Friday, January 30, 2009

The Dance Theatre of Harlem Celebrates 40 Years of Artistic Excellence

The Dance Theatre of Harlem kicks off an 18-month long celebration of its 40th Anniversary with the February 11 opening of Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts. This multimedia exhibition chronicles the theatre's contributions to the arts and runs through May 19, at The New York Library for the Performing Arts, Vincent Astor Gallery, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

In addition to the exhibit, their commemoration includes a number of exciting activities including a national tour by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, an Open House Series, a national audition tour for the company’s prestigious school, panel discussions with leading dancers, choreographers, and dance historians, and a host of other activities. The anniversary celebration includes a number of programs that are free and open to the public.

In the midst of preparing for its 40th Anniversary festivities, Co-Founder and Artistic Director Arthur Mitchell says, "There is a renewed energy in America that is flowing into Dance Theatre of Harlem. We are celebrating 40 years of passion, power and perfection while our Ensemble is embarking on its first national tour, standing on the shoulders of a legacy built by the dancers who came before them and built the legacy of Dance Theatre of Harlem."

Upcoming Dates for the National Dance for America Tour by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble
February 3rd, Dixie Center for the Performing Arts, Ruston, Louisiana
February 4th, Brown Theatre Complex, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, Louisiana
February 5th, Coughlin Saunders Performing Arts Center, Alexandria, Louisiana
February 7- 9, Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles, Louisiana
February 10, Strand Theatre, Shreveport, Louisiana
February 13, River Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

February 17, Gertrude Castellow Ford Center, University of Mississippi
February 19, Riley Center for Education & Performing Arts, Mississippi State University, Meridian, Mississippi

March 18, Civic Center, Akron, Ohio
March 24, Center for the Performing Arts, Owens Community College, Toledo, Ohio

March 20, Opera House, Lexington, Kentucky

March 27, Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, Tennessee

April 3, Post Office Plaza, Texarkana, Texas
April 4, Perot Theater, Texarkana, Texas
April 6 - 8, Bentonville, Arkansas, Arends Arts Center

November 2008 - May 2009
Everett Center for the Performing Arts
466 W 152nd St, New York, NY 10031

The Open House Series has been a staple program of The Dance Theatre of Harlem since its inception. As part of their community outreach initiatives, the Open Houses provide high quality performances by the students of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School and the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, the performing arm of the School, and special guest performers. Performances are held at 3:00 p.m. each month from November through May, and include a post-performance reception.

Visit their website here for more information. Be sure to read my previous post on the Dance Theatre of Harlem here.

Source: Walker International Communications Group

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Insider: Froswa' Booker-Drew

Welcome to the first post on ‘The Insider’, a behind the scenes look at the movers and shakers in the non profit and philanthropic world. Throughout the year, you’ll meet individuals who work for foundations, have started their own non profit organizations, are social entrepreneurs, head your favorite celebrity foundations and more. Let’s meet our first Insider of the year!

Name: Froswa’ Booker-Drew

Company: Soulstice Consultancy, Dallas, Texas. Provides strategic planning, special event/tour coordination, promotions/community based marketing, fundraising (grant research, proposal writing and donor cultivation), program development assistance, evaluations, board training, and consultations/coaching for businesses and non profit agencies.

Education: The University of Texas at Arlington, History major; Oklahoma City University, Master of Liberal Arts in Humanities

Personal: Married to Charles C. Drew and the mother of a daughter, Kazai

Froswa has spent nearly ten years providing consulting services for non profit organizations. Her current client roster includes individuals, faith and community based organizations and businesses throughout the state of Texas and Louisiana.

Last year, Froswa was a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that follows a cast of eight women from Dallas to India. Because of this experience, she has dedicated much of her spare time to finding ways to support women and children there. Read on to learn tips for non profits in these tough economic times and how you can help Froswa support India’s children:

On starting her own consulting firm, Soulstice Consultancy: "In all honesty, I did not plan on creating a business. I had a number of individuals ask me to assist them. I would pursue contracts on the side while working full-time until I felt it was time to dedicate my energy to consulting full-time. For nearly five years, I provided a number of program development services for organizations. After the birth of my daughter, I placed the business on hold.

I resumed the business after having a number of organizations approach me about assisting with fund development, outreach efforts and other typical nonprofit challenges. I chose the name Soulstice because I wanted to change the soul or spirit of organizations in my work through my interactions, information provided and influence."

Froswa’s tips for non profit organizations in today's economic climate: “Relationship building is crucial. It is imperative that nonprofits recognize that donor cultivation is important. This business is one that thrives on relationships. Secondly, do not solely rely on grants as a source of funding. Nonprofits fail to realize that individuals give the majority of funding and so the creation of a strong annual fund program is key. Nonprofits must diversify their funding to include various sources of revenue. Foundations change priorities and if a significant amount of your income is from one entity, that can become problematic.

Lastly, boards are crucial to your organization’s growth. If the board is not involved in fundraising, they are not effective. Make sure that you are engaging individuals that bring something to your organization, whether it is their circle of influence, their ability to raise funds or a skill set that is not currently available to your organization. I always encourage Executive Directors to seek out a variety of individuals from various professional backgrounds, ethnicities, and age groups that build a strong a diverse board.”

Froswa’s experience in India: "Traveling to India was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. Eight women from Dallas would be chosen to spend two weeks in India to see how this experience would impact or change their lives. Out of nearly 400 women, I was selected to participate. Despite my background in nonprofit management, social services and education, those experiences could not have prepared me for what I was about to encounter and witness…visits with young men and women with HIV/AIDS, prostitutes and their children, and to the slums. The poverty that I saw was unbelievable. On top of that, I witnessed severe gender and social inequality.

There was one place that touched me to the core. I had the opportunity to visit a wonderful school for Dalit children. The Dalits are considered the lowest caste of Indian society. I had the opportunity to spend time with the founder and his family to better understand his vision and the need for such a school. As an American, I didn’t understand how others could distinguish them since I saw similarities between them and the rest of Indian society. The differences that existed were based on the lack of education and as a result, the inability to speak properly and the dark color of their skin.

I learned very quickly that the struggles that black women face are not exclusively ours. Women would walk up to me and place their arms next to mine and say to me, “Same, Same”. It was this experience that has compelled me to help the women and children of India. To see children who are now afforded the opportunity to learn English and receive a quality education is imperative."

How You Can Help: “With almost 900 children in attendance, it has become a costly venture but one that the founder is determined and committed to its success. It costs $25/month to educate a child in the school. The school needs books for the library, materials for cricket and football, computers, educational CDs, lab equipment and a LCD projector. The founder of the school said to me that they have never had African Americans visit the school. He said to me that of everyone who has visited, you understand our struggle. My prayer is that I can share with others my experience that will help me through donations and supplies.”

Froswa also shared, “I am different as a result of this trip. I realize how blessed I am and that I am not only responsible for my community in the states. I am a global citizen and my success is contingent upon the success of others.”

To contact Froswa about her consulting services, and to help the Dalit children of India, email her at, 214-500-4608; and visit her website at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 2009 Trumpet Awards

Honorees Cathy Hughes, Chris Tucker, Paula White and Raven-Symone attend the 2009 Trumpet Awards honoree and sponsor dinner at the Hyatt Regency on January 24, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.

On January 25, 2009, the 2009 Trumpet Awards ceremony was held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta. The Trumpet Awards was founded by Xernona Clayton, a civil rights leader and broadcasting executive, to honor the accomplishments of individuals who have significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of life for all. Among this year's honorees are Earvin "Magic" Johnson, actor/comedian Chris Tucker, actress Raven-Symone, Captain William D. Pinkney, the first African American to sail solo around the world, and Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, the first African American female dean of a U.S. medical school.

Honorees the Tuskegee Airmen attend the 17th Annual Trumpet Awards

Honoree Michael V. Roberts, actor Louis Gossett Jr., honorees Johnathan Rodgers of TV One, Dr. Alvin Crawford and Chris Tucker

At left, Daniel Griffin; right, Holly Robinson Peete and Raven Symone. I interviewed Daniel last year for a magazine feature. His story of overcoming the odds is remarkable, which included a brief stint in the foster care system, to becoming an entrepreneur, a teacher and a philanthropist in Compton, California.

Photos from the Trumpet Awards Honoree and Sponsors Dinner:

Sheree Whitfield, right, of Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta and a guest

Trumpet Awards founder Xernona Clayton

Photos from the Creative Incentives Gifts gifting suite by Keisha McCotry of Prominence Marketing Group and Kandis Knight of Lucretive PR.

This book by author Janet K. Ginn, was included in the gift bags.

Photos by G. Paras Griffin, Keisha McCotry of Prominence Marketing Group and Wireimage.

The Sallie Mae Fund's Scholarship Application Season Is Now Open!

RESTON, Va., Jan. 27, 2009—The Sallie Mae Fund announced today that its scholarship application season is now open and invited students attending college in the fall to apply for scholarships it will award for the 2009–2010 school year. Applications, eligibility and deadline information are now available at

Erin Korsvall, vice president of The Sallie Mae Fund, reminds students that, to qualify for a scholarship, they must take the first step and apply. "Don't miss out on scholarships by not applying. Get organized, note key deadlines, and give yourself plenty of time to find scholarships, request applications, complete them, and submit them. This free money will be well worth your time and energy."

The Sallie Mae Fund offers students tips for finding free money for college:
  • Don't rule yourself out. Scholarships are not limited to class valedictorians and star athletes. They are awarded based on a number of factors—from your career goals to exceptional writing skills displayed in an essay contest.

  • Apply for as many awards as you qualify for. Even small awards can be helpful in covering costs, such as books.

  • Pay close attention to deadlines. Missing a deadline is a sure way to become disqualified.

  • Look for scholarships offered by a variety of sources, including companies, unions, foundations, community organizations, churches and more.

  • Tell family, friends, teachers and others in your community that you are looking for scholarships. They may know something you do not.

  • Understand the conditions of an award—such as maintaining a specific GPA or participating on an athletic team.

  • Make use of free scholarship directories and searches offered by reputable organizations, such as The Sallie Mae Fund.

  • Watch for scholarship scams. You should never have to pay for scholarship advice or information.

  • If you receive a scholarship, be sure to write a thank-you note to the organization. You may want to reapply for the scholarship in the future so it is important to make a good impression.

The Sallie Mae Fund's scholarships include the "American Dream" scholarship program for African American students (deadline April 15), the "First In My Family" scholarship program for Hispanic-American students (deadline April 15), the "Unmet Need" scholarship fund for families with combined incomes below $30,000 (deadline May 31), and the Sallie Mae 911 Fund for children of those who were killed or permanently disabled in the September 11th terrorist attacks (deadline ongoing).

Sallie Mae on the web:, and

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Legacy of Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes

In 2003, the family and friends of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes established the Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes Foundation in her memory. Before her unexpected passing in Honduras in 2002, she shared with her family and friends her vision for opening up a youth center in the country she called her second home.

Today, her dream has come true with the opening of Lisa’s Home of Love, a residential orphanage facility that includes a dental clinic, free healthcare and on-site schooling, which is open to children all throughout the community.

Another goal of Lisa’s was to record a solo album. As one third of the pop group TLC, they sold over 45 million records. Today marks the day that another vision of Lisa’s has come true. ‘Eye Legacy’, her first U.S. solo album, is being released to much anticipation. A percentage of proceeds from album sales will benefit the Foundation and their orphanage in Honduras.

The album includes guest artists Missy Elliot, T-Boz, Chilli, Lil’ Mama, Bobby Valentino, Chamillionaire, and many more. It was co-produced by Lisa’s family: Wanda Lopes (Left Eye’s mother), and Ronald Lopes and Reigndrop Lopes (Left Eye’s siblings).

I recently spoke with Ronald Lopes, the Executive Director of the Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes Foundation, about the new album, Lisa’s legacy of giving and upcoming projects of the Foundation:

Lisa’s first album was released abroad, but this is the first album that is being released in the U.S. How long was this latest album in the making? The first album, Supernova, was released online August 16, 2001 and it followed up with a release overseas the following year. The album did pretty well. A lot of fans maybe didn't know about the album. I think it peaked at #5 on the UK charts. For this album, it took about one year.

Do you have a favorite song on the album? I have a couple of favorites. ‘Let’s Just Do It’ is one of my favorites, ‘Block Party’ (featuring Lil' Mama) is one of my favorites and ‘Neva Will Eye Ever’ is one of my favorites – those are my three top songs. ‘Neva Will Eye Ever’ features my sister Reigndrop along with our sister Lisa. Another song I really like if I can give an honorable mention is ‘Let It Out’, a song with Wayna Morris [of Boys II Men]. That song is based on a true story, a very touching song.

Can you share about Lisa’s legacy of giving? Lisa was always volunteering her time in the community doing charitable events. A lot of the people that felt it [her giving] were the people around her. Lisa was the type of person where the kids in her neighborhood would be at her house playing Play Station and just spending time with her. She affected her community in that way as well, but she also would go to schools, she would talk to children, she would encourage them, trying to be a positive role model.

Then when she went to Honduras, she bought 50 acres of land because she wanted to build not just a children’s home, but she wanted to build a whole youth activity center. She drew a picture of it – it looked like a castle. She had designed what their backpacks would look like – she was very detailed with everything that she wanted to do.

Unfortunately she passed away before everything could become reality, but we did what we could to bring her dream to fruition. While we didn’t do the details like the backpacks – we did build a 10,000 square foot facility that houses 20 children today, all orphans. Most have been orphaned by their parents passing away from HIV/AIDS or some other terminal disease.

Ron and Reindrop Lopes
Ronald and Reindrop Lopes at an event in June 2008, to present Janet Jackson with the Lisa Lopes Foundation Community Service Award in Atlanta.
What activities does the Foundation support here in the U.S.? We also do work here in Atlanta with kids who are in the custody of Family and Community Services. We do all types of activities, all of our activities are based on building the self esteem of a child, making them more self sufficient, that’s so they can survive successfully in life. We have a program to teach them about finances, how to keep your credit good, especially with the economy the way it is now. They definitely need to learn that.

What are the foundation's upcoming events and projects for 2009? We always have two major fundraisers every year – one in the summer with HOT 107.9 (in Atlanta) and then we do one that just passed at Christmas at the Mall at Stonecrest, the celebrity gift wrap where celebrities come out and wrap gifts for the people. The money raised from that goes to the foundation to support our programs.

We also have a new program we’re working on called the Edutainment Movement, a combination of education and entertainment where we’re taking some of the hottest songs from R&B and hip hop and we’re changing the words to teach the kids about what they should be learning in school – maybe a song teaching you about multiplication, English or literature. We’re going to feature this program at our upcoming album release party – we’ll have kids performing. It’s a pretty cool program, I’m really excited about it.


The 'Eye Legacy' album release party is being held tonight at the Ten Pin Alley in Atlanta. Hosted by the Foundation and Ryan Cameron of Atlanta’s V-103FM, the invite only affair will feature celebrities, industry executives and tastemakers. Reigndrop Lopes will perform the single ‘Neva Will Eye Ever’ from the album, along with a performance from Collizion of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew and a silent auction.

The album includes a bonus DVD of never before seen footage of Left Eye. The album booklet will also contain fan messages that were collected through the ‘Eye Legacy’ official Myspace page. You can purchase it now at all speciality retailers.

On the web: and

Thanks to Ronald Lopes and Tafia of TLAPR

Monday, January 26, 2009

NFL Player Launches the Early Doucet 980 Foundation

Early Doucet, a wide receiver for the Super Bowl bound Arizona Cardinals, spent the Christmas holidays in his native Louisiana, handing out gifts and school supplies to youth in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

The charity luncheon was held on December 9, 2008 in Baton Rouge, and served as the kick off for the Early Doucet 980 Foundation, a non-profit organization that was created to inspire young people to take responsibility for their future by reducing their “at risk” status and allowing mentors to take an active role in assisting them to reach their goals.

Doucet spoke with the youth about his life experiences, sharing, "I was in a single-parent home, five sisters, the only boy. My parents were divorced when I was young, so I kinda strayed away and did some of the typical things an adolescent at that age would do. And it came to a point where I had mentors come into my life and positive role models and it got me into the right direction, which allowed me to become the man I am today."

Visit the foundation website at ** Website no longer active.

Photos courtesy of D. Thomas
Article assistance: and

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alltel Wireless Words of Wisdom Scholarship for HBCU Students

In celebration of Black History Month and in support of educational opportunities within the communities they serve, Alltel is proud to present the Words of Wisdom essay contest. This unique scholarship program supports young students seeking to share their wisdom and further their educations at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across America.

Students have the opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship and meet Dr. Maya Angelou!

Contestants are required to submit a 750–1,000 word essay that considers the quote and reflection statement below and answers the following question:

The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change. – Dr. Maya Angelou

The election of our country’s first African-American president is proof that the dream of change can become a reality. As a people, we’ve shown what we can do when called upon for change. How are you being called to build upon this new spirit of change?

Contestants must be 17 years of age or older, and a legal resident and citizen of the 50 United States (includes the District of Columbia). Contestants must be either a high school senior who has been accepted to or a current, full-time student in good standing at one of the participating colleges or universities.

For more information, visit

{Thanks Anjanee}

HBCUs In the News: Victoria’s Secret PINK Collegiate Collection Launches HBCU Competition

Last month, I featured a post on the Victoria’s Secret PINK Collegiate Collection apparel line. The company launched the collection in July 2008 with the names and logos of top universities, but not one historically black college or university (HBCU) was included.

Victoria's Secret PINK is pleased to announce this week that five HBCU’s have been added to the collection: Florida A&M University, Howard University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State, and Southern University. To celebrate the launch, the company has partnered with the Tom Joyner Morning Show for a competition among the five schools to receive a special visit from PINK in the spring.

Via press release: “From January 26 - February 22, PINK will track the sales at Victoria's Secret stores and online of the new HBCU Collegiate product, and the school with the highest sales will win the event. With the help of Tom Joyner and, PINK will announce the HBCU each week that has the highest sales. Listeners can tune in every Thursday to the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" starting February 5 - 26 to hear the winner for the previous week's sales.

This is the largest retail distribution deal ever offered to HBCUs. Richard Dent, chief operating officer of PINK says, "This partnership is symbolic of PINK's desire to be the most aspirational collegiate brand in America targeted to college age women of ALL ethnicities." By purchasing HBCU product from the PINK Collegiate Collection, customers will be providing direct support to their favorite HBCU as a portion of proceeds go to the respective university.”

And, if you’re a student at a HBCU and want your school to be included in the upcoming Holiday 2009 PINK Collection, read on:
“People will also have the ability to utilize the "Nominate your HBCU" function (on to vote for HBCUs which have not yet been added to the PINK Collegiate Collection. The company plans to add the school that receives the most votes to the Holiday 2009 PINK Collegiate Collection.” Updated 2/11: Nominate your HBCU here!

The assortment of HBCU products that launched in select stores mid-December are also available online ( and in the catalogue.

Source: VS Press release/PRN
Photo: Keith L. Pope/

Events: The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama embraces Stevie Wonder at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration concert at the Lincoln Memorial, January 18, 2009

Co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington and Newark Mayor Cory Booker attend The Huffington Post pre-inaugural ball at the Newseum on January 19, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Alma Powell and Colin Powell attend the 2009 BET Inaugural Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The Powells are founders of America's Promise Alliance, which served as a sponsor of the event.

Common performs at 'Yes We Will !' BET Inauguration Ball at the BET studios on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Author Omar Tyree pictured at the Chestnut Law Firm's reception in honor of President Barack Obama, January 18, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The Chestnut Law Firm was founded by Chris Chestnut at the young age of 26, and he was recognized as a National Emerging Leader by President Barack Obama.

MTV host Sway and Kanye West appear on the MTV & ServiceNation: Live From The Youth Inaugural Ball at the Hilton Washington on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Queen Latifah, Bono, Beyonce and Larry Mullen Jr. backstage at We are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration At The Lincoln Memorial presented exclusively by HBO on Sunday January 18th 2009.

Entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson, 2009 BET Honors recipient, attends the 2nd Annual BET Honors at the Warner Theatre on January 17, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to our 44th President!
Photos: Wireimage

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

***The Inauguration of President Barack Obama***

An estimated crowd of two million people braved the bitter cold yesterday on the National Mall to witness history. Using the Bible that Abraham Lincoln used 148 years ago during his inauguration, President Barack Obama was sworn into office as our 44th President.

I attended inaugural events and receptions in honor of our new President over the past four days here in D.C. and I've compiled photos of the many events that took place! One event I attended was the 'A Dream Fulfilled' inaugural gala hosted by Stevie Wonder at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday. He began his performance after midnight, singing his legendary hits such as 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' and 'All I Do'. While at the event I met Tracy Mourning, wife of NBA player Alonzo Mourning and founder of the Honey Shine mentoring program. Tracy and Alonzo were voted by you, the readers, as BlackGivesBack's top philanthropic duo of 2008! Let's take a look at some of the events and people who were in town to celebrate our new President!

Former Vice President Al Gore and of the Black Eyed Peas attend the Green Inaugural Ball at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture on January 19, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Franco Nuschese, Michelle Fenty and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty at the celebration to honor the Inauguration of Barack Obama at Cafe Milano on January 16, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Hip hop artist Jay-Z and Carol's Daughter founder Lisa Price at the opening of the Carol's Daughter Store during Inauguration Weekend on January 17, 2009 at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia. Updated: Proceeds from this opening event benefited the Lupus Foundation of America. 

Mikki Taylor of Essence magazine and philanthropist Jaci Reid attend The Creative Coalition's VIP Inaugural brunch at BGR on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Wynton Marsalis and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor speak onstage at Jazz At Lincoln Center Presents "A Celebration Of America" Gala funded by The Rockefeller Foundation held at the Kennedy Center on January 19, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Heather Smith, Executive Director of Rock the Vote and hip hop artist David Banner attend the Rock the Vote & Rolling Stone Event at Gibson Showroom on January 19, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Actress Rosario Dawson addresses the crowd at the Manifest Hope D.C. Inauguration Party on January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Actor Hill Harper attends the "Obama That One!" Change Awards at the Newseum on January 18, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Singer Usher and ServiceNation staff and volunteers attend MTV and ServiceNation's "Be The Change: Live from the Inaugural" makeover event at Simon Elementary school on January 19, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Photos: Wireimage

Monday, January 19, 2009

Build The Dream

On this day of observance for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., take a minute to visit BuildTheDream.Org, the website of the Washington D.C. National Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

The monument for the great civil rights leader and humanitarian is expected to be completed in 2010. Major donors include General Motors, 10 million; the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, 5 million; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, 3.4 million; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 3 million; Sheila Johnson-Newman, 1 million; and Morehouse College, 1 million.

The monument will be located on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and on a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington, D.C.

The project has raised just over $100 million to date. The goal is to raise 120 million.

How to Get Involved

The Dream Keepers College Program: An initiative to engage college students across the country in efforts to build the memorial.

Friends Asking Friends: Build your own 'dream team' by asking your family, friends, coworkers, church members and colleagues to participate. You'll then register your team and create a website to track donations and recruit other members.

Greeks Asking Greeks: Join with other Greek-lettered organizations from all over the world, in friendly competition, to help raise money to support the memorial.

The Kids Corner: For parents and children!

Photo of the Day: Martin Luther King Jr.'s son, Martin Luther King III and actor Tobey Maguire, attended the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Service Nation's "A New Era of Service" Breakfast at Ballou Senior High School on January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Photo: Wireimage

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Inaugural Festivities Have Begun!

Yes yes y'all - the Inauguration festivities for President-elect Barack Obama has officially begun! Last night, the People's Inaugural Premier was held at the Historical Society in downtown DC with live performances from hip hop legends Kurtis Blow (pictured above), Lin Que, formerly known as Isis from the rap group X-Clan, and Doug E. Fresh. Kurtis Blow put on an amazing show, joining us in the crowd and breakdancing! I love old school hip hop so this was a perfect way to start the weekend!
If you're on your way to D.C. or are already here, check out these free activities!

I'm sure you recognize this portrait of our next President Barack Obama, that was created by artist Shepard Fairey. His work will be on display along with many other artists, who have used their voices to motivate the grassroots movement that carried Barack Obama to victory.

The Manifest Hope: DC Gallery will be open to the public from January 17 - 19, 10am-6pm at 3333 M Street, NW. For more information, visit the website here.

Sunday, January 18: Souls of My Sisters Books Presents a Panel Discussion on 'What the Obama Presidency Means to Me'
Kensington Publishing Corp.'s imprint Souls of My Sisters Books' co-founders Dawn Marie Daniels and Candace Sandy will host a dialogue on "What the Obama Presidency Means to Me." The town hall-style event is being held in cooperation with Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-06) in honor of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. It will take place on Sunday, January 18 (2:00PM-5:00PM) at the Cannon House Office Building, Caucus Room.

The program will include the perspectives of prominent women from around the country, including notable television personality Star Jones, Mikki Taylor (Essence Magazine), Amy Keith (People Magazine), Maria Davis, (HIV/AIDS Activist), Jacque Reid (Tom Joyner Show) and Jackie Rhinehart (author). "The dialogue will focus on the historic relevance of the incoming Obama Administration, the personal stories and the issues facing American women, and our global connection with women worldwide," states co-editor Candace Sandy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming to D.C. for Inauguration? Part II


With Inauguration festivities kicking off on Friday, there are many events to choose from! So if you're like me and are planning to attend a ball or an event but haven't bought nary a ticket yet, below are some of my top picks - low cost, with proceeds benefiting charity!

Friday, January 16
The DRUM Foundation presents Pre-Inaugural and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Gala
Join them for an elegant evening of celebration, remembrance and praise for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President-elect Obama
Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street, NW; 6 - 11 pm; $85 per person
Visit for more information and ticket purchase.

Tuesday, January 20
Concerned Black Men - National Organization and the Federal City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., present an Inaugural Gala honoring President-elect Barack Obama
Bobby Van's (Atrium Ballroom), 1201 New York Ave NW, 9:00 pm to 1:30 am; $200
All proceeds from this event will support Concerned Black Men "best practices" youth projects as well as scholarship and service programs sponsored by The Federal City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Attire: Black Tie. To purchase tickets visit the Inaugural Gala website at:

And, I'd like to give a shout out to AOL's, for recognizing BlackGivesBack on the 'Best of Black Blogs' on 'Blog for Blog':

They featured the Top Ten Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2008! View here.
For all of you traveling to D.C., have a safe and wonderful trip!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Foundation Announces 2009 Scholarships for Minorities in Communications

Earlier this month, a report was issued by the Madison Avenue Project that cited widespread racial discrimination in the advertising industry. The project, led by the NAACP and attorney Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet, was created in 2008 to address advertising’s deep rooted racial bias among African-American professionals in pay, hiring, promotions, assignments, and other areas. Some of their findings include:

  • Racial discrimination is 38 percent worse in the advertising industry than in the overall U.S. labor market;

  • Black college graduates working in advertising earn $.80 for every dollar earned by their equally qualified White counterparts;

  • About 16 percent of large advertising firms employ no black managers or professionals, a rate 60 percent higher than in the overall labor market;

  • Blacks are only 62 percent as likely as their White counterparts to work in the powerful 'creative' and 'client contact' functions in advertising agencies
The NAACP plans to circulate the report to its members and to Fortune 100 companies to urge them to stop aiding this widespread discrimination in the industry.

One way to address this disparity is by awarding scholarships to African American undergraduate and graduate students majoring in advertising and by providing leadership and career development support.

Mr. Kim L. Hunter has been doing just that since 1998, as the founder and chairman of The Lagrant Foundation (TLF), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations by providing scholarships, career development workshops, internships, professional development and mentors to African American, Asian/Pacific Island American, Native American and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate and graduate students.

Yesterday the foundation announced that it is now accepting applications for $100,000 in scholarships for the 2009/2010 academic year. Applications must be submitted to TLF by Friday, February 27, for consideration.

Here’s more info via the press release:

"In an effort to increase ethnic minority representation in the communications industry, TLF awards $5,000 scholarships to undergraduate students and $10,000 scholarships to graduate students.

'"It is important to help ethnic minority students achieve their education goals and help guide them toward their future careers," said Founder/Chairman of TLF, Mr. Kim L. Hunter. "By doing this, TLF is helping to create diversity within the advertising, marketing and public relations industries and reflect the society we live in.'"

Since its inception, the foundation has awarded a total of $770,000 to 136 students nationwide. In 2009, TLF will celebrate its 11th Anniversary Scholarship Recognition Reception and Awards Program in New York City. The scholarship recipients will participate in a day-long career development workshop and have the opportunity to meet with industry professionals."

For scholarship requirements and to apply, visit the website at, or contact Ericka Avila, Programs Manager, at 323.469.8680, ext. 233.

Source: Press release