russell Simmons, board chair of the foundation and actor Jamie Foxx supported the event:


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T
he foundation is a national non-profit dedicated to strengthening relations between ethnic communities. In 2006, Russell Simmons and Jay-Z launched the foundation's international anti-semitism/anti-racism media and public service announcement campaigns.


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Actor Jamie Foxx, chairman Russell Simmons, award recipient Steve Smooke, award recipient Randy Spendlove, award recipient Charles D. King and president Rabbi Marc Schneier


Photos: WireImage

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Music Executive Kevin Liles to be Honored for Philanthropic Efforts

Kevin Liles, Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group and author of the bestseller book “Make It Happen,” will be honored by Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on September 1st with a street renaming ceremony to honor his achievements and years of philanthropic efforts to his community.

The 2900 block of Presstman Street that Liles grew up on in Baltimore, Maryland, will be re-named “Kevin Liles Drive.” Liles will also receive a presidential acknowledgement and challenge other successful individuals to revitalize their blocks through his “Adopt Your Block” Initiative.

Liles is the Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group and CEO for the Make it Happen Foundation and Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore.

Mayor Sheila Dixon stated, “Kevin’s dedication to building a better Baltimore has been proven through his constant contributions and charity work. Kevin has been instrumental in shaping the lives of so many young people with his commitment to education and improving the quality of life for our residents. This ceremony will help congratulate all his accomplishments and show our appreciation.”

Kevin stated, "I would like to thank the City of Baltimore for allowing me to be its symbol of hope, and show the young men and women of this city that despite your environment you can be successful by establishing a commitment to excellence within yourself.”

Source: HHNLive

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Event: 4th Annual Zo's Million Dollar Shootout

On August 20th, Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O' Neal hosted Zo's Million Dollar Shootout, which brought celebrities and golfers together to raise funds for Alonzo Mourning Charities at the exclusive Trump National Golf Course at Briarcliff Manor in New York.

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Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning
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Alonzo Mourning, Jeff Tweedy and Clyde Drexler; Alonzo and Donald Trump
 
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Alonzo, wife Tracy and son Trey
 
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Alonzo and Allan Houston
 
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Alonzo, Cathy Davis and Shaquille
 
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Photos by Bennett Raglin and Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Friday, August 17, 2007

Celebrity Auction to Raise Funds for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Foundation

The Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes Foundation will host a celebrity auction and fundraiser this Saturday, August 18th at the 40/40 Club in New York City.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the newly built Lisa Lopes Orphanage in Honduras. The Hogar de Amor Children’s Home (Home of Love) and Lisa Lopes Rural School and Orphanage will provide a healthy home, dental clinic, and free healthcare for twenty abandoned children, ages 2-15.

Free on-site schooling will be available for children in the community, who have no school to attend. Many of the children living in the orphanage have lost their parents to AIDS and/or have been victims of sexual and physical abuse.

The orphanage grand opening celebration will take place this September at the Quinta Real Hotel in Honduras.

Lopes was a member of the hugely successful pop group TLC and at the time of her death in 2002, was in Honduras bringing to fruition her dream of establishing a non-profit educational and medical center.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Merv Griffin You Didn't Know

As many of you probably know, entertainer and television series creator Merv Griffin passed away earlier this week of prostate cancer at the age of 82. He is best known for the Merv Griffin Show and the creator of shows such as Jeopardy and the Wheel of Fortune. What you may not know is that Merv Griffin was a pioneer in the creation of the original United Negro College Fund (UNCF) telethon.

Eurweb.com features an editorial by Ronald Bookman, who worked with Merv Griffin to spearhead the launch of the telethon. He was hired by UNCF to create a brand awareness and to generate revenue for the fund. The goal was to create a telethon similar to the successful Jerry Lewis telethon that raised funds for muscular dystrophy research.

He says of his encounter with Mr. Griffin: "I met with Merv Griffin in Hollywood and after a bout of nervousness on my part asked him if he would appear in this inaugural UNCF telethon. Moreover, I explained that his appearance would assist the overall success of a show that at that juncture had no tangible presence. To my immediate astonishment, he readily agreed. He never asked for nor sought a fee for his appearance."

Not only did Merv Griffin appear on the inaugural show, he offered his studio and state of the art production facilities to tape the show.

Mr. Bookman says: "Were it not for his pioneering effort along with a galaxy of stars and volunteers who gave tirelessly of their energies and valuable time, perhaps the UNCF Telethon that has become an annual fixture and has raised millions of dollars would never have happened. And that would have been a tragic loss to our historical black colleges and universities."

