Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thank You For A Great Year!

Youth attend the Downtown Locker Room (DTLR) and hip hop artist Young Jeezy's Street Dreamz Foundation holiday party in Atlanta last weekend.

It's a wonderful time of year! Did you know that December 30 and 31 are the most popular days that people donate to charity? That's right, if you haven't already donated to a cause this year, now is the time! For readers in the DC area, check out the Catalog For Philanthropy Greater Washington, a handy guide that has already identified and screened small charities worthy of your donations. If you work for a non profit and are seeking donations, leave a comment below with a link to your organization!

I'd like to take this time to thank you, the readers for your support this year! I appreciate you! Thank you to my 3,000+ subscribers on Feedburner, Bloglines, Twitter, Linkedin, Widgetbox and RSS feeds! I may not know many of you personally, but I know that just by reading this blog, it shows that you are committed to strengthening our communities. I would also like to thank the many publicists, celebrity foundations and you, the readers, for sharing your charitable efforts with me. This will be my last post for 2009, so I wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2010!

In photo above: Urban fashion retailer DTLR and rap artist Young Jeezy partnered to celebrate Christmas with 25 Atlanta-area families this month. Atlanta-based rap artist Young Jeezy shut down popular Atlanta restaurant Justin’s to host a special holiday dinner for 25 Paul D. West Middle students and their families. In addition to the dinner, students and families enjoyed a night of dancing and gifts. DTLR provided each student with MP3 players and socks, and one lucky student received a $200 gift certificate to DTLR.

“We love working with Young Jeezy and his Street Dreamz Foundation,” said DTLR District Manager Danny Tonkins. “Jeezy wants to make a difference in the lives of urban youth, which is at the core of our company philosophy. Having a partner with the notoriety and respect of Jeezy and the desire to truly impact change in the lives of others is a great and rare thing.” In addition to the Christmas partnership, DTLR and Jeezy joined forces to provide the same 25 students and their families with full Thanksgiving dinners and took the students to a Hawks game. Says Jeezy, “I plan to mentor these kids, be there for them.”

Former Dallas Cowboy Leon Lett and Consolidated Sports Management teamed up with Joe’s Crab Shack to raise money and donate toys for the United States Marines and Toys For Tots during this holiday season.

Earlier this month, former Dallas Cowboys player Leon Lett signed autographs for fans with the proceeds benefiting the Marines and Toys For Tots, while Joe’s Crab Shack customers donated toys for kids in need. Consolidated Sports Management donated a framed autograph Leon Lett jersey which was raffled off during the event. This charity event was held at Joe’s Crab Shack’s Arlington, TX restaurant prior to the Dallas Cowboys/San Diego Charger football game. The event was a great success with many toys being donated. Lett personally donated 10 bikes for the kids. “I have always been a big supporter of events benefiting kids. My work with Consolidated Sports Management allows me to connect with the fans and give back. I try to involve businesses I’m involved with in my charitable endeavors.”

Happy New Year! See you in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays...

Hip hop artist Big Boi with youth at his foundation's annual holiday party on December 17, 2009 in Atlanta.

Many of your favorite celebrities celebrated the holidays by giving back to their communities. On December 17, 2009, Big Boi and his Big Kidz Foundation hosted more than 100 youth from throughout the Atlanta area at its annual holiday party. The youth were joined by the who’s who in Atlanta that included Chris Henderson, the beat-maker behind Jamie Foxx's hit song "Blame It," Cedric Miller, MD, President and CEO of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Associates, LLC, and Big Kidz’ Board Members: City Councilman Kwanza Hall and Atlanta’s Mayor-Elect Kasim Reed. The Big Kidz Foundation partnered with Family First, the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center and other local agencies to provide gifts to less fortunate youth and children in foster care. "I just wanted to spread a little holiday cheer, especially in this tough economy," Big Boi shared.

In support of the Big Kidz Foundation, local restaurateur Lorenzo Wyche hosted a toy drive at two of his restaurants -Harlem Bar and Social House- through December 20th benefiting the event. "During this time of the year, we get a chance to touch a lot of children lightly but our programs are designed to have a lasting impact on youth," explained Jennifer Lester, Executive Director of the Big Kidz Foundation.

Jennifer Lester, Executive Director of Big Kidz Foundation; Big Boi; Atlanta mayor-elect Kasim Reed; and Andre Thompson (Art of 5 Gallery owner)

This year’s event was held at Art of 5 Gallery in Atlanta. In addition to an appearance from Big Boi, guests had a chance to participate in a “Paint By Numb3rs”art piece designed by gallery owner and artist Andre’ Thompson. They were also entertained with performances by Atlanta's Douglass High School Chorus, youth dance companies I AM Movement and Moving in the Spirit’s Men in Motion, and wowed by nine-year-old DJ Priest. “Our holiday party is also an opportunity to showcase all of the programs that we offer and support throughout the year” shared Dr. Joi Edwards, Big Kidz’ Vice Chair. Source and photos: Big Kidz Foundation

NY Jets Kerry Rhodes at the Kerry Rhodes Foundation and Jimmy Choo Shopping Event, December 15, 2009 in Short Hills, NJ

New York Jets Star Safety Kerry Rhodes and the acclaimed Jimmy Choo brand collaborated to present celebrities and VIP's with an exclusive holiday shopping experience in honor of the Kerry RHODES Foundation. On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, the Jimmy Choo location at The Mall at Short Hills closed its doors to customers and welcomed an invite only crowd to mix and mingle to great tunes spun by Power 105's DJ Kut, enjoyed hors d'oeuvres provided by David Ellis Catering and Jimmy Choo & Kerry Rhodes specialty drinks while shopping the new 2010 Cruise Collection. The special night was hosted by Kerry Rhodes and Miss USA Kristen Dalton.

Guests at the shopping event with Ideal PR's Tamiko Thomas (right), publicist for Kerry Rhodes Foundation; Guest and fashion stylist Misa Hylton-Brim

Jimmy Choo encompasses a complete luxury lifestyle accessory brand with women's shoes, handbags, small leather goods, sunglasses and eyewear. A portion of the event proceeds were donated to the Kerry Rhodes Foundation. Event Sponsors included Jimmy Choo, Kerry Rhodes Foundation, David Ellis Catering, Nuvo and Ciroc Vodka. Source: Ideal PR/Photos: Red Carpet Images

Upfront Megatainment CEO Devyne Stephens at a holiday toy drive hosted by DeVyne Stephens Intervention, music producer Jermaine Dupri and Atlanta's V-103 on December 20, 2009 in College Park, Georgia. Photo: Wireimage

Atlanta Mayor-elect Kasim Reed, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and actor Chris Tucker attend the 26th anniversary UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball at Atlanta Marriott Marquis on December 19, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Via On Saturday, December 19, UNCF held its 26th Annual Mayor's Masked Ball, one of metropolitan Atlanta's signature fund-raising galas and premier social events of the holiday season. Founded 25 years ago by former Mayor Andrew Young and Billye S. Aaron, the ball is hosted by the sitting mayor of Atlanta and local corporate sponsors. Its purpose is to involve celebrities, dignitaries, civic leaders, volunteers, public officials and other supporters in the annual local fund-raising activities of UNCF. Entertainment was provided by R&B group En Vogue.

Actresses Dawn Lewis and Terri J. Vaughn; Actress Kim Coles and television host KiKi Shepard

Photos: WireImage

Thursday, December 24, 2009



Happy Holidays from BlackGivesBack!

'Tis the season to give!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bloomingdale’s Hosts Holiday Party to Benefit Evidence, A Dance Company

NYC Retailer Donates Percentage of Sales to Famed Brooklyn Dance Group

Via Press Release: New York – "It was VIP shopping at its most spoiled as Richard Mast, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Bloomingdale’s, and Ronald K. Brown, Artistic Director of Evidence, A Dance Company, welcomed friends and supporters for a very special holiday shopping event to benefit Brown’s internationally acclaimed dance company on December 15. In the photo is Princess Keisha Omilana, Vice Chair of Evidence Joyce Mullins-Jackson, and Gail Monroe Perry.

Bloomingdale's has always been a strong supporter of the arts and in recent years has increased their level of funding through a number of innovative strategies. Now they are championing one of the world’s premier dance ensembles. Founded by Ronald K. Brown, Evidence, A Dance Company’s mission is to promote understanding of the human experience in the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling and to provide sensory connections to history and tradition through music, movement, and spoken word, leading deeper into issues of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation. For almost a quarter of a century, Evidence under the artistic direction of Brown has won critical acclaim and performed on stages around the world.

The event began with guests greeted on the luxurious 4th Floor Personal Shoppers Suite, where Sauvignon Blanc and hors d’oeuvres were passed to fuel the guests before hitting the designer shops.

Nicole Cokley, Operating Vice President of Diversity and Community Relations for Bloomingdales, introduced the guests to Marian H. Goodman, Vice President of Personal Shopping, who was filled with savvy advice for the eager shoppers. Then, Reginald Van Lee, Chairman of the Evidence Board gave the “ready set, shop for Evidence” and the guests dispersed with a personal shopper by their side. Bloomingdale’s elite team of personal shoppers were on hand to offer tips, answer questions and direct guests to the department of their choice in the famed New York designer emporium.

The festive and beautifully planned shopping event treated guests to personal shopping with a capital “P” and allowed some very busy New Yorkers and Hamptonites a chance to shop leisurely with old friends and enjoy an evening in the fabulous environment of Bloomingdale’s recently redesigned flagship store. Most importantly, they knew that a percentage of their purchases would go to Evidence, a New York cultural treasure.

Bloomingdale's executives Marian H. Goodman, Tiffany Canty, Richard Pittelli, Nicole Cokley, and Lori Griffith

Rasheed Thompson, Jacqueline McAllister and Tamira Passe; Danielle Schiffren, Austin Stevenson and Lara Schriffen

Board member Andrea Hoffman with Evidence Founder & Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown; Bruce Michael, Executive Director and Reginald Van Lee, Chairman of the Board

With the upcoming Grace in Winter Silver Ball celebrating Evidence’s 25th Anniversary at the Plaza Hotel on February 8th that will feature and benefit Evidence, many of the ladies took the opportunity to shop for a drop dead glam dress or the perfect accessories to go with black tie and a touch of silver, the colors for the gala. And did they shop! After quaffing a glass of wine, Monique Nelson Butts and her mother Dorothy Nelson headed off to Bloomingdale’s enormous shoe department for that perfect pair of silver slippers. Peter Theil was in search of a natty silver bow tie and Princess Keisha Omilana was thinking of a silver lame gown. Edward Callaghan had his sights set on the midnight blue mink lined Lora Piana coat and didn’t have to be coerced to model it for the crowd.

Guests Chris Lee, Dalila Kee, and Sule Adams

Ken Smaltz, Princess Keisha Omilana and Dan Johnson; Peter Theil, author Keli Goff and Jenna Bond

Among the many elegant shoppers were Evidence Vice Chair Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Board members Gail Monroe Perry, Dr. Ancy Verdier and Andrea Hoffman; Marion Burnside, Lara and Danielle Schiffren with Austin Stevenson, Stephen Wald, Rasheed Thompson, Ken Smaltz, Keli Goff, Tamara Passee, Jenna Bond, Jacqueline McAllister, Lorrie Kin, Dan Johnson, Chris Lee, and Dalila Kee.

Annique Roberts and Clarice Young; Ayesha Harrell and Evidence Dancer Francine Ott

Next year will mark the Company’s 25th Anniversary which will be highlighted by major celebrations: A special performance at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, a tour of Africa, and the Grace in Winter Silver Ball at The Plaza Hotel in New York. Always one of the most eagerly anticipated, glamorous social events of the season, the gala has been featured in New York Social Diary and Town & Country. The gala will honor founder Ronald K. Brown and longtime supporter and Chairman of the Board Reginald Van Lee and Booz Allen Hamilton. The evening will begin with cocktails, an online auction of luxury items and a performance of “Grace,” Evidence’s signature dance piece, along with dinner, a live auction and special performances by Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday and jazz great Peven Everett. Victoria Rowell will host the evening and dress is black tie with a touch of silver.

Board Vice Chair Joyce Mullins-Jackson and Board member Dr. Ancy Verdier of Sag Harbor; Edward Callaghan models Lora Piana stormcoat with mink lining.

For Grace in Winter Silver Ball tickets, sponsorship and underwriting 0pportunities, contact Alex Diaz, The JFM Group, 438 Fifth Avenue, Pelham, New York, 212-921-9070 ext 16 or by email to

For more information about Evidence, A Dance Company, its upcoming and special appearances visit"

Upcoming NY Event: Bigs United Happy Hour & Fundraiser

BIGS UNITED Happy Hour/Fundraiser at B. Smith's! Have a cocktail for a cause!

Bigs United, an affinity volunteer group within Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC (BBBS), is a passionate group of African American mentors and other dedicated volunteers who have launched an aggressive grassroots campaign to recruit additional African American volunteers to mentor youth so they can look forward to brighter futures. Their goal is to inspire more adults (particularly African American men) to become mentors to children in need and empower African American children through one-on-one mentoring relationships.

Founded by Big Brother Danny Madden, Bigs United is a valuable resource with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience regarding the power of mentoring.

Bigs United supports efforts to uplift communities through mentoring by focusing on NYC neighborhoods with large African American populations, holding events at iconic Harlem churches, restaurants, and barber shops, as well as historic African American venues. These include the Harlem Jazz Museum, The Apollo Theatre, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Please join them for a happy hour/fundraiser supporting BIGS UNITED during “Second Mondays” in January at B. Smith’s!

Monday, January 11, 2010 (January is National Mentoring Month!)
5pm – 9pm

B. Smith’s
320 West 46th Street
(between 8th and 9th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036
(212) 315-1100

Directions – Take the A, C, or E train to 42nd Street. B. Smith's is near 8th Avenue on the south side of 46th Street.

No cover! Selected beers, wines and specialty drinks at reduced prices. Raffle to benefit BIGS UNITED with 100% of proceeds going to the organization. Raffle items include various gift cards, gift certificates to Harlemade and Harlem Lanes, various pop, R&B, neo-soul and jazz CD packages and much more!

The second Monday of every month, marketing and PR specialist Kathryn Leary coordinates, guest bartends and hosts Second Mondays – a happy hour/fundraiser in which 20% of revenue generated is donated to a non-profit organization. (Great idea!)

For more information about Bigs United, visit and on Facebook at

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Three Doctors: Enriching the Lives of Newark's Youth

Like many urban cities in America, Newark, New Jersey is plagued by poverty, low graduation rates, drugs and crime. Combating these societal ills is not easy, but the city has passionate and committed people dedicated to making Newark a safer and stronger community. Among them are three African American men, who have gained national attention for their efforts. They are Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins. You may not know them by their individual names, but collectively, they’re known as The Three Doctors.

While growing up in the tough inner-city streets of Newark, they each made a pact to each other. That they would finish high school, enroll in college and become doctors. This pact wasn’t easy, as the odds were stacked against them. They were raised in fatherless homes, surrounded by negative influences and few positive role models. Today, Dr. Hunt is a Board certified internist at University Medical Center at Princeton and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Jenkins serves as Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry at Columbia University, and Dr. Davis is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Michaels Medical Center and Raritan Bay Medical Center. Davis is also a consultant for the Violence Prevention Institute focusing on gang awareness and preventative medicine in Essex County.

Not only did they accomplish their goals, but they have dedicated their lives to helping other young people achieve their goals too. Dr Hunt shares, “We have a compelling passion for speaking and telling our story. This is not to boast or brag, we just recognize that we are in head-to-head combat with drugs, mental and physical illnesses, teenage pregnancy and all kinds of abuse and we accept the responsibility of making a difference by being role models and touching lives.”

The Three Doctors have established the Three Doctors Foundation, and have written three books that share their story of triumph and beating the odds: The Pact, We Beat the Street, and The Bond. Read on to learn more about the foundation, their books, and efforts to help youth:

Share more about your Foundation and how The Three Doctors gives back to the community:

“The Three Doctors give back to the community in a number of ways. First, we serve as realistic examples of what you can be if you take your education seriously and reach for the stars. As role models, we encourage youth to form pacts and support one another through positive peer pressure.

We also have an extreme passion for community service, and over 10 years ago we formed a non-profit organization called The Three Doctors Foundation ( whose mission is to create opportunities in our communities through health, education, leadership and mentoring. For over a decade our foundation has offered numerous youth and family programs including our Positive Peer Pressure Challenge, Health Fairs and our annual Mentor Day event. Next year, on February 28th, we're excited to share that the New Jersey Nets will be recognizing our foundation for the impact we've made over the years.

And finally, we continue to use the lessons we learned growing up on the streets of Newark to guide us in helping those most vulnerable. To this end, and as our schedules will allow, we additionally accept invitations to speak to audiences across the country about our story and to address the many health and education disparities affecting underserved groups.”

For those who may not be familiar with your books can you outline the message and target audience for each?

“Our first book "The Pact," is a NY Times Best Seller and continues to this day to be embraced by a multitude of readers across the country. The focus of The Pact shows how we as teenagers came together and made a promise to support one another as we traveled from the streets of Newark, an inner city in New Jersey, to medical and dental school fulfilling our promise in becoming doctors and a dentist. Everyone can relate to the book as it touches on overcoming some of the most difficult obstacles in life and shows how friendship and faith helped us to succeed. To this day, it continues to be a must read by young and old (it's also downloadable on itunes).

“We Beat the Street” is an adolescent adaptation of The Pact. We Beat the Street was a result of teachers, who demanded that we outline our story for an even younger audience. We quickly agreed as we strongly believe it is important to reach our youth at an early age. Because our first book, The Pact hit home with so many adults and teenagers, the development of a book for middle school youth served as an ideal opportunity to provide younger audiences with one of their first road maps to ensure a brighter future.

"The Bond," our latest book, is also a national best seller which focuses upon the three of us reconnecting with our fathers. Each one of us experienced a different level of fatherlessness and although we are adults now, we felt that it was extremely important to go back and revisit our feelings and thoughts about growing up without Dads. This book is our most emotional piece to date and allowed us to gain insight on what our fathers were going through and how personal decisions shaped the outcome of their lives. Each one of us shared our story in The Bond, followed by our fathers' chapter in their own voices. This book helped to answer a great deal of questions for the three of us and has done the same for thousands of readers across the country. Given the growing issue of fatherlessness and the impact it continues to have on our communities, we believe that The Bond is an important book for the entire family as it thoughtfully provides messages of hope, healing and inspiration.”

The Three Doctors were honored with the Humanitarian Award at the annual BET Awards show in June, 2009

Given the educational crisis in our country, in what way are The Three Doctors addressing the growing youth drop out rates?

“We are giving youth a realistic view of what education can do to improve the quality of their lives. With our books, individuals from all walks of life are realizing the potential they have and the success they can achieve with education. It is our hope that our example will inspire our young people to dream bigger and pursue the highest heights of academic success so that we ultimately eliminate the growing drop out rates across our nation.”

What's next for The Three Doctors?

“We remain busy as full time practicing physicians and dentist. Outside of our hospital duties we travel the country delivering timely speeches on the importance of education and health. This year we were recognized at the annual BET Music Awards with their Humanitarian Award. This was a tremendous moment for us as entities and companies such as BET understand and appreciate what The Three Doctors have done for education and health. As we continue to perform community work through our Three Doctors Foundation, we want to make sure that every youth across the country understand and believe they are talented and gifted to be whatever they want in life. If The Three Doctors did it, so can you. Lastly, we implore marketing companies to get behind education and health. We are in a midst of a movement and want to be the role models that all point to for inspiration.

We truly appreciate the continued support and also welcome our fans to stay in touch via our website or on facebook at”
Photo: PR Photos

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ford Announces Finalists for "Taurus Top Ten" Competition


Online Voting Now Open to the Public

In October, the Ford Motor Company announced the launch of the "Taurus Top Ten," a competition designed to shine a spotlight on individuals that are not only on top in their respective fields, but who also make a difference in the communities around them.

Just as the 2010 Taurus has ten class-exclusive features that make it a top-performing vehicle in the market, Ford chose ten outstanding individuals who are top performers in the fields of philanthropy, business, entertainment and sports whose actions are making positive impacts in the world. After weeks of searching for outstanding individuals within the community, Ford Motor Company’s "Taurus Top Ten" online competition is proud to announce their selection of ten finalists who have been chosen to compete for the title of Ford's 2010 Top Performer in America.

The Top Ten finalists are:

Anthony Martin of Philadelphia, PA. Founder/Executive Director of the Urban Youth Racing School (UYRS) which uses innovative educational techniques to teach students science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). UYRS uses motorsports to increase students’ exposure to self-directed learning, scientific inquiry and the transfer of knowledge.

Chianti Cleggett of Trussville, AL. Cleggett founded the Young Women’s Empowerment Conference (YWEC).

Johnny Deas of Lewisville, TX. A former Marine, Deas founded Great Ideas Edutainment Foundation – a non-profit using entertainment to teach financial literacy and life skills in urban communities.

Jovonna Townsend of Philadelphia, PA who is the founder of JO’NI Mentor and Model Program (JMMP), an after school program dedicated to empowering Philadelphia’s inner city youth between the ages of 14-21.

Keith Howell of Dallas TX. Created Goals-2-Score Inc. (G2S) in 2001, a non-profit organization working with high school basketball players to help them earn college basketball scholarships.

Kevin De’Laine of Huntsville, AL. De’Laine who served in the US Navy, created the Superior Sports Network with the mission of giving HBCU student athletes a voice, exposure and connection with the world.

Marcus Carson of Charlotte, NC. Carson is the Executive Director for Growing Kings Inc. – a non-profit organization providing mentoring programs for at-risk middle-school aged boys in Birmingham, Alabama and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Robert Johnson of Concord, NC. Johnson represents the African American fan base of NASCAR, as the only African American, Strength Conditioning Trainer at the NEXTEL Cup level.

Thornton Thomas Tipps of Conover, NC. Tipps founded the Carolina College Tours, a non-profit organization created to raise awareness, educate and assist with the transition from high school to college.

William Friday of Richardmon, VA. As Treasurer for the National Organization of Concerned Black Men, Friday has served in various areas of community service.

"We are extremely excited about all ten of the individuals who have been chosen as finalists for the Taurus Top Ten Campaign," said Crystal Worthem, multicultural marketing manager, Ford Motor Company. "Each of the finalists are doing great things both in their careers and in the community and we are proud to be able to highlight them and their efforts. Giving back to the community has always and continues to be an integral component to Ford's DNA so to be able to highlight some of the everyday people who are making a difference in their respective communities, is definitely viewed as a win for us."

Ford Motor Company Multicultural marketing manager Crystal Worthem and VP of Global Quality Bennie Fowler at a Ford event earlier this year.

The "Taurus Top Ten" Grand Prize champion will be determined by the community at large and the winner will be announced during a high-profile professional basketball experience hosted by Famed Sportscaster James Brown . The Grand Prize win is an all-new 2010 Ford Taurus, a $10,000 donation to a charitable organization of the winner's choice and a trip for two to a high-profile professional basketball experience in Dallas, TX. Voters can log onto now through January 21, 2010 to vote for their favorite candidate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Frank Ski Kids Foundation Hosts 6th Annual Celebrity Wine Tasting and Live Auction

Erica Jones, Jesse Jackson, Kevin Liles, and Frank Ski attend the 6th Annual Frank Ski Kids Foundation's Celebrity Wine Tasting and Live Auction in Atlanta.

On December 13, 2009, celebrities, dignitaries, sports figures, and Atlanta's elite attended the Frank Ski Kids Foundation's Celebrity Wine Tasting and Live Auction at a private residence in Atlanta. Frank Ski, host of V103, the #1 urban radio show in Atlanta, gathered his friends for his foundation's signature fundraiser for wine connoisseurs and novices alike, to experience exotic and international wines such as Opus One, Silver Oak, Caymus Special Select, Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne and Frank Ski's international wines from Australia and South Africa, all for a great cause.

The website states that the foundation exposes youth to their future through science, technology, athletics and the arts. This past summer, the foundation's International Art Excursion hosted youth to an eight-day excursion to Florence, Italy. One student, who traveled with the foundation to the Galapagos Islands, was accepted to the prestigious Phillips Academy Andover, a co-educational boarding high school in Massachusetts on a full scholarship. She wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Ski and shared, "It still amazes me how these trips reinforce what I learn in school. They make me appreciate what I am studying and give me hope that one day in the future I can travel to those places and elicit the change that we really need in this world."

Ambassador and event co-chair Andrew Young, Frank Ski, and Al Sharpton

A live auction raised funds for the foundation featuring rare and authentic autographed sports memorabilia by sports icons, trips, and rare bottles of the best wine.

Hip hop legend Doug E. Fresh (who gave a live performance) and R&B singer Raheem Devaughn

Frank and Tanya Ski, Carla and Eric Matthews

You can see even more from the event HERE. On the web:
360 Media/Photo Credit: Ben Rose Photography

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Photos of the Day: The Princess And The Frog & 100 Black Men in Miami

Anika Noni Rose, actress and voice of Princess Tiana in the film The Princess And The Frog, attends the movie's premiere on November 15, 2009 in Burbank, CA.

