Thursday, May 29, 2008

Black Youth Polo Team Travels to Nigeria

I receive many emails from readers with news stories of everyday heroes in their communities - and I love reading them all. Occasionally there's that one story that jumps out at me and I just have to share it:

Work to Ride Program

In the photo above are Kevin Jones, 17; Kareem Rosser, 15; and Brandon Rease, 12 of Philadelphia's Work to Ride program. Don't they look happy? It's probably because today they're traveling to Nigeria to compete in an international polo tournament. Yes, they're polo players!

Snippets of the article from Vernon Clark of Philly.com:

"This is huge," said Lezlie Hiner, who established the nonprofit program in 1994 to help children develop horseback skills and offer an alternative to the city's often dangerous streets. It is open year-round to children 8 through 18. "We've never been out of the country together as a team."

The team members are Harris, a senior at World Communities Charter School at Broad and South Streets; Brandon Rease, 12, of North Philadelphia, a fifth grader at William Levering School in the 6000 block of Ridge Avenue; Kevin Jones, 17, of the city's Germantown section, a junior at Valley Forge Military Academy; and Kareem Rosser, 15, of Southwest Philadelphia, a freshman at Valley Forge Military Academy.

They will be in Nigeria for 13 days. They are scheduled to play two matches, one against a South African team and one against an opponent to be named later. They also will participate in four clinics.

"We're the only African American team in the country," said Hiner, who is white and who will serve as a chaperone on the trip.

This is my first time out of the country," said Rease, who said he had competed in a tournament in Texas.

Rease said he also played basketball and baseball, but what he liked about polo was "going fast, hitting the ball in the air, and bumping" opponents.

Hiner said: "If people know about us, they are not surprised, but if they don't know about the kids and their skills, then they are fairly well surprised at what they can do."

Read article here.

Check out the program's website with more information and pictures at http://www.worktoride.net/ and visit their blog here.

Photos: Sarah J. Glover/Philly.com

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fundraiser: 1st Annual Newark Celebrity Golf Classic & Hip Hop Business Summit


2008 Newark Celebrity Golf Classic & Hip Hop Business Summit - August 22 - 23, 2008

Join ECSMG Consulting, LLC as they host the 1st Annual Celebrity Golf Classic and Hip Hop Business Summit in Newark, New Jersey.

The Celebrity Golf Classic proceeds will benefit Newark Youth Golf, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to introduce the fundamentals of golf and its principals to the historically underprivileged and economically disadvantaged minority children in the greater Newark, NJ area.

Ernest Ruffin, Managing Director of ECSMG states, "This will be more significant than other tournaments we've been involved with because Newark is my hometown and I want to do my part in making it a better place to live, work and play. We're excited to have celebrities come to Newark and get involved with our youth."
The celebrity roster for the events include Bun B, hip hop artist; Karen Hunter, publisher; Free, formerly of BET's 106 & Park; Kurt Thomas, San Antonio Spurs; Brian White, actor of Stomp the Yard; Ed Lover, radio personality; Sandy 'Pepa' Denton, of the legendary rap group Salt 'n Pepa; Walter Briggs, NY Jets and many, many more.

The Golf Classic will be held on August 22nd at Weequahic Parks Golf Club, and the Hip Hop Business Summit will be held August 23rd, 9-2 pm at Newark Symphony Hall - where executives, business leaders and celebrities will talk to youth about successful living in an urban environment. Tickets for the hip hop business summit are $55. Additional activities include a VIP White Party and an exclusive welcome reception and dinner for special invited guests, celebrities and sponsors, with remarks by Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

Media Sponsors include: The Star Ledger, New York Power 105.1 FM, Game Sports Magazine, and Urban Sports Talk & Entertainment with support from BlackGivesBack.

For celebrity confirmations and event info contact Ernest Ruffin at 973.573.2505 or eruffin@ecsmg.com. For media credentials, interviews and event itinerary contact Tafia L. Allah-Pringle at 202.575.7774 or tafia@tlapr.com.

For event passes and more information, visit here. Tickets for the VIP White Party are limited, and will be available on the website beginning June 7th.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

::African American Philanthropy In the News::

New England Blacks In Philanthropy To Host Conference

Via Celebrity News Service (CNS):

“Amid the drama of local and national economic turmoil, New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBIP) will host the 2008 New England conference, "Black Philanthropy - Building Stronger Communities," in Boston. The conference will be June 22-24, at John Hancock Hall, with the purpose of examining, encouraging and promoting Black philanthropy as a means of economic empowerment and civic engagement.

Bithiah Carter, President of New England Blacks in Philanthropy, told CNS, "NEBIP is excited to create this environment of learning, examination and strategy building for the philanthropic community. Although NEBIP is a newly formed organization, it is critical to start the conversation of how we create a framework for more inclusive philanthropic practices as we move forward."

The conference will convene foundation and corporate grant makers, philanthropists, community leaders, and trustees and is open to all. Also welcome are Black researchers and consultants who study Black issues.

Founded in 2006, New England Blacks in Philanthropy was created to inform and transform the practice of philanthropy in Black communities. The transformation that NEBIP seeks is to create a straight line of sight from philanthropic grant making practice to self-sufficiency for the Black community. "

I meant to post the following two news items earlier this month:

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Honored as Exemplary Philanthropic Organization by the Association of Black Foundation Executives

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, has been honored this month by the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) for modeling effective and responsive grantmaking practices – particularly in communities of color.

“We’re pleased and honored to receive this award from the Association of Black Foundation Executives,” shared Sterling Speirn, President and CEO. “We have long been committed, through our Cultures of Giving initiative and other ongoing work, to increase philanthropy in communities of color. We believe strongly in the value of giving time, money and know-how for the common good and greatly appreciate the work ABFE is doing to encourage this practice.”

Established in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.” Source: WKKF Press release

African American Philanthropy: A Deep Rooted Tradition Continues to Grow

A great article in the Carnegie Reporter highlights African American philanthropy and its trailblazers. Written by noted broadcast and print journalist Ponchitta Pierce, among those featured include Dr. Emmett D. Carson, who heads the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Loida Nicolas Lewis, widow of African American financial guru Reginald Lewis, Eddie and Sylvia Brown, Russell Simmons and Tavis Smiley. Also featured is money manager Alphonse Fletcher, who donated $50 million dollars for advancing the ideals of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Snippet from the article:

"When asked if the problem, then, is that African Americans aren’t giving enough, Carson says, “I tell charitable organizations, ‘If people aren’t giving to you, it’s not because of them—it’s because of you.’ People today are generous, but charities must be more accountable: for instance, does your staff reflect the diversity of the broader community?” Citing specific examples, Carson points to a study of teen pregnancy in Newark, New Jersey that showed, despite the high teen pregnancy rates, Planned Parenthood lacked an office in that city. “How can you mount a campaign when you’re absent from the community?” he asks. And, “Heart disease is a leading cause of death for black men,” he notes, “but how many times have you seen an African American talking about heart disease on a billboard or a TV commercial?”
Read article here.

::Photos of the Day::

Honey Shine Mentoring Program and ARTOPIA at New World School of the Arts Join Forces for Young Girls at Risk:

Honey Shine Mentoring Program
On Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at the Cielo Garden & Supper Club in Coconut Grove, Florida, the Honey Shine Mentoring Program and mentors from the New World School of the Arts teamed up to let young girl’s inner creativity shine through expressive artwork for this years’ ArtOpiA exhibit. In the photo above is Asia, age 11.

“I am the Vision I Create” was this year’s theme, and the girls and their mentors did not hold back in creating vibrant and meaningful art that portrayed a positive self-image in which they expressed themselves.

Honey Shine Mentoring Program
Brinay, age 11

Honey Shine Mentoring Program
Anessa, Age 9

“This creative exercise allowed us to see a glimpse into the past, present and future. Each beautiful piece says so much about where our girls come from, their current state and how they visualize themselves as successful women,” said Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program.

Honey Shine Mentoring Program

ArtOpiA is an arts mentoring program launched in 2001 to benefit neglected and disadvantaged children. The main objectives of the program are to encourage children to explore creativity, to impart an appreciation of art and design and its power to communicate, and to introduce children to careers in design and the visual arts.

The ArtOpiA program at New World School of the Arts in Miami provides an annual mentoring program to young children to facilitate them in creating artwork based on a theme. The mentors work on a one-on-one basis covering fundamental art and design concepts, computer layout programs and various other media including painting, photography and collage. Source: mrprinc

Wyclef Jean

Musician and humanitarian Wyclef Jean and model Petra Nemcova announce the 'Together for Haiti' initiative, May 20, 2008 in New York. Wyclef stated, "This is not an initiative to say, ‘Please bring more food to us, we’re in aid’ because if you keep giving me you’re just going to keep crippling my economy. This initiative is to say, ‘How can we work together?’” Source: Essence.com

Peetes & Michael J. Fox

Rodney and Holly Robinson Peete attend the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Poker Fundraiser, May 8, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.

Mary J. Blige amFAR Cannes 2008

R&B songstress Mary J. Blige arrives at the Cannes Film Festival amFAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2008, May 22, 2008 in France.

Nickolodeon in New Orleans
Kids in New Orleans participate in the rebuilding of Fannie C. Williams Elementary School's playground, May 17, 2008. The effort was sponsored by Nickelodeon, with appearances from the Naked Brothers Band and comedian Lil' JJ.

Photos: mrprinc and Wireimage

Friday, May 23, 2008

A CALL TO ACTION FOR BLACK MEN

In October 2007, the city of Philadelphia issued a call to men, particularly black men: Join the 10,000 Men Movement! Created in response to the city’s skyrocketing homicide rate among black males, the movement aimed to recruit 10,000 men to serve as mentors, patrol the streets and reclaim neighborhoods.

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So I wondered, What’s the progress of the movement? Did they enlist 10,000 men? Have they made an impact?

I searched for answers and I found an article from the Philadelphia City Paper (Feb. 2008) titled, Can You Find the 10,000 Men? The link is here, but take a look at a quote from the article I found interesting: “The same thing is happening here that happened after the Million Man March…its fading away. Things like this need continual resurgence.”

The article highlights two men that joined the movement, but had little to no communication from the organizers after the rally. The author notes that the men haven’t given up, but the momentum is gone. The organizers state that over 5,000 men have signed up and been verified, but its apparent from the article that not much critical action has taken place.

Although Philadelphia’s movement has not sprung into action as it had hoped, other cities are spearheading similar efforts. On May 21st, Baltimore leaders announced an effort to recruit 5,000 men to serve as mentors in the public schools to address the drop out rate, youth violence and absentee fathers. So far, 700 men have joined the effort. On June 15, 2008 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the organizers will host a fair where men can sign up for volunteer opportunities with over 100 community programs in the city.

Galvanizing a movement as big as these efforts takes time, strategic planning and dedicated community members. Communities usually jump into action following a rash of youth homicides or upon a tragic death of an innocent youth senselessly gunned down - but its important to practice preventative efforts – don’t wait until tragedy strikes your community to take action. Below are two efforts in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Let No Brothers Fall


Mike Jones, Founder and Executive Director of the Fraternal Organization of Black Men Rising says, It’s time for Black men to step up to the plate!!!

Mike states, "Have you ever wondered why the level of violence is so high among Black males? Or why so many Black males are failing in school or dropping out altogether? Or why so many Black males are incarcerated? It’s because adult Black men have failed young Black males.

We as Black men have failed the young Brothers in the streets, in the schools, and in the home. We have failed them as fathers, mentors, role models, educators, and community leaders. We have failed to show them what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a Black man in America. We have failed to provide a counter balance to the negative influence of mass media stereotypes, the glamour of the gangsta rap videos, the lure of the drug “game”, and the allure of the so-called “thug life.”

How many Black men actually have full-time careers educating, uplifting, and empowering Black males? How many Black men pursue careers in education, and then teach in inner-city schools? How many Black men start fraternal organizations to fellowship with other Black males of diverse socio-economic backgrounds? How many Black men operate community service organizations to exclusively serve the needs of underserved Black male youth and adults? Not many, and definitely not enough.

It's common knowledge (or should be) that boys follow behind men, and do what they see men do. Therefore, when Black men act like they care, young Black males will act like they care. When Black men start engaging young Black males as fathers, mentors, role models, educators, and community leaders, then young Black males will start engaging other Black males in the same manner.

When Black men step up to the plate and do what they are supposed to do, then young Black males will naturally follow."

On May 19th, Black Men Rising hosted the event, Let No Brothers Fall, to address the escalating levels of violence in the D.C. area and to officially launch their organization, whose mission is dedicated to educating, uplifting, and empowering Black male youth and adults. Applications are being accepted for board members and ex-offenders are encouraged to apply. For more information, mjones@blackmenrising-md.org . On the web: http://www.blackmenrising-md.org/

CHICAGO: It's Time for a Movement of Black Men!

Black Star Project

Phillip Jackson, founder of the Black Star Project states, "It is time for a Black men's movement in America. Black men from all over the country must galvanize around some very simple principles. We must redesign the way that Black men relate to and serve their families and their communities. No other effort to date has worked to address the national catastrophe happening in most of America's cities among Black youth. Black men - not the government, not Black women, not other people - must take the lead in fixing this problem. But where are the Black men?"

Their three essential and dynamic principles for black men are: 1) Black men must become the catalytic force in rebuilding the Black family; 2) Black men must take control of the education of Black children - formal and informal; and 3) Black men must create and control a new sub-economy in the Black community.

Join them this Saturday, May 24, 2008, at 11:00 am, 3509 South King Drive, Chicago as they work to develop a Movement of Black Men for their communities. Organizers are preparing for their "Take Peace to the Streets" door-to-door canvassing effort on Saturday June, 7, 2008 in the Austin community on the west side of Chicago and for the "Men In Schools" week at 14 schools. One hundred men for both initiatives are needed.

For more information, call 773.285.9600. On the web: http://www.blackstarproject.org/

Photo: Baltimore Sun/AP

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Event: 2nd Annual Strike 4 A Cure Charity Weekend

Superbowl Champion Osi Umenyiora has been busy. He recently traveled to Africa with his fellow NFL teammates to establish college scholarships in Nigeria, and he just wrapped up his 2nd annual Strike 4 A Cure charity weekend in Atlanta.

Strike 4 A Cure 2008
Guest, Osi and Atlanta attorney Charles Mathis

Held May 16-18th, the event brought out many athletes including: Michael Strahan, Plaxico Burress, Ray Lewis, Lavar Arrington, Deon Grant, Demarcus Ware, Julian Peterson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Vernon Davis, Julian Peterson, Jonus Jennings, Dwight Freeney, Ken Hamlin, Frank Walker, Darnell Dockett, Kawika Mitchell, Clinton Portis, Edgerinn James, Jerome Bettis, Sam Madison, Laveranues Coles, Gibril Wilson, Takeo Spikes, Carlos Emmons, Shawne Merriman, Wale Ogunleye; and Compound Entertainment, Vernon Jones, Kwanza Hall, and the 2 Live Stews. In all, the event donated over $40,000 for HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer's research.

On May 17th, the High Rollers Bowling Challenge was held at 300 Bowling Alley:

Strike 4 A Cure 2008

Strike 4 A Cure 2008


Strike 4 A Cure 2008
On Thursday, May 15th, Osi visited Carver High School where he spoke to the students about the importance of making a difference and responsibility. Visit the Starting Five for their highlights.

For more information on the event, visit the official website, http://www.strike4acure.com/

Photo credit: George Butler

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

100 Black Men of America Founder: "Become a Mentor"


From Vicky Waltz of Bu.edu:

"William H. Hayling, a renowned African-American obstetrician and founder of 100 Black Men of America, was only 14 when his father died of pneumonia. Such a profound loss would send many adolescents into a self-destructive spiral of grief and anger, but Hayling was more fortunate than most. “I had a very supportive mother and several family friends,” the 82-year-old physician told the audience at Boston University’s Commencement day Baccalaureate Service Sunday at Marsh Chapel. “They became my mentors.”

Hayling, who attributes his success to these early role models, urged the crowd to “help another human being who needs some guidance,” by becoming a mentor. “Remember,” he said, “the greatness of an institution is judged not by its library or endowment, but by the contributions of the men and women who go forth from it, the services they render to others, and the humility in which they serve.”

During his 55-year career, Hayling has treated thousands of women and delivered more than 8,000 babies, but he is most proud of his leadership role as a teen mentor. “My true passion is helping young people grow into productive and compassionate leaders,” he said, “particularly those who have had poor or absent male role models in their lives.”

..But Hayling is best known for his work outside of medicine. Following the example set by the role models from his youth, Hayling cofounded 100 Black Men of America, Inc., a mentoring program for young African-Americans and other minorities, in 1963. Other founding members included baseball legend Jackie Robinson and David Dinkins, who later became mayor of New York City. The organization has more than 100 chapters and 10,000 members. Hayling also volunteers with Mentoring Today for Tomorrow, an after-school program for young people ages 9 through 18, in California’s Riverside County." Read full article here.

Photo: Frank Curran/bu.edu

Monday, May 19, 2008

Photos of the Day

Magic, Ludacris & Alonzo

Chairman's Award recipient Earvin 'Magic' Johnson with Ludacris and Alonzo Mourning at the 5th annual Ludacris Foundation Dinner and Casino Night, May 14, 2008 in Atlanta.

George Soros

Philanthropist and Chairman of Soros Fund Management, George Soros and guest attend the 2nd Annual Millennium Promise and Malaria No More Benefit on May 15, 2008 in NYC. FYI, Mr. Soros is a billionaire and the founder of the Open Society Institute, a network of foundations that gives away hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Tommy Davidson

Comedian Tommy Davidson performs at the 4th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert at The Music Box on May 9, 2008 in Hollywood, California.

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The 3rd Annual Brittiana "Smile For Life" 5K Run/Walk on May 17, 2008 was held at Pacific Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, California. L to R: Founder and CEO of Brittiana Cares Jamie Henderson, Shirell Henderson, comedian/actor Chris Tucker and actor Daniel Curtis Lee.

I Believe Gala

Holly Robinson Peete, Wynonna Judd, Bebe Winans and Patti LaBelle are among the guests at the Chaka Khan Foundation's 3rd annual 'I Believe' gala, May 17, 2008 in Century City, CA.

