Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy Host Gala Reception and State of the Race Conference

Baseball legend and honoree Vida Blue and the Northern Lights Children's Choir attend the Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy's Gala Reception at the African American Museum & Library, September 29, 2010 in Oakland, CA.

By Tokiwa T. Smith
San Francisco/Oakland Contributor

On September 29th and 30th, the Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy (BABIP) hosted a Gala Reception and State of the Race Conference in Oakland, CA. These events celebrated Bay Area African American philanthropists and provided a forum for addressing issues facing the African American community.

The Gala Reception and Community Impact Awards took place on September 29, 2010 at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland. The reception had over 160 attendees and was sponsored by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Tereza Costa Monteiro Fund, Williams Family Fund and The Koshland Program of The San Francisco Foundation. This year was the first Community Impact Awards in which Mr. Dave Clark, co-anchor of the KTVU morning news, was the master of ceremonies. “We wanted to recognize people in different areas, doing great things in the community. We chose to honor philanthropists, not professionals in the field, because these individuals give of their own time and dime to support causes they care about,” says Cedric Brown, Chair of the BABIP Advisory Board. The awardees of the Community Impact Awards were:

Legacy – Warren Wilson, Barrios Trust; Private Foundation – Akonadi Foundation; Catalyst – Deborah Santana; Inspiring Entrepreneur – Michael Le Blanc; Community Service Organizations – 100 Black Men Bay Area Chapter, 100 Black Women Bay Area Chapter, The Links, Inc., Alameda Contra Costa Chapter; Scholarships – Vintage Foster, Bay Area Leadership Foundation; Sports Role Models – Vida Blue, Major League Baseball All Star; Thomas Howard and Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland Raiders; Visionaries - Ken & Caretha Coleman; and Trustee – Hugh Burroughs.

Baseball legend Vida Blue with Oakland Raider Thomas Howard


Vintage Foster receives the Scholarship Impact Award


BABIP Vice Chair Carolyn Doelling

The State of the Race Conference, held on September 30th at the California Endowment’s Oakland Conference Center, highlighted the BABIP-commissioned report by the Urban Strategies Council entitled "State of Bay Area Blacks: A Look at Black Population Trends in the Bay Area, Part I." The report analyzed the demographics of African Americans in the Bay Area and shifts that have occurred in the areas of income, education, health, economic development, and crime and incarceration. Featured speakers included Emmett Carson, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Junious Williams, CEO, Urban Strategies; Malo Hutson, Assistant Professor of City & Regional Planning at UC Berkeley; and Nicole Taylor, CEO of East Bay Community Foundation. Over 100 participants from foundations, nonprofits, and academia attended the plenary and issue-oriented sessions. “It is crucial for black folks that have social consciousness to organize, collaborate, and to use our resources to solve the problems in our community,” shared Cedric Brown.

BABIP Chair Cedric Brown with Catalyst Awardee Deborah Santana

Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy, founded in 1993, is a regional, nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to advance the interests of African Americans in philanthropy and address the impact of racial disparity within philanthropic institutions and African American communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bringing together foundation professionals – trustees, program officers, administrative and technical staff – with corporate , governmental, and association representatives, BABIP members are a strong leadership core within the sector, and individually and collectively, add a needed black perspective to philanthropic discourse and debate. For more information about the organization, please visit their website at

Photo credit: Mikael Wagner/

Freedom’s Sisters Exhibit Opens at Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore

Baltimore, MD - On Friday, October 22nd, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture hosted a private reception and program for Freedom’s Sisters, a national traveling interactive exhibition, that highlights and honors 20 remarkable African American women who have made significant contributions to expand our nation’s rights and privileges to all Americans.

Over 200 people from the philanthropic, corporate and nonprofit communities attended the event, as well as local women who were honored as Freedom’s Sisters in their communities. Highlights from the event included a poetic reading in honor of the exhibit from renowned poet and Freedom's Sisters honoree Sonia Sanchez, and a special video featuring the late Dorothy Height, who shared that she wanted to be remembered as someone who never gave up to do what is right. At the conclusion of the program in remembrance of Height, everyone was served sweet potato pie, her favorite dessert. Pictured in the photo are Sonia Sanchez and Mr. William Tucker, husband of the late C. Delores Tucker, also a Freedom's Sister honoree.