Congratulations to The Princess And The Frog! The animated film starring Disney's first African American princess earned the top spot at the box office this past weekend, bringing in 24.2 million dollars. There were many mother-daughter events held across the country that celebrated the film's release, including an event in Atlanta:

Via Garner Circle PR: On December 11, 2009, Glam Bar, a one-stop beauty haven located in the historic Castleberry District of Atlanta, hosted "Princess Dreams," a beauty and pampering night out for mother/daughter pairs in conjunction with Carol's Daughter for the Disney movie. Makeovers were given to under privileged young girls from the following foundations: Big Boi's (OutKast) "Big Kidz" Foundation, Diamond in the Rough Girls Group, Show Me the Way, and Cool Girls, Inc., to prepare for a night out at the movies.

Excited to make this a memorable experience, Sherlita Patton (wife of Antoine "Big Boi" Patton); Tami Reed (; Yvette Caslin (Executive Director, Rolling Out Magazine); and Tashawnya Rainey (Show Me the Way Foundation) signed on as event hosts for the evening.

Sabrina Peterson (Owner,The Glam Bar); Sherlita Patton; Tami Reed; Yvette Caslin; Tashawnya Rainey

And let's not forget about the fathers! To help build awareness for the film, Disney partnered with the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) to help in its outreach to fathers, families and community organizations that serve them. In November, NFI distributed 500 free educational materials to community organizations to help them recruit and retain fathers for their programs by creating more father friendly environments at their sites and providing fathers with fun gifts they can give to their daughters. NFI president Roland C. Warren shared, "The Princess And The Frog illustrates the power of a father's legacy, born from the love he has for his a time when too many children grow up without their fathers, this film provides a timely and powerful message."

The NFI has also just released a new study, "Mama Says,"a national survey of mother’s attitudes on fathering. Some of the findings: 93% of moms believe there is a father absence crisis; moms said that "work responsibilities" were the biggest obstacle to dad's success in fathering; and moms who aren't living with the father of their children identified more and stronger obstacles to his ability to parent. For more information on the study, visit the website HEREPhoto credit: Felicia Artwell,

100 Black Men of America and the National CARES Mentoring Movement Host "Save A Kid Tour" in Miami

Bobby Hall, Gayle S. Nelson, Dr. Rustin Lewis, Dr. Walter T. Richardson, Susan L. Taylor, Albert E. Dotson, Jr., Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. and Johnny Furr at 100 Black Men of America and The National CARES Mentoring Movement National Mentoring Training Day "Save a Kid Tour" at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on December 12, 2009 in Miami, Florida.

Representatives from 100 Black Men of America, National CARES Movement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The United Way, local faith-based organizations, and various community groups educated participants about various mentoring programs and opportunities in their respective organizations for the National CARES Mentoring Movement's national mentoring day in Miami, Florida. Nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden announced his partnership with these organizations and his personal commitment to mentorship through his 2010 cross-country tour - "Save Our Kids." For more information, visit

100 Black Men of America Chairman Albert E.Dotson Jr. pins Michael Baisden as an honorary 100 member at the 100 Black Men of America and The National CARES Mentoring Movement National Mentoring Training Day.

100 BMA members Bobby Hall, Chairman Albert E. Dotson, Jr., Michael Baisden and Thomas W. Dorch

Michael Baisden, Miami Garden Mayor Shirley Gibson, National Cares Mentoring Movement (NCMM) CEO Susan L. Taylor, Senator Fredericka Wilson and 100 Black Men of America Chairman Albert E.Dotson, Jr.
Photos: Wireimage and Garner Circle PR

Monday, December 14, 2009 Inspiring Young Professionals in Community Service

So you’ve just graduated from college, with a massive student loan debt. Your first priority would be to find a job, right? But in today’s economy, landing that first job may not happen quickly. Then you’re offered a chance to perform community service in exchange for student loan payments. Sounds too good to be true? For young professionals in Pittsburgh, two African American brothers have made this vision a reality.

Raymar and Robert Hampshire created, that addresses the challenge of rising student loan debt and falling volunteer rates of young professionals, by aiding them in being civically engaged while providing student loan stipends. They both realized that given the current economic conditions and rising tuition costs, college graduates would de prioritize service, exactly when non-profit organizations are relying on volunteers even more. Research further validated the need for this program. Results from a study found that people would prioritize service if a small incentive of student loan pay was attached, further giving credibility to their idea. Raymar’s non profit background as a Coro Fellow, along with Robert’s IT and research experience as a Ph.D from Princeton University, proved to be the perfect combination to launch this social venture.

To get the project started, they partnered with Pittsburgh Cares, a non profit that increases community engagement through volunteerism, to recruit young professionals for its inaugural class. Last spring, the first Sponsor Change fellows completed 80 hours of community service at 11 non profits in the areas of community enrichment, animal support, children and youth, and the environment.

One of the fellows from the inaugural class contacted me to share Raymar and Robert's story, and had such a rewarding experience, he's now employed by the project. Patrick Dowd, a Pittsburgh City Councilman shared, “…the project embodies the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that Pittsburgh is known for around the world. SponsorChange is a perfect blend of creative thinking, civic spirit, and economic good sense.”

The venture is currently funded by the Sprout Fund, seven non profit organizations and individual donors. Currently operating in Pittsburgh, future plans include sites nationwide, ultimately serving as a national online platform for volunteers, non profits and donors. (In photo: The Hampshire brothers at an Inauguration gala in Washington, DC this year.)

In March, will host a city-wide kickball tournament for young professionals in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Pirates. To learn more about, visit the website at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gillette Fusion and Rolling Out Present the Men of Style Awards

DC Men of Style Awards honorees, November 30, 2009

Gillette Fusion partnered with Rolling Out Magazine for the Gillette Fusion MVP Prime Time Tour, a 5-city immersion tour highlighting local barbers and men considered to be arbiters of good taste and great style in various cities throughout the country. The tour highlighted the Gillette Fusion razor by tapping into the lifestyle of key African American male consumers at local barbershops in various markets. Each stop included a recognition event honoring local barbers and style icons who embrace Gillette’s motto and an in-barbershop emersion event including complimentary shaves, massages, and gifts.

Gillette’s long time tagline, “The Best A Man Can Get” was used to select honorees in various cities for their Men of Style Awards. “Barbers have an important role in helping African American men achieve a well groomed appearance, said Natalie Wu, Gillette Fusion Associate Brand Manager. “African American barbershops are an ideal environment for Gillette to share its research findings and provide expert advice on reducing razor bumps, as well as, provide an opportunity for African American men to experience the benefits of Gillette Fusion technology.”

The tour honored men in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Atlanta. The tour was hosted by celebrities Fonzworth Bentley, Kenny Burns, Vivica Fox and others.

On November 30, 2009, the tour stopped in Washington, DC to honor CNN contributor Roland Martin, Fox TV anchor Kelly Wright, Washington Redskin Fred Smoot, Washington Redskin LaRon Landry, Baltimore Ravens Willis McGahee, Fashion designer Everett Hall, TV/Radio personality Big Tigger, Celebrity event planner Andre Wells, DC Councilman Kwame Brown, Attorney/Businessman Michael Melton and DC W Hotel manager Ed Baten.

The tour concluded in Atlanta on December 7th at Geisha House in Atlantic Station. Honorees included Bernard Bronner (Publisher, Upscale Magazine), Mark Hayes (Good Day Atlanta), Frank Ski (V103 Frank & Wanda Morning Show), Doug & Ryan Stewart “the 2 Live Stews” (790 the Zone/ ESPN), Will Packer (Rainforest Films), Ryan Cameron (V103 and Atlanta Hawks announcer), Big Boi (Outkast), Lance Gross (House of Payne), Munson Steed (Publisher of Rolling Out Urban Style Weekly), Sean “The Pen” Garrett (Singer/Producer), and Shondrae “Bangladesh” Crawford (Music Producer).

Fonzworth Bentley, Natalie Wu (Gillette), Big Boi, Vivica Fox and Melody Harris (Gillette)

Bentley with Stephanie Mills; Mistress of Ceremonies Rashan Ali and Kenny Burns

Frank Ski, founder of the Frank Ski Kids Foundation accepts his award.

DC Photo Credit: Red Carpet Images
Atlanta Photo Credit: Rolling Out & George Butler Photography