Friday, July 30, 2010

Photos of the Day

Swizz Beatz, host Anthony Anderson, Russell Simmons and Deepak Chopra attend the 11th annual Art For Life benefit party at Russell Simmons' East Hampton Estate on July 24, 2010 in East Hampton, New York.

Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, Nikki Pattenburg, Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete arrive at the 12th Annual HollyRod Foundation Design Care Event at Ron Burkle’s Green Acres Estate on July 24, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.

Big Boi's Big Kidz Foundation Partners with Atlanta Youth Program: This summer starting July 26, 2010 through August 6, 2010, The Big Kidz Foundation has merged their Big Voice Program - a debate/speech program designed to help young people become better listeners, improve presentation skills, increase leadership potential and increase self confidence - with Moving in the Spirit’s “Rhyme and Reason” curriculum, created by a 16 year old male participant. Moving in the Spirit programs use dance as a vehicle to educate, inspire and unite diverse populations of young people in Atlanta’s urban communities. The summer finale performance will be held Friday, August 6, 2010, 7:00pm at Moving in the Spirit, 750 Glenwood Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

The Honorable Bernard H. Jackson and his wife Joyce Mullins-Jackson hosted an afternoon cocktail reception at their Water Mill, NY estate in The Hamptons to introduce Terrie Sultan, Executive Director of Southampton’s famed Parrish Art Museum to a group of their friends which included prominent African-Americans in the arts and business. First photo: Joyce and Bernard H. Jackson, second photo: Terrie Sultan and Joyce Mullins-Jackson

Mrs. Jackson, a member of The Museum’s Board of Advisors, introduced Ms. Sultan to a very warm, reception from the guests. Sultan spoke of the Museum’s plans to break ground for its new $25,000,000 museum designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Mueron which actually took place days later with Governor David Paterson wielding a spade to scoop up the first shovelful.

Recently appointed Chairman of the Board of Evidence, A Dance Company, Mrs. Jackson is prominent in arts circles and the crowd was filled with noted artists and arts patrons including Ginni Booth, Alvin & Rosa Hudgins, Noel Hankin Sr., Vice President of Multicultural Relations at Moet Hennessy USA, Anna & Arnold Eagle, author Cheryl Riley, Dr. Ancy Verdier, Darrell Gay, Stephen & Immeke Wald, artist Frank Wemberly and his wife Juanita, E.J. Smith, Lynn Williams, Christopher French, painter Victor Matthews,’s Vanessa Leggard, and Alexandra Stanton, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Parrish Art Museum with fellow Trustee William H. Wright II.Source and photos: ALCHIMIA Marketing & Public Relations

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shine On Purpose: Shining a Light for Young Sisters

By BlackGivesBack Dallas contributor Froswa' Booker-Drew

LaToyia Dean-Dennis is not your average person. Defying numerous odds, she is determined to make a difference in the lives of young women who face insurmountable challenges. Raised by her grandparents, her world was turned upside down when her grandmother passed away. “I could have been a statistic—a mother of several kids with several different fathers—that could have been me.” Molested and raped by her mother’s boyfriends, Dennis used the pain as fuel. Graduating at the top of her class, she is a college graduate obtaining both a Bachelor and a Master’s degree. “Just because I had good grades doesn’t mean that I didn’t struggle.”

LaToyia is committed to empowering girls and women with the necessary tools to not just survive but thrive into a life of purpose. In 2009, Shine on Purpose was created by Dennis and two other women who were compelled to respond to the overwhelming need of services for underserved girls and women. “For several years, I’d been hosting a sleepover for girls. I worked at St. Philip’s School and Community Center in Dallas and coordinated the Girls Night Out program. I conducted a sleepover in Atlanta in response to teen prostitution which is a serious problem in Atlanta. Pimps would send girls into middle school to get other girls by luring them with clothing, hair and nails.”

Dennis held a summit sleepover to combat the problem that was not the typical format. “It isn’t workshops and keynote speakers. What I offer is very interactive.” A program that started with 25 girls grew to 125. A combination of fun, entertainment and education is used to captivate the girls. Role models who can identify with their issues conduct timely workshops. Panels featuring prominent males in the community discuss relationships. The goal is to help the girls deal with issues they are experiencing. Dennis has targeted several cities that have high teen pregnancy rates to bring the sleepover, Beauty For Ashes, to Chicago, Baltimore, Pine Bluff, Fort Worth and Atlanta. Dennis notes that teen pregnancy rates have not subsided. Almost 750,000 teenage women ages 15-19 become pregnant each year.

“I really want for each event as a whole for the girls to walk away making healthy choices and wiser decisions in sex, about their bodies, and their future. I want them to find their interests, have goals, and set boundaries.”

Girls in grades 7-12 attend the sleepover from 7pm-7am. Workshops address self-respect, body image, physical health and wellness. The event will be held August 6 in Chicago, October 22 in Baltimore, September 10 in Fort Worth, Texas, September 24 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and October 8 in Atlanta. The cost is $25/person and t-shirts can be purchased for an additional fee on the website. Visit for more information.

Dennis wants the young women to walk away knowing that they can get through the situations they are facing and that they have something to offer. “I never believed I was pretty because the bad stuff was easier to believe. I know I can make an impact. I’m an over comer.”

Sponsors are needed for these events in each city. Assistance is needed with the following:
T-shirt sponsors
Drawstring gift bags or backpacks
Products for hair, feminine hygiene, shampoo, lip gloss, eye shadow, lotions, body wash/gels
Sponsors for the registration fee so that disadvantaged youth who can not afford to attend can participate

Please email for more information, to register, or discuss ways in which you can give.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Black Benefactors: African American Giving Circle Celebrates Three Years

“I am pleased that the Black Benefactors has supported our grassroots mission of making first generation college bound students dream to attend college a reality.” --Joseph Fisher, CEO & Founder, First Generation College Bound Inc., Prince George's County, Maryland (Photo credit: Kea Taylor, Imagine Photography)

Three years ago today, the Black Benefactors Fund was launched to support non profit organizations that serve the African American community in the greater Washington, DC region. We're a group of dedicated individuals who pool our monies, and then decide collectively where to donate our monies to, also known as a giving circle. I founded the Black Benefactors in an effort to give back to my hometown of Washington, DC, and to help keep the doors open of organizations that serve the African American community. (You can learn more about why I started the Black Benefactors HERE). In celebration of our anniversary, we're hosting a membership recruitment and donation campaign! To donate to our fund, please visit HERE.

This past January, we granted nearly $10,000 to three organizations that provide college readiness, life skills, mentoring and the arts. The students pictured above are the 2010 graduates from First Generation College Bound, an organization that for the past twenty years, has helped students to be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college.

“African Continuum was very surprised and honored to receive the letter that it would be awarded a $3,500.00 grant from Black Benefactors’ BPA Fund, especially since we were one of the initial awardees. It is extremely important that we know African Americans support our work and the services we provide to the Washington, D.C. community. We truly appreciated the Black Benefactors' financial support and acknowledgement and hope that its members will continue to follow our progress as we expand our reach into the community.” -- JoAnn Williams, Executive Director, African Continuum Theatre Company, Washington, DC

We also awarded a grant to the African Continuum Theatre Company, the only professional black theater company in Washington, DC. The company's mission is to produce professional caliber plays for the general community that entertain, enlighten and educate from an African American perspective.

I'd like to thank the members of the Black Benefactors, our supporters, and to you, the readers who attended our spring happy hour, DC Blacks Give Back in partnership with the African American Nonprofit Network and our host, the Black Philanthropic Alliance. To learn more about us or to donate, visit, and join us on Facebook and Twitter. Are you a member of a giving circle in your community? Please share in the comment section below or send me an email at blackgivesback[at]

The Black Benefactors is a donor advised fund administered at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, DC.

Celebrities, HBCUs and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Observe African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, Grammy award winning songstress Caron Wheeler, and Isaiah Williams of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, are among the celebrities and athletes who are lending their efforts to raise awareness about the critical need for African Americans to join the national registry of bone marrow donors, known as Be The Match.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is partnering with The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), to build public awareness about the importance of African Americans serving as bone marrow donors throughout July, African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

Every year, more than 10,000 patients in the United States are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases for which the best option for a cure can be a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor or donated cord blood unit. Approximately 70 percent of patients in need of transplant do not have a matching donor in their family. Patients are most likely to match with a donor who shares a similar racial or ethnic background, therefore making it incredibly important to diversify the registry.

The majority of patients in need of potentially life-saving bone marrow or cord blood transplant depend on the national registry for a match. This month the NMDP and CBCF are calling attention to the fact that only 7 percent of the 8 million potential donors on the national registry are African American. Fewer potential African American donors mean fewer potential matches for African American patients seeking transplant. The NMDP is committed to increasing the number of potential donors and diversifying the national registry to ensure that all Americans have access to a match.

“Growing the national registry starts with volunteers in communities across the country,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of the NMDP. “Patients in need of transplant rely on donor drives to expand the registry so that their chances of finding a potentially life-saving match increase. As growing numbers of Americans are in need of transplant, expanding and diversifying the registry is critical, which is why reauthorization of the Program and the NCBI is so urgent.”

Shaquille O'Neal has partnered with Be The Match to produce a video highlighting this important need. Caron Wheeler and Isaiah Williams are helping a young broadway star, Shannon Tavarez, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of leukemia. Learn more about Shannon HERE.

The HBCU community is also raising awareness by partnering with Be The Match to launch the Say It Loud! Save Lives and Be Proud! program. Learn more at

Related post: Make Me A Match Project Aims to Raise Awareness of Bone Marrow Donors in the African American Community. View HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Big Boi’s Big Kidz Foundation Hosts 5th Annual Art of Life Canvas for Kidz Celebrity Art Auction

By BlackGivesBack Atlanta contributor Lisa Brathwaite
The message of the Big Kidz Foundation’s Art of Life Canvas for Kidz Celebrity Art Auction & Experience held on July 17, 2010 was, “Life is a big canvas. Throw all the paint on it you can!” So artists and guests representing Atlanta’s social, corporate, and philanthropic communities came out to the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery and did just that.

Outkast member Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, Founder of The Big Kidz Foundation, put his paint brush where his left foot was and created one of the focal pieces of the organization’s signature fundraising event. Art enthusiasts and novices alike were encouraged to bid on additional one-of-a-kind, authentic art offerings from over 20 celebrities such as Ludacris, George Lopez, Julius “Dr. J” Erving and the Real Housewives of Atlanta, as well as known artists, Fahamu Pecou and Andre Thompson—while exploring global art displayed throughout the gallery. Comedian/actor Faizon Love served as the evening’s Emcee/host, and event sponsors included Aaron’s, Grey Goose, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Atlanta, BMI and Origen Partners.

“We’re so excited about the support that we’ve gotten from the city, from the art community as well as celebrities. The city has supported us so much that our own Mayor Reed has created a canvas for this event,” said Jennifer Lester, Executive Director of The Big Kidz Foundation. “And it’s occurring during the height of the National Black Arts Festival—what a way to end it with our Canvas for Kidz, and the celebrities coming through to support Big Boi, Big Kidz Foundation and the arts.”

Jennifer Lester, Big Kidz Foundation Executive Director; Sherlita Patton and Dr. Joi Edwards, Big Kidz Foundation Vice Chair

Big Boi next to his work entitled, "Sir Lucious Left Foot" (featuring his own left foot), which fetched an easy $1,600; Artist Brandon Sadler with one of his works
Fashion designer Michael Knight with his untitled work auctioned for the evening, along with the untitled pieces (L-R) of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and artist Frank Morrison in the background

Tony Jones, Big Kids Board Member and Host Committee Chair with Emcee/host Faison Love, comedian/actor; Big Boi and Tiphanie Watson, Pulse Entertainment Group
Tommy Lester, Jennifer Lester, Natalie Hall and Big Kidz Board Member Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Councilman - District 2
The Big Kidz Foundation’s mission is to nurture the intellect of youth by providing them with culturally diverse experiences in the field of humanities, which will expand their leadership abilities and create socially conscious individuals. Hence, the night was a celebration of self-expression, showcasing music and dance as well as visual art.

“Once I started doing music, I always knew I wanted to give back. This is my way of giving back,” said Big Boi, regarding his Foundation and the event. “I think it’s important for kids to learn how to express themselves... My whole thing is, it’s easier to mold a young mind than it is to repair a broken one, so we start them out young. My mother instilled this in me, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

*blackgivesback opportunity alert* $100 sponsors a child for a year of programming through the Big Kidz Foundation, with Big Voices, Big Moves, Big Talent, Big Business, Big Dreams and Big Hearts offerings. If the belief that, “cultural exposure, musical and literary expressions, and the invaluable experiences of travel makes a well-rounded person,” resonates with you, put up your cash and give a kid a chance. More information on The Big Kidz Foundation can be found at

Photo Credit: Alex Johnson III Photography,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness Tour” to South Africa Creates Memories for HBCU Students

HBCU Students Return from South Africa Inspired to Make the World a Better Place

Twenty-one HBCU students recently returned from South Africa, where they spent five days soaking up local culture courtesy of Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness Tour.” The students are winners of a video contest that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: “How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you?” The Coca-Cola RAIN “Water for Schools” initiative helps provide safe drinking water for schoolchildren in Africa and around the world.

One of the winning entries was submitted by Lael Clark, a student at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She shared, “My response drew a connection between the need for water and the need for Africa's future-- the children. Without sanitized water access for children, a luxury we have in the United States, who will be the future? Humans can only last a few days without water. If children are drinking contaminated water, what is the difference from not having water at all to drink? Clean water creates futures and the children are the future.” Lael is pictured above (left) with fellow student Justin Smith from Florida A&M University at a FIFA World Cup match.

During their trip that began on June 25th, Lael and the students learned about Africa’s water crisis by visiting a local orphanage whose water system was in dire need of repairs, and they met with executives from Coca-Cola South Africa, who shared support efforts the Company is doing throughout Africa, including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention. Accompanying the students on the trip was actor Idris Elba, who shared his perspective on local culture, and they experienced the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Lael shared with BlackGivesBack what she learned from the trip, what African Americans can do to help Africa, on meeting actor Idris Elba, her future philanthropic career goals, and photos from her trip:

What did you learn while in South Africa about their culture, their water crisis and other societal ills they have? What did you take away?

I learned that Johannesburg is like any city I've visited in America. In every city there is a suburb and a ghetto--the expensive parts and the impoverished parts. I saw the same thing in Johannesburg. Foreigners who visit American cities as tourists usually only see the parts especially made for tourism. This was the same in Johannesburg. We visited impoverished townships, but we also saw wealthy areas with houses even in America would be considered lavish. I think people need to get off their couches--especially us African-Americans--and see these places beyond the narrow T.V. screens. Also I learned it is so easy to help. It is so easy. Africans are literally waiting for us African-Americans to at least visit. In all honesty, I think we owe our homeland that. It doesn't take a genealogist to see where we come from. We owe it to ourselves to connect in some way to what we know for sure, is a part of us.

Lael Clark, Funbi Oluwole (Clark Atlanta University/GA), Tatianna Mosley (Fayetteville State University/NC), Sherron Douglas (Southern University/LA) and Edifon Ette (Southern University/LA) visit the Greenfields primary and secondary school.

What did Idris Elba share with you and the students?We not only met Idris, but he traveled with us the entire trip. Idris was fascinated about our HBCU higher education system we all attend. He told us in London there is no such thing. We shared with him what it meant to us to attend an HBCU and the sense of pride it gives us as African-Americans. He shared with us some of the realities facing Africans in need of clean water.

Several students and chaperones took time out of their schedule to attend church service in Johannesburg.

After the trip, how will you use what you've learned to make the world a better place?Currently, the “Talented 21” as I like to call ourselves, are working on four distinct projects to help townships in South Africa in various ways, so look out for that in the next year or so. I have a life long career goal to be a philanthropist in my community. Even though I have not had the opportunity to connect with philanthropists in my hometown of Saint Louis, MO, I would love to work/volunteer/connect with them and learn from their current programs and initiatives. I think philanthropy is a great thing and this blog is a great thing. {Thanks Lael!}

Alicia Routh (Florida A&M University/FL), Tatianna Mosley, Lael Clark, Cherish Rush (Texas Southern University/TX) and Theresa Scales (Xavier University/LA) on a safari.

For more information about the Coca-Cola water stewardship programs, including the RAIN program, please visit

Photo source: Coca-Cola

Friday, July 16, 2010

Entertainment, Media, Fashion and Philanthropy Influentials Gather for Inaugural Hamptons Brunch Series and Awards Presented by Jaguar

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay

Diversity Affluence , a marketing communications and business development consultancy, launched its Leaders, Achievers & Pioneers Brunch Series ™ amidst the dynamism and glamour of The Hamptons. The company uses traditional and unconventional approaches to advise marketers, the media, agencies, and entrepreneurs on how to reach affluent African Americans, also known as the Royaltons. The brunch series, presented by Jaguar, will honor a diverse array of individuals throughout the summer from the worlds of media, entertainment, fashion, hospitality, and philanthropy. Pictured in the above photo: Diversity Affluence founders Andrea Hoffman (pink dress) and Bernard H. Jackson, III (green shirt) join Host Committee members Diana Hilson, Princess Keisha Omilana, BJ Coleman, Jocelyn Taylor and Nkrumah Pierre.

Award-winning actor Malik Yoba hosted the first event in the series on July 11th on the terrace of Dockers Waterside Restaurant & Marina in East Quogue, NY. Honorees Desiree Dancy, vice president of diversity and inclusion for The New York Times; Stuart Scott, sportscaster and anchor, ESPN’s Sports Center; and Food Network Star Aaron Sanchez, Executive Chef/Co-Owner of Centrico were recognized for their achievements in media, entertainment, and advancing the diversity agenda in America.

Jaguar North America's Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Richard N. Beattie (left) and actor-producer Malik Yoba (right) honor Diversity Affluence Leaders Achievers and Pioneers Awards Honorees Aaron Sanchez, Desiree Dancy and Stuart Scott.

“The Hamptons Sunday Brunch Series honoring Leaders, Achievers and Pioneers was born out of the need to celebrate and elevate those individuals whose excellence and commitment to diversifying the professional landscape continue to positively impact our society and culture,” shared Andrea Hoffman, founder of Diversity Affluence. “We are looking forward to a wonderful and exciting summer of celebration as we recognize the hard work and contributions of our honorees as well as our sponsor, Jaguar.”

Champagne and spirits were generously provided by Moet Hennessy USA. Subsequent events will be held on July 25th and August 22nd. Moet & Chandon, the world's most loved champagne and Belvedere Vodka will be offered exclusively at each invitation-only event.

Photo credit: Alex Lipowec

Friends of Step Afrika! DC Professionals Unite to Launch Support of African American Dance Company

Natasha Watkins (2nd from left), Founder and President of Friends of Step Afrika!, with (l-r) Kim Jones, Janel Merritt, Stephanie Taylor and Cristal Baron at the Friends of Step Afrika! committee launch, June 10, 2010 in Washington, DC.

In 1994, the first professional dance company was founded that is dedicated to the tradition of stepping, a dance form that has roots in Africa and popularized by African American sororities and fraternities. Step Afrika! is the only dance company of its kind in the world, and is critically-acclaimed for its efforts to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping and the dance tradition's use as an educational tool for young people worldwide.

The founder of Step Afrika!, C. Brian Williams, first learned to step while a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Beta Chapter, in 1989. While living in Africa, he began to research stepping, exploring the many sides of this exciting, yet under-recognized art form. Today, the Washington, DC based dance company has received many accolades and awards, and reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year, performing on many stages in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

In an effort to support the dance company, a group of individuals launched Friends of Step Afrika! (FoSA!), a newly formed organization that exists to help promote Step Afrika! as a national and international arts organization through targeted support efforts. They are comprised of a diverse, dynamic group of individuals who are arts supporters who wanted to help Step Afrika! expand its supporter base in the community and abroad.

FoSA! officially launched their committee at the Step Afrika! 2010 Home Performance Series that took place from June 16th thru June 20th in Washington, DC. Immediately after the Home Performance series, Step Afrika! traveled to Morocco and toured Central America, making stops in Panama, Honduras, and Belize. Proceeds from the entire run of the Home Performance Series benefited Step Afrika!’s year-round programming and recently established scholarship fund for college students.

The series of performances, that engaged existing and new supporters of the dance company, was the perfect launching pad for FoSA! to spread their message of the need for supporters to stay actively engaged with the company while raising critical funds.

Janel Merritt, FoSA! Board Member and C. Brian Williams, Founder and President of Step Afrika! at the FoSA! committee launch.

Natasha Watkins, FoSA! Founder and President; Victor Price, FoSA! Special Projects Chair; and Mary Elliott, FoSA! Membership Chair

Friends of Step Afrika! will host its kick off event on Wednesday, July 28th from 5pm – 9pm at MOVA Lounge, 1400 P St, NW, in Washington, DC.

A recipient of the Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts in Education, Step Afrika! has been repeatedly recognized as one of the DC region’s most exciting arts organizations, receiving a feature in the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of Greater Washington's “Best Small Charities.”

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting organization or wish to become a member, please visit the FoSA! website at and definitely make plans to attend the event on July 28th.

Photo credit (bottom photo): Napoleon Complex Project

Cowboys' Bradie James Unveils New Bradie James Breast Cancer Resource Center

By BlackGivesBack Dallas contributor Froswa' Booker-Drew

Breast cancer patients and their loved ones have a new resource in their support system, thanks to a partnership between Dallas Cowboys Linebacker (#56) Bradie James and the Methodist Health System Foundation. James joined Methodist leaders on July 7, 2010 to unveil the new Bradie James Breast Cancer Resource Center at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center campus, and to present a check for $71,000 from his Foundation 56 to the Methodist Foundation. James' contribution provides key funding for the new center and other ongoing breast cancer outreach services in his partnership with Methodist.

The new center provides breast cancer patients with access to on-site and online educational information and resources, including a private setting for one-on-one consultation services. Resource center services includes staffing by an American Cancer Society volunteer who can also provide personalized assistance with fitting wigs, scarves, and prosthetics.

The pledge from James' foundation for creation of the resource center within the Women's Imaging Center at Methodist Dallas, 1441 N. Beckley, was announced in May when renovation work began. Through his foundation and an expanding partnership with Methodist, the project also includes a breast cancer support group, and other outreach initiatives to expand screening, education, and detection services. One of the funded activities includes purchase of new digital mammography equipment for Methodist's existing mobile mammography unit to expand outreach efforts into the community.

The well-known Cowboys linebacker lost his mother to breast cancer while he was a student at Louisiana State University. He has since become a passionate advocate in the fight against breast cancer through the foundation he established to honor her life.

James and Methodist also partnered last October in a luncheon education event and mammogram sessions in which services were provided for 27 women who needed financial aid to obtain the potentially lifesaving screenings. The event is under development into a potentially annual project.

Pictured in above photo: Methodist Health System Foundation Grant Development Administrator Jennie Ball-Tissing, Methodist Dallas Medical Center President Michael A. Mayo, Bradie James, Methodist Mobile Mammography Manager Buffie Pleasants, and Methodist Dallas Assistant Vice President Operations Jessica Rangel.

About the Bradie James Foundation 56James is currently partnering with agencies and expanding his outreach efforts throughout North Texas through his Foundation 56 to assist with financial outreach services and resources specifically aimed at reducing the impact of breast cancer on the lives of those with limited access to medical resources. To find out more go to

Source: Press release

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Celebrates 43 Years of Service, Honors Philanthropic Leaders

Nation's First Community Development Corporation Celebrates Service to the Central Brooklyn, NY Community

On June 16th, over 350 people joined with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation at Manhattan’s Pier 60, to mark the nation’s first community development corporation’s 43rd year of service to the Central Brooklyn community. The annual fundraising event themed 'Cultivating an Abundant Community,' bestowed honors on three philanthropic leaders: Kimberly Davis, Head of JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy; New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Gabriella Morris, President of the Prudential Foundation. In photo: Restoration Board Chair Wayne Winborne, honoree JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; the Honorable William Gray (presenter); and Restoration President Colvin Grannum.

Among the many honored guests included The Honorable William Gray III, Co-Chairman, Grayloeffler LLC; Community Service Society President, David Jones; New York City Councilmember Albert Vann; NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh; NY Regent at Large, Dr. Lester Young, Jr.; and Kim Jasmin, Vice President for JPMorgan Chase, who served as the dinner chair for the evening.

The Honorable Velmanette Montgomery received the Restoration Founder's Award for Outstanding Service to Children and Families. A long time partner of Restoration and champion of Central Brooklyn, Senator Montgomery is responsible for earmarks totaling $400,000 for community arts programs and services for formerly incarcerated youth.

Kimberly Davis, Head of JPMorgan Chase Foundation received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Leadership. Under Ms. Davis’ leadership, JPMorgan Chase has helped Restoration launch and expand its workforce and economic development programming and is currently advising the organization as it prioritizes education as a means of eradicating systemic poverty.

Restoration Board Chair Wayne Winborne, Prudential Foundation President and Honoree Gabriella Morris, the Honorable William Gray, and Restoration President Colvin Grannum. (2nd photo) Restoration Board Chair Wayne Winborne, Restoration President Colvin Grannum, State Senator and Honoree Velmanette Montgomery; Regent at Large, Dr. Lester Young, Jr

Gabriella Morris, President of the Prudential Foundation received the Jacob Javits Achievement Award for Outstanding Support for Community Development. Through her leadership, Prudential continues to make significant contributions to educational reform, youth leadership and economic development nationwide.

Highlights of the event included testimonials from students, a performance by Restoration’s signature youth dance ensemble, the Restoration Dance Theatre Company; a silent auction, and dancing to the sounds of the Classic Soul Revue.

Visit the website at

Photo credit: Margot L. Jordan, International Photojournalist, 646.226.6652

HBCU Graduate Inspires Youth Through Photography

By BlackGivesBack contributor Froswa' Booker-Drew

David Herman is on a mission with a vision to impact the lives of youth in the Dallas area. Herman is the founder of Preservation Link, a local arts in education nonprofit that utilizes audio/visual media to design innovative and exciting opportunities for youth to develop and share thoughts and feelings about the communities in which they live, learn and play. Started in 1999, the organization has evolved from meeting in a local community center into an education agency that now provides a family of programs that offers media arts education, academic enrichment, interpersonal and professional development, and media technology.

Herman, a graduate of Florida A&M University in print management has a unique background. With beginnings as an intern with the Wall Street Journal, he was offered employment with Dow Jones. Transferring to Dallas in 1997, he realized that there was more that he could contribute. In 1998, Dave began serving as an AmeriCorps member and recognized through this opportunity what community engagement should look like. In this role, he developed 3-5 programs for youth, especially for African American males. “I wanted them to take life more seriously and to do that, you have to be aware of where you come from,” Dave shared. These experiences shaped Herman in returning to a conversation he had with a friend and business partner, Shaun A. Wilson.

According to David, “Preservation Link was a starting idea from conversations with Shaun about how to make young folks aware of their surroundings and abilities in a formal way.” With a strong background in photography, Herman created a program that would allow him to use his “God given talent” using photography as a medium. “I believe that photography allows me to serve as a distinct vessel in God’s universe. God blesses me to capture a slice of reality that lives well beyond its present moment. It serves as a form of preservation and instruction for generations ahead.” Preservation Link understands new technology and how it excites youth. “We meet them where they are and how they can use social media which is a global voice that of each of us has.” By combining history, the program allows youth “to learn moving forward by looking back.”

The program started with 35 youth and has grown to nearly 100. Programs include visual literacy, a youth media literacy club, community documentation and a college credit opportunity for students at El Centro College. David has seen students return to volunteer, exhibit their work at the Dallas Museum of Art and the South Dallas Cultural Center. Herman is most proud of the fact that “we have been able to grow and nurture programs and have an impact on students, their parents and the overall community.”

The student's exhibit titled "Through the Eyes of Our Children - Something Beautiful" will be on display until August 29th at the Dallas Museum of Art. Their next tour is Friday, July 16 at 8pm and again on Tuesday, August 3rd at 3pm. Visit HERE for details on the exhibition. For more information on Preservation Link, visit HERE or visit them on Facebook.

To have events covered in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please contact Froswa’ Booker-Drew at Froswa’ is a nonprofit consultant providing training, consultations and webinars. Visit to find out about upcoming webinars you can participate in from your home or office.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Young New York City Professionals Gather at Kipton Art on Wall Street to Launch HAITI IS ME Social Media Campaign

By BlackGivesBack NY contributor Akira Barclay

On June 29th, The Global Syndicate teamed up with KiptonART to launch Haiti Is Me (H.I.M.), a campaign aimed at raising awareness and continued support for Haiti relief efforts through social media, events and strategic partnerships. The campaign was created after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010.

Realizing that support for Haiti needed to extend well beyond the media attention, fundraisers, food and clothing drives immediately after the event, Haiti Is Me encourages the community to continue supporting the country and its people.

“We are really excited to spread this message with the world. Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to continue to keep Haiti in our thoughts, prayers and in the line of our support - especially since attention has shifted to other world events and people return to their daily lives,” said Calcie Cooper, Founder, Haiti Is Me.

The launch event also featured the premiere of the Haiti Is Me campaign PSA, “35 Seconds.” (View HERE)

Calcie Cooper, Founder, Haiti Is Me; Kipton Cronkite, KiptonART; Wyatt Gallery
Gardy Guerrier, Hearts4Haiti Global Initiative; Michael Cohen, Latoya A. Henry, Memory Lane by Toya; Casey Jones, Scallywag & Vagabond; Shana Stephenson, Marquee Matchups
Fabrice Armand and Rob Murat, The Global Syndicate
Nicole Wescott, ShaVaugn Morris, Shamair Coward, (second row) Calcie Cooper, Haiti Is Me; Pam Anderson, Kalvin Sanders, (third row) Joseph Hadley
To learn more, you can follow Haiti Is Me on Twitter @ Haitiisme and on Facebook at

Pictured in top photo: Row 1 from left - Arlene Pitterson, Hearts4Haiti Global Initiative; Sir Charles Hill, Latoya A. Henry, Shana Stephenson, Fabrice Armand; Pam Anderson, Volunteer Force (V-Force); Row 2 from left - Shamair Coward, V-Force; DJ CEO; Gardy Guerrier, Hearts4Haiti Global Initiative; Row 3 from left Calcie Cooper; Joseph Hadley, V-Force; Frederique Guilluame

Photo credit: NikWes Photography

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grammy Nominated Producer Kashif Sponsors Music Camp for Youth in Foster Care

Kashif University and Department of Children & Family Services Host Music Recording Camp, July 12-23, 2010
Los Angeles - With California's budget crisis wreaking havoc on the poor, some of the hardest hit are youth in foster care and their guardians. Having experienced eight foster homes between the ages of four months and 15 years old, Grammy nominated producer Kashif knows on a personal level the dilemma such a crisis can cause.

The mega-producer/songwriter, whose credits include Whitney Houston, Kenny G., Lil Romeo and Monica just to name a few, always visualized his Kashif University as an institution that could make a difference. From July 12-23, 2010, he teams with the Department of Children & Family Services to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children in foster care with a ground breaking music and recording camp.

Located at 9550 Crenshaw Blvd. in Inglewood, CA, Kashif University offers classes in music, recording, producing, drums, piano, guitar, singing and more. All the instructors at Kashif University are working professionals in music, and education. As proof of their accomplishments, youth leave the camp with recordings that they created. Kashif, who helped launch the careers of superstars with his hit music, works closely with the students and is always looking for new talent.

Kashif shared with BlackGivesBack his supports that led to a successful music career, words of encouragement for youth in foster care, and his upcoming projects.

Having experienced numerous foster homes during your youth, what supports did you have that ultimately led to your successful music career?
"The real support came from several places, my foster parents that cared enough to pay for my $3 song flute and for my first piano. My elementary school teacher who was wise enough to understand that I had an affinity for music and advocated for me to be placed in a music program. My junior high school music teacher Mr. Robert Wedlaw really deserves a special mention. He spent countless after school hours tutoring me in music. Wow! How those lessons have served me throughout the years."

What words of encouragement do you have for youth in foster care to do well and succeed?
"All of us have a cross to bear and we must accept that. But we must also understand that just because we have obstacles in our way, it does not mean that we cannot overcome them. In many ways, I believe that we become stronger as a result of meeting the challenges and pushing forward. We have to work to find a way to believe and push forward. We must surround ourselves with people who are positive and sidestep the negativity in our lives. We must be in constant contact with our spiritual selves and know that the God spirit in us wants us to succeed and flourish."

Do you have any upcoming charitable events in addition to the Kashif University summer camp?

"Yes! I am writing and directing the history of R&B, a ten part television special. We will employ youth in foster care to help with the entire process of getting the project completed. I am proud to say that my executive assistant, Mr. James Crawford, is an alumni of foster care and our Team iCare programs. He is proof the work is paying off in a big way."

Kashif's own recordings have sold over 70 million copies worldwide. His music is a mainstay on the radio, though he considers himself one of the industry's best kept secrets. In the world of foster care, however, he is a giant.

Clarence Brown, assistant executive director of Eggleston Youth Center, a foster care agency, says "Kashif achieves in two or three days what years of psychological counseling is unable to do. He does it with music. I have seen him do it over and over again. It's amazing to watch."

To learn more about Kashif University or enroll a youth, contact James Crawford at 323.353.1936 and visit

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

McDonald's 365Black Awards Celebrates African American Leaders

McDonalds 365Black Award recipients for 2010: Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson Peete, McDonald’s Owner and Operator Rita Mack, educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Lieutenant General Russel Honore.

On July 2nd at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, McDonald's presented its 2010 365Black Award recipients to recognize the accomplishments of noteworthy individuals that exemplify outstanding community service, empowering new generations for years to come.

This year's honorees are Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Lieutenant General Russel L. HonorĂ©, USArmy (Ret); philanthropists Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson Peete; and National Black McDonald’s Operators Association CEO Rita Mack, a New Jersey-based McDonald’s owner/operator. Hosted by Tom Joyner and Sherri Shepherd, Grammy-award winning singer Regina Belle opened up the festivities with a stirring performance while journalist Roland Martin interviewed celebrities on the red carpet during the VIP Reception.

Actress and author Victoria Rowell, Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete


NeNe Leakes of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and Regina Belle

Singer Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas

"This year's McDonald's 365Black Awards recipients represent another extraordinary group of leaders in America. From celebrated intellectuals to catalysts in community service, they are accomplished people of tremendous influence," said Neil Golden, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald's USA. "They continually inspire all of us with their unique leadership in areas that touch our lives."

This year's recipients join the ranks of previous 365Black honorees, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, ESSENCE Magazine president Michelle Ebanks and founder Susan Taylor, educator Johnnetta B. Cole, CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien, and NBA legend Alonzo Mourning. Held annually at the beginning of the Essence Music Festival, the 365Black Awards event is McDonald’s celebration of African American leaders for their contributions to the community.

The 365Black Awards were launched in 2003 and are an extension of McDonald's 365Black initiative, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African Americans yearlong. McDonald's outreach under the 365Black platform includes the web site, as well as alliances with organizations that provide opportunities for African Americans to succeed.

For more highlights from the event, visit Black Voices HERE. See previous post HERE.
Photo credits: Soul Brother, Film Magic and Irwin Thompson, Associated Press

The Hershey Legacy

More than 100 years ago, chocolate magnate and Hershey’s founder Milton Hershey along with his wife Catherine established the Milton Hershey School (MHS), a cost-free, private, coeducational home and school that is the largest of its kind in the nation for children of profound social and economic need. At its founding, Mr. Hershey created a trust to ensure that every time YOU purchase a Hershey’s product, YOU are supporting children in need through the work of MHS. So by simply eating chocolate, you have been doing good! Today, MHS is a safe-haven for more than 1,800 girls and boys from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who come from states throughout the country.

The Hershey Company and Milton Hershey School are so thankful to consumers for doing good and giving back to children in need by choosing Hershey’s that as an extension of their appreciation, The Hershey Company would like to hear about your good deeds. New to is a “Thank You Map” for Milton Hershey School alumni and consumers across the country to share their own stories of volunteering and giving back to the community.

Visitors to will be invited to share the name of the organization they support and details of how their efforts have made a difference in their community. The site also will ask for the estimated number of people who benefit from the activity, serving as a reminder of how one person can make a difference. Everyone's story of "giving back" will be represented by a Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar, strategically displayed on the U.S. map according to the person's city and state. Consumers also can send e-cards to family and friends and recognize them for giving back to their communities.

In addition, visitors to can learn about the many contributions MHS alumni are making every day in communities across the country. Since its inception, 8,787 students have graduated from the Milton Hershey School. These alumni have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, contributed millions of dollars to causes that help those less fortunate, put others first by volunteering countless hours to the betterment of society, and raised children and grandchildren with social and educational values that drive success.

Visit the website at and view a video of actress and philanthropist Queen Latifah’s visit to the school, originally aired on the Tavis Smiley show HERE.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Coca-Cola 'Open Happiness Tour' Provides HBCU Students The Trip of a Lifetime

It sounds like a dream college course description: embark on cultural adventures against the backdrop of the world’s biggest sporting event. No prerequisites, no professor, no syllabus, no books and no tests required. But for 21 students from 12 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), this “dream” is a real once-in-a-lifetime journey to South Africa.

The students are winners of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour,” a video contest that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you? The Coca-Cola RAIN “Water for Schools” initiative helps provide safe drinking water for schoolchildren in Africa and around the world. Coca-Cola sent the 21 video contest winners to South Africa on June 25th for five days, to learn more about Africa’s water crisis first-hand when they visit a local orphanage whose water system is in dire need of repairs. The Company will make a donation to assist with the repairs of the water system and, once the project is completed, the orphanage will have clean running water for cooking, bathing and other necessities.

They will also meet with actor Idris Elba, whose father is from Sierra Leone and mother is from Ghana. Elba will spend time with the students throughout the trip, discussing water stewardship and its importance to Africa and his passion for the World Cup, as well as providing his unique perspective on the local culture.

“I look forward to sharing my love for Africa with the students,” said Elba. “Through experiencing Africa’s rich history and the wonderful diversity of its culture, the students will be amazed and enriched. I hope they grow to love Africa as much as I do.”

During their visit, the students will meet with executives from Coca-Cola South Africa, who will share what the Company is doing in support of the RAIN project as well as learn about other initiatives throughout Africa, including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, access to education, job creation and humanitarian assistance.

The students also will have the opportunity to explore more facets of South African culture when they take a trip to the Nelson Mandela National Museum, go on a Safari and attend a FIFA World Cup match. In the photo above, the students visit the Constitutional Court Building, once the site of a prison where Nelson Mandela was detained.

“The Open Happiness Tour allows Coca-Cola the opportunity to engage and inspire young African Americans while connecting them with their roots,” said Yolanda White, assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “We hope experiencing the diverse culture and meeting people who will be in South Africa for World Cup will inspire these students to view the world differently and make a commitment to creating a better place for everyone to live.”

Pictured are student winners: Funbi Oluwole, Clark Atlanta University; Alisa Routh & Justin Smith, Florida A&M University; Tatiana Mosley & Junious Smith III, Fayetteville State University; Jasmine Singleton & Graylin Taylor, Ft. Valley State University; Jelyse Dawson & Derrill Miller, Grambling State University; Lael Clark & Tremone Jackson, Johnson C. Smith University, Stephen Love, Morehouse College; Ashley Canty & Victor Pimentel, Norfolk State University; Edifon Ette & Sherron Douglas, Southern University; Karen Evans, Spelman College, Cherish Rush & Ryan Small, Texas Southern, Theresa Scales & Steve Morgan, Jr., Xavier University.

For more information about the Coca-Cola water stewardship programs, including the RAIN program, please visit

Source and photo: Coca-Cola