Thursday, May 27, 2010

Upcoming Events

Be sure to check out the BlackGivesBack events page HERE for the following upcoming events and more!
Urban retailer Downtown Locker Room (DTLR) is hosting free, one-day football camps with several NFL players, representing several NFL teams in cities around the country this summer. The camps, which will take place the month of June, will be held in Atlanta (June 12), Chicago (June 19), Charlotte (June 26) and Washington, DC (June 28).

The camps will benefit 300 youth in each market and will include comprehensive football drills for student-athletes entering grades 8 – 12 during the 2010 – 2011 school year. The camps will also offer a complimentary lunch for participants, a fun morning warm-up for parents and a recruiting seminar for parents and student- athletes.

“DTLR realizes sports is often time the dreams of many urban youth,” said DTLR Community Outreach Manager Sherri Goodall. “We want to help them reach their goals; so, we have partnered with several outstanding football players to help them increase their skills on the field. It only makes sense to bring sports, professional athletes and DTLR’s community efforts together in a way benefits everyone involved.”

Camp participants will perform agility drills, offensive and defensive fundamentals broken down by position and seven-on-seven passing drills.

For more information on the camps, contact brandi[at]

Want to have your event listed? It's free! Email blackgivesback[at] with "BGB Events" in the subject line and visit HERE for more information.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Education Empowerment Takes Center Stage as the Northern Virginia Urban League Commemorates 20 Years of Service

Business leader and Northern Virginia Urban League 2010 community service honoree Eric Adolphe, Esq. awards a surprise $5,000 to scholarship recipient Waveney Hudlin for receiving the highest grade point average among all of the 2010 scholarship recipients at the at the sold-out 20th Annual Community and Scholarship Awards dinner held on April 30, 2010 at the Hilton Tysons Corner in McLean, Va.

(Alexandria, Va., May 24, 2010)—In a historic year for the Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL), which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, education and its impact on the social and economic empowerment of African Americans and other underserved communities is taking center stage for the nonprofit social services agency. Last month, on April 30, 2010 at the Hilton Tysons Corner in McLean, Va., NOVAUL held its 20th Annual Community Service and Scholarship Awards Dinner, where thirteen of Northern Virginia’s top high school seniors were awarded a collective $75,000 toward their college education. In addition, NOVAUL honored two local business leaders for their commitment to education and community service in Northern Virginia. The event, which raised $500,000 in corporate sponsorships, was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak fundraising year for many local nonprofit organizations in the region.

We are proud to have the support of our philanthropic partners who recognize the importance of promoting educational achievement, even in this recessed economy,” said Lavern J. Chatman, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League. “NOVAUL is putting the spotlight on education and empowerment because we recognize that achieving postsecondary educational success is necessary for our youth to thrive in a 21st century economy.” NOVAUL garnered major sponsorships for the event from: Capital One, Dominion, ExxonMobil, The Stafford Foundation, Verizon, Southwest Airlines, Northrop Grumman, Cox Communications, Xerox, Strategic Resources Inc., Comcast, Alfred Street Baptist Church and Bethlehem Baptist Church of Alexandria,Va., and Mount Zion Baptist Church of Arlington, Va.

Lavern J. Chatman, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, and Dr. Steve Perry, Founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., and education contributor for CNN, commemorate the achievements of Northern Virginia’s top scholars at the sold-out 20th Annual Community and Scholarship Awards dinner held at the Hilton Tysons Corner in McLean, Va.

NOVAUL’s commemoration of 20 years of service and focus on education comes alongside the historic centennial of the National Urban League, which earlier this year launched and the I Am Empowered campaign to ensure that by 2025:

Every American child is ready for college, work and life
Every American has access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits
Every American lives in safe, decent, affordable and energy-efficient housing on fair terms
Every American has access to quality and affordable health care solutions

As an affiliate of the National Urban League, NOVAUL will be focusing on ways to address local needs in support of the I Am Empowered campaign, paying close attention to the education needs in Northern Virginia.

Business leader and Northern Virginia Urban League 2010 community service honoree Eric Adolphe, Esq. surprises scholarship recipient Felix Afriyie, an aspiring neuroscientist, with a medical scrub signed by ground-breaking African American neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin S. Carson.

Two business leaders that were honored for their service in philanthropy and industry at the event were Eric Adolphe, Esq. – Founder and for 15 years CEO of OPTIMUS Corporation, a leading software technology company, and John Rice – Founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a national non-profit organization that equips underrepresented minorities with the skills to become high-impact leaders in business and nonprofit organizations.

Thirteen of Northern Virginia’s top high school seniors receive scholarships from the Northern Virginia Urban League

The Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) is a non-profit, nonpartisan, multi-ethnic, social service organization. Their mission is to enable African Americans and disadvantaged others to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights through program services and advocacy. Established in 1990, NOVAUL is one of 100 affiliates of the National Urban League, the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter and succeed in the social and economic mainstream. For more information, visit

Photo credit: Solid Image Photographic Service

Emerging Designer Gwen Beloti Merges Fashion with Social Action

Fashion designer Gwen Beloti (second from left) with models at her Fall 2010 collection show on May 21, 2010 in Brooklyn, New York.

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay

Brooklyn Designer Gwen Beloti unveiled her Fall 2010 Collection “Hard Serenity” to an intimate group of New York fashion press, stylists, trendsetters, and VIP's on May 21st at the Chris Gandsy Showroom in Brooklyn, NY. Hosted by Media Personality Tati Amare from TV’s Breaking Bread, the event included a fashion show and networking reception with cupcakes from Sweet Confetti.

In addition to the tight selection of jaw-dropping statement pieces, Hard Serenity showcased the Handy Clutch, a limited edition handbag. Merging fashion with social action, Gwen Beloti will donate 10% of proceeds from sales of the Handy Clutch to Little Dresses for Africa (, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing relief to children living in orphanages in Central Africa.

A model with the Handy Clutch

To learn more about the Gwen Beloti Collection visit: and See our previous post on Gwen, a former psychologist turned fashion designer HERE.

BlackGivesBackNY: Follow Akira on Twitter! Get all the NY happenings at
Have a NY event to share with Akira? Contact akira[at]

Monday, May 24, 2010

2010 Celebrating Women® Breakfast Helps New York Women’s Foundation® Exceed $1.4 Million Fundraising Goal

2010 Celebrating Women Breakfast Honorees Margarita Rosa, Eileen Fisher, and Mary J. Blige; New York Women's Foundation President & CEO, Ana L. Oliveira; Barbara M. Vogelstein, and Board Chair Carolyn Buck Luce at the 2010 New York Women's Foundation Celebrating Women Breakfast, May 13, 2010 in New York City.

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay

On Thursday May 13th, more than 2,300 guests gathered at the New York Hilton Grand Ballroom for The New York Women’s Foundation’s 2010 Celebrating Women® Breakfast. The premiere fundraising event for women of conscience in New York City, the Breakfast draws thousands annually to celebrate the work of the Foundation’s grantee partners and applaud the achievements of remarkable leaders in philanthropy, community-based work and women’s rights.

Emceed by CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien, this year’s breakfast honored Award-Winning Singer and Philanthropist Mary J. Blige; Founder and Chief Creative Officer of EILEEN FISHER, INC., Eileen Fisher; and Social Justice Advocate and Executive Director of the Grand Street Settlement, Margarita Rosa. The Breakfast helped The New York Women’s Foundation® exceed its $1.4 million fundraising goal.

The event opened with an explosive performance by NYC Bhangra followed by a video presentation that introduced guests to some of the Foundation’s 68 grantee partners and the life-changing work they engage in on behalf of women and girls across New York City. As representatives from each of the grantee partner organizations proudly watched from the dais, Antoinette Coffi-Ahibo bravely told the story of how she came to the U.S. from the Ivory Coast and eventually saved enough money to purchase her first home. Shockingly, after the discovery that she had two subprime mortgages that she could not afford, her American Dream began to dissolve into a nightmare. In the midst of her despair, she remembered a piece of advice from her grandmother who said, “If you have a disease, scream at the top of your lungs and someone who knows how to cure the disease will help you. If you are quiet because you are ashamed, no one can help.” The looming foreclosure of her home was Coffi-Ahibo’s figurative disease. She told the crowd it was then that she began to scream out for help. Her cries were answered by CHANGER (Communities, Homeowners And Neighbors Gaining Economic Rights) ( a NYWF grantee partner who helped her successfully defend the foreclosure of her home.

High school seniors and twin sisters Kate and Karry Calderon captivated the audience with their testimony about how through competitive rowing with NYWF Grantee Row New York ( they’ve learned teamwork, perseverance and to never give up. The room erupted into rousing applause when the sisters announced that despite their incredibly difficult life circumstances, they will be headed to Queens College and Bryn Mawr College in the fall.

Natasha Campos and Sabine Mondesir, 2010 Celebrating Women Breakfast Volunteers

Ettice O. Womble, Chief Diversity Officer, Diversity Works International, and Chandra Anderson

Mary J. Blige was honored with the Vision Award for strategic philanthropy in praise of her latest charitable endeavor, The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN). Approaching the podium full of emotion, Blige tearfully shared how from the age of five into her late teens, she saw women being destroyed all around her. She described the movie of her childhood that plays in her head as a horror film filled with screams from her mother and abusive father and a sadly similar scene for many of the other women in her building. Blige herself grew up and experienced the same abuses she witnessed as a child and suffered from low-self esteem. She used her music to work through her pain and credited the loyal support from her female fan base with helping her heal saying, “when I was at my lowest point, when I thought no one else was there, my fans gave me life and reason to love myself.” Ultimately, Blige believes her suffering was not in vain but what prepared her to stand with FFAWN Executive Director, Madeline Nelson and help other women “pick their heads and their backs up,” stand tall and be proud of themselves. As Blige raised her Walking Stick Award made by young women of the Youth Empowerment Mission and began to exit the stage, the audience rose to their feet and gave her a standing ovation for her heartfelt speech.

Despite the recession, The New York Women’s Foundation® increased its grantmaking by 20 percent in 2009. In its Spring 2010 Grant Cycle, The New York Women’s Foundation awarded $1.48 million to 31 community-based organizations that serve the needs of women and families in New York City. For 23 years, the Foundation has been a steadfast partner with over 240 community-based organizations with their dedicated, courageous leaders, and will continue its commitment to supporting efforts that address women’s economic security in 2010.

To learn more about the New York Women’s Foundation® visit

Top photo credit: NY Social Diary/Photo credit: Akira Barclay

Friday, May 21, 2010

Women in Power and Pink Turn Out in Support of Autism

Actress and author Holly Robinson Peete (right) and daughter Ryan (left) present a $10,000 check to Special Needs Network's co-founder Areva Martin, on behalf of the Hollyrod Foundation at the 2nd Annual Pink Pump Affair, May 17, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.

Over 250 of Los Angeles’ most influential women dressed in pink pumps attended Special Needs Network Inc.’s (SNN) sold-out second annual “Pink Pump Affair,” on May 17, 2010 at the beautiful Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. This star-studded event featured Honorary Event Chair Holly Robinson Peete, Actresses Loretta Devine and Charlayne Woodard; Talk Show host, Dr. Lisa Masterson and many more special guests walking the “pink carpet” for autism and other related disorders.

The “Pink Pump Affair,” the brainchild of Special Needs Network’s co-founder and president, Areva Martin, Esq., was designed to bring together powerful women from different backgrounds and to garner their support for more autism research and resources. Despite difficult economic times, the event was an overwhelming success. Sponsored by Broadway Federal Bank, Time Warner Cable, Toyota, and Martin & Martin, LLP, the event provided women an opportunity for networking and bonding, while raising money to send children with special needs and their siblings to camp.

The afternoon tea began with a silent auction featuring designer shoes from David’s of Beverly Hills, and as guests enjoyed high tea, they were treated to a runway fashion show featuring the 2010 spring and summer collections of Tory Burch. Walking the runway in support of children with autism were America’s Next Top Model winner and actress, Eva Marcille, Dr. Lisa Masterson of CBS’ The Doctors, America’s favorite TV Daughter, Erin Murphy from the classic hit, Bewitched, Actress Melissa Grimmond, and SNN Co-Founder and President, Areva Martin, Esq. The afternoon’s mistress of ceremonies was none other than news anchor and Emmy nominated actress, Suzanne Sena.

Elaine Hall, Beverly White, Wendy Greuel, Congresswoman Diane Watson and Areva Martin
The afternoon event raised much-needed dollars to send special needs children and their siblings to camp through a fun Live Auction and call to action hosted by Auctioneer Jim Nye. Honorary Event Chair and autism advocate, Holly Robinson Peete, who recently appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, took to the stage to present $10,000 to Special Needs Network from the Hollyrod Foundation.

SNN also honored the tremendous service and accomplishments of five women including Congresswoman Diane Watson who received the Lifetime Achievement Award and gave words of wisdom to the women in the room. Women of Distinction Awards were presented to Hon. Wendy Greuel, Los Angeles City Controller; Maria Contreras-Sweet, Founder and Chairwoman of PROMERICA Bank; Elaine Hall, Founder and Creative Director of the Miracle Project; and NBC Anchorwoman and reporter Beverly White. Each honoree was presented with beautifully engraved Tiffany necklace and certificate from the United States Congress and the California State Assembly.

Erin Murphy, Areva Martin and Suzanne Sena

Dr. Lisa Masterson and Areva Martin; Eva Marcille walks the runway in Tory Burch

Special Needs Network Inc. is a non-profit, community-based organization with a mission to raise public awareness of developmental disabilities, particularly as it relates to autism while providing education and resources to families, children and adults in underserved communities.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the country. One in every 91 children and one in every 58 boys are impacted by this neurological condition that typically develops in children under two years old, which affects their ability to communicate, learn, and interact with others. More than 64 million people throughout the world have been identified as autistic.

According to statistics, African American and Latino children are often diagnosed two to three years later than their non-minority peers, and children in low-income areas often fail to get the intervention services needed to assist in their development.

Since its inception five years ago, Special Needs Network has provided educational training, resources and advocacy for more than 10,000 families in low-income and minority communities throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The organization has been praised for its innovative programs and has been identified as one of the most effective grassroots organizations working on behalf of children with autism.

Special Needs Network has been featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, on the Dr. Phil Show and in a myriad of other national print and television media. Co-founder and President, Areva Martin, Esq., was “named by Red Book Magazine in its December 2008 edition as one of the 10 women across the nation changing the face of autism.” She was featured along with Suzanne Wright of Autism Speaks and Actress/ Singer Toni Braxton. Martin, a high-powered Los Angeles attorney, author and legal expert to the Dr. Phil Show is a tireless advocate for children and families. Her latest book, The Everyday Advocate, empowers and educates parents of autistic children through ‘The Seven Principles of Advocacy.’ In addition to her work with Special Needs Network, Martin has written hundreds of articles on educational rights, intervention strategies and culturally competent care for children and adults with autism and related disorders.

Tanya Victor, Broadway Federal Bank-Sponsor; Bonnie Berry LaMon, Areva Martin, Loretta Devine, Charlayne Woodard and Guest

The “Pink Pump Affair” was orchestrated by noted event planner, Todd Hawkins of the Todd Group ( The word is out and women are already shopping for the right pink pumps for what promises to be yet another Fabulous Pink Pump Affair in 2011.

For more information, visit the Special Needs Network at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Haiti Rebirth Charity Brunch Raises $20,000 to Benefit Habitat for Humanity International

Kipton Cronkite,; Latoya A. Henry, Event Organizer; Gardy V. Guerrier, Hearts4Haiti Global Initiative; DeMarco Morgan, WNBC4 New York; Demetria L. Lucas,; Fabrice Armand; Calcie Cooper, Haiti Is Me; Sir Charles Hill, Event Organizer

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay

More than 150 New York City professionals joined forces in the Presidential Ballroom of the Columbia University Faculty House on Saturday, May 15th for the Haiti Rebirth Charity Brunch. The event, organized by Margaret Bouhairie-Martinez, Sir Charles Hill, Latoya A. Henry and an elite group of Host Committee members included a pre brunch silent auction reception, entertainment, and panel discussion that raised close to $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity International’s relief efforts in Haiti.

The pre brunch silent auction reception curated by featured artwork by Haitian children that were provided by Life for the World to support the rebuilding of the Maranatha Orphanage and School. Guests also bid on auction items from New York Yankee Derek Jeter who donated an autographed photo and baseball, and they were treated to raffle prizes provided by Dr. Miracle's, Lancome and B. Marie Style.

Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Joseph Champagne, The Global Syndicate; Johanna Laurent, Life for the World; Joe Mulvey, Habitat for Humanity


During the program, WNBC4 New York anchor and reporter DeMarco Morgan served as emcee while guests dined on authentic Haitian cuisine. Performances by up-and-coming vocalist and violinist Joya Bravo and the Ase Dance Theatre Collective garnered standing ovations from the crowd.

Essence Magazine’s Demetria L. Lucas moderated a discussion of issues related to the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake with a panel of experts in the fields of philanthropy, public health, nonprofit management, law and politics. The panelists were:

Michael S. Carren, Senior Philanthropy Manager, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Joseph Champagne, General Council, Global Syndicate
Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Brooklyn, NY
Dr. Richard Garfield, Henrick H. Bendixen Professor of Clinical International Nursing, School of Nursing and Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Johanna Laurent, New York Executive, Life for the World
Joseph Mulvey, Regional Development Director, Corporate Programs, Habitat for Humanity International

Demetria L. Lucas; Briana Bingham, B. Marie Style; Joseph Champagne, The Global Syndicate

Ase Dance Theatre Collective

Over the next five years, Habitat for Humanity has made a commitment to serve more than 50,000 families affected by the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. Proceeds from the Haiti Rebirth Charity Brunch and silent auction will benefit Habitat for Humanity International and its efforts to provide earthquake survivors with short-term shelter and long-term transitional homes. Those who were unable to attend the brunch but would still like to MAKE A FULLY TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION toward Habitat for Humanity's work in Haiti, can visit: to donate online.

Row 1: Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Joya Bravo 1 and 2, Margaret Bouhairie-Martinez, Event Organizer; Betina Dowdell, Citi; Shana Stephenson, Marquee Matchups; Demetria L. Lucas,; Sir Charles Hill, Event Organizer; Ilyas Akbar, Axa Advisors; Fabrice Armand

Row 2: Joya Bravo, Singer/Violinist; DeMarco Morgan, WNBC 4 New York; Nadine Morency-Mohs; Joseph Champagne, The Global Syndicate; Aden Seraile,; Gardy V. Guerrier; Latoya A. Henry, Event Organizer; Calcie Cooper, Haiti Is Me; Will Davison, The Marcus Graham Project; Kara Lee, Pierre Lee Group; Ramone Bellagamba

The Haiti Rebirth Charity Brunch Host Committee:Tracye R. Adams, Ilyas Akbar, Dwayne Ashley, Jamaal Bailey, Tai Beauchamp, Bridget Bland, Margaret Bouhairie-Martinez, Bill Campbell, Lorraine Collins, Calcie Cooper, Kipton Cronkite, William Davison, Betina Dowdell, Meghan Fennelly, Stephanie Fils, Russell Green, Ashley Hartsook, Haiti Is Me, Hearts4Haiti Global Initiative, Latoya A. Henry, Sir Charles Hill, Diana Hilson, Natema Hines, Andrea Hoffman, Tatiana Holifield, Jillian James, Nichole Kirtley, Kara Lee, Todd Leverette, Demetria Lucas, Tean Ly, Nadine Morency-Mohs, Jesse Owens, Jason Parker, Carla Payne, L. Matthew Perry, Nkrumah Pierre, Kevin Powell, Dennis Rudder, Aden Seraile, Jeannine Sikora, Shana Stephenson, Rahshib Thomas, and Shana L Wells

Photo credit: Mackenten Petion

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Noted Entrepreneur, Lawyer, HR Executive and Author Selected to Lead Thurgood Marshall College Fund

On April 26, 2010, Mr. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., Esq. of Charlotte, North Carolina, was chosen to lead the 23 year old Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). The announcement was made by James Clifton, Chairman, Board of Directors, and Dr. N. Joyce Payne, Founder of TMCF.

In making the announcement, Mr. Clifton and Dr. Payne said on behalf of the Board of Directors, “Johnny Taylor exemplifies the kind of transformative leadership, strategic acumen and fundraising skills needed to move the fund to a new level of national prominence, a new era of innovation. In short, Mr. Taylor’s nearly two decades of broad senior-level corporate experience, commitment to higher education and significant not-for-profit governance, fundraising and operations experience will prove invaluable as we continue to meet the needs of our universities and students -- our core constituency.”

Mr. Taylor is a recognized leader in the nonprofit world having served as the Chairman of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), one of the world’s largest membership organizations with nearly 230,000 members in over 100 countries. Mr. Taylor spent the last several years with IAC/InterActiveCorp – first as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and then as the President and CEO of IAC’s identity search engine, Before joining IAC, Mr. Taylor was a Partner in the McGuireWoods law firm and President of that firm’s HR consulting business; he served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Compass Group USA; and has held several senior human resources and legal executive roles with Viacom subsidiaries, Blockbuster Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.

Mr. Taylor took some time to chat with BlackGivesBack about his first key tasks to accomplish in his new role, and shared his goals for the organization:

What is your first task to accomplish as the new President and CEO?

"My first task to accomplish is to assess the level of talent within our organization; I need to make sure we have the best people, in the right positions, helping to achieve our mission. My first (in terms of importance) thing to accomplish is to develop a strategy around increasing our general market brand awareness. Ultimately, we need to get to the point where people understand who we are, what we do, and why we matter."

What are your short and long term goals for the organization?

"First, we are going to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign to help establish awareness. In the short-run, we will engage basic tactics like really honing in on and articulating a succinct and compelling tag line that will help the public know and remember us. Longer term, we will develop a comprehensive multi-media (TV, radio, online, and print) campaign designed to build brand awareness and to serve as a call-to-action.

Secondly, we are going to work on developing our programmatic capability. Ultimately, our goal is to deliver high-quality initiatives designed to address deficits or needs in Black Higher Education. From graduation and retention rates in our member institutions, to increasing the number and quality of Black graduates in teaching, math, science, engineering, and technology, we will design and deliver ground-breaking programs that attempt to identify and solve real-life issues impacting Black students, this nation and, ultimately, the world.

Lastly, we are going to develop a much stronger position as a policy and advocacy organization. When issues arise impacting or involving Black Higher Education, TMCF will have well-reasoned positions and will use those positions to influence policy. In that same vein, we will advocate on behalf of our 47 public HBCUs, six law schools, and their 235,000 students when necessary to make sure their voice is heard and that they receive their fair share of resources."

In addition to his reputation as a strong business executive, Mr. Taylor has demonstrated a significant commitment to higher education and HBCU education in particular. Mr. Taylor has served on the Board of Trustees of Johnson C. Smith University and Drake University, the University of Miami’s President’s Council and the Board of Visitors of Queen’s University. Equally important, he has earned a reputation as a prolific fundraiser in political and higher education circles, including serving as the UNCF Annual Campaign Co-Chair for Johnson C. Smith University, the TMCF Charlotte Regional Dinner Co-Chair, the TMCF 2007 Annual National Awards Gala in NYC, and raising significant funds for various congressional and presidential campaigns.

Mr. Taylor received his Bachelor of Science in Communication, with general honors, from the University of Miami, and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with honors, from Drake University; and Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors, from the Drake University Law School, where he served as Research Editor of the Drake Law Review and argued on the National Moot Court Team. He is a member of the Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C. bars, and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification.

“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead the nation's pre-eminent organization committed to preparing the best and brightest leaders from our nation's public historically black colleges and universities. I will work tirelessly alongside the presidents of our 47 member institutions, our incredibly committed corporate and governmental partners, and hard-working and talented TMCF Board of Directors and staff to build upon the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall,” Johnny Taylor stated in accepting the position. “I am humbled by this awesome challenge, responsibility and opportunity.

Just recently, Mr. Taylor issued a statement about the nomination of Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court, where she would be the fourth female appointment. He shared, “We, at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, are extremely supportive of Ms. Kagan’s nomination for a number of reasons; but two standout as particularly meaningful – she served as a law clerk to Justice Marshall and she served on the Board of Directors of the College Fund bearing Justice Marshall’s name. Ms. Kagan’s career has embodied the meaning and tradition of Thurgood Marshall’s life’s work to support the Constitutional mandate of inclusion and equal protection under the law for all Americans, particularly in higher education.”

The TMCF will host its 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner on November 1, 2010 in New York City. For more information about the gala and the Fund, visit

Kimberly B. Davis, President of JPMorgan Chase Foundation Honored by New York Historical Society

Via Black Tie Magazine: The New-York Historical Society presented Kimberly B. Davis, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, with a distinguished service award at the annual Strawberry Festival Luncheon on Thursday, May 6, 2010. The event, celebrating women in philanthropy, began at 12:00 p.m. and concluded at 2:00 p.m., at the Metropolitan Club on Fifth Avenue and 60th Street.

As President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Kimberly Davis oversees the firm’s global philanthropic giving, employee volunteerism and strategic corporate programs. In 2009, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation gave more than $100 million through grants and sponsorships to thousands of not-for-profit organizations globally under Ms. Davis’ leadership. She ensures that the firm’s Foundation meets its simple philanthropic goal: target our highest needs communities worldwide for meaningful, positive, and sustainable change.

Ms. Davis’s professional background in financial services has included sales, marketing, product management, strategic development and HR Development. She brings a skill set that sets her apart as an insightful and creative leader.

Ms. Davis is a graduate and trustee of Spelman College, as well as a trustee of the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is on the boards of The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC), The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute - Indiana University. In 2004, Ms. Davis served as the founding co-director of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (LEADS) at Spelman College, and developed, designed and implemented a national conference focused on the leadership development of women of color, which has become an annual event hosted by LEADS at Spelman College.

The Strawberry Festival is an annual benefit which recognizes dynamic women in public life. The event traces its roots to 1856 when guests would gather for a stimulating lecture and strawberry feast. Recent honorees have included Michelle Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christine Quinn, Betsy Gotbaum, and Kirsten Gillibrand, among others.

Source: Black Tie Magazine/Photo: Elaine Ubina

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ne-Yo’s Compound Foundation Hosts Third Annual Celebration of Mothers

Loraine Smith, mother of R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo; Ne-Yo, and Nikki Smith, singer/songwriter and sister of Ne-Yo, attend the Compound Foundation's Third Annual Celebration of Mothers on Mother's Day, May 9, 2010 in Atlanta.
By BlackGivesBack Atlanta contributor Lisa Brathwaite
More than 60 deserving foster mothers and their guests celebrated Mother’s Day in loving company with Grammy Award Winning R&B Singer-Songwriter, Ne-Yo and his Compound Foundation family and friends during the 3rd Annual Celebration of Mothers on Sunday, May 9, 2010 in Atlanta.

The exclusive brunch event included a headline performance by R&B singing sensation Raheem DeVaughn and a special recognition of five exceptional foster moms who had been identified by the DHS Division of Family and Children Services as women with a demonstrated record of exceptional service to children in Georgia.

“I just want to tell you that I think you are all very special and I just wanted to make this a special day for you,” said Ne-Yo to the mothers in attendance, commending them all for their efforts in serving children in need.

Luminary Moms Loraine Smith (mother of Ne-Yo), Sylvia Reed (mother of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed), Janice Faulkner (mother of NBA star Lou Williams) and Alfredia Scott (wife of US Congressman David Scott), as well as Nikki Smith (singer-songwriter and sister of Ne-Yo), presented sponsored gifts to the honored moms on The Compound Foundation’s behalf, adding words of praise for their dedication and commitment to children in foster care. The foster parenting stories of honorees Doris Flowers, Sandy Bunn, Carsandra Favors, Sandra Ransom and Mattie Smith touched and inspired the audience.

Luminary Mothers Janice Faulkner, Alfredia Scott, Sylvia Reed and Loraine Smith
Additional performers and speakers included spoken word artist Michael Molina, poet Crystal Williams—herself a foster care alumna and advocate—Saniyyah Griffin of Carol’s Daughter and keynote speaker Georgia State Representative Alisha Morgan, who gave insightful words of encouragement to the foster moms and teen moms in foster care attending the Celebration.

As May is National Foster Care month, a passionate appeal was made to guests in the audience by Ama Saran, The Compound Foundation’s Board Chair.

“You can decide to become a foster care parent. Yes, we are citizens of the globe. We are citizens of the universe. But do not get caught up making sure that you’re taking care of other people and we do not take care of our own, because it’s somehow much more enticing, somehow it’s much more engaging and somehow it’s got so much more ‘stuff’ that comes with it,” she said. “The ‘stuff’ that we need to bring is dedication and commitment to the children here as well, and they need you now.”

R&B singer Ne-Yo with Raheem DeVaughn, who gave a special performance for the mothers.

Raheem DeVaughn and Saniyya Griffin of Carols Daughter Beauty Line; Crystal Williams, Ne-Yo and Ebony Harris
Ne-Yo and Cyntelia Abrams with event sponsor Design Essentials
Ama Saran, Board Chair and Lannetta Easterling, Board Member of The Compound Foundation

Ebony Barley, Vickie Olasimbo, Reba Barley, and Jen Drake
Gifts to the foster moms attending were provided by Carol’s Daughter beauty line, Design Essentials hair care products, Atlanta Tribune, O.P.I nail care, Nick Chavez hair care products, and LEAP Frog educational products. The Compound Foundation event demonstrated the organization’s continued commitment to addressing issues facing youth in foster care, as well as providing support and resources to the non-traditional family structures for which the foster care system calls. Plans for a youth summer camp and workshops of interest around music production are also underway. You can visit for more information.

BlackGivesBack Atlanta contributor Lisa Brathwaite highlights the many charitable events in the Atlanta area! Contact Lisa at lisa [at] blackgivesback [dot] com and follow her on Twitter for more Atlanta happenings at

Photos by: Alex Johnson III Photography and Thaddeus McAdams/

The Good Pitch @ Tribeca Features Documentary Projects Highlighting the African and African-American Experience

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay

The Good Pitch @ Tribeca was held recently during the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on Tuesday, April 27th in New York City. A unique and dynamic pitching forum born out of the conviction that a documentary is a powerful tool for creating social change, The Good Pitch presented eight of the most inspiring social justice documentary projects in production to an audience of foundations, philanthropists, and grantmaker associations who have an interest in the issue area. This year was even more exciting, as six of the eight projects selected told stories of the African and African-American experience.

One of those films, An American Promise, tells the story of Idris and Seun, two African-American boys from Brooklyn and their 12 year educational journey beginning at an elite Manhattan prep school. Set amidst the backdrop of the racial achievement gap where over half of African-American males do not graduate from high school, An American Promise weaves interviews with urban sociologists and experts on child development into a rare longitudinal examination of class, race and gender in the classroom.

Described as an “epic piece” and an “academic Hoop Dreams,” the film is being partially funded by the Ford Foundation, The National Black Programming Consortium and The New York State Council on the Arts. Director/producers and parents Michéle Stephenson and Joe Brewster expressed that An American Promise is a film “for us by us” that illustrates how parents must advocate for their children as they try to provide the best possible education for them. Experienced filmmakers, Brewster and Stephenson are looking to raise the remaining funds for production and foster community engagement efforts through partnerships with funders and grassroots stakeholders committed to closing the racial achievement gap. You can learn more about their projects by visiting

For more information about all of the films featured at The Good Pitch @ Tribeca 2010, visit:

BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay highlights the many charitable events in NY! Contact Akira at akira [at] blackgivesback [dot] com and follow her on Twitter at for more happenings!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kellogg Foundation Announces America Healing Initiative to Tackle Racism and Promote Racial Healing

Dr. Gail Christopher, Vice President for Programs, the Kellogg Foundation, speaks at the America Healing Initiative's launch, May 11, 2010.
America Healing Initiative will Expand Opportunities for Vulnerable Children
WASHINGTON, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented effort to address the devastating impact of racial inequities on communities across the country, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched today a five-year, $75 million initiative – America Healing – that aims to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by promoting racial healing and eliminating barriers to opportunities.

Children of color are over-represented among the 29 million low-income children and families in this country, particularly among families living in concentrated poverty. According to data from the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 61 percent of African American, 62 percent of Latino, 57 percent of Native American, 58 percent of children with immigrant parents, 30 percent of Asian American children and 26 percent of white children live in low-income families.

The Kellogg Foundation's vision is for a nation to marshal its resources to ensure that all children in America have an equitable and promising future," said Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO. "That is simply not the case in many communities across the country today. The goal of the America Healing initiative is to help make that vision a reality by engaging communities and supporting them in the hard work of racial healing and addressing the effects of historic and contemporary structural issues, such as residential segregation and concentrated poverty."

During the first phase of America Healing, 119 organizations will receive grants totaling $14,613,709 specifically to support community-based organizations' healing efforts among racial and ethnic groups that address historic burdens, disparities and barriers to opportunity. Their efforts will focus within local communities to increase opportunities for children in education, health and economic areas. Grantees represent 29 states and the District of Columbia and all racial and ethnic population groups. To highlight the desire of communities to work together on racial healing, the foundation created a signature video, which captures the spirit of the initiative. The video can be viewed at

"The mission of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is to help communities create conditions that propel vulnerable children to succeed as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society," said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president of programs. "Because children of color are so disproportionately represented in low-income families and impoverished communities, realizing our mission requires addressing historic and current structural barriers to opportunity, such as exposure to environmental toxins and under-resourced schools, which are a direct result of past policies and practices of racialization and privilege."

"At a time when our nation shows disturbing signs of becoming more polarized, this courageous effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to promote healing within local communities is sorely needed. It reminds us of our true democratic ideals as a nation and of the inalienable right guaranteed by our founding documents to the free and unfettered opportunity that every human being deserves," said U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), who spoke at the launch event.

Other phases of the initiative will seek to curtail racism in the media, the environment, education, housing, health and criminal justice systems, with an emphasis on expanding opportunities for all children.

In an effort to showcase the many outstanding grant proposals, and because the foundation could not fund all 1,000 projects, they have created and will publicize a catalog of all proposals, including both the funded and unfunded. The goal is to help connect organizations with potential sources of funding and to help meet the extraordinary demand for racial healing. To view the catalog, please visit

To learn more about America Healing, please visit

Photo: America Healing Flickr

The New York Urban League Hosts 45th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner

Noel Hankin, David N. Dinkins, event host Sherri Shepherd, Susan and Alan J. Patricof, and William Thompson, Jr. attend the New York Urban League's 45th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner, May 10, 2010 in New York City.
The New York Urban League Board of Directors and their gala dinner committee hosted the 45th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at 1 Time Warner Center in New York City on May 10, 2010. Honored at the dinner were Susan Patricof with the inaugural Ann S. Kheel Award; Scott Mills, President and COO of BET Networks with the Frederick Douglass Award; and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP with their Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies Initiative for young black men. Dinner co-chairs were Gideon King, CEO and Portfolio Manager, Loeb Partners; Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks; William M. Lewis, Jr., Co-chairman of Investment Banking, Lazard; Basil A. Paterson, Esq. Partner, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein; and Lynn Whitfield, Actress and Activist. The black tie event featured a special performance by Stephanie Mills.

Honoree Scott Mills, Dinner Co-Chair Debra Lee, Marc Morial, President, National Urban League; and Arva Rice, President and CEO, New York Urban League
Kevin Liles and Stephanie Mills
Alan J. Patricof, Audrey Smaltz, Susan Patricof, Christine Quinn, Arva Rice and Noel Hankin
The Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner was initiated in 1965 to acknowledge and honor leaders in the private and public sectors whose contributions to society serve to eliminate racial barriers and promote opportunities for the disadvantaged. Proceeds from the dinner supported the New York Urban League's efforts to positively impact the lives of more than 15,000 directly and 35,000 indirectly to under-resourced residents annually. During this current period of increasing economic challenges, support of the awards dinner and the Urban League’s programs and services was ever more critical.

Photos by New York Based Photographer Margot Jordan, (646) 226-6652.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photos of the Day

Jonelle Procope, Apollo Theater President & CEO; Congressman Charles Rangel; Billy Mitchell, Apollo Theater Historian; and Curtis Archer, president of the Harlem Community Development Corporation at the Apollo Legends Walk of Fame unveiling at The Apollo Theater, May 10, 2010 in New York City.

NFL player Danny Clark, actor Hosea Chanchez and actor/director Robert Townsend attend the "Le Moulin Rouge" Charity Gala hosted by the Danny Clark Foundation at Alhambra Palace Restaurant, May 8, 2010 in Chicago.

The Heritage Salon, a new blog that explores African American museum culture, has highlights from the 12th Annual Ford Freedom Awards gala held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on May 6th in Detroit. The gala, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, honored five time Grammy Award winning superstar Usher for his entrepreneurial endeavors (left) and the late John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publications. Ed Lewis, Chairman Emeritus of Essence magazine (right), accepted the award on Johnson's behalf.

Read highlights of the gala at the Heritage Salon HERE and while you're there, learn more about the mission of this niche blog, that aims to increase exposure to the many museums, historic homes and cultural institutions that gives African-Americans a glimpse into their heritage.

Grammy Award–winning musician Wyclef Jean and Seton Hall University students launched “Hands On for Haiti” on Saturday, May 8th. The day began with a presentation by Yéle Haiti members and Jean in the University Center Main Lounge and afterwards, students gathered with their donated goods on the Green to begin the walk to Yéle’s headquarters, at 6 West South Orange Ave. in South Orange, N.J. to drop off their donations.

President and CEO of the New York Urban League Arva Rice, recording artist Mary J. Blige, and Public Relations executive Terrie M. Williams attend Stronger: Girls' Empowerment Day at the Time Warner Center on May 7, 2010 in New York City.

The event provided an opportunity for 150 high school girls to interact with role models and gain inspiration to succeed in their own lives. The young ladies visited the workplaces of some of New York's most influential women that was followed by a discussion and reception featuring Mary J. Blige. Event partners included Time Warner, Essence magazine and the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN).

The world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem pays tribute to legendary actress Lena Horne, who passed away on May 9th at the age of 92 in New York City. Photos: Wireimage

Friday, May 7, 2010

Steve Harvey Foundation Gala benefits Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay
On May 3rd, comedian, best-selling author and top radio personality Steve Harvey and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts co-hosted the Steve Harvey Foundation gala, an unforgettable night of celebration at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City that honored Academy Award-winning actor and director Denzel Washington, Harlem Children’s Zone President & CEO Geoffrey Canada, and State Farm Marketing Vice President Pam El.

Counting mentoring among his biggest passions, Harvey along with event co-chairs Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Madeline Nelson-Small, Executive Director of the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), celebrated the tireless dedication and inspiring leadership of Washington, Canada and El in impacting youth and community change. Guests in attendance included hip hop artist and actor Common, actors Malik Yoba, Nicole Ari Kodjoe, and Sherri Shepherd; Al Sharpton, and BET CEO Debra Lee. The evening’s entertainment was provided by songstress Toni Braxton and Denzel Washington generously donated one million dollars to the surprise of many. Proceeds from the gala benefited the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men.

The mentoring weekend is a 4 day, 3 night program designed to teach the Principles of Manhood to young men to enable them to achieve their dreams. Scheduled for June 17-20th, approximately one hundred young men in grades 8-11 from around the country will be pre-selected to travel to Dallas, TX with a parent or guardian for a weekend of mentoring. To learn more visit:

William Bay and honoree Pamela El; event co-chair Antonio "L.A." Reid and wife Erica Reid
Honoree Geoffrey Canada, event co-chair Madeline Nelson-Small and Steve Harvey

Pauletta Washington, Denzel Washington, Steve Harvey and Marjorie Bridges Harvey. In top photo: Geoffrey Canada, Robin Roberts, Yvonne Grant, Marjorie Harvey, Steve Harvey, Pauletta Washington, Pamela El and William Bay
Photo credits: Red Carpet Images & Wireimage

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Dorothy Height

A grand celebration of life was held for Dr. Dorothy Height on Thursday, April 29th in Washington, D.C. at the Washington National Cathedral. Many dignitaries, friends and colleagues attended the memorial service for the civil rights giant who passed away on April 20th at the age of 98.

President Obama provided the eulogy, hailing Dr. Height as a “drum major for justice” sharing, “But we remember her not solely for all she did during the civil rights movement. We remember her for all she did over a lifetime, behind the scenes, to broaden the movement's reach. To shine a light on stable families and tight-knit communities. To make us see the drive for civil rights and women's rights not as a separate struggle, but as part of a larger movement to secure the rights of all humanity, regardless of gender, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity.”

DC Councilmember Marion Barry, Danny Bakewell Sr., Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Michael Eric Dyson. In top photo: Susan L. Taylor, National Cares Mentoring Movement; Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, Rev. Willie Barrow and Malaak Shabazz

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Elizabeth Rice (right) and her mother Lois Dickson Fitt

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and Carl Redding, Harlem restauranteur

Bill Lynch, Toni Fay and Billy Lynch

Gospel artist BeBe Winans and Bishop Donald Hilliard

Donna Brazile, political analyst, and Gloria Steinem

Rev. Marcia Dyson, Cathy Hughes, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee, Susan L. Taylor and Cora Masters Barry
Photos by New York based photographer Margot Jordan, (646)226-6652
Opera star Denyce Graves and Anthony Epps

Actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Director, National Museum of African American Art at the Smithsonian

Michael and Roxie Victorian, Rev. Walter Fauntroy and Ofield Dukes