Monday, August 31, 2009

Actor/Producer Tyler Perry Announces Foundation to Support D.C. Non Profit


Good news for the folks in the D.C. area! The ABC show 'Extreme Makeover' was in my hometown recently to renovate the Fishing School, a non profit youth development organization that provides academic and cultural enrichment to children and families in Washington, D.C. Via Press Release:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" "moved that bus" this afternoon to reveal a completely rebuilt Fishing School. Surrounded by hundreds of volunteers and neighbors, school Founder Tom Lewis and Executive Director Leo Givs were overwhelmed with emotion as they gazed at their new child and family support center.

Concurrent with the reveal, Millicent Williams, President and CEO of the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, awarded The Fishing School a grant in the amount of $50,000.

The Wachovia Foundation, of Wachovia Bank, matched the grant with an additional $50,000.

"At Wachovia, we believe that investing in young people is the most effective way to strengthen entire communities," said George Swygert, Wachovia regional president for Greater Washington, D.C. "We support The Fishing School because it's a place parents can feel good about sending their children. It's a place where kids can learn, play, and just be kids...and a place where community is built. We're proud to support this stellar organization as it affects change in the lives of more children through its new, expanded facility."

Actor/Producer Tyler Perry, who was in D.C. with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" as a celebrity volunteer, was so moved by Mr. Lewis and mission of The Fishing School, he announced that he was personally forming a foundation to support the school.

Thank you Mr.Perry!

Source: The Fishing School

Friday, August 28, 2009

'On Our Toes' Continues Reign As Premier African American Cultural Event in the Hamptons


New York’s First Lady Michelle Paterson Lends Support to the Arts in the Hamptons

Southampton, NY Aug 22 - On Our Toes in The Hamptons, the 6th annual fundraiser for Ronald K. Brown’s world acclaimed Evidence, A Dance Company, proved to be once again one of the most electrifying cultural events of the summer season.

Held this year at the Watermill, NY estate of the Honorable Bernard Jackson and his wife Joyce Mullins-Jackson, vice chairman of the Evidence Board of Directors, the late afternoon fete drew over 300 luminaries from across the country including the First Lady of New York, Michelle Paterson, award winning actress, Lynn Whitfield, Christian Dior President Stephane Barraque, Uptown Magazine’s Jocelyn Taylor, National Cares Mentoring Movement Founder Susan L. Taylor, and scores more of the Hamptons and New York’s most glittering movers and shakers.

BlackGivesBack attended this event, which proved to live up to its reputation as the premier African American cultural event in the Hamptons. In photo: Event hosts Joyce Mullins-Jackson (who told me she's a subscriber to BlackGivesBack!), her husband the Honorable Bernard Jackson, and Jocelyn Taylor of Uptown Magazine.

The very social Alicia Bythewood chaired the event which began with drinks poolside under bright sunny skies. Guests munched on a dazzling array of seafood appetizers from The Seafood Shop including Spicy mini crab cakes to the quintessential Hamptons treat tiny lobster rolls washing it all down with chilled Veuve Clicquot Champagne or the specially created 10 Cane Rum Toe Tapper.

Ms. Bythewood led a dynamic committee that assisted her in this event including fashion designer b Michael, Gail Monroe Perry, Harriet Michel, Brian and Mira Mullins, Ronald K. Brown, Donna Williams, Reginald Van Lee, Neil R. Lowe, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Reggie Canal, Leslie Mays, Zaid Abdul-Aleem, Dwayne Ashley, Monica F. Azare, Joanne E. Hill, Andrea Hoffman, Sandra D. Jackson-Dumont, James Sullivan, Jocelyn Taylor, Ancy Verdier, and Lisa B. Walker.

There were numerous luxury items auctioned off including dazzling bejeweled Christian Dior watches which Jocelyn Taylor modeled, a one of a kind pen created to commemorate Mathew Henson, the first African-American to reach the South Pole and a once-in-a lifetime chance to go behind the scenes with the famed Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. As well, many wonderful luxury items and once in a lifetime experiences are still available for bidding through September 2 on www.charitybuzz.com such as lunch with legendary Essence Magazine editor Susan L. Taylor and a private clarinet lesson from world renowned musician Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.





Major sponsors Noel Hankin, Susan L. Taylor and Stephane Barraque, President of Christian Dior

The highlight of the event was the performance by Ronald K. Brown who danced the powerful “For You” to Donny Hathaway’s popular tune “A Song for You” sung live by Gordon Chambers. The afternoon closed with the spirited and emotional “Walk Out the Dark” performed by four members of the company. At the end of the dance, Brown and the rest of the company joined the dancers on stage for an impromptu dance finale that incorporated the audience.


In addition to public performances, Evidence sponsors outreach programs, workshops, master classes and educational activities for dance enthusiasts of all ages. The Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization founded by Choreographer and Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown tours to some 30 communities around the world annually. It has also traveled overseas to Cuba, Brazil, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Mexico and Senegal to perform. For more information about Evidence and its 25th Anniversary activities visit www.evidencedance.com.

The Evidence Board of Directors

Evidence, A Dance Company with Executive Director Bruce Michael

Prince Kunle Omilana and Princess Keisha Omilana; Brie Bythewood and Alicia Bythewood

Despite the current economic stress, Evidence received extraordinarily generous support for the event from sponsors HSBC Premier, 10 Cane Rum/Moet Hennessey, Prudential, Continental Airlines, Essence, Abyssinian Development Corporation and Uptown Magazine. Christian Dior provided gift bags, that included a Sean John cap and Carol's Daughter shea butter body lotion (I am now such a fan of this line). The media sponsor was Hamptons.com and the event was coordinated by The JFM Group.

Following cocktails African drummers led the way through the dense woods to the massive party tent transformed into an island paradise by interior designer Anthony Bell and Deanna Annis of The Furniture Garden. Former CBS Early Show co-host Rene Syler emceed the afternoon’s proceedings with a comedic flair. The delightful Syler introduced the company’s new executive director Bruce Michael, who announced plans for the troupe’s upcoming 25th anniversary season in 2010, including a State Department sponsored tour of Africa, performances at the Vancouver International Dance Festival, a marvelous book chronicling the troupe’s 25 year journey, and a major gala in late winter.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mattie C. Stewart Foundation Rolls Out National 'Choice Bus' to Fight Dropout Rate


Last year, BlackGivesBack featured posts on the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, founded by African American business executive Shellie Stewart (in photo above, center) in honor of his mother, Mattie C. Stewart. The foundation's mission is to create tools and resources to help educators, community leaders and parents effectively address the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate. Our first post highlighted their innovative Choice Bus, that uses a school bus as a "jail cell" to encourage youth to stay in school and graduate. Our second post shared the good news that AT&T donated $50,000 toward their efforts in North Carolina. Now, the foundation has announced their nationwide expansion of 10 Choice Buses to help fight the nation's dropout epidemic.

Via Press Release: The Choice Bus, a tool developed by The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation to help educators, administrators, parents and community leaders increase the graduation rate, allows students to see firsthand the importance of the choices they make -- especially the choice to finish school. The bus, an interactive experience-based learning tool that is half-classroom and half-prison cell, demonstrates the powerful benefits of education along with the likely consequence that await those who choose to drop out -- a life of crime.

Since its inception, The Choice Bus has impacted over 53,000 children across the United States. Its overwhelming success created demand for additional buses to respond to hundreds of requests from across the country. The second bus, Choice Two, was dedicated this month to serve the southeastern region of the country.

Furthering its mission to reach students on a national level, The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation acquired 10 buses to be converted and start visiting schools across the country in 2010 and 2011.

"America can no longer ignore the dropout problem facing our communities," said Dr. Shelley Stewart, President and Founder of The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation. "Twenty five years ago we were the world leaders in high school graduation, but not any longer. We must all work together to create innovative and effective methods to help students and their families understand the relevance of education in the real world. The Choice Bus does that and much, much more. With today's announcement along with the support of our partners, we'll soon have 10 Choice Buses visiting schools and communities in all regions of the country."

The Foundation partners with America's Promise Alliance, the National Dropout Prevention Center and Communities In Schools. "America's Promise Alliance is excited to be a partner with The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation and their expansion of The Choice Bus fleet," said Alma Powell, Chair of America's Promise Alliance. "The addition of 10 more Choice Buses will make this tool accessible to many more communities across the country. We applaud The Foundation for fulfilling the promise of America for so many children and youth."

Visit the website at www.mattiecstewart.org to view impactful videos of the Choice Bus and for more information.

Source: Press Release/PRNewswire/Photo: Flickr

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jackie Robinson Foundation Hosts 4th Annual JAZZ on the Grass Benefit

Rachel Robinson (2nd from left), widow of baseball great Jackie Robinson at the 2009 Jackie Robinson Foundation annual awards dinner, with honorees Robert Redford, Dr. Ben Carson and Robin Roberts, March 16, 2009

(Los Angeles, Aug 24)-The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), a premier scholarship organization that supports deserving college students with financial need, will host the 4th Annual JAZZ on the Grass benefit concert (JAZZ) on Saturday, October 3, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Held at the private Sherman Oaks estate of noted director and producer Oz and Lynne Scott, JAZZ features three-time Grammy Award winner James Ingram and a list of nationally and internationally-renowned artists including multi-Grammy nominated recording artist Patrice Rushen, Grammy and Tony nominated singer/songwriter Brenda Russell, and world-class drummer and percussionist Ndugu.

"JAZZ on the Grass reflects the Foundation's mission to empower and uplift deserving college students," said Della Britton Baeza, President & CEO of JRF. "In today's challenging economic climate, students need financial and strategic support now more than ever. JAZZ allows us to enhance and expand the comprehensive resources that we provide to our bright Scholars."

Rooted in the Robinson legacy of promoting social causes through art, JAZZ on the Grass boasts four hours of live musical performances, wonderful cuisine, and a silent auction. Hosted again this year by Mistress of Ceremonies, Pat Prescott of 94.7 The WAVE, JAZZ raises funds for JRF to continue its all-encompassing commitment to young people, including the provision of financial support, mentoring, professional development, internship and job placement, and the imparting of practical life skills. With nearly a 100 percent graduation rate, JRF has earned the distinction as one of the nation's most effective scholarship organizations.

"It is with incredible honor and enthusiasm that we open our home in support of such a remarkable cause," said Event Chair Oz Scott who heads the JAZZ Host Committee, which includes Bill Cosby, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Salli Richardson, Dondre Whitfield, and Kenny Rankin (posthumously) to name a few. "The Jackie Robinson legacy is synonymous with advancement and empowerment. Lynne and I take extraordinary pride in our alignment with such an important organization."

Although new to the west coast, JAZZ on the Grass' historic roots span nearly five decades. Inspired by the March on Washington, Jackie and Rachel Robinson organized their first jazz concert at their home in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1963 to raise bail money for jailed civil rights activists including the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The high-profile concert attracted some of the most iconic names in jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Dizzy Gillespie. After Jackie Robinson's death in 1972, the concert became an east coast JRF fundraiser, eventually becoming a signature west coast event when the Foundation opened its Los Angeles home in 2005. West coast performers have included Lalah Hathaway, Marcus Miller, Brian McKnight, Dave Koz, Jeffrey Osborne, Patti Austin, and George Duke.

JAZZ on the Grass also features the soaring musical talents of JRF Scholars, including saxophonists Anthony Diamond and Julian Clarkson, jazz percussionist Taylor Moore, and songstress Amanda Patterson. In addition to serving as ambassadors of Robinson's legacy, this academically gifted group will grace the stage and display the diverse talent of JRF scholarship recipients.

Corporate sponsors include Ford Motor Company, American Airlines, CBS Corporation, Hennessy, New Era Cap Company, Broadway Federal Bank, ESPN Zone LA LIVE, UCLA, Anheuser-Busch, Nordstrom, City National Bank and Pepsi.

For additional information or to purchase tickets to this limited-seating engagement, please contact ELMS Entertainment at 323-936-5052. For artist updates or to purchase tickets online, please visit www.jackierobinson.org/events/lajazz.php.
See related posts HERE and HERE.


Source: Press Release

Monday, August 24, 2009

F.A.C.E. Diabetes: Grammy-Nominated R&B Sensation Angie Stone Teams up With the American Diabetes Association


The Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) Diabetes campaign is a grassroots movement empowering African Americans to help individuals, families, and neighborhoods overcome key barriers to success in living with diabetes. The disease affects more than three million African-Americans nationwide.

Supported by Eli Lilly and Company, corporate partners, national advocacy groups and local community organizations, the campaign's goal is to help foster behavioral and attitudinal changes in areas critical to success in managing diabetes such as nutrition/cooking, physical activity, health, and overall well- being. Lilly and the F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign are helping African Americans with diabetes learn to better manage a disease that can lead to devastating complications if left uncontrolled.

Grammy-nominated R&B singer Angie Stone is partnering with the American Diabetes Association in their efforts to raise awareness about the diabetes epidemic facing the African-American community. She has been traveling to cities around the country since 2007 to inspire others by sharing how she personally manages the day-to-day challenges of living with diabetes.

On August 29th, the 11th Annual Victory Over Diabetes event will kick off in Atlanta with a performance by Angie Stone. This free day-long event, also supported by Aetna, educates and empowers African-Americans living with diabetes to better manage the disease by providing educational tools and culturally relevant resources.

Victory Over Diabetes will take place from 7:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 29 at the Georgia International Convention Center (2000 Convention Ct. Concourse, College Park, GA 30337). Features include: A series of diabetes-focused workshops, keynote speakers, and free health screenings; "Fearlessly Fit with Diabetes" special session featuring Angie Stone and highlighting the importance of physical activity as part of overall diabetes management; and a $50,000 check presentation by corporate sponsor Aetna in support of the Atlanta ADA's African-American-focused initiatives.

"I'm thrilled to bring the F.A.C.E. Diabetes movement back to my hometown of Atlanta as part of Victory Over Diabetes," said Stone. "Due, in part, to what I've learned through the campaign, I've made some great strides in better managing my own diabetes. I hope my story can motivate others, which is why I'm encouraging everyone to come out to this free event."

For additional information about the F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign and events, visit http://www.face-diabetes.com/.

Sources: Press Release (PRNewswire) and Website

Thursday, August 20, 2009

6th Annual Zo's Million Dollar Shoot Out Raises Funds for NJ Mentoring Programs

WESTCHESTER, NY - NBA champion, author, and nationally recognized philanthropist, Alonzo Mourning, was joined by other like-minded golf enthusiasts and supporters of youth initiatives on the golf course for the 6th annual Zo's Million Dollar Shootout giving one lucky golfer the chance to win $1,000,000 benefiting Alonzo Mourning Charities. Sponsored by TractManager and International Oil Trading Company, golfers tee’d off at noon on Monday, August 17th, 2009 at the Trump National Golf Club at Briarcliff Manor in New York. The event raised $100,000 this year.

Zo’s Million Dollar Shootout has been a staple golf outing for the past five years, where golfers not only come out to compete for the chance at one million dollars, but also to support the programs of Alonzo Mourning Charities. The foundation empowers and educates today’s youth through various enrichment services that help further stimulate the educational development of children residing in low socioeconomic communities. This year, Alonzo Mourning Charities presented a $50,000 donation to Mentoring USA, a program offering important mentoring relationships for children ages 7 through 21 with differing levels of education and social challenges. Mentoring USA provides inspirational adult mentors to guide youth in developing better self-esteem, healthy relationships and making positive life choices.

“The generous award given during a time when so many youth-serving organizations are facing fiscal challenges is truly a blessing. This grant will allow us to expand our comprehensive mentoring program services in Newark, New Jersey while supporting a true community champion and visionary, Mayor Cory Booker, said Stephen Powell, Executive Director of Mentoring USA.

Friend and supporter, Dwyane Wade, joined Mourning at the Million Dollar Hole for the day. Also joining Mourning on the course were Chris Duhon (New York Knicks), Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons), Bonzi Wells (Shanxi Xhongyu); former NBA players John Starks, Allan Houston, Charles Smith, Ron Harper; former NFL players Brian Kelly, Carl Banks, Bruce Smith, Lawrence Taylor; former MLB player Kenny Lofton; and New York Knicks coach Herb Williams.

“It was great to see so many of our friends and supporters out on the greens today. Even though we didn’t find our million dollar winner, just getting out here and sharing our mission with everyone makes the day worthwhile, said Mourning, Founder of Alonzo Mourning Charities. The support our guests provide really helps advance our mission. With increased financial resources, we’re able to change the lives of so many deserving children through education and mentoring.”

Photo: Alonzo Mourning with Donald Trump at the 2007 Zo's Million Dollar Shoot Out/Wireimage
Source: PQConcepts

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Insider: Cameron Miles

The summer of 2009 has been a violent one in the city of Baltimore. In just one month, twelve people were shot at a neighborhood cookout, and a five year old girl was shot in the head and critically injured, allegedly at the hands of a juvenile. This young man had a long criminal record, with 15 arrests by the age of 17. At the time of the shooting, he was being monitored by the city's Department of Juvenile Services on home detention. Meet our latest insider, Cameron Miles, and read on to learn about his efforts to help young men in the city of Baltimore.

Occupation: Organizing Director, Advocates for Children and Youth and the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition. In this position, Miles is responsible for organizing and informing the legislature, business community, faith community, and parents and youth for a safer juvenile justice system.

Founder and Director, Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood. A group mentoring program for males ages 8-18 in Baltimore

Education: Bachelors Degree in Business Management, Coppin State College, Baltimore; Masters Degree in Legal and Ethical Studies, University of Baltimore, Maryland

Since 1996, Cameron Miles has been reaching in his own pocket to finance his mentoring program, Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood. Mentoring has been shown to have a positive impact on youth deemed at risk, and Miles is up to the challenge. His program provides opportunities for the youth, called Kings, to visit college campuses to hear from black males who were once in the streets and are now college students. The program has taken the Kings on recreational excursions and on visits to professional men in the community, such as Dr. Carnell Cooper. And Miles himself has frank discussions with the Kings about making the right choices, choosing the right friends, and the consequences when one does not.

Many of the Kings in the program do not have a father in their lives. When asked about this, Miles shares, “This causes a great void. I cannot replace or imitate anyone's father and never try to. I just try to let my actions and words show them that a strong man cares about them and genuinely wants to see them do well in whatever they choose to excel in.

Many of the Kings are angry because they do not have a father figure in their lives. Women are great and great nurturers, but cannot show a male King how to be a man. As far as school is concerned, I believe they would try even harder if they had their biological father pushing and encouraging them. There is an innate sense of pride that male children have when their fathers signal approval. Because that is missing in so many of their lives, it will affect them. That is why I try to do so much at the mentoring program. We give an incentive for report cards. For every "A" they receive in core subjects, they get $20 dollars.

We also talk about relationships and have workshops on the same. The real issue as it relates to relationships is that they are missing that "father" to model for them as it relates to how a man should treat a woman. I also do my best to let them see how I interact with their mothers and women in general.”

Providing mentoring programs such as Mentoring Males Teens in the Hood would seem like one obvious solution to saving our young black men. But offering these activities comes at a cost. Miles shares that sustaining his program is difficult, “I have a full time job and so does everyone who helps me. I beg a lot. I write letters asking for money, and sometimes we get people who are willing to help write a grant.” Next month, the program is hosting a fundraiser at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore with a goal of raising $20,000 to support ongoing events and programs:

Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood Fundraiser & Museum Tour
Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 5:30-8:30 pm
Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 East Pratt Street, Baltimore
Admission: $60
For more information about the event, call 410-547-9200 x 3002, and visit the website at www.mentoringmaleteens.org.

To read Cameron’s thoughts about the need for more services and more accountability in Maryland's juvenile system and to participate in the discussion, visit the Baltimore Open Society Institute’s blog HERE.

Kids for King Education Initiative

To the Kids of America from the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation: As part of our effort to build the Memorial, beginning August 25, 2009 we invite you to be a part of history by participating in our Kids for King Education Initiative. It’s easy to enter. Just write an essay, create a piece of art, or produce a short video expressing what you have learned about Dr. King’s ideals of Democracy, Justice, Love and Hope as well as how you plan to carry the legacy forward.

Mark your calendar for August 25, 2009 to visit KidsForKing.org to participate. If your essay, art, or video entry is selected, you will be recognized on a trip to Washington, D.C. accompanied by your legal guardian in the fall of 2010.

Visit http://www.kidsforking.org/ for more information.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Photos of the Day & Upcoming Events

Justine Simmons of MTV's Run's House, poses during a book signing for "Words of Wisdom: Daily Affirmations of Faith from Run's House to Yours" at Borders on August 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Actor/comedian Steve Harvey (R) and his wife Marjorie Harvey arrive at the seventh annual Hoodie Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, August 15, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Hoodie Awards honors local businesses, religious and community leaders, churches and high schools for their excellence, and contributions to communities throughout the country. Harvey is also the author of the NY Times best seller, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man.



Two ladies who have graced our top black celebrity philanthropists list in 2008: Tracy Mourning (right) and Jaci Wilson Reid (left). Reid hosted a baby shower for Mourning at Guerlain Spa in The Waldorf Towers on August 16, 2009 in New York City.

Chris Rock and Nia Long (center) of the documentary 'Good Hair' with Hair Wars winner James Gatson (L) and Kevin Kirk (R) at The Bronner Brothers Hair Show on August 16, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. View a snippet from the documentary on Black Voices HERE.

The Communicating Arts Credit Union (CACU), a Detroit credit union was recently honored with he inaugural "Outstanding Credit Union of the Year" award by the Michigan Credit Union League. Servicing those who live, work and worship in the City of Detroit, which equates to a member base of 90% plus African Americans, CACU has become a place of not only financial services, but a place where people feel comfortable and welcomed. CACU offers programs and services that no other banking institution offers and believes in servicing its members and the community to the highest degree. The non-profit organization was selected amongst a competitive pool of Michigan credit unions due to its innovative, out-of-the-box community-focused and financial literacy initiatives, as well as its efforts in the areas of legislative advocacy, public relations/marketing, and membership outreach. Ninety eight percent of their staff is African American.

UPCOMING EVENTS

 
New York: On Our Toes in the Hamptons, the annual performance and fundraising gala featuring Evidence, A Dance Company, one of the world’s premier professional dance companies, returns for a sixth year, Saturday August 22, 2009, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the home of the Honorable Bernard Jackson & Joyce Mullins-Jackson in Watermill, NY.

In just six years, On Our Toes in The Hamptons, the dream of Susan L. Taylor (author & Editorial Director Emerita Essence Magazine) and Reginald Van Lee (Sr. V.P., Booz Allen Hamilton) has evolved to become the only continuous, major African American cultural event of the Hamptons summer season. The mission of Evidence is to promote understanding of the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling.

Alicia Bythewood of Sag Harbor and New York is the Chairman, and her committee includes fashion designer b Michael, Gail Monroe Perry, Harriet Michel, Brian and Mira Mullins, Ronald K. Brown, Donna Williams, Reginald Van Lee, Neil R. Lowe, Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Reggie Canal, Leslie Mays, Zaid Abdul-Aleem, Dwayne Ashley, Monica F. Azare, Joanne E. Hill, Andrea Hoffman, Sandra D. Jackson-Dumont, James Sullivan, Jocelyn Taylor, Ancy Verdier, and Lisa B. Walker.

Tickets are $250 & $500: Sponsor packages are $25,000, $15,000, $10,000, $7,500, $5,000 and $2,500. For tickets and sponsorships contact Alexandra Diaz, JFM Group at 914.235.1490 ex. 16 or alexd@thejfmgroup.com. For more information on Evidence, A Dance Company and the event visit www.evidencedance.com

Chicago: United Negro College Fund 26th Annual Walk for Education
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Location: Burnham Park, Grove 2 - Located on South Lake Shore Drive at 31st Street
Food, Fun & Music
Register at http://give.uncf.org/ChicagoWalk or call 312-845-2200

Washington, D.C. Area
The independent film “Misunderstandings” will hold its red carpet premiere on Sunday August 23, 2009, 5:00 pm, at the Cinema Arts Theatre located at 9650 Main Street in Fairfax, Virginia. Tickets are $10.

Why is this independent film so special? In addition to dedicating this film to five very special women who lost their battles to cancer, profits from this film will be donated to cancer research. It is estimated that almost 270,000 women will die from cancer and approximately 713,000 NEW cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2009. Having a personal connection to all 5 women, Executive Producer Neeta Wooten hopes that this contribution will aid in continuing to decrease these numbers.

“Misunderstandings” is a dramatic film about a professional woman (Nicole) who walks in on her new fiancé (Rasan) in bed with another woman. Rasan insists it’s a “misunderstanding” and both of their friends collectively ridicule, tease and give very detrimental advice regarding what they should do turning the situation from bad to worse. The more Nicole tries to believe Rasan her efforts are combated with evidence to the contrary which makes them both question the worth and future of their relationship.
“While the storyline of the movie has nothing to do with cancer, it was placed in my heart to put the cause at the forefront of the film because of the magnitude of the impact the deaths have had on my life over the course of creating this project. These 5 women are Kim Pelt, Tiffani Handy, Jennifer Wooten, Tania Wharton and Garcia Gabriel Johnson. Each one is uniquely missed, but I do hope this helps to honor their memory, even if in a small way,” said Neeta Wooten.
Read more about the cast and the film HERE.

Junior Achievement of Georgia Students Win 2009 FedEx Global Access Award

Student entrepreneurs blend successful international trade strategies with charitable causes

Via Press Release: “Jump 4 a Cause,” a Junior Achievement (JA) student-company team representing Junior Achievement of Georgia, won the first FedEx Global Access Award at the North American JA Company of the Year Competition held recently in Boston. The students successfully marketed a 2GB USB flash drive bracelet through a cause-related campaign. Jump 4 a Cause—as evaluated by a special FedEx jury— presented the best business plan incorporating concepts related to international trade, resource management, environmental sustainability and global market expansion.

The competition is Junior Achievement’s annual celebration of the accomplishments of JA Company Program students, ages 15-19, in the United States and Canada. During participation in the JA Company Program, students start and run their own businesses with support from volunteers from their local business community. They devise a product and then market and produce it while working to realize a profit for their shareholders. The program currently impacts 322,000 students a year globally.

The JA of Georgia teens sold their flash drive bracelets, imprinted with the company name and slogan “Jump 4 a Cause,” with a specific mission in mind. The students wanted to provide a product that “jumps at the chance to elevate humanity, awareness, and helping other organizations that assist the community”—in this instance, addressing the causes of AIDS, breast cancer, and the Make a Wish Foundation. When purchasing a flash drive, the consumer received a pre-loaded PowerPoint presentation about the three charities that received 20 percent of the student company’s revenue.

“FedEx is proud to award ‘Jump 4 a Cause’ the first Global Access Award in North America,” said Rose Jackson Flenorl, manager, FedEx Global Citizenship. “The team did a masterful job overcoming global trade challenges and delivered an innovative new product designed to give back to charitable organizations. These young people well represented JA and the Atlanta community.”

About JA Worldwide® (Junior Achievement)Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today, 131 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional five million students served by operations in 123 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.ja.org.

Source and Photo: GlobalHue

McDonald's USA President Don Thompson to be Honored with Civic Leadership Award

Don Thompson, President of McDonald's USA, will be honored with the 2009 Distinguished Civic Leadership Award by Access Community Health Network (ACCESS) at its 6th Annual Awards Dinner for Distinguished Civic Leadership. The awards dinner will be held on Monday, September 21, 2009, 5:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago.

ACCESS is Chicagoland’s largest private primary health care provider to the underserved and the nation’s largest community health center organization. Mr. Thompson is being honored for his outstanding civic leadership and commitment to improving the quality of life for children and families in the greater Chicagoland area.

In Chicago, Mr. Thompson serves on Mayor Richard Daley’s Task Force on the Employment of People with Disabilities, and on the board of the Goodman Theatre. Thompson is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council and mentors several individuals on the importance of being a leader in their community. He also serves on the board of the Johnetta B. Cole Foundation.

In 2008, Mr. Thompson received the Corporate Executive award from the Trumpet Foundation and Black Enterprise magazine recognized him as Corporate Executive of the Year for 2007. He was also celebrated by the Chicago American Diabetes Association as Father of the Year.

Phil Ponce, host of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight program and award-winning journalist, will serve as master of ceremonies for the awards dinner. Tickets are $375, and the event is open to the public. Corporate sponsorships are still available. A portion of the ticket is tax deductible, and proceeds will benefit the 215,000 uninsured and underinsured patients that ACCESS serves throughout its network of 51 community health centers.

For ticket and corporate sponsorship information, call Lauren Holhut at 773.257.6425 or email at hollau@accesscommunityhealth.net.

Visit the Web site at http://www.accesscommunityhealth.net/.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

FeedingDreams.com: Vote For Your Favorite African-American Community Champion And Help Support Their Charitable Efforts


COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS CELEBRATED THROUGH GENERAL MILLS, INC. FEEDING DREAMS™ PROGRAM

Via Press Release: Following on the heels of last year's inaugural Feeding Dreams™ initiative to celebrate everyday heroes who are doing extraordinary things to improve communities, General Mills is proudly serving up seconds and expanding its reach to help recognize African-Americans who are selflessly volunteering to make their communities better in four southern cities: Birmingham, Charlotte, Memphis and Norfolk. The successful grassroots program highlights 12 Community Champions who invest their time, energy and talents to improve African-American communities at the local level.

In the photo (from top L to R):Gregg Shivers, one of three 2009 Feeding Dreams™ Community Champions from Norfolk, VA; Chauniece Conner, one of three 2009 Feeding Dreams™ Community Champions from Memphis, TN; LaJune White Dyess, one of three 2009 Feeding Dreams™ Community Champions from Birmingham, AL; and Kym Gordon Moore, one of three 2009 Feeding Dreams™ Community Champions from Charlotte, NC.

To learn more about these Community Champions, visit the website at FeedingDreams.com to vote once per day for your favorite Community Champion. The individual who garners the most votes in each city will receive a $5,000 grant to benefit the charity of his or her choice, followed by the second- and third-place champions who will receive $2,000 and $1,000 grants respectively. The site will feature original photography and compelling stories of each Community Champion. All 12 nominees will receive a $500 check card as acknowledgement of their individual commitment to community service. The site also features portraits and profiles photographed by nationally acclaimed photographer Michael Cunningham, of several of last year's Feeding Dreams Champions: Kerri Pruitt of Birmingham; Wavey Williams of Charlotte; and Sandy Bordueax of Memphis.

"We’re celebrating a handful of our brightest community stars, our civic engineers. Their shared dream for a better future comes closer to reality with every foster child they reach out to, every homeless family they support and every person in peril they believe in," said Susan L. Taylor, Feeding Dreams spokesperson and editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine and founder of the national Cares Mentoring Movement. "I am inspired by their leadership and energized by their work. These champions show that with vision, passion and a plan, we can restore our communities and change our world."

For 2010, Feeding Dreams wants to expand to more communities. Visit the site and tell them why your community should be next!

Source and Photo: PRNewswire

Congratulations to our Book Giveaway Winners!


Thank you to everyone who entered the book giveaway contest for A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age In Prison.

The winners are:

NaTanya L., Mt. Rainier, MD
Lillian L., Castro Valley, CA
Kandace W., Richardson, TX

Read more about the book HERE.

A Question of Freedom is available at Amazon and other major book retailers.

A very special thanks to Avery Books/Penguin Group for providing the books!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Photos of the Day

Washington Councilman and former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry (aka ‘Mayor for Life’ as he’s affectionately known in DC) attended the HBO documentary screening of “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry” at the HBO Theater on August 6, 2009 in New York City. The documentary premiered this past Monday, but will re-air throughout the month. Check HBO.com for upcoming dates/times.

These young ladies are great role models and savvy entrepreneurs! Vanessa Simmons and Angela Simmons attend Pastry "Turnover" Shoes by Angela and Vanessa Simmons from MTV's 'Run's House' and 'Daddy's Girls' Launch Event at Sportie LA on August 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Recording artist Ciara (center) attends the Staples Do Something 101 School Supply Drive at Children's Aid Society Dunlevy Milbank Boys and Girls Club on August 4, 2009 in New York City.

If you watched part one of CNN’s Black in America 2, you’ll remember seeing Steve Perry (on right), principal of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut, where 100% of the students go on to college. Perry is pictured with his family at "CNN's Moment of Truth: The Countdown to Black in America 2" live from the Times Square broadcast on July 22, 2009 in New York City.

During the show, Perry voiced that a main issue in the destruction of the educational system is the lack of parental involvement.  He’s written a new book titled ‘Raggedy Schools’ and in it – he blames educators and parents. He’s been chastised for blaming parents, particularly African American parents, but he shares in an article, "If I as an African-American cannot say that black parents need to be involved, then there is no hope for moving our community forward in education or any area." Visit his website at http://www.raggedyschools.com/.

Photos: Wireimage

Monday, August 10, 2009

The National Black Arts Festival Hosts 2009 Annual Gala

Samuel L. Jackson, Latonya Jackson, Stephanie Hughley, Neil Barclay, Victoria Rowell-Bailey and Radcliffe Bailey attend the National Black Arts Festival's 2009 Gala

On Saturday, August 1, 2009, hundreds turned out for the National Black Arts Festival’s (NBAF) annual gala at America's Mart in Atlanta, GA. The star-studded event celebrated the longtime service and dedication of outgoing NBAF executive director Stephanie Hughley, while welcoming incoming chief executive officer, Neil Barclay, former leader of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh.

Special guests included artists Radcliffe Bailey and Carrie Mae Weems; actors Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anna Maria Horsford and Victoria Rowell, along with presenting sponsors UPS, Gerard Gibbons, and the Deputy Consul-General Carlos Vizioli & Mrs. Vizioli from the Brazilian Consulate in Atlanta.



Dr. Eric and Mrs. Nancy Brown; Ingrid Saunders-Jones, Chairperson of the Coca Cola Foundation and Dr. Richard A. Long

Created in 1996, the Gala has become the ‘must attend’ affair of the annual summer event produced by NBAF. Each year, the Gala focuses on a different theme that is representative of the diversity of the art, culture and creativity of people of African descent. This year’s "Brazilian Cool" themed event featured Brazilian entertainers, food and décor, which permitted guests to turn out in their colorful favorites.



Samuel L. Jackson and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas; Charles Green and Kathy Harris

Twenty-one years ago the idea of an arts festival dedicated to artists of African descent was placed in the hands of the visionary leaders, and the NBAF was born. The organization is recognized as a national treasure presenting music, dance, theater, film, literary arts and visual arts from the African Diaspora. The mission of NBAF is to engage, cultivate and educate diverse audiences about the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for artistic and creative expression.

The Gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser and proceeds from the event benefit the year-round programs, art education and a summer art festival that attracts people from around the world.

Source: M-Squared Public Relations
Photo credit: OPM Photography

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Insider: Keisha Omilana


In the latest installment of ‘The Insider’ series, meet Keisha Omilana, a fashion designer and model who is known as the ‘Pantene Girl,’ as she is the first African American woman to be featured in three consecutive commercials. Originally hailing from Inglewood, California, she earned her fashion degree in Chicago and soon began a successful career as a fashion model. Keisha has worked with major brands such as L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon and Cover Girl. In addition to her modeling career, Keisha is a wife, mother and businesswoman. She along with her husband own Wonderful Brand, a multifaceted business encompassing fashion, television and the Internet.

Read on to learn how Keisha merged her love of fashion and film with philanthropy, her charitable efforts in Africa, and her thoughts on the media’s impact on young girls:

Share more about your company, the Wonderful Brand, and its philanthropic efforts in Africa:

When I met my husband Kunle, I admired his pride in his heritage and his passion for giving back to those in need. Kunle is a Nigerian prince and owns Wonderful TV and Wonderful Airline. His accomplishments inspired me to want to give more, do more and become more. So together we brainstormed on how to incorporate my fashion and film background with his achievements in international multimedia.

Hence, Wonderful Media and the Wonderful Award were created. In our first project we used our aircraft to deliver food and goods to the bush areas of Nigeria – some of the poorest and most needy areas of Nigeria where commercial aircraft never go.

We are currently assisting clergy from all over Africa build their congregations. Additionally, we assist unknown but very talented designers from all over the world in getting much needed exposure. We help national media and entertainment companies expand their brands internationally through our network of international business leaders and through Wonderful TV.

We are currently developing the Wonderful Award to launch in 2010. The Wonderful Award will honor corporations and corporate executives who give back to the black community.

Many young girls today are growing up with negative influences, such as music videos and songs that demean them. As a successful model, what are your thoughts on how we can help young girls, particularly girls of color, grow up in today's society to have a positive image of themselves?

I believe confidence starts at home and sometimes in the DNA. I know some may disagree with what I'm about to say but I'm going to say it any way! When I was a teen I LOVED rap and hip hop. My sister was into Mariah Carey and I was into Tupac. But listening to that music and running home to see the videos never made me feel the need to do, say, act, or be any of those girls. In fact, I always thought it was funny and very entertaining. But you see, I had a very involved mother and a very religious father (who, by the way, hated what I was listening to) so I knew who I was, I knew my worth, I was grounded and had a healthy dose of self esteem.

But for the girls who don't have that at home, I would just say start by loving yourself. It is important to know your uniqueness and beauty. Young girls should surround themselves with positive friends who stay out of trouble and are uplifting. Most of all, strive to have a relationship with God and Jesus Christ. If one truly has all of those things, then what is seen on TV and what is heard in music will never penetrate your positive sense of self. Look at it for what it is: pure entertainment. (In photo, Keisha with her husband Prince Kunle Omilana at a charity event earlier this year.)

What other charitable initiatives are you involved in?

I have been working with my manager to determine which philanthropic organization to donate my time to. After much research I’ve decided on former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation. To date, no president has done more for AIDS and Africa. I have always participated in various fashion shows that raise funds for The Make a Wish Foundation and recently became a supporter of Evidence, A Dance Company.

In the future, I plan to start my own foundation through our Wonderful Media brand. It will be focused on infant/toddler burn victims. It will focus on a holistic approach to dealing with accidental burns. This issue is very close to heart as my son suffered third degree burns when he was 18 months old. It is very important to understand that no matter how safe your house is, accidents can happen.

One of the projects that Keisha supports as she mentioned above is Evidence, A Dance Company. Evidence will host their annual ‘On Our Toes’ benefit in the Hamptons, Saturday, August 22, 2009. Founded by Ronald K. Brown, Evidence, A Dance Company is rooted in African dance fusing Contemporary, Jazz and Ballet with the rhythms and sounds of the African Diaspora and Caribbean cultures. The late afternoon gala will take place at the Watermill residence of The Honorable Bernard Jackson & Joyce Mullins-Jackson from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Former CBS’ “The Early Show” co-anchor & best-selling author Rene Syler will be the event’s emcee. For more information on Evidence, A Dance Company and the event visit http://www.evidencedance.com/.

Visit Keisha's website at www.keishaomilana.com.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Harlem CARES: Harlem Community Joins National Mentoring Movement

Harlem CARES, an affiliate of the National Cares Mentoring Movement founded by Susan L. Taylor, is actively seeking dedicated, caring mentors for youth in the Harlem community. Launched on June 18, 2009, they have recruited 67 potential members.

Via Uptown Flavor:

Join Susan L. Taylor and your caring neighbors as we reclaim our youngsters. Become a part of the Harlem CARES Mentor-Recruitment Movement, which is asking every able Black adult in our community to help save and secure a young life. Volunteer just one hour a week to mentoring.

Lead by Co-Chairs Rochelle Hill and Raychelle LeBlanc, the Harlem CARES Mentor-Recruitment Circle is a local affiliate of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, founded by Susan Taylor, as Essence CARES. It has grown into a coalition of trusted local and national, civic, organization, government, business, political and community leaders, committed to working together to solve the escalating crisis among our underserved young.

Harlem CARES Mentor-Training Sessions are conducted the third Tuesday (August 12, September 15th, October 20th, November 17th and December 15th) of each month at Mt. Pleasant Christian Academy, 2009 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., between 120th and 121st Streets from 7 to 9 p.m., courtesy of Mentoring USA. Please register for a Harlem Cares Mentor-Training Session by emailing NYCPrecisionPlus@aol.com. Please add, “I want to be a mentor” in the subject line and reference “Uptown Flavor” in the body of the email.

Read more on Harlem CARES and the National Mentoring Movement HERE.

In photo: Stephen Powell, executive director, Mentoring USA; Susan L. Taylor, founder, National CARES Mentoring Movement and editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence magazine; Pastor Charles D. Eatman, Sr., Mt. Pleasant Community Church and director and principal, Mt. Pleasant Christian Academy; Rochelle Hill, co-chairperson, Harlem CARES; and Aarian Pope-Punter, recruitment manager, Mentoring USA (Photo: Samir Amami/New York Photo Images via Uptown Flavor) {Thanks Stephen}

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Question of Freedom

At the age of 16, Dwayne Betts held a gun in his hands for the first time and carjacked a man with a friend. He was charged as an adult and sentenced to nine years in prison - all for $10 and two hours of joyriding. By the age of 18, Dwayne was shuffled between three prisons, serving time in the adult population as a juvenile in the worst prisons in the state of Virginia.

While in prison, Dwayne experienced many firsts: The first time he read a book cover to cover without stopping. The first time he had conversations talking to grown men. The first time he sat with men his father’s age and talked about life. The first time he was given a book of poetry, The Black Poets, by Dudley Randall. It was in prison that he decided to become a poet. In his new and profound memoir being released tomorrow, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age In Prison, he shares, “I went to prison and found creativity I’d never thought to search for on the streets.”

During his sentencing, as he stood in the courtroom, he was told by the judge, “I don’t have any illusion that the penitentiary is going to help you, but you can get something out of it if you want to.” That he did. Today, Dwayne is an accomplished and award winning poet, author, the founder of Young Men Read, a book club for young boys, as well as a vital and influential juvenile justice activist.

In A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Survival, Learning, and Coming of Age In Prison, Dwayne uses vivid detail and imagery to describe the violence that surrounded him daily, his fellow inmates that he met during his time in prison and their struggles, the correctional officers who knew him as nothing but a statistic and at times treated him as such. Throughout the book, Dwayne details long periods of time spent in solitary confinement and how those times helped to propel his love of reading. While in prison, Dwayne read countless books, wrote poetry, taught himself Spanish, and worked as a librarian, law clerk and a GED tutor.

Dwayne beat the odds. Statistics show that African American juvenile offenders have a higher recidivism rate (meaning that they are more likely to return to prison after release) than their white juvenile counterparts. So his path after prison may not be typical of your ex offender. But he shares, “I'm wary of saying what is and isn't the typical course for ex offenders - I'd say that a major difference in my journey was both the access to opportunities (working at Karibu [Bookstore] and being a student at Prince George's Community College) and a diligence on my part while I was in prison to prepare for opportunities. Also, I went into prison having been an honor student, having already understood the importance of literature and was able to envision a future for myself beyond prison walls because of those things. Then, of course, I was unbelievably blessed and fortunate not to be permanently scarred by prison.”

Dwayne took the time to e-chat with me about his advocacy efforts, what he wants young boys and others to get out of his book, and how programs can use his book in working with youth. (Also read on to win a free copy!)

In your role as spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice and as an influential juvenile justice advocate, what are the current issues for youth, particularly African American youth, and their involvement in the juvenile justice system? What is being done to address these issues?
“My primary concern, and what I believe all of us should be thinking hard on, is how to change the disproportionate number of kids of color in the system. Juvenile prosecution as adults is something we have to address - and more importantly we have to figure out a way to get the juvenile justice system not be a major part in the lives of so many young people - which means we need better, more effective models of prevention and rehabilitation.”

For a young black boy reading your book, what do you want him to take away from it?
“I want my book to start a conversation, a hundred conversations. Not just for young black boys, or boys in general, but for anyone who is willing to open up to the idea of the pleasure in a good book. Especially, for people who are looking for ways to enter into difficult conversations about race, incarceration, the importance of education and why so many people are being ruined by prison cells. My book is the start of a long conversation that can change a life.”

How can youth serving organizations use your book in program activities with young males?
“In my book I bring up a myriad of issues, I mention a number of writers, a number of story lines that made up my life. Anyone can take this and create a reading list, they can use the reading guide that has been developed for this book, and they can move to in depth conversations. Right now, the book is being used as the starting point for an essay contest.

Dwayne emphasizes that his book is not just for youth, but for everyone: "This is not just a book targeted at young people and it's important that I emphasize that this is not just about young people. This is about good literature and how good literature is enjoyable just because it is good literature and how good literature broadens the minds. If adults don't open up this book and read it and talk about it with their young people, the book cannot be as effective or powerful as I hope. It was never just the reading of books that changed my life and perspective, but the reading of books and having intelligent conversations around them. I hope my book inspires that.”

In addition to Dwayne’s advocacy work, he teaches inner city youth at the DC Creative Writing Workshop in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Prince George’s Community College in Maryland (his hometown) and the University of Maryland, he has been awarded the Holden Fellowship from Warren Wilson College, and his book of poems, Shahid Reads His Own Palm will be published in May 2010.

If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, Dwayne will be hosting a book signing at Bus Boys & Poets, 2021 14th Street, NW, D.C., August 10th at 6pm. Upcoming book signing cities include Atlanta; Oak Park, IL; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA. Visit his website at www.rdwaynebetts.com for more cities and information.

If you would like to win a copy of Dwayne’s book, send an email to blackgivesback[at]gmail.com with “book giveaway” in the subject line. The deadline to enter is TODAY!

{Special thanks to Kadeem and Lindsay at the Penguin Group for the complimentary books!}

Monday, August 3, 2009

The National Urban League Hosts "The Path to Power" Annual Conference

Dr.Michael Eric Dyson, Actor Terrence Howard, Susan Taylor and Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson attend the Young Professionals 10th Anniversary party at Hotel Sax on July 31, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois

The National Urban League held its 2009 annual conference, July 29th through August 1st in Chicago. More than 4,000 people that included influential business, community and political thought leaders from around the country participated in plenary sessions, workshops, and many other events. The League was formed in 1910 with the mission to empower African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Their five key focus areas of empowerment are education and youth, economic, health and quality of life, civic engagement and leadership, and civil rights and racial justice.

Sessions included the state of black America, tips on preventing foreclosure, how to invest in a challenging economy, how to take advantage of the new “green” economy, the importance of being counted in the 2010 census, building America’s workforce, and how to save our children.

National Urban League President Marc H. Morial and CNN's Soledad O'Brien participate in "Reclaiming the Dream" presented by CNN and Essence at Chicago Theatre on July 31, 2009


Actress and host Tracee Ellis Ross (left) and Marc Morial, his wife Michelle Miller and children attend the opening reception hosted by the Chicago Urban League for the National Urban League at The Field Museum on July 29, 2009 . Michelle Miller hosted The Women of Power Luncheon that honored extraordinary African American women.

Cheryle Jackson and Fomer NBA Star Earvin 'Magic' Johnson backstage the National Urban League Conference workshops, July 31, 2009. Johnson presented on panels discussing building America’s workforce and 21st century leadership.

Noted participants included: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Roland Martin, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, MSNBC political correspondent Michelle Bernard, EPA Administrator Lisa Perez, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, HGTV’s Kim Myles, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and many others.

A special congratulations to the Metroboard of the Chicago Urban League for being selected as the young professionals chapter of the year!

For more information on the National Urban League, and to find a chapter in your area, visit http://www.nul.org/.

Photos: Wireimage

Greater Than AIDS: New Media Effort Responds to AIDS Crisis in Black America

Via Kaiser Family Foundation: This past June, leading U.S. media companies announced a new coordinated national campaign to mobilize Black Americans in response to AIDS and promote specific calls-to-action to prevent and reduce the further spread of HIV. Greater Than AIDS – a multi-faceted campaign presented under a common brand that includes targeted public service ads (PSAs) as well as integrated messages in news, entertainment and community content – seeks to strengthen a sense of community among Black Americans in response to HIV/AIDS.

From the outset, AIDS has disproportionately affected Black Americans, who today account for nearly half of new HIV infections in this country, while representing just 12 percent of the population. Some 500,000 Black Americans are estimated to be living with HIV today — and those infected face greater barriers to care and treatment and are more likely to die of AIDS than other racial or ethnic groups.

The Greater Than AIDS campaign is being developed and distributed by the Black AIDS Media Partnership (BAMP), a coalition of leading media companies. It is being produced in collaboration with Act Against AIDS, a major five-year communications effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refocus attention on HIV and AIDS domestically.

A growing roster of media are supporting this initiative, including: American Urban Radio Networks, AOL Black Voices, CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Communications, ESSENCE Communications, the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters, the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association, and theLoop21.com, among others. According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 44 percent of Black Americans name media as their primary source of information about HIV/AIDS, far more than any other single source, including family or health care providers.

Greater Than AIDS stresses six specific actions in response to the epidemic: being informed; using condoms; getting tested — and treated, as needed; speaking openly; acting with respect; and getting involved.

“The central idea behind the campaign is to remind us as Black Americans that we are greater than any challenge we have ever faced, and that we are Greater Than AIDS as well,” said Phill Wilson, Founder and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, which is advising on the initiative. “It is about a shared responsibility in the face of AIDS – and hope for the possibility of an HIV-free future.”

Join the campaign at http://www.greaterthan.org/. Learn about the Test 1 Million campaign, and download a banner to share on your website or blog.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation