Friday, January 22, 2010

Extraordinary Women Give An 'Extra-Ordinary Life' for Girls in Foster Care

Event co-chair Victoria Rowell, Pursuit of Dreams founder Beverly Kearney, Event co-chair Debra Lee, Extra-Ordinary Life Foundation founder Stacie Turner, and Proctor & Gamble's Vince Hudson attend the kick off event for the Extra-Ordinary Life Foundation on January 15, 2010 in Washington, DC.

BET CEO Debra Lee, Actress Victoria Rowell and Entrepreneur Stacie Turner Give D.C. Foster Girls An “Extra-Ordinary Life” with Countdown To The World Cup

Stacie Turner is an accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur, with a MBA from Harvard and an impressive corporate career, working for companies such as BET, Sprint, and Proctor and Gamble. Her desire to achieve came from her parents, who provided her with a nurturing childhood, a stable home life and exposure to people, places and experiences that built her positive image of self. One may think that Stacie was born into privilege, but she was born into the DC foster care system.

On January 15th at the W Hotel in Washington, DC, Stacie kicked off the launch of the Extra-Ordinary Life Foundation, a life-changing program that benefits DC area teen girls living in foster care. The kick off luncheon theme was "Journey to South Africa: 165 Days to the World Cup," and is the first of several upcoming events to raise funds to take 15 DC teen girls from foster care to South Africa during the World Cup. The event was co-chaired by BET CEO Debra Lee and Victoria Rowell, actress and founder of Rowell’s Foster Children Positive Plan. "I spent my entire childhood in foster care, and am thrilled to get involved with this positive and uplifting campaign,” said Victoria Rowell, author of the book, The Women Who Raised Me. “Children need role models, particularly strong women. I look forward to being a part of this Extra-Ordinary Life initiative and to helping further the importance of finding permanent homes for children living in foster care.”

My DC contributor Jenn attended this event along with 200 other guests that included DC City Council members Marion Barry, David Cantania, Muriel Bowser, Yvette Alexander, and Council Chairman, Vincent Gray; and former first mother Virginia Williams, herself a foster child and foster parent. Other special guests included South African rapper Hip Hop Pantsula, former DC Councilmember Charlene Drew Jarvis, and Joigie and Ken Tolson representing the Melvin B. Tolson Foundation.

“My goal is to show teenage girls that the world is their oyster by providing extraordinary experiences,” shares Stacie Turner, Founder, Extra-Ordinary Life Foundation and product of the DC Foster Care system.

During the program, Stacie talked about her organization and showed a heart wrenching short film featuring children in the foster care system, some of whom have not found permanent homes yet. There were sad stories but also triumphant stories that provided hope from those who found loving homes. She talked about the fact that there are 2100 foster children in DC. Debra Lee announced that BET will sponsor girls on this life-altering trip and shared about BET's efforts to start a network in South Africa. Vince Gordon representing Proctor & Gamble's Cover Girl, spoke about inner beauty and self esteem, also sharing that their company would sponsor a girl.

Johnny Moloto, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of South Africa, reinforced their first lady MaNtuli Zuma’s commitment to Extra-Ordinary Life. The Spousal Office of the President of South Africa and first lady Zuma, will host the group once they arrive in South Africa. Zuma leads South Africa’s orphan outreach effort that provides homes for orphan children in the rural provinces of South Africa. This collaboration will bring local, national and international visibility to the foster care/orphan issue; connect teens living in similar situations in the respective countries, and importantly, forge sustainable relationships that extend beyond the inaugural trip to the World Cup.

Kiana Dancie, a local comedienne served as MC, Kelly Chapman sang the Lord’s Prayer and Frederic Yonnet, an uplifting harmonicist provided an amazingly mind-blowing performance as he walked among the crowd to the delight of many. His tie-in to the event was about unlimited potential. As the harmonica is such a small instrument, people often underestimate its power and impact. Likewise, the foundation wants youth in foster care to realize their unlimited potential. Stacie shares, “Kids in foster care just want an “ordinary” life. If we can give them that and more, then they will have a chance at an extraordinary life.”

About the Foundation: Extra-Ordinary Life is a Washington DC-based program that operates within the Pursuit of Dreams Foundation (PDF), an established 501(c)(3) that provides intervention resources, motivation and guidance to youth. The PDF is founded/led by legendary University of Texas Track & Cross Country Coach Beverly Kearney. Visit the website at http://www.extra-ordinarylife.org/ and thanks to Carla Sims for the invite!

Source and photos: Extra-ordinary Life Foundation

Advertising Mogul Continues Entrepreneurial Charge Through Scholarship Program for Student Entrepreneurs

Donald A. Coleman, Chairman of GlobalHue, Continues Scholarship for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Southfield, Mich. — Donald A. Coleman, Chairman of GlobalHue, the nation’s largest minority-owned, full-service marketing communications agency, today announces the Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship (CES) program. In its second year, the program provides scholarships to deserving African-American and Hispanic college students majoring or concentrating in entrepreneurship.

CES was established as a testament to the importance of education, especially amongst ethnic youth in the United States. Furthermore, the program strives to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice amongst ethnic college students.

“After a successful kick-off year in 2009, we thought that it was time to expand the CES reach and amplify our entrepreneurial message,” says Kelli Coleman, Vice President of Business Development at GlobalHue. “This year, we are offering scholarships to African-American and Hispanic students at all four-year accredited colleges and universities.”

CES was pleased to award 10 deserving students the scholarship last year and is proud to continue supporting students who have made a commitment to their educational endeavors towards entrepreneurial success in business.

Up to 10 scholarships of $5,000 each will be awarded for educational expenses to full-time college juniors or seniors for use in the 2010-11 academic year. The CES program is sponsored by GlobalHue and managed by Scholarship Management Services®, a division of Scholarship America®.

For more information, visit www.thecolemanscholarship.org or call Scholarship Management Services at 1.800.537.4180 and ask for The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship.

About The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship
The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship was established as a testament to the importance of higher education. Furthermore, the scholarship program strives to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice amongst ethnic college students. It is the vision of The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship program to be a leading scholarship program that assists future generations of African-American and Hispanic entrepreneurs in fulfilling their dreams.

About GlobalHue
GlobalHue is a full-service, culture-based marketing communications agency. GlobalHue was recently recognized as the “Multicultural Advertising Agency of the Decade” by Adweek. The agency has four divisions that together provide clients with a flexible approach to marketing to ethnic-specific segments and the total market: GlobalHue Africanic; GlobalHue Latino; GlobalHue Asian; and GlobalHue Next. Our offices are in Detroit (Southfield), New York and Los Angeles, as well as satellite offices in other key markets. The agencies have more than 350 employees who handle full-service marketing, advertising, media planning and buying, digital, events and promotions, and public relations for many clients. In 2008, GlobalHue’s capitalized billings were $820 million. GlobalHue boasts several blue-chip clients, including Verizon, Walmart, Chrysler Group LLC, U.S. Navy, Bermuda Department of Tourism, U.S. Census Bureau, FedEx, MGM Grand Detroit and Subway.

Source and photo: Global Hue

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Stafford Foundation: "Doing Good"

Earl Stafford,President and CEO of the Stafford Foundation, Amanda Stafford and Bill Cosby

New Public Service Announcement Launches Campaign

On January 20, 2009, the nation's 44th President Barack Obama was sworn into office. It truly was an exciting time in the nation's capitol and around the world. There were countless inaugural balls and festivities, among them The People's Inaugural Project. Earl Stafford, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Stafford Foundation created the Peoples' Inaugural Project to bring together the underserved to witness and participate in the inauguration of Barack Obama. The project hosted a three day gathering that included an inaugural ball, a youth ball, a prayer breakfast and a luncheon. The Stafford Foundation invested more than $2 million in the project, and nearly 40 nonprofit organizations participated.

Now, one year later, The Stafford Foundation has launched a new project: "Doing Good." The campaign marks the second national initiative of the People's Project, which provides an online forum on the foundation's website for people to share stories, inspire charitable activities and showcase individuals and organizations for their work to help others. The campaign kicked off on January 20th at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC with special guest Bill Cosby, who stars in the campaign's PSA.
In attendance were the foundation's many partners and grantees, among them the Interfaith Outreach HOME organization based in Atlanta. Dr. Frederick Zak, the Executive Director, shared with me that he contacted the Foundation last year after hearing about the People's Project, and was pleasantly surprised when he learned that the foundation would sponsor his families to attend. Not only did they cover travel expenses, but provided gowns and tuxedos! The Foundation also recently provided two scholarships for his organization's youth, one of whom accompanied Dr. Zak and was seated at Mr. Stafford's and Mr. Cosby's table.
The campaign will help people who want to do good find a way to do so by: Helping people discover how their time and talent can be used to do good in their own communities, showing how their contributions will be used to do good, connecting groups that can work together to have more impact, supporting programs that directly provide support to those in need, and providing an easily accessible online platform to share Doing Good stories and create a community of Doing Good.

"We will shine a spotlight on the amazing good that people are doing across the nation," said Lisa Bowen, TSF Director of Operations. "We believe the more people know about what good is being done and have ways to get involved to have positive impact, that more and more good will be done." Visit the foundation's website at http://www.thestaffordfoundation.org/.
(Standing) Lavern Chatman, CEO, Northern Virginia Urban League and Esther Aguilera, CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute with Mr. Cosby
Mr. Cosby is one of my favorite people and I love his quotes, so I was excited to hear him speak! I'll leave you with a quote he shared: "Trust in Jesus, but lock your car."
About the Foundation: Founded in 2002, The Stafford Foundation is a faith based non profit organization based in Reston, Virginia. The Foundation collaborates with and invests in capacity-building efforts that equip the underserved through programs that provide health, education, training and faith-based mission support.
About Earl Stafford: Mr. Stafford serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the foundation, and is also CEO of The Wentworth Group LLC, a holding company that provides financial and business support services to the small business community. He is the former Chairman and CEO of UNITECH, an award-winning training and simulation technology solutions company. He currently serves on the Boards of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Drexel University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Venture Philanthropy Partners and Business Executives for National Security.

Source and photos: The Stafford Foundation

Iconic French Fashion House Unveils Scarf to Celebrate Evidence Dance Company


Evidence, A Dance Company's Board Chairman Reginald Van Lee and Evidence founder & Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown at Hermes

A Limited Edition Hermès Scarf to Benefit Acclaimed Dance Troupe

On December 3, 2009, Hermès hosted an elegant reception at its Madison Avenue flagship store in New York for friends and supporters of Evidence, A Dance Company, to celebrate the acclaimed dance troupe’s upcoming 25th Anniversary and to unveil a sumptuous limited edition scarf in the African motif “Voyage en etoffes” to commemorate the milestone. The French design house has been a supportive friend to The Company for several years.

On hand to welcome guests were Maureen Baltazar, Senior Vice President, Hermès; Ronald K. Brown, Evidence, A Dance Company founder and Artistic Director; Reginald Van Lee, Evidence Board Chairman and Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Board Vice Chair along with Board members Joanne Hill, Gail Monroe Perry, and Andrea Hoffman, whose company Diversity Affluence forged the relationship with the luxury goods company.

Fashion doyenne Audrey Smaltz (left) and friends at Hermes

The exquisite silk scarf, bearing a unique pattern inspired by traditional African garb in desert tones of orange and sand, was unveiled at the event by the Evidence team. A portion of the scarves sales will benefit the much loved company. The scarf retails for $375 and is available for purchase at Hermès, 691 Madison Avenue at 62nd Street.

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.

Evidence founder Ronald K. Brown, Robert Chavez, CEO Hermes USA and Evidence Board Member Joanne Hill


Board Chair Reginald Van Lee, Prince Kunle Omilana, Guest, Princess Keisha Omilana; Lee, Board Vice Chair Joyce Mullins-Jackson, Andrea Hoffman, Joanne Hill and Ronald K. Brown

This year Evidence, A Dance Company will honor founder Ronald K. Brown and longtime supporter Chairman of the Board Reginald Van Lee and Booz Allen Hamilton. The evening will begin with cocktails and an online auction of luxury items and once-in-a lifetime experiences, a Hermès boutique followed by a performance of “Grace,” Evidence’s signature piece, dinner, a live auction and special performances by Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday and jazz great Peven Everett. Famed actress and dancer Victoria Rowell will host the evening. Dress is black tie with a touch of silver.

Ronald K. Brown, Maureen Baltazar, Sr VP Hermes, Reginald Van Lee

Evidence dancers

For tickets, Sponsorship and Underwriting Opportunities, contact Alex Diaz, The JFM Group, 438 Fifth Avenue, Pelham, New York 212-921-9070 Ext 16 or by email to evidence@thejfmgroup.com.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Judge Glenda Hatchett: Continue the Dream, by Serving Our Children

Judge Glenda Hatchett, a nationally recognized authority on juvenile issues, shares how we, as African Americans, can continue Dr. King's dream by serving our children on this special day:

Continue the Dream, by Serving Our Children

"Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to a dream of equality. He dreamed of a day when “little black boys and black girls would be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Although Dr. King is no longer with us, his spirit and dream live on.

January 18, 2010, marks the 16th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. It is a day for us to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service to help solve social problems.

One of our nation’s glaring social problems is the plight of African American children trapped in the foster care system.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, nearly 800,000 children experience foster care every year. Although the 2000 US Census reported that African American children represent 15 percent of the total U.S. population, they make up 35 percent of all children in the child welfare system. Additionally, more than 50 percent of African American children in foster care are boys.

How can we help our African American children realize Dr. King’s dream?

One way we can start is by becoming involved with the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, a nonprofit organization that I support because it has been proven to work for children in care. CASA is a national network of trained community volunteers who are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for the safety and wellbeing of abused and neglected children. Research shows that children with a caring CASA volunteer by their sides are significantly more likely to find safe, permanent homes. Less than 10% of children who have had a CASA volunteer return to the foster care system.

Today, more than 68,000 CASA volunteers serve more than 240,000 abused and neglected children through 1,018 program offices across the US; however, only 12 percent of these volunteers are African American [emphasis mine].

As African Americans, we must stand up for our children and actively embrace the old African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.”

As the chief presiding judge over the Georgia juvenile court system, I saw many abused and neglected children fall through the cracks, only to end up permanently in the criminal justice system and be a drain on the social service system.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

As we reflect on Dr. King’s dream and his tireless service to our nation, it is paramount that we stand up and fight for our children in foster care.

For more information about National CASA or the local CASA program in your area, call 1-888-805-8457 or visit online at www.CASAforchildren.org."

Judge Glenda A. Hatchett, author of Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!, is a nationally recognized authority on juvenile issues and serves as a national spokesperson for the National CASA Association.
Source: Lagrant Communications

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center Celebrates Grand Opening

"The Greatest" Center Expected to Treat 1,600 New Patients Annually
On December 3, 2009, Arizona’s sports celebrities and philanthropists celebrated the opening of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center with Muhammad and Lonnie Ali. The center is located at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, and is the nation’s most comprehensive Parkinson’s disease facility.

With about 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year, there are currently 1 million Americans with Parkinson's disease. As of yet, there is no cure. Ali, who is a three time heavy weight boxing champion and the most famous athlete in history, attended the grand opening event. He was diagnosed with the disease in 1984.

Physicians at the new 10,000 square-foot facility are expected to see about 1,600 new patients annually, double the current number and thousands more patients and their families are expected to attend one of the center’s numerous classes, support groups or exercise activities.

Along with his wife Lonnie, other celebrities, and hundreds of well wishers, Ali toured the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, stopping to talk and clown with the medical team. “Muhammad and I are delighted to share in the excitement of the grand opening of this new Center,” said Lonnie. “Our overriding goal is to help patients and their families to live full and productive lives. This disease has been a journey for us and we have received a lot of help along the way. Our hope is that this center helps many others in their journey.”

The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center is funded by donations, and its primary funding source is Celebrity Fight Night, an annual star-studded event that is attended by the Ali’s. At the grand opening it was announced that Lonnie and Muhammad Ali have established a fund at the Arizona Community Foundation to provide support in the areas of education and patient care for indigent families.

Source and photo: Arizona Community Foundation