Mr. Tucker shared with BlackGivesBack, “When you think of all the history that this [exhibit] reflects in terms of the African American civil rights movement and the African American spirit - the progress and the struggles in this country - its overwhelming when you see what’s reflected in this exhibit. I want to applaud everyone involved in this, especially Pamela Alexander who has been the driving spirit behind all of this and it was her spirit that guided Ford Motor Company to do this. And on behalf of the legacy of my wife and myself, we’re just so proud.”

The Freedom’s Sisters featured in the exhibit are: Ella Jo Baker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, Septima Poinsette Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Frances Watkins Harper, Dorothy Irene Height, Barbara Jordan, Coretta Scott King, Constance Baker Motley, Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, Mary Church Terrell, Harriet Tubman, C. Delores Tucker and Ida B. Wells. Living legends featured in the exhibit include Sonia Sanchez, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Kathleen Cleaver and Myrlie Evers-Williams.

The Rosa Parks exhibit

This is the last stop for the city tour, which will be on display through January 17, 2011 and is made possible by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. For more information, visit the museum’s website at:

The exhibit also includes educational and community outreach components to facilitate engagement with local audiences, including an essay contest for middle school students. See below for more details:

Freedom’s Sisters Essay Contest for Baltimore 4th-8th Grade Students
Answer in an essay: “Who is your favorite Freedom Sister and why?” What are you doing to continue her legacy?

1st place: $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond
2nd place: $2,500 U.S. Savings Bond
3rd place: $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond
1st, 2nd & 3rd runners-up: One (1) $500 U.S. Savings Bond each

Contest is open from October 23, 2010 to November 22, 2010. Mail essays to: Ford Motor Company, ATTN: Freedom’s Sisters Essay Contest-Baltimore, 1 American Road – 211WHQ, Dearborn, MI 48126

On a separate cover sheet please include: Name, school, grade level, mailing address and phone number. Winners will be notified by December 17, 2010.

DC Freedom's Sister honoree Thelma Jones and Freedom's Sister Sonia Sanchez attend the private exhibit reception.
Photo credit (1st two photos):

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Celebrities and Friends Welcome the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art to Santa Monica

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

On Saturday October 16, 2010, Paul Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, Eric Hanks, brother of Camille Cosby; Carolyn Wright-Lewis and Ed Lewis hosted a fundraising event at the M Hanks Gallery in Santa Monica, California on behalf of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. The reception was organized by the Sanaa Circle, a recently formed group that consists primarily of African-American lawyers, who aim to raise money and awareness for the museum.

Guests heard from Dr. Johnnetta Cole, who became Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art last year after a career as president of two historically black women’s colleges, Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., and Spelman College in Atlanta. Guests included CCH Pounder of Law and Order fame, Lorraine Toussaint, star of Any Day Now, Essence magazine founder Ed Lewis, and acclaimed artist Phoebe Beasley.

Actors CCH Pounder and Lorraine Toussaint

Guest, Essence magazine co-founder Ed Lewis, and artist Phoebe Beasley

Artist Phoebe Beasley (second from right) with guests and members of the Sanaa Circle

Dr. Cole said of the night, “There was a magical air about our friends and fund raising reception at the M Hanks Gallery. All of us at the National Museum of African Art remain deeply grateful to our friends who sponsored this wonderfully successful event: Paul Hastings, Janofsky and Walker, Carolyn Wright Lewis and Ed Lewis, Eric Hanks, and the Sanaa Circle, a support group for our museum.”

The evening’s host Barbara Johnson and Sanaa Circle member thought the evening was especially inspirational. “Not only did we have an opportunity to hear about Dr. Cole's vision for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, we had the added treat of meeting Phoebe Beasley, a world renowned African American artist, whose works are on display at the Hanks Gallery. This event was a major success for the Sanaa Circle, the organization that was recently formed to support the National Museum of African Art. The Sanaa Circle is very appreciative of the support received from the Los Angeles business and arts communities.”

Guest Larry Frazