Friday, April 30, 2010

The Top Ten Black Celebrity Philanthropists of All Time

Who are the top ten black celebrity philanthropists of all time? Who are the emerging ones to watch? Check out my article for

"Have you ever wondered who our nation's top black celebrity philanthropists are? Many African American celebrities give of their personal fortunes, along with their time and talent to improve the world. Some give quietly, while others have created foundations to further enhance and promote their giving. For our list, we've identified the top ten black celebrities and professional athletes who have made the most substantial and historic philanthropic gifts of all time -- including some new leaders in the arena. Our list may surprise you." Read it HERE.

Have a great weekend!

12th Annual Ford Freedom Award Program Celebrates African American Entrepreneurs

DETROIT, Mich., April 29, 2010 - Two of the nation's most influential and successful African American entrepreneurs will be honored at the 12th annual Ford Freedom Award program on Thursday, May 6. The late John H. Johnson, “The Empire Builder” and Usher Raymond IV, “The Dream Maker” will be recognized for their outstanding achievements and groundbreaking accomplishments. The day-long event includes a scholar's lecture for more than 1,500 invited middle school students beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Detroit's Music Hall and a ticketed evening gala and program at 6:00 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

John H. Johnson, founder and publisher of Johnson Publishing, producers of Jet and Ebony magazines, will receive the Ford Freedom Award posthumously; and Usher Raymond IV, famously known as “Usher” and chairman and founder of Usher's New Look Foundation, has been named the Ford Freedom Award Scholar. Kevin Frazier, weekend anchor and correspondent of Entertainment Tonight, and local WXYZ-TV host Chuck Stokes will once again serve as emcees of the evening gala.

“John H. Johnson and Usher epitomize the meaning of the Ford Freedom Award,” said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, Government and Community Relations, Ford Motor Company. “Their achievements have benefited the individual lives of many, and communities for us all. We are thrilled to have them as this years honorees and to celebrate their commitment and passion.”

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in partnership with Ford Motor Company, launched the Ford Freedom Award program in 1999. The concept of the program is to create a forum to celebrate and recognize individuals whose achievements brought lasting and positive change for African Americans and the world.

“We applaud Ford Motor Company for its continued support of the Ford Freedom Award program because education is at the center of our Museum's mission,” said Juanita Moore, president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “Therefore, as we recognize John H. Johnson for his groundbreaking accomplishments in business and journalism, it is our privilege to add his name to the Museum's Ring of Genealogy and also to take this moment to recognize Usher Raymond IV for his entrepreneurship and commitment to helping the youth of this nation."

The Ford Freedom honoree is presented posthumously to a distinguished African American who has dedicated their life to improving the African American community and the world at large through their chosen field. The Ford Freedom Award Scholar is presented to an African American who has excelled on a national or international level in the field of the Ford Freedom Award Honoree. The Scholar serves as a living legacy that has furthered those achievements for a new generation.

The Award program consists of the Scholar's Lecture, the Ford Freedom Award Essay Contest and Ford Freedom Gala Reception. For additional event information and tickets, call 313-494-5800 or visit

A Dress To Remember: Prom Project Event Benefits NYC Girls

Mimi Woods, Founder, Something For The People (center), with Founding Executive Board Members and Volunteers of 'A Dress To Remember' prom project event in NYC.
New York, April 20, 2010 - For 81 New York City high school and junior high school seniors, Something For The People’s first annual A Dress To Remember: A Prom Project event, sponsored in part by the Tommy Hilfiger Foundation Corporation, will not be forgotten.

Last Tuesday, young women from underserved communities across the city were invited to the Hilfiger headquarters in Chelsea, for an event that would make any girl excited—the opportunity to select through gently worn dresses, shoes, and accessories for their senior proms.

The event is a part of Something For the People’s anticipated National Campaign, “Loving the Skin I’m In: Focusing on Building Self-Worth In Girls and Young Women of Color,” an initiative in response to the My Black is Beautiful campaign. Loving The Skin I’m In focuses on creating a foundation of self-love and self-worth in females 2-18 years of age, allowing them to approach womanhood stronger, prouder, and more accepting of what makes them unique and brilliant! A Dress To Remember: A Prom Project, is accompanied by a series of workshops that serve as an in-depth exercise in self-love, acceptance and encouragement to create their own standards of beauty.

The event had over 200 dresses and accessories donated by Tommy Hilfiger staff and personal donors. The young ladies were met by Something For the People volunteers who served as personal shoppers dedicated to help them pick out the perfect dress. The volunteers not only helped the girls find outfits that would complement their outer beauty, they also shared words of encouragement in hopes that the young women left with the feeling of beauty in their hearts.

In addition, A Dress To Remember: A Prom Project, served as a way to help with the financial costs of what can be an expensive senior year. One participant expressed, “This is really great, because I can’t afford a dress and senior trip.”

View photos from the event on Facebook HERE. For more information about A Dress To Remember: A Prom Project or Something For the People please contact Aubrey Whitten-LeGrand at and visit the website at

Great work ladies!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celebrating BlackGivesBack's 3 Year Anniversary Part III

Throughout the month I'm sharing some of my favorite posts in celebration of my three year blogging anniversary!

These posts highlight some of our brightest and rising social entrepreneurs, such as Monica Majors, an alum of Spelman College who founded The Giving Seed, an on-line shopping tool that allows customers to donate a portion of proceeds to selected non-profits. Monica shared, “The Giving Seed was founded on the principal that each individual, as a member of a domestic and international community, is responsible for planting “giving seeds” – seeds of hope, seeds of compassion and seeds of transformation. My brother and I launched The Giving Seed because bold, innovative solutions were critical to many non-profits’ survival. By helping to “fill” the contribution gap which many non-profits face, we assist them in moving from “survival mode” back to building and expanding programming.” Read the post HERE.

Read about Dana Hill, a PR, marketing and event consultant who launched The Black Doll Affair,a philanthropic, social network of black women who donate black dolls to black girls at Christmas. Learn how you can get involved.

Meet Michelle Hannah, founder of the Celebrate Life Foundation, who has made it her life's mission to educate girls and women on HPV and cervical cancer after her diagnosis. Her Survivor Pageants, held across the country, celebrate the life of women living with cancer.

Planning a party for a young girl? Ten years ago, a then 15-year old Nashville teenager who was volunteering at her local day care center saw the need for African American children’s entertainment characters - and decided to do something about it. Ebonirose Wade founded Rosa's Doll House in 1997, a children’s entertainment company that provides African American entertainment characters for children’s parties, functions and more. Read about her company HERE.

Two brothers from Pittsburg, Raymar and Robert Hampshire, founded Sponsor Change, 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. 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. Read their story HERE.

And a HUGE thank you to my readers who attended the DC Blacks Give Back happy hour last night! Hosted by the African American Nonprofit Network, the Black Benefactors and the Black Philanthropic Alliance, over 100 of you networked for a good cause with the proceeds benefiting the Black Benefactors! It was great to meet you all and stay tuned for the next one!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Alliance for Digital Equality Hosts Newark Digital Empowerment Summit

Dr. Randal Pinkett (Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners), Julius H. Hollis (Chairman and CEO of the Alliance for Digital Equality), Shirley Franklin (Former Mayor of Atlanta and ADE Executive Senior Advisor), Marc Morial (President & CEO of the National Urban League), and Malik Yoba (Actor and Activist) at the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) Summit themed "Broadband: Closing the Economic Divide" on April 23, 2010 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Hundreds of New Jersey and New York residents attended the summit to learn about the impact that universal broadband access will have on education, jobs and wealth creation opportunities.

The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) hosted over three hundred area residents, elected officials, dignitaries and celebrities at the Newark Digital Empowerment Summit themed “Broadband: Closing the Economic Divide” on April 23, 2010. The summit, which occurred at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, is the first of its kind in New Jersey. At the event, ADE Chair Julius H. Hollis unveiled a new agenda focusing on jobs, education and technology (the JET Agenda) paramount to achieving the full potential of universal broadband access. Panelists discussed the impact that universal broadband access will have on access to education, jobs and wealth creation opportunities.

Several powerful voices were heard during the summit including FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial and Senator Rodney Ellis. CNN Contributor Mario Armstrong; actor, author and activist Hill Harper and radio host Jacque Reid moderated the summit's panel discussions: “Jobs & Wealth,” “The Wireless Broadband Revolution,” and “The State of Broadband in Minority Communities.”

In line with its mission, ADE hopes to help communities like Newark to understand the impact of broadband in their lives and local economy. “We live in a radically changing world and ultimately what makes us successful is how powerfully connected we are,” said Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker. “We must ensure that every community has access to connectivity and we need to make sure that the jobs created from broadband are equally accessible. From virtual classrooms to the implementation of new police crime-fighting technology, we are embracing a bold vision of America which is in the middle of a digital revolution.”

Julius H. Hollis, Chairman and CEO, Alliance for Digital Equality and Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Julius H. Hollis, ADE Chairman adds that, “Seldom in the history of our democracy, perhaps with the exception being the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, have we witnessed a socio-economic phenomenon of this magnitude, which possesses a faster, innovative and more comprehensive ability to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans, as well as the potential to rectify the stark economic inequalities that exist between communities of color and their counterparts located in more affluent American communities.”

“Altogether, 93 million Americans do not have broadband at home. And adoption rates are much lower among certain populations, including rural Americans, the elderly, persons with disabilities, low-income Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics. Among the 13 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 who do not have broadband at home, 6 million are either Hispanic or African American. These disparities won’t just disappear over time if we sit back and do nothing,” states FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

The Newark Digital Empowerment Summit occurred just weeks after the FCC released its National Broadband Plan, designed to deliver broadband access to every American. ADE's goal is to educate Americans about the benefits of new broadband technologies and be a voice of underserved communities to raise awareness of the importance of new technologies regardless of socioeconomic status.

Hill Harper, Julius H. Hollis and Malik Yoba

Highlights of the Summit can be viewed by tuning in at

About The Alliance for Digital Equality: The Alliance for Digital Equality, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, is a non-profit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities. The Alliance also serves as a bridge between policymakers and minority individuals in order to help the public understand how legislative and regulatory policies regarding new technologies can impact and empower their daily lives. See previous post on the organization HERE.

Source and photo credit: Tamara Fleming/FEMWORKS

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ludacris, Gabrielle Union & Chaka Zulu Host a Charitable Evening of Cocktails and Private Shopping at Ralph Lauren Atlanta

Hip hop artist and actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, actress Gabrielle Union and Chaka Zulu host an evening of cocktails and private shopping at the Ralph Lauren Atlanta store, benefiting the Ludacris Foundation.
By BlackGivesBack Atlanta contributor Lisa Brathwaite
On Wednesday, April 21, 2010, rapper and actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, actress Gabrielle Union and manager Chaka Zulu hosted the fourth annual exclusive evening of cocktails and private shopping at the Ralph Lauren Atlanta store, to the delight of select socially conscious guests and shoppers. Fifteen percent of all sales from the evening benefited The Ludacris Foundation, whose use of music and arts to connect youth at all age levels has been making an impact in the community since 2001. Guests in attendance included actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, NFL player Warrick Dunn, actress Mari Morrow, producer Jazze Pha and Clark Atlanta University President Dr. Carlton E. Brown.

Ludacris expressed his appreciation for the guests coming out to support the event, noting that the must-have purchase item for the evening was the signature tie he and Chaka Zulu were distinguishingly wearing, with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity.

Helping young people achieve their dreams through the encouragement of “Principles of Success”—self-esteem, spirituality, communication, education, leadership, goal setting, physical activity and community service—the Ludacris Foundation is also recognized for responding to urgent needs in the community in fresh and creative ways. So what’s next for the organization? "I surprise myself. We’ll see what happens..." Ludacris playfully hinted.

Gabrielle Union shared about her experience with her own non-profit and the gratification she humbly receives in hosting events like the night’s, benefiting the youth and families served through the Ludacris Foundation. “It doesn’t cost a thing. For the most part it’s just time and hitting up our wealthy friends to write checks!” she teased. Having just kicked off the Bounty® brand’s "Make a Clean Difference" program the night before in Washington, DC with Russell Simmons and his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation at a reception to celebrate National Volunteer Week, she was word in action.

The Ludacris Foundation maintains that community service means providing monetary support and donating time in our communities at large. Events like the private shopping night make delivering on this commitment possible. Recording artist Zen Q said of the evening, “The reality of it all is that we’ve just got to stick with each other. We work hard to get where we’ve got to be. So we’ve just got to support and show love to everybody. We’re all we’ve got.”

Clark Atlanta University President Dr. Carlton E. Brown and Mrs. T. LaVerne Ricks-Brown; Recording artist Zen Q and Chaka Zulu
For more information on the work of The Ludacris Foundation, visit

About BlackGivesBack ATLThis is the first post of BlackGivesBackATL from Atlanta contributor Lisa Brathwaite! Lisa will attend and highlight the many charity and community events in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Have an event coming up in Atlanta? Contact Lisa at lisa [at] blackgivesback [dot]com.
Photos: Wireimage & Lisa Brathwaite

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Game of Character: A Family Journey from Chicago’s Southside to the Ivy League and Beyond

New Book Giveaway!
Most Americans first met Craig Robinson when he introduced his sister, Michelle Obama, at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Within minutes, he won the hearts of the nation by sharing highlights of their childhood on Chicago’s southside, where they were raised by exemplary and devoted parents. Fraser and Marian Robinson instilled the values of education, hard work, and courage in their children and always encouraged them to reach far beyond what they ever dreamed possible.

A GAME OF CHARACTER: A Family Journey from Chicago’s Southside to the Ivy League and Beyond (Gotham Books; on sale April 20; $26) is a stunning tribute to his parents, coaches, and other mentors who have contributed to his ongoing search for what it truly means to have character.

Craig Robinson shares rich, heartwarming stories from his childhood days… playing street basketball while excelling academically, dodging third-grade girls chasing him home (thanks to Michelle’s sisterly protection), getting admitted to Princeton University, where he was twice named Ivy League Player of the Year, and moving with his wife and children from Chicago to Providence, Rhode Island, where he was the head coach at Brown while in the midst of the historic Presidential election of his brother-in-law Barack Obama, and then moving his family to Oregon, where he is currently coaching the Oregon State Beavers men’s basketball team.

“True character is a quality that can be found everywhere and anywhere, in some of the least likely places,” Robinson writes. In A Game of Character, Craig Robinson opens the doors to a remarkable family. Using basketball as a metaphor for life, he shares the lessons he learned about what it takes to succeed, and more important, what it means to have character.

Gotham Books is providing a copy to one of my readers! To win a copy of the book, send an email to blackgivesback [at] gmail [dot] com with "Book Giveaway" in the subject line by Sunday, April 25th. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Honey Shine Mentoring Program Hosts VIP Fashion Show with House of Dereon

Jonie Sabo-PR Manager; Tracy Wilson Mourning, Founder, Honey Shine Mentoring Program; Tina Knowles, House of Dereon; Kim Stewart, Department Manager, Neiman Marcus; and Frances Esquenazi, Assistant Store Manager, Neiman Marcus

MIAMI, FL - The famous House of Dereon clothing line featured an exclusive fashion show on Friday, March 19th, 2010 for Honey Shine Lady Bugs and prospective members of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, an organization founded by Tracy Wilson Mourning, wife Alonzo Mourning. The event was held at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbor, and hosted by Tracy Wilson Mourning and Hess Rouhafza, Vice President/General Manager of the store. The 88 women in attendance were treated to a presentation of the Spring/Summer 2010 House of Dereon Collection, with special guest Tina Knowles, award-winning designer, fashion stylist, and founder and co-creator of House of Dereon. Others in attendance included NBC6 anchor and Honey Shine supporter, Jackie Nespral.

The VIP fashion show allowed guests a sneak-peek at 2010’s lineup of Spring/Summer looks from the House of Dereon and they enjoyed a delightful lunch catered by Zodiac CafĂ© at Neiman Marcus. Twenty women joined the Honey Shine Mentoring Program as 2010 Lady Bugs, bringing the program even closer to their annual goal. At the event, Tracy Wilson Mourning had a chance to share her vision for the Honey Shine Mentoring Program with special guest, Tina Knowles, and explained to future Lady Bugs (members) the important roles they too can play in the lives of young girls in their community.

“Taking time to enjoy a fashion show with the mentors from the Honey Shine Mentoring Program is a special pleasure for us,” says Tracy Wilson Mourning. “We are grateful to Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour and House of Dereon for all of their support of Honey Shine. It’s amazing to see what we can accomplish to help these girls when we work together.”

Tracy Mourning, Anita Valentino, Bobbi Brown Specialist, Jonie Sabo and Frances Esquenazi.

The next day on March 20th, the girls of the program known as 'Honey Bugs,' took to Miami Beach for their second annual "Bee" Green Day, a day of service to help beautify the city they love. 73 Honey Bugs and 43 volunteers participated in the clean-up project in partnership with the Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach (ECOMB), Boucher Brothers, and Honey Shine member Alexa Lowe starting at 13th Street and Ocean Drive.

ECOMB Executive Director, Luiz Rodriguez, gave the Honey Bugs a brief tutorial prior to heading out that covered Anti-Litter, Recycling and Preservation of our Ecosystem. The girls were then teamed up in groups of five, each covering three to four beach blocks, cleaning up the beaches and removing large bags of trash.

“Bee Green Day is a special tool in teaching our Honey Bugs the importance of keeping our environment clean and healthy,” says Tracy Wilson Mourning. “More importantly our girls need to understand that they can have a impact on the future of our world as many of the environmental issues that we are facing today will be even greater for them when they grow up and have children of their own.”

On March 23rd, the program hosted a successful member recruitment and appreciation event at the Deering Bay Yacht and Country Club which included special acro yoga and jewelry redesigning demonstrations. The highly interactive and educational event was organized by Tracy Wilson Mourning, along with Ada Armas, a Honey Shine Double Platinum Member who sponsored the mid-day gathering in an effort to share the important work of Honey Shine with prospective members.

The Honey Shine Mentoring Program, a program of Alonzo Mourning Charities, provides support and opportunities for young girls across South Florida. For more information on how you can become a Corporate Partner or an Individual Lady Bug sponsor, please call 305-476-0095 or visit

Photo Credit: Orlando Garcia and Andrea Graham

Six HBCUs to Take a Stand to End Violence Against Women

Malaak Compton-Rock, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Olivia Fox support NO Violence Against Women (NO VAW) Pledge

WASHINGTON, DC (April 20, 2010) - On Wednesday April 21, 2010, students and faculty at six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—Howard University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Lemoyne-Owen College—will participate in Denim Day events at HBCUs. The HBCU movement for Denim Day is organized by Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW): The HBCU Project, an initiative funded through the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.

Denim Day is a project of Peace Over Violence, Inc.—a non-profit, feminist, multicultural, volunteer organization dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence. Denim Day was launched in 1999, in protest of an Italian High Court ruling that overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans. The women of the Italian Legislature were enraged by the verdict and protested the decision by wearing jeans to work. As news of the decision spread, so did the protest.

“I want people to clearly understand that violence against women is real. One out of four women that we know will be or has been a victim of some form of violence in her lifetime and a good education or six-figure salary exempts no one,” said Amelia Cobb, Founder and Director of Ending Violence Against Women. “I am greatly appreciative of the Office on Women’s Health, as well as the celebrity supporters that have joined us in helping to bring our vital message to scale.”

There will be a No Violence Against Women (NO VAW) celebrity messaging campaign, prior to Denim Day at HBCUs, to raise awareness and educate the public about on-campus rape and sexual assault. On Monday, April 19th, students at the six participating HBCUs received “NO VAW” pledge e-card messages from Howard University alumni, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Malaak Compton-Rock; and radio personality, Olivia Fox. Two thousand students are expected to join the movement and wear jeans as a visible sign of support to the HCBU “NO VAW” pledge.

For more information about the project, visit HERE.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New on the Events Page!

Be sure to check out the events page regularly for upcoming events in your community! Here are a few events currently featured: These beautiful young ladies are from 'The Little Ladies of MECCA' of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. MECCA Chapter in Atlanta. The organization is hosting their 5th Annual Scholarship Gala on April 24th in Atlanta, that will benefit deserving Atlanta high school students pay for college.

The Little Ladies of MECCA (LLM) project was adopted in August 1993 as a long-term youth mentoring program dedicated to nurturing and enhancing youth growth and development. The first group graduated in May of 2006, and since then 100% of its graduating seniors were provided with financial scholarships for college.

The theme for this year’s scholarship gala is “Investing in the Next Generation through the Art of Education” and targets guests with a knack for giving back. For $100.00 per person, guests will enjoy live entertainment, dinner, dancing, and silent/live auction items from Atlanta’s leaders in the creative arts community. This year’s gala honoree is former Atlantan and Executive Director of The National Black Arts Festival, Stephanie S. Hughley, Vice President of Programming and New Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

New York: A Healthy Baby Begins with Two - Fatherhood and Men's Health Panel
Join the Office of Minority Health leadership, Minority Health Month Spokesperson Jeff Johnson, and other inspiring and experienced fathers, and men of color to bring the conversation up a notch about the topic of men’s health and its relationship to fatherhood in minority communities. The panel will be moderated by A Healthy Baby Begins with You spokesperson, Tonya Lewis Lee.

Friday, April 30
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
Between 124th and 125th Streets

Elite Group of Urban Professionals to Host Haiti Rebirth Charity Brunch
A select group of professionals representing companies from Citigroup to JP Morgan Chase, ESSENCE and more have joined forces to raise funds for Haiti at an exclusive charity brunch. The Haiti Rebirth Charity Brunch will take place Saturday, May 15, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at Columbia University’s Faculty House Presidential Ballroom.

Washington, DC: DC Blacks Give Back
Join the African American Nonprofit Network, the Black Benefactors and the Black Philanthropic Alliance for a spring happy hour. Network with professionals in the non profit and philanthropic sectors! To register, visit

For more information on these events and to purchase tickets or RSVP, visit the events page HERE. Want to list your event for free? Visit here for more information.

Photos of the Day

Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis, Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry arrive at 2010 Silver Rose Gala & Auction benefiting The Jenesse Center, at the Beverly Hills Hotel on April 18, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.

Musician Lauryn Hill attends the Tanzania Education Trust New York Gala hosted by President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania at Plaza Athenee on April 19, 2010 in New York City.
Hill Harper attends the Pepsi Refresh Project seminar at the New York Public Library on April 17, 2010 in New York City.

In related news, Hill Harper's fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, has announced a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to increase the number of diverse environmental leaders on university and college campuses and in communities of color. The Alpha and EDF partnership will educate the fraternity's student and alumni chapters about climate change, environmental justice, energy efficiency, clean energy and green jobs. Sustainability projects designed by students and alumni will help African American and other populations become more involved in public health and environmental issues caused by air and water pollution and social inequity. Learn more about the Alpha Phi Alpha Goes Green Initiative at

Dr. Dorothy Height, Chair and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, has died today in Washington, DC. She was 98 years old. For nearly 60 years, she fought for civil rights, and racial and gender equality. She is pictured in the photo above with Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, as she was honored as a Ford Freedom Award Scholar at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, May 6, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan.

Photos: Wireimage

Monday, April 19, 2010

Help Build the Dream for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forty two years ago this month, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our nation's greatest civil rights leader, was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The hotel is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum. Now, a new historic site needs your support to help build the dream for Martin Luther King.

The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation is commemorating the life and work of Dr. King by creating a memorial in our nation's capital that will honor his contributions to the world through non violent social change. This memorial will be the first on the National Mall to recognize a person of color.

After years of fund raising, the memorial is now $14 million away from its $120 million goal. Foundations, corporations and philanthropists have donated to the memorial, as well as our youth! In the photo above, students from the African American Organization at Owings Mills High School in Baltimore donated $1,000 by selling pizzas, holding a “40-Year Campaign” on the anniversary of Dr. King’s death, hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a car wash. During their week-long “40-Year Campaign,” faculty, staff, students and administrators donated either 40 pennies, 40 nickels, 40 dimes, 40 quarters or 40 dollars. And students from the G. James Gholson Middle School in Landover, Maryland raised over $1,700! These are just two schools out of many across the country who have raised funds for the Memorial.

The Memorial will be more than a monument to a great humanitarian, it will be a place for visitors from around the world to share the spirit of love, freedom, and peace.

For more information and to donate, visit You can also donate via mobile phone by texting "MLK" to 20222. A one-time charge of $5 will be added to your mobile phone bill. Message and data rates may apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Offer available to US subscribers only.

Frank Ski Kids Foundation Looks for the Next Michelangelo

Sketch Your Way to Rome with an International Art Excursion
ATLANTA – From Bernini to Raphael and St. Peter’s Basilica to the Sistine Chapel, for centuries, Rome has been home to some of history’s most famous artists and architecture. This June, five promising young artists will have the opportunity to experience many of the historical wonders that have earned Rome its nickname as the Eternal City. These students will travel with the Frank Ski Kids Foundation on an 8-day excursion to Rome, Italy, the second part of the Foundation’s International Art Excursion that took a group to Florence last year. The lucky students will be chosen through the art contest that begins Wednesday, April 14 and is open through April 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm EST.

On Frank Ski's and Wanda’s number-one rated radio show on V-103, Frank Ski announced the kick-off to the Frank Ski Kids Foundation International Art Excursion: Rome, Italy art contest. Frank and wife Tanya, President of the Frank Ski Kids Foundation, will lead the trip and take the students on professionally guided tours of renowned museums and historic sites like the Vatican Museum, Saint Peter's Basilica, Borghese Gardens and the Roman Coliseum.

The International Art Excursion is the latest educational adventure created by the Frank Ski Kids Foundation to foster passion about learning and the world to Atlanta’s youth and expose them to their future through science, technology, athletics and the arts. The Foundation’s Planet Green initiative sent a group of school children to the Amazon in 2008 and the first group of American school children to the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands in 2007.

How can kids take part in the Frank Ski Kids Foundation’s latest trip?

Compose an original, single-authored drawing in colored or lead pencil only with a landscape motif (on paper no larger than 16x20) to the Frank Ski Kids Foundation office: 217-9 16th Street Atlanta, GA 30363.

All art aficionados ages 13-15 can apply; submissions will be reviewed and the top 10 will be notified on April 28, 2010. The top 10 will participate in a live drawing competition at Pace Academy on April 29 from 5-9 pm in front of a panel of judges. The five students chosen to travel to Rome June 6-13, 2010 should prepare to gain a colorful palette of intimate and hands-on art knowledge.

For more details on eligibility and submissions, please visit

Buon viaggio!

Special thanks to the Frank Ski Kids Foundation International Art Excursion: Rome, Italy sponsors: State Farm Insurance, Nike Store Lenox, Pace Academy and Mist Premium Spring Water.

The Junior League of Pasadena Makes Prom Special for Local Young Ladies

Nicole Sandoz and Victoria Williams of the Junior League of Pasadena, Inc.

It's prom season! Organizations and community volunteers across the country are sponsoring prom dress drives to make sure that young ladies have an enjoyable and memorable evening, particularly for those who cannot afford to buy prom necessities. Read below about Victoria Williams and Nicole Sandoz, a dynamic pair of young ladies in California (and BlackGivesBack readers) who made this dream a reality for girls in Pasadena.

"The Junior League of Pasadena, Inc. (“JLP”) partnered with LA’s Prom Closet to host a Prom Dress Drive which began in February 2010. The Prom Dress Drive, organized by Victoria Williams and Nicole Sandoz, two members of the League’s Done in A Day Committee, was an exciting opportunity for the League to make a difference in the lives of local high school seniors.

It usually costs anywhere between $200 to $500 for a girl to attend the prom – including a dress, shoes, hair, and tickets. Some students just can’t afford it. That’s where the Junior League of Pasadena, Inc. dress drive came in to breathe new life into dresses.

The Junior League of Pasadena collected 55 lovely dresses from generous league members, local residents, and community members for distribution to LA’s Prom Closet.

On March 27, 2010, 200 high school girls attended LA Prom Closet's annual “Dress to Remember” giveaway event in Los Angeles. At the event, girls scoured through racks of dresses bursting with colors from the rainbow, beads, and sequins.

“Dress to Remember” was a joyful opportunity for the local ladies to feel there is a community supporting them and these young ladies will always remember the generosity of the people who cared." Great work ladies!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

HBCUs Take a Stand to End Violence Against Women

Howard University's Ending Violence Against Women Task Force: Imani Pope-Johns, Sabrina Garba, Alize Beal, Kandace Barker, and Fantasia Motley

DC Public Health Firm Launches National Grassroots Campaign in Recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW): The HBCU Project is an initiative led by the Washington, DC-based research and consulting firm, The Wright Group, and funded under the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Womens Health. EVAW is a call to action for HBCU students, administration, alumni and supporters to engage in on-campus capacity building activities—with the goal of decreasing the incidences of violence against women on college campuses, and their surrounding communities, as well as prompting each institution to develop a Coordinated Campus Response (CCR) or documented plan of action regarding violence against women.

EVAW focuses on addressing the five most common forms of violence against women on college campuses to include: 1) Cyberstalking, 2) Dating and Domestic Violence, 3) Harassment, 4) Stalking and 5) Sexual Assault.

“I want people to clearly understand that violence against women is real. One out of 4 women that we know will be or have been a victim of some form of violence in their lifetime and a good education or six-figure salary exempts no one,” said Amelia Cobb, Founder and Director of Ending Violence Against Women. “There is a misconception that sexual violence does not happen to young black women in college who come from good homes. It only happens to women who are in poverty and have little to no education. I want to change that kind of apathy to action on college campuses and in the African-American community.”

HBCUs participating in EVAW on-campus awareness activities—beginning Monday, April 19th—include: Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, Howard University, Lemoyne-Owen College, Xavier University of Louisiana and Morehouse College. (In photo: Amelia J. Cobb, MPH – Director, Ending Violence Against Women; Principal, The Wright Group.)

For more information on ways you can pledge your commitment and sign your name as an expression of public support for ending violence against women at HBCU campuses nationwide, visit To seek help or help a friend, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE.

Photo credits: Justin Knight and Amber Bryne (Photo 2)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Still Do: Photographer Celebrates African American Marriage in the New Millennium

Upcoming Photo Book, "I Still Do" Provides Refreshing Celebration of African-American Marriage in the New Millennium
Recently, the national media has erupted with concern over the state of Black marriage in America. Gloomy statistics depict that the institution is rapidly declining and many are losing hope.

Inspired by loving images of President and First Lady Obama, photographer Kea Taylor responds to the crisis with her debut book, "I Still Do - A Celebration of African American Weddings." The beautifully presented coffee-table book shares a glimpse of the state of Black relationships from Taylor's unique perspective as a seasoned wedding photographer. With her lens and talent for capturing the spirit of her subjects, Taylor offers ample photographic evidence that Black couples are, indeed, still saying "I do."

Filled with a wide range of images from her nearly ten years as a professional observer, "I Still Do" takes the reader on a heartwarming journey allowing all to share in the excitement of wedding parties as they hurriedly prepare for their big "entrances," quiet moments of reflection from the brides-to-be, family and friends in full celebration, and couples' first, quiet moments as new life partners.

At just under 35 years old, dynamic photographer and entrepreneur, Kea Taylor, has a life story filled with experiences that dreams are made of. At the age of 25, Taylor quit her job in finance to grow Imagine Photography, which has quietly become one of the most prolific photography studios in the Washington, DC area. Known for her uncanny talent for capturing the spirit of her subjects, her work has been featured on the pages of Black Enterprise, British News and Observer, Ebony, Jet, The Source Magazine and other regional and national publications.

At just 5'3" you may have seen her petite frame photographing President Obama's Inaugural Ball, the NAACP Image Awards, rural education centers in Uganda or events for Spike Lee, ESPN or Nike. Imagine has served as the contracted photographer for AARP, BET, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, NAACP, Washington Convention and Sports Authority and various non-profit and government agencies.

A native of Washington, DC, Taylor graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a dual degree in Urban Economic Policy and Business. After working for years in development finance (while doing photography on the side), Kea quit her job and used her talent for business to transform her passion for photography into a thriving enterprise. Originally a portrait and wedding studio, Imagine quickly became the official photographer of the Washington Nationals Stadium, the Washington Sports and Convention Center Authority, and designer of "The Soul of the City," a groundbreaking regional business and community guide.

Taylor is celebrating her tenth year in business with her new book, "I Still Do: A Celebration of African-American Weddings." A must-have for brides, married couples and singles alike--it even includes a glossary of African and African-American wedding traditions for those planning a culturally relevant ceremony.

Although the book will not officially be sold in stores until June 1, reserve your copy today on, and you'll help Kea send a message to national retailers that "I Still Do" belongs on the shelves of bookstore chains across the country.

Kea Taylor resides in Washington, DC with her loving husband and three stepsons and is always looking for meaningful stories to tell with her camera.

Visit the website for more information on upcoming book signings, discussions and celebrations of African-American marriage:

Monday, April 12, 2010

BlackGivesBack Is Celebrating 3 Years! Part II

I'm celebrating my three year blogging anniversary by revisting some of my favorite posts all month long! So here's a post I featured in 2008 about the Dance Theatre of Harlem. I made a major faux pas when I incorrectly identified a photo of Dance Theatre of Harlem dancers as dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. A dancer from the Dance Theatre of Harlem emailed me and politely told me I was wrong!

In her email she stated, "Please know that, while both companies represent minorities and the African-American experience in dance, there is a world of difference between them. Primarily: Ailey is a modern company, Dance Theatre of Harlem is a ballet company. Those women (in above photo) are wearing pointe shoes and dancing a ballet that was choreographed on the DTH company by a former DTH company member and remains in active DTH Ensemble repertoire. That has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Ailey." View the entire post HERE.

In related news, "Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts" has opened at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles. The exhibit will be at the museum until June 6, 2010. For more information, visit HERE.

In 2009, the 100 Black Men of New York honored business, finance, real estate and health care titans at their 29th annual benefit gala "Recognizing Our Past, Shaping Our Future" at the New York Hilton grand ballroom that raised $450,000! Pictured are honoree John Rogers, Chairman and CEO, Ariel Investments; Mellody Hobson, ABC News money expert; Honoree Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller; and Craig Simmons, Gala Chairman. View the post HERE.

In related news, Thomas W. Dortch, Chairman Emeritus of 100 Black Men of America, celebrated his 60th birthday with a celebrity charity weekend April 9th thru 11th in Atlanta that featured empowerment sessions, a birthday bash and a jazz brunch. Currently he is serving as Chairman of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, and proceeds from the charity weekend benefited The Thomas W. Dortch Foundation and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

I love it when businesses and non profit organizations team up for a good cause! In 2008, a Harlem shoe boutique, Bourgeoise Shoes, along with the NY Giants football organization hosted a private shopping event that benefited the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation. View the post HERE. The owner of the boutique, Rashidah Ali, was honored with a racial harmony award last year (thanks to Swizz Beatz for tweeting that post), and recently she opened a new shoe boutique in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.

Covering The Mic: Improving Teen Literacy to Create Leaders of Tomorrow

Philanthropic Brand Management Agency Launches Teen Literacy Project

Now more than ever, celebrities are lending their names to charitable efforts and are creating foundations in an effort to give back. One of those celebrities is hip hop artist Common, who launched the Common Ground Foundation in 2007 that created an Emmy award winning HIV testing awareness campaign, an online book club for youth, and successfully established partnerships with top brands such as Cartier and American Airlines.

Now, the former Executive Director and co-founder of Common's foundation, Jodie Blum, has created Image of Change, a philanthropic brand management agency that manages the philanthropic efforts of high profile individuals and celebrities. In her experience working with these individuals and their charitable efforts, Jodie shared with me, "our agency is a support system for people that really want to partake in philanthropy but don't necessarily have the time, the resources or the understanding of how much it takes to run a nonprofit, and to have a nonprofit." In her many years of working in the non profit sector, she's often seen the best intentions fall short of their goals. Jodie's agency provides foundation management, due diligence on her clients charitable efforts, event planning, fundraising development and more.

On April 1st, Image of Change announced the launch of their signature program, Covering the Mic, a youth leadership initiative that aims to reduce the rate of teenage illiteracy. The program works alongside the National Education Association's Read Across America, Youth Service America and to inspire youth to write and report on how they plan to make a positive difference in their communities and around the world. Mentors guide youth reporters on story development, writing and interviewing skills, and peer to peer interviews are then conducted in written, video or photo journalistic formats. Their stories are posted monthly on the Image of Change website and affiliated partner social network sites. View a video about the project HERE.

Videos are then produced for teens, which will help improve critical thinking, basic composition, spoken word, poetry and interview essays. In addition, a second video will be produced to instruct educators how to use and implement modern social technology in the classroom, such as flip cams, iPhone apps, social media networking, blogs, YouTube, Flickr, and Ning. Videos will then be shared with educators, parents, youth and program partners.

Image of Change is currently participating in the Pepsi Refresh Project in the $250,000 grant category. The Pepsi Refresh Project, which provides $1.3 million in grants to worthy endeavors each month, would provide Image of Change with funds to create and foster programs that will provide many important elements such as: providing teens the tools to improve literacy, provide teachers with resources and training kits required to assist in making modern social technology a vital tool and resource for classroom learning and provide funding for teen service projects.

To vote for the Covering the Mic project, visit each day for the month of April and visit their Facebook page at For more information about Image of Change, visit

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Philanthropist and Producer Sheila C. Johnson to Debut New Film About HIV/AIDS Epidemic in DC

"The Other City"
A New Film About the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Washington, DC

World Premiere at the Ninth Annual Tribeca Film Festival, April 26th in NYC

“In every city, including the capital of the most powerful country in the world, there is another city, a city of forgotten people and unspeakable shame.”

Via Press Release: Washington, D.C. has a higher rate of HIV/AIDS infection than several countries in Africa. The figures are startling. At least 3 percent of the capital city's population is HIV-positive -- far surpassing the 1 percent threshold that constitutes a "generalized and severe" epidemic. The Other City, a new film by director Susan Koch, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, deals with this controversial topic and will have its world premiere at the Ninth Annual Tribeca Film Festival on April 26th.

Produced by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson, The Other City spotlights personal stories of those that live in the shadow of the Capitol but remain virtually invisible to the lawmakers and politicians who work there. Tackling issues of homelessness, drug addiction, access services and the lingering social stigma accompanied by a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS, The Other City illustrates indelibly the steep cost we pay – in the loss of countless lives because of denial and ignorance.

“HIV/AIDS intersects and reflects many of the injustices and inequities that plague our capital and our nation – from poverty to race and homophobia, to health care, incarceration rates and education,” says film director Susan Koch. I hope this film will not only spark much needed dialogue about AIDS in America, but also make us aware of ‘the other city’ that is part of every large city in America.”

The Other City features a cross-section of powerful personal stories of individuals representing demographic groups impacted and affected by HIV/AIDS, and features commentary by Colbert King, Pulitzer prize winning columnist at the Washington Post, Frank Rich, columnist for the New York Times, U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), David Cantania, Chairman DC Health Committee, Kevin Frost, CEO amfar, author and HIV/AIDS activists Larry Kramer, and Shannon Hader, Director of DC HIV/AIDS Administration for the DC Department of Health.

“When I first came to D.C. in 2003 as a reporting intern at The Washington Post, I was a bit starry-eyed,” says film writer Jose Antonio Vargas. “But in my first few months living in the city -- riding the bus across town, walking around the neighborhoods -- I grew to know a whole other Washington, a predominantly black city that does not have a vote in Congress, a city with a sizable gay population and a growing Latino community. I discovered a disease that decade after decade has kept on spreading within the city walls, just a few steps from the White House. With this film, I feel it is time to re-start the conversation about a devastating epidemic that is not going away. To me, 'The Other City' is America's underclass as told through a virus."

More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with the HIV or AIDS. On average, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV every nine and a half minutes. And while Washington has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the country, other American cities are seeing epidemic-like figures. Nationally, the leading cause of death for black women ages 25 to 34 is AIDS. In New York City, 1 in 8 injection-drug users and 1 in 10 men who have sex with men are HIV-positive.

“We have documented those raw, personal stories, and given viewers unprecedented access to those living on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic,” says producer Sheila C. Johnson. “By showing the ‘two Washingtons’ -- one that is affluent and powerful, the other that is overwhelmingly poor and powerless -- we also cast a spotlight on several large cities across America that are home to a ‘shadow’ population, dealing with epidemic-like numbers of people with HIV/AIDS.”

Currently, Johnson is producing films with humanitarian messages, including Kicking It, A Powerful Noise and She Is the Matador. In 2006, Johnson was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading aid organization fighting global poverty by empowering women. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York. An accomplished violinist and a fervent supporter of the arts and education, Johnson was appointed by President Obama to the President's Committee of the Arts and the Humanities, and she sits on the boards of Americans for the Arts, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation, the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, Howard University and the University of Illinois Foundation.

For more information about The Other City, visit the website at For more information about the Tribeca Film Festival and for screening schedules for The Other City, visit Source: Cabin Films & Sheila Johnson/Rubenstein Communications

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Retool Your School: Vote to Help Improve Your Favorite HBCU

The Home Depot® Reveals the 2010 “Retool Your School” Campus Improvement Grant Finalists for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Schools from 16 States and the District of Columbia Vie for $150,000 in Grants from The Home Depot Campus Improvement Program

Attention HBCU Alumni: Vote to improve your school today!

New York, NY– April 5, 2010 – Sixty-two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from across the country have been announced as finalists in The Home Depot 2010 “Retool Your School” campus improvement grant program. The HBCU finalists are competing for $150,000 in on-campus improvement grants and are counting on their communities and the public to help them win. From April 5 to May 15, supporters can visit to vote for their favorite HBCU and help make a difference on the campuses.

“We know as well as anyone that the smallest change can have the biggest impact on the lives of others,” said Frank Bifulco, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, The Home Depot. “This program does more than just enhance the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It also offers our communities the opportunity to show their support for these culturally rich institutions.”

The HBCU finalists hail from the great states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, DC and West Virginia. Some of the potential improvement projects entered by the HBCU finalists include upgrading a student greenhouse, creating an alumni remembrance butterfly garden and adding a baseball field. Each of the improvement projects entered will enhance campus life for current students and future generations.

To apply for the “Retool Your School” grants, Historically Black Colleges and Universities submitted applications on the “Retool Your School” Website by the March 15 entry deadline. One $50,000 grant recipient and 10 $10,000 grant recipients will be selected by votes submitted by the public and an advisory board of community influencers. The “Retool Your School” winning schools will be announced in June. Fifty-nine percent of the nation’s HBCUs applied to the “Retool Your School” grant program.

As part of this unique program, The Home Depot also created three new commemorative HBCU “Retool Your School” gift cards to showcase inspirational moments experienced on HBCU campuses as well as how-to projects, from painting to landscaping. For each gift card sold, a donation equal to five percent of the face value, up to $150,000, is being designated for the on-campus improvement grants. Consumers can purchase the specialty gift cards online at An e-gift card, which will deliver a digital e-card instantly to the e-mail of the recipient’s customer’s choosing and traditional plastic gift cards can also be ordered and mailed for free. Instant e-gift card denominations start at $10 and traditional gift card denominations start at $25.

For more information on The Home Depot “Retool Your School” grant program or to purchase a “Retool Your School” gift card, visit Source: UniWorld

Monday, April 5, 2010

Celebrating BlackGivesBack's 3 Year Anniversary!

This month is BlackGivesBack's three year anniversary! I wrote my first post on April 24, 2007, and I'm amazed at how far this blog has come. I enjoy sharing what black America is doing to better our communities. I've met great people, and have attended amazing charitable events hosted by us, for us, that have raised thousands and even millions of dollars. Blogging on a regular basis takes dedication and passion (especially because I have a FT job!) and I am truly passionate about black philanthropy.

As I embark upon another year, I have exciting new initiatives to share! First is the events page that highlights charity and community events across the country. It's very important to support non profit organizations in this economic climate that are providing services in your community. If you are a non profit organization or community group, list your event for free! View the Events Page HERE.

And....I'm branching out! BlackGivesBack NY will be launching soon, and other cities are planned as well. So THANK YOU, my readers, for your support and my hope is that as you read my blog, you will become inspired to give back in new and more ways in your community. In observance of my three year anniversary, I'm revisiting some of my favorite posts!

Earlier this year, the report, 'Potential On the Rise: African American Family Foundations' was published, that highlighted the growing number of black family foundations. The author noted that little to no research had been conducted about the growing number of African American family foundations in the U.S., and the author's research found that there are 103 such foundations: 75% founded by athletes, 15% created by musicians or actors, and the remaining 10% by business people and doctors.

Among the African American foundations created by business people is the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation. In June 2009, the foundation held its 2nd annual luncheon gala honoring real estate executive R. Donahue Peebles in East Hampton, NY. The foundation is named after the great businessman, Reginald F. Lewis, who was the first African American to build a billion dollar company. A museum is named in his honor in Baltimore, that will host the upcoming Thurgood Marshall College Fund Awards of Excellence gala. In the photo are Lewis' two daughters, Leslie Lewis Sword and Christina Lewis with Don King. Read the post about the gala HERE.

I love to attend charity events across the country, and this event was one of my favorites! In June 2009, hundreds of Harlem’s elite gathered at the PS 175 School in Harlem to attend the 2009 Harlem Renaissance Ball and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC). I attended the gala as a guest of one of the event's sponsors, Morris + King, and the ball raised a whopping quarter of a million dollars for the Harlem community. In the photo: President and CEO of the ADC Sheena Wright, ADC student Elie Rinchere, Honoree Lionel McIntyre and the Rev. Calvin Butts. Read the post about the event HERE.

Ron and Reindrop Lopes
In January of 2009, I talked with Ronald Lopes (in photo on the left along with his sister Reigndrop), the Executive Director of the Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes Foundation about the legacy of his late sister, Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes of the group TLC. Before her unexpected passing in Honduras in 2002, she shared with her family and friends her vision for opening up a youth center in the country she called her second home. Read the interview HERE about their plans to honor her wishes to open an orphanage facility in Honduras.

Throughout the month, I'll share more of my favorite posts!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jennifer Hudson’s Design Shines on New ‘7-Eleven Coffee Cup With A Cause’

Award-Winning Actress, Singer Selects Boys & Girls Clubs of America To Receive Cup Sales’ Proceeds

CHICAGO and DALLAS (April 1, 2010) – Oscar and Grammy award-winner Jennifer Hudson chose a candle to light up the side of the second celebrity-designed “7-Eleven® Coffee Cup With A Cause.” Hudson’s cup goes on sale today at participating 7-Eleven stores across the U.S. and will be available through May 31 or while supplies last. Proceeds from the cup featuring Hudson’s personal design will benefit her designated charity, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Hudson made a surprise appearance at a Chicago-area Boys & Girls Clubs of America location March 31 to formally announce her partnership with 7-Eleven and officially launch the cup’s sales. Featuring a brightly burning candle as the focal point, the cup is inscribed with the words “Light of Peace” in Hudson’s handwriting.

“7-Eleven’s ‘Coffee Cup With A Cause’ program not only lets me give back to an organization that really helped me while I was growing up in Chicago,” Hudson said, “but also is an opportunity to tell others about the great work this organization continues to do. The Boys & Girls Clubs provide safe places for kids to learn and grow, not just in Chicago but across our country and on U.S. military bases around the world.”

Throughout 2010, 7-Eleven will introduce limited-edition 20-ounce coffee cups designed by entertainment and sports celebrities to be sold in its U.S. stores. Proceeds from sales of the cups benefit the featured celebrity’s charity of choice. These cups can be filled with any 7-Eleven hot beverage and customized with a selection of creams, syrups and spices at no extra charge.

“We know worthwhile social causes are important to our customers, and ‘Cups With A Cause’ provides them an easy way to support different organizations throughout the year while enjoying a great cup of coffee,” said Rita Bargerhuff, 7-Eleven chief marketing officer. “By partnering with a variety of celebrities and charities like Jennifer Hudson and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, our customers can help make a positive impact on thousands of lives.”

While 7-Eleven guarantees a minimum donation of $250,000 to each charity, donations could reach as high as $300,000, depending on the number of cups sold. Consumers can drive up donations through the purchase of the celebrity-designed cups.

Jennifer Hudson surprises members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America to launch her cup for 7-Eleven's national Coffee Cup with a Cause program in which sales of the cup will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide on March 31, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.

7-Eleven’s “Coffee Cup With A Cause” program was introduced at the 2009 Noble Awards held last October. The Noble Awards recognize charities, celebrities and their humanitarian works. More information about the “7-Eleven Cups With a Cause” program can be found at, and

Source: Ketchum/Photo: WireImage