Cookie Johnson at High Tea at Noon, May 2008

Cookie Johnson struts the catwalk at Victoria Rowell's annual High Tea at Noon fundraiser, May 18, 2008 in Beverly Hills, CA.

Boom Boom Room Upfront 2008

The Jayneoni Moore Children's Fund hosted the Boom Boom Room Upfronts Media Preview in New York, May 14, 2008.

Samual Jackson and Family

Actor Samuel L. Jackson and family at the 29th annual Gift of Life Tribute, May 18, 2008 at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Samuel and his wife Latanya (far right) were honored at the award ceremony.

Photos: Wireimage

Thursday, May 15, 2008

PR Firm Announces $20,000 Grants Available to Non-Profits


From Blueprint Creative Group:

In the spirit of volunteerism, Blueprint Creative Group will award $20,000 of in-house public relations services to a few deserving non-profit, educational, and charitable organizations.

The PR grant can be used towards a variety of in-house services based on the organization's particular needs including: PR strategy development, community relations, media relations, event marketing & PR, marketing plan development, sponsorship development, strategic planning, web design, and writing services. Organizations operating under a 501(c)(3) status can apply online here, no later than 11:59 pm, June 16, 2008.

With the sluggish state of our current economy, funding for many non-profit organizations are being drastically reduced due to government funding cuts and a reduction in corporate donations. Consequently, many non-profits are left financially strapped with reduced operating budgets to fully serve their communities. In a time where community demand is at all time highs for the services provided by non-profits, the PR grant will lend support to the awarded non-profits and provide necessary services to help strengthen the organization's brand awareness, increase volunteerism, and ultimately stimulate corporate and private donations.

Fabiola Fleuranvil, CEO of Blueprint Creative Group says, "I really value volunteer work and the intangible value it provides to our communities, but admittedly, I don't always have enough time in the day to devote to my community and to serving others as much as I really want to. So instead, I try to create ways on how I can make a small impact in any way possible, and this PR grant is my way of giving back. Lending my services to a non-profit organization that is serving the needs of the common good of our communities at least helps me feel like I'm making a difference, even if it is indirectly. I encourage everyone to volunteer at least once a month, if not more, and hopefully this campaign will also shed positive light on volunteering."

Contact:
Blueprint Creative Group
(404) 437-0078
info@BlueprintCreativeGroup.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The National Football Foundation's Play It Smart Program Seeking Academic Coaches

Here's your chance to make a difference in the lives of youth! The National Football Foundation's Play It Smart program is currently recruiting applicants for the position of "Academic Coach" on behalf of its member schools and school districts.

Chicago's Play It Smart Program

Chicago Play It Smart program participants

Play It Smart is an educational program targeted at high school football players from economically disadvantaged environments where family and community support are often lacking. At the heart of the program is the Play It Smart "Academic Coach", who serves as a mentor, advocate, counselor, teacher, coach and friend. The Academic Coach works with the student-athletes for the entire school year — in ways their head coach can’t. The Academic Coach brings the kind of extra attention to the player's off-the-field development that most head coaches would like to provide if they had the time, training and resources.

The program serves 136 high schools in 84 cities and 35 states with close to 10,000 student athletes participating.

For more information including job description, how to apply, participating schools and more about the program, visit here. Those with questions may call 972-556-1000 or 1-800-486-1865.

See previous post here.

Photo: Chicago Bears

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Athletes in the Diaspora: Four NFL Players Return to Africa

Adewale Ogunleye in Nigeria

Four NFL players who have family ties to Africa traveled to Nigeria to establish college scholarships, outfit a youth soccer team and dig water wells. NY Giants Osi Umenyiora, Houston Texans' Amobi Okoye and Chicago Bears players Adewale Ogunleye (in photo above) and Israel Idonije made the trip in March. They didn't know each other well before embarking on their charitable mission, but they all knew work needed to be done.

From John Branch of the NY Times:
"The N.F.L. and other professional leagues are quick to cite the charitable causes of players, and much work is done with no fanfare. But it is not often that players from different teams and with little urging from their employers, spend a week together on the other side of the world trying to improve lives.

The four are part of a growing fraternity of N.F.L. players with direct family ties to Nigeria. Several others became tangentially involved with the cause, donating ideas and money, but did not make the trip.

Each knows that the country — where the life expectancy at birth is about 48 years, and 70 percent of the 138 million people live in poverty — could use their attention.

It was Okoye, a rookie last season, who rallied the group, believing it could do more good than the players individually. Others agreed.

The mission was called Athletes in the Diaspora: Community Interventions, and received plenty of news media attention in Nigeria. At the heart of their charity is the scholarship program, called Changing Africa Through Education. The contingent met with officials of the National Universities Commission, and plans to finance 20 scholarships at 10 Nigerian universities. The group hopes to increase the total yearly.

"We don’t want to give kids scholarships to go to school in the States or to London or something," Ogunleye said, a counterintuitive notion given that his parents came to New York largely for improved education. "We want to keep the kids there so they can help build the country up from within.” Read article here.
Source and photo: NYTimes.com

Monday, May 12, 2008

College Scholarship Opportunities for Chicago Students

The N’DIGO Foundation is looking for their 2008 Class of N'DIGO Scholars.

N'DIGO Online is an urban weekly e-publication that reaches 625,000 readers in the Chicago area. Its foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to rewarding excellence in education by awarding merit-based college scholarships to high school and post secondary students in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Since 1995, the N’DIGO Foundation has awarded more than 200 scholarships to students who aspire to pursue a college or advanced degree. Scholarships are awarded in the areas of architecture, business, computer science, education, engineering, fashion, journalism, law, math, performing arts, science and theology. Postgraduate scholarships are available in business, law and theology.

Below are a few of the available scholarships - deadline May 26, 2008:

State Farm: The Herman Hartman Award for a student interested in business, $10,000
MacArthur Foundation: Award for general studies. Student must have GPA of 3.0, $10,000
Dudley Beauty College: Scholarships for students interested in the field of beauty. The semesters begin in July/September: Cosmetology (hair care) 9 month course full time - $10,000 Onyxology (nails) 9 weeks full time - $3,000 Esthetics (skin care) 6 months full time - $6,000

To learn more about the N'DIGO Foundation call (312) 321-2800 or visit the website here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Celebrity Philanthropy In The News

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USA Today President & Publisher Craig A. Moon with Magic Johnson
USA Today honored Magic Johnson with the Hollywood Hero Award on May 6, 2008 in Beverly Hills. The award is presented annually to an entertainment industry humanitarian who has made remarkable contributions of time and energies with a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life for others. Johnson was recognized for his work in entertainment and underserved communities with the Magic Johnson Foundation.

Magic Johnson Honored with USA Today Hollywood Hero Award
"I am humbled and honored to receive this award but I have to share it with all of my corporate and community partners as they have helped make everything we do possible," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson, founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation. "Together, we have positively impacted a lot of communities and a lot of lives and that feels good." Source: USAT
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Magic Johnson, Cookie Johnson, Chante Moore and Kenny Lattimore
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Magic Johnson with fellow philanthropists Russell Simmons, and R&B legend Chaka Khan

Mary J. Blige recently celebrated the Heart of the City Tour wrap up party on May 7, 2008 in New York. I attended the tour while I was in Houston last month on business. Although I partially lost my hearing for a day, it was worth the ticket.

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Mary with fellow philanthropist Kevin Liles

In related news, Mary J. Blige along with record executive Steve Stoute, have launched FFAWN, the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Inc. The website states that the foundation's mission is to inspire women from all walks of life to reach their individual potential. Through scholarships, grants, and programs that foster strong self-esteem, career development, and personal growth, FFAWN is intended to help women gain the confidence and skills they need to achieve success. The foundation will initially focus its efforts in Yonkers and surrounding communities in Westchester and then expand its scope to include the Greater New York area and, eventually, the entire country.


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Philanthropist Sheila Johnson attends the Rwanda tea & panel discussion during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival along with Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founders Craig Hatkoff and Jane Rosenthal, May 1, 2008 in NYC.

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R&B legend Patti LaBelle alongside Valeria Bell, Sean Bell's mother, onstage at the Diva's With Heart benefit concert, May 4, 2008 at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. (For those of you who don't know, Sean Bell is the young black man who was gunned down by three NYC police officers on the eve of his wedding, who were later acquitted.)

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Dr. Dorothy Height, Chair and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women was honored as the Ford Freedom Award Scholar, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, May 6, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. Alongside Dr. Height is Bernice King, daughter of Coretta Scott King, who was also honored posthumously.

The Ford Freedom Award program was created in 1999 to celebrate and recognize individuals whose achievements brought lasting and positive change for African Americans and the world. The program is underwritten by Ford, and funds raised are used to support the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History’s educational programs, exhibits and community outreach initiatives. Past honorees have included Ossie Davis, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby, Dr. Ben Carson, Al Jarreau and Sonia Sanchez, to name a few. Source: Ford press release
Danny Glover UNICEF
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover attends a briefing on the global food crisis, May 8, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

Pauletta and Denzel Washington Neuroscience Scholarship

Academy award winner Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta, announce the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars in Neuroscience Awards. The awards are given by the Cedars-Sinai Department of Neurosurgery, providing research stipends to one undergraduate and graduate student every year. In photo: Dr. Keith Black, Pauletta Washington, scholarship award winner Debi Thomas and Denzel Washington. Debi Thomas is a junior at Univ. of California at Davis, studying neurobiology, physiology and behavior, interested in finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. Source: lohud.com

Tyler Perry and Keenan Thompson
Movie mogul Tyler Perry, named as one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008, with actor Keenan Thompson, at the Time magazine gala, May 8, 2008 in New York City.
Photos: Wireimage

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Grizzlies Academy

Grizzlies Academy Graduates
As most of my daily readers know, I'm attending the Council on Foundation's annual conference this week, which is an international philanthropy leadership summit. Earlier in the week, I attended a workshop titled 'Tackling Emerging Issues in Sports Philanthropy'. I figured since I devote a good amount of time covering athletes and their charitable efforts on my blog, it would be an interesting session. So, I got there late. This new Gaylord National Harbor Resort is huge, and I got lost. As I found a seat, one of the panelists, Jennifer Turner Koltnow, Executive Director of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation was speaking about their Grizzlies Academy, a school for youth ages 15-17 in Memphis, Tennessee. In the photo above are students from the first graduating class, valedictorian Lequinton and salutatorian Chris, proudly showing off their class rings. But this is not your ordinary school. All of the students are at least two years behind in school.

The school began with a 1.5 million dollar grant from the Grizzlies Foundation, which was established in 2004. Its premise is this: Teach subjects of Math, Science, English, and life skills. The Grizzlies provides uniforms for the students and tickets to home games as incentives.

Is the school making an impact? Among all Memphis city public schools, the Grizzlies Academy has one of the highest attendance rates. What about parent involvement? The school hosts open dinners twice a week for parents along with regular phone calls and flyers, and a progress report is sent home every six weeks.

The Grizzlies Foundation has been honored for its charitable efforts, most recently by the Sports Philanthropy Project and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with the 2007 Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy. The main focus of the foundation is mentoring and this past January, NBA veteran Bill Russell helped them launch the Team Up Challenge, urging Memphis business leaders to become mentors. Their goal is to recruit 500 mentors by June 1st. Visit the foundation website here.

Photo: Joe Murphy/NBAE/GettyImages

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Buy A T-Shirt, Support the Emmett Till Legacy Scholarship Fund


Are you wondering how you can have a piece of history and support youth at the same time?

"Hear My Voice! Are You Listening" t-shirts are now available to support the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation Scholarship Fund. All proceeds will benefit the fund.

Sizes available: Small-X Large $15; XXL-XXXL $20

To purchase, send a check or money order for the total amount of shirts, plus 7% tax and $3 shipping to: Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, 1161 Wayzata Blvd. East, Suite 43, Minneapolis, MN 55391.
See related post here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blogging From Philanthropalooza

Gaylord National Harbor

What you're looking at is a view from the beautiful, brand spankin' new Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, located in Prince George's County, Maryland just outside of our nation's capital. So why was I there? The biggest philanthropic gathering in the U.S. and around world is taking place here with over 3,000 attendees who include CEOs, trustees, and professional staff of U.S. and international foundations from across the entire philanthropic sector - and yours truly was there to cover it! The summit, Philanthropy's Vision: A Leadership Summit, is bringing together private/independent foundations, community foundations, corporate grant makers, and business and political leaders that represent a wide range of giving interests and missions.

Hosted by the Council on Foundations, a membership organization representing more than 2,100 grantmaking foundations and corporations, the summit runs May 4-7. Steve Gunderson, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations stated, "Every philanthropic organization has a mission to make the world a better place. Our job is to improve the practice of philanthropy and find areas where we can work together to achieve greater success." The summit will feature thousands of sessions on philanthropy and the economy, women, Hispanics, diversity, disaster relief, the environment, professional sports, workforce solutions, international philanthropy and a generational leadership program.

One session I attended yesterday was titled, How Media Impacts Life Outcomes for Black Men and Boys. Hosted by the Association for Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), a New York based organization that promotes effective and responsive philanthropy in black communities, the panelists spoke to the cultural, political and social impact of the media on black communities. Tony Brown, veteran journalist and host of the longest running PBS series Tony Brown's Journal, moderated the panel discussion. So why should we care about media's impact on the black community? One panelist summed it up in one sentence:

You cannot have social justice until you have media justice.