Read the editorial here.

Source: Eurweb.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Disney Dreamers Academy

During the 32nd National Association of Black Journalists conference last week in Las Vegas, national radio personality Steve Harvey and Disney announced the Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey, an enrichment event with a special appeal for African American high- school students. The event invites inspired teenagers to pack their bags -- and their dreams -- for Walt Disney World Resort in 2008.

One hundred teens from across the United States with the potential for greatness and the courage to dream will be tapped for the Dreamers Academy weekend January 17-20, 2008, during the heart of Disney's "Year of a Million Dreams" celebration.

Harvey said Disney's Dreamers Academy "is very important to me because it gets to the heart of what my foundation is all about. It's about the education of our young people who are oftentimes slighted and don't have the chance to be exposed to a variety of job skills and job sets and meet with people in the fields they're interested in. We want to give our young achievers the tools to become overachievers -- to take their dreams stratospheric."

Sessions will include interactive workshops, motivational talks with sports and entertainment celebrities, and discussions led by Disney cast members and executives sharing their blueprint for success. Workshop topics will feature everything from business to architecture/engineering, animation to set design, show production to culinary arts, to learning the business behind sports.

A select panel of judges including Steve Harvey, key African American community leaders and Disney representatives will choose the 100 finalists.

Participants in the program must be enrolled in high school. Disney's Dreamers Academy is designed for students who show promise -- but may need a little motivation -- and share one common trait: the power to dream.

Nomination forms and more information are available at the Disney Dreamers Academy website. Applications will only be accepted September 24th through October 15th.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Q & A with Judge Hatchett

One of my fave television shows is Judge Hatchett. Her show gives tough love and help to those youth who appear in her courtroom. Judge Hatchett became Georgia's first African American chief presiding judge of a state court and the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She said of this appointment, "I simply could not turn down an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of wayward children."
 
Judge Glenda Hatchett was interviewed by Black Enterprise.com and discussed why everyone should be committed to nurturing today's youth:
 
Q. You've been on the bench since 1990, beginning in Georgia's juvenile court system. During your tenure, what behaviors were most common?

"Most people would be surprised to find out that truancy is the No.1 predictor among boys that they are going to have a criminal record, and the No. 2 predictor among girls. But in terms of the actual caseload, we had an explosive number of children involved in drug dealing."
 
Q. You're a big advocate of prevention and intervention. How does your approach work compared with typical punishments?

"Well, when the Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996, I went to a group of local business leaders and said, "I need jobs. I need jobs for my kids in juvenile court. I need them to also be the beneficiaries of the coming economic boom." And I will tell you, that summer we had a decrease in juvenile crime because my kids were working. We have got to figure how we can provide opportunities for children so that they don't end up in juvenile courts like mine throughout the country. Once they do get to me, then I've got to figure out how I can keep them from further penetrating the system. That's when I do the interventions."
 
Q. What can we do?

"A lot of people think, "I can't impact someone's life." But you can. What we really need are people to do hands-on mentoring. There is an extremely long waiting list at the Big Brothers/Big Sisters, particularly for African American children. In Atlanta alone, we have 1,000 boys right now—today—who are waiting to be paired with a mentor. So think about what it must be like across the country. We need people! And for people who can't mentor, pull out your checkbook and sign someone up for Little League, pay for piano lessons, send kids to camp. We've got to think not just about the children in our home, but how we can impact people that we know."

Read the entire interview here.

Judge Hatchett's website
Become a mentor here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Celebrity Philanthropy: Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker is back along with Jackie Chan for the movie Rush Hour 3 which opens in theaters today. It has been six years since the last Rush Hour movie and Chris says that he was in no rush to return to the big screen.

Chris tells the Washington Post that for the last six years, he's been "enjoying my celebrity." But not in the way you might think. The article states that when he talks about "enjoying his celebrity," he is talking about the liberty to take years off, lend his name and voice to the underrepresented, to worry about problems bigger than his own.

He says on the six year break between films:

"It took a while because I was doing things around the world that were really important to me....I wasn't controlled by making movies and getting as much money as I could. I was just living a little bit . . . going to villages with no clean water, going to Ethiopia with Bono."

Chris was first encouraged to visit Africa during the filming of the first Rush Hour to "go see the real people." He eventually visited and returns on a regular basis, with most of his philanthropic work focused on getting clean water and medical care to children in the poorest parts of the continent. He says:

"These kids are so smart and so happy, and some of them just want a book to read.....and I felt like that was more important. To give, rather than taking all the time."

Chris hosted a Rush Hour 3 premiere party in his hometown of Atlanta for his family and friends:
 
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Jermaine Dupri, Dallas Austin, Evan Ross and Terrance Howard


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Chris with former first lady of Atlanta Valerie Jackson
 
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Chris and his Aunt

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Chris with Angie Stone


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Photos by Rick Diamond/Wire Image
Source

Celebrity Philanthropy: Beyonce

D.C. was celeb central yesterday - the arrival of David Beckham and the LA Galaxy to play the D.C. United and The Beyonce Experience concert. I'm not a huge soccer fan so I didn't attend the game, nor did I attend Beyonce's concert because I saw her perform last month in New Orleans (great show by the way).

As I was watching our local morning news, it was announced that the first 1,000 fans to drop off non-perishable food items would receive an autographed photo of Beyonce. Ticketholders that bring items as they enter the venue would be given a raffle ticket for a chance to have their seats upgraded. The D.C. food drive was a collaboration of America's Second Harvest, the nation's food bank network, the Capital Area Food Bank of Washington, D.C. and Gilbert Arenas' Zero to Hero Foundation. Other cities that will participate in the pre concert food donation drives are Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Beyonce said in a statement: "Hunger affects every community in the United States, so I'm using my tour and Survivor Foundation to bring attention to domestic hunger. I'm joining forces with Pastor Rudy and America's Second Harvest – The Nation's Food Bank Network to fight hunger."

Beyonce grew up attending St. John’s Church in Houston with Pastor Rudy, where she learned at a young age the importance of reaching out and helping those who are less fortunate. It’s that upbringing that spurred the birth of her Survivor Foundation.

The food drive was not the only charitable effort while Beyonce was in D.C. Before her concert, she stopped by the forum, Defining our Own Destiny, to chat with girls who were participating in an anti-violence gathering. The forum was devoted to stopping violence in the girls' troubled neighborhoods and spreading the message that they can overcome any challenges. There were presentations on perseverance despite obstacles, maintaining a healthy self-image and trying to become a peacemaker in the community.

Organizations that participated included Covenant House Washington, Peaceoholics/C.H.O.I.C.E. and the Mayor's Youth Leadership Institute.

The Survivor Foundation was established in 2005 by Destiny Child members Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland--along with Mathew Knowles, Tina Knowles and Solange Knowles to provide transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Foundation extends the philanthropic mission with the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Q & A with Sheila Johnson

Sheila Johnson is many things: wife, mother, owner of a WNBA team (the Washington Mystics), President and CEO of Salamander Hospitality and a violinist among others; but most importantly, she is a philanthropist and community leader. She and her former husband, Bob Johnson, made their fortunes with the founding of the entertainment network Black Entertainment Television. She's the first African American female billionaire by the way. Recently, she gave an interview to Black Voices:

How do you decide what you're going to give money to?

"I would say 99 percent of it is to education...it's children, women and the arts and education, those are my focus with a bent on health."

What advice do you give to people who want to support a charity or cause?

"There are just so many ways to get in and roll your sleeves up to make a change and a difference in so many people's lives. You can mentor, which I think is the number-one philanthropic thing you can do. It doesn't mean belonging to an organization but just taking on a young person that you can follow through their lives to help them. You can feed them; you can take them with you to concerts. You can do whatever you can. Young people, kids need to be nurtured and mentored and sometimes even a family with both parents can't do it all."

Read the interview at Black Voices.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tavis Smiley Foundation Announces 7th Annual Benefit

Tavis Smiley Foundation’s Annual Salute to Youth Leadership Benefit and Auction is scheduled to host its 7th annual fundraiser on Saturday, October 6, 2007 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

The Salute to Youth Leadership Benefit and Auction celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of young leaders and pioneers in the field of youth development and raises money for the foundation’s leadership development program, Youth to Leaders (Y2L). Many teens in the program have entered and completed college, organized health fairs, voter registration drives, conducted teen town hall meetings, started businesses and worked for mayors as well as presidential candidates.

The 2007 invited guest list includes the who’s who of Hollywood, politics, sports and entertainment. Following tradition, the event will include a dinner, silent auction, live entertainment and an awards ceremony honoring three exceptional youth leaders as well as the Smiley Scholars scholarship winners.

Tickets are currently on sale with prices ranging from $250 for individual tickets to $50,000 which includes corporate sponsorship billing. Visit http://www.youthtoleaders.org/ for more information.

The Tavis Smiley Foundation focuses on youth between the ages of 13 to 18. Its mission is “to enlighten, encourage and empower youth by developing leadership skills that will promote and enhance the quality of life for themselves, their communities and OUR world.” Since 1999, more than 3,000 youths have participated in leadership training workshops and conferences.

Parents Just Don't Understand...

A few years ago, I had a friend who had two high school age children in the Prince George's County, Maryland school system. She would call me constantly to complain - about the principal, the teachers, the students, etc., etc., etc. So I finally asked her, "what are you going to do about it?" She didn't respond to my question, but kept complaining. I suggested that she join the PTA of which she told me there was none. I suggested that she start one. Although she was a stay at home mom, that never happened. You see, I have no tolerance for folks that complain who aren't part of the solution.

One woman in Prince George's County is attempting to be a part of the solution. Gerron Levi, (shown in photo above) a Maryland state delegate, gathered a group of church folk, businesspeople and youth in an effort to engage more parents to become involved with their children's education. The Washington Post article, Back to School -- for Parents highlights her efforts.

This will not be easy as the county's PTA council had its charter revoked by the Maryland state PTA for reasons that have not been disclosed. In addition, at the beginning of the past school year, almost 40 schools out of more than 200 in the county did not have PTAs. [This is troubling considering that Prince George's County is considered the wealthiest African American county in the nation]. So where are the parents? The article cites a study that volunteering rates among Prince George's residents are far above national and state averages. So are they volunteering everywhere else but the schools? It appears so.

As Levi addressed the participants, a number of obstacles were mentioned as a reason why youth have not participated in after school and tutoring programs: lack of transportation, students fighting, liability issues and a lack of interest. One attendee speaking about the fighting said "they were coming to physical blows...when we tried to break it down to learning, they lost interest."

A quote from a recent high school graduate who had once been a troublemaker summed it up:

"The most effective way to affect a youth is with a youth...I can't sugarcoat this. We don't want you [the adults] to help us. It comes off differently when someone from your own peer group comes to you and says 'stop'."

Read the article here.
Photo from washingtonpost.com

Another effort to increase parent and adult school involvement is by the Chicago based Black Star Project. Their Million Father March will post men near the front door of schools throughout the country on the first day creating an honor guard of strong, positive men supporting children as they go back to school this year. Philip Jackson, Executive Director, says that "when men are at schools, violence goes down and learning goes up."

Research shows that children whose fathers take active roles in their educational lives earn better grades, get better test scores, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Additionally, children have fewer behavior and discipline problems when fathers speak with and listen to their children regularly and are active in their lives.

The Million Father March will occur in 131 cities this year. Visit the website for more information.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Event: LA Stars Celebrity All Star Charity Weekend

On August 3-5, NBA players Baron Davis and Paul Pierce hosted the LA Stars Celebrity Charity All Star weekend. This event is a continuation of Magic Johnson's Midsummer Nights Magic, a fundraiser that benefited the Los Angeles area for twenty years.

The mission of LA Stars is to give back to the youth that need community-based programs and health-related resources.

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Proceeds from the event will benefit Team Play (the Baron Davis Foundation), the Paul Pierce Truth Foundation, Zero to Hero (Gilbert Arenas' foundation) and the Magic Johnson Foundation.

The events for the charity weekend included the legacy project, a community service project; the LA Stars carnival; the 2nd annual LA Stars Celebrity basketball game; and LA Stars' on Rodeo, a casino-style evening of fashion, music and casino games on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. On August 3rd, Fendi sponsored a reception for the charity event:

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Fendi's Peri Ellen Berne with Baron Davis; Craig Smith and Rashad McCants

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Paul Pierce with Lou Gossett, Jr.; Nia Long, Peri Ellen Berne and Sanaa Lathan
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Actor Nick Cannon supported the Carnival for the Community event:
 
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Many celebrities and NBA players came out to support the celebrity basketball game:
 
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The LA Stars' on Rodeo event:
 
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Magic Johnson with Beverly Hills mayor Jimmy Delshad
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Bill Bellamy and Baron Davis
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Guest and Serena Williams; Shaun Robinson and Sally Richardson
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Angie Stone and Stevie Wonder

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Photos: Wireimage