Consider this:
“The census shows us that 80% of white Americans live in segregated neighborhoods and people of color don’t fare much better. So what that means for the most part is we don’t go to school together, is that we don’t go to church together and we don’t eat in neighborhood restaurants together – so what we learn about the black male is from the media.
People of color, and black men in particular, continue to be overrepresented in stories about crime, sports and entertainment and underrepresented in stories about business, lifestyle and everyday life.
So when you read a story that says 28% of all black men at some point spend some time behind bars and that story does not address what the other 72% of black men are doing, it makes a difference on how black men are going to be judged when they’re going out on job interviews or just walking down the street.”
You can’t have social justice until you have media justice. Until we correct the images of African Americans in mainstream media, it’s going to be almost impossible to change public policy around issues of crime, education and healthcare.”
Also, Tony Brown announced for the first time in public that his show, Tony Brown's Journal, will cease at the end of this month due to funding. He's contributed $500,000 of his own personal funds in addition to donating $100,000 for a journalism scholarship program at Hampton University - and he simply can't continue to do both.

You can read my full post on this session here, as a guest blogger at New Voices of Philanthropy, a blog by Trista Harris, an African American program officer at the St. Paul Foundation in Minnesota.

Thanks to Bryan and the Council on Foundations for the invite!

Friday, May 2, 2008

::Event: Tracy Wilson Mourning Hosts 6th Annual Hats Off Luncheon Benefiting Honey Shine Mentoring Program::

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Kandys Thomas; Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder of Honey Shine Mentoring Program; Tammy Scott; Renee Roberson

South Florida’s most vulnerable and often forgotten – young girls at risk – had the chance to shine in the spotlight, and were joined by over five hundred women who sported hats of all kinds, on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 at Jungle Island for Tracy Wilson Mourning’s 6th Annual Hats Off Luncheon presented by the ING Foundation.

The annual event benefited Honey Shine Mentoring Program, a program of Alonzo Mourning Charities, that works to empower young girls to shine as women. The bi-weekly workshops and summer camp that make up the program help develop and nurture the mind, body, and soul, of young women by providing experiences that enlighten and create balance in their lives.
A dozen girls – a.k.a. “Honey Bugs” – were dressed in high style with the latest spring fashions and strutted their stuff to adoring fans at a fashion show sponsored by Aventura Mall during the Hats Off Luncheon. “Our hearts and sincere gratitude go out to all our supporters who contributed to make this year’s luncheon yet another success,” said Mourning, founder of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program. Hats Off has grown not only in size and popularity, but also in awareness in the importance of what Honey Shine does and means to the community.”

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Frances Thompkins, Director of Office of Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility and Vice President of ING Foundation, Tracy Wilson Mourning and Veronica Webb, Fashion Accomplice on Bravo TV’s new series “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style”

A diverse group of members, sponsors, donors, mentors and volunteers, including Veronica Webb - who led the Honey Bugs on how to grace the runway, raised proceeds at the luncheon for the Honey Shine Mentoring Program which funds bi-weekly workshops for young girls and Camp Honey Shine, a four-week summer day camp at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove, Florida for one hundred girls enrolled in the program.

“The ING Foundation proudly supports the Hats Off Luncheon and the Honey Shine Mentoring Program,” said ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims. “These important programs offer an incredible opportunity to help empower young girls in South Florida. Like the Honey Shine Mentoring Program and Alonzo Mourning Charities, we are committed to our children’s education, motivation and preparing them for tomorrow.”

Guests at the popular luncheon, which featured Local 10 News anchor/reporter Neki Mohan as Mistress of Ceremonies, enjoyed a reception and silent auction, luncheon, “Honey Bug” Fashion Show, and delicious desserts courtesy of Heavenly Cupcakes all in the Treetop Ballroom at Jungle Island in Miami.
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Tracy Wilson Mourning, Neki Mohan, Local 10 News Reporter/Anchor and Hats Off Luncheon Mistress of Ceremonies and Frances Thompkins
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Guest, Aida Mijares, Maria Meruelo, Tracy Wilson Mourning, Irene Korge and Kristina Korge

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Tracy Wilson Mourning; Joanie Graham; Joan Graham; Andrea Graham, Program Director, Honey Shine Mentoring Program; and Norma Jean Abraham

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Yvonne Golden, Kristina Korge, Irene Korge, Norma Jean Abraham, Amaris Jones

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"Nana" (Jean) Wilson, Guest, Mirta Fuentes, Amy Halsey and Carla Penn

“The fashion show was a great way to have the girls, whom are often lost in the shadows, feel beautiful as well as put a face to what is a very important cause in our community,” said Mourning. “I encourage and invite other women to invest in these girls because with just a little attention and mentoring, it’s amazing how much we can help them discover their inner light, their value and ignite a passion to learn and reach their potential.”

For more information on the Honey Shine Mentoring Program as well as a membership or donation kit, contact 305/476-0095 or visit http://www.honeyshine.org/.
In photo: Zabhrya Tillman, 5th Grader, Downtown Miami Charter School

Related Post: Alonzo and Tracy Mourning: Top Ten List of Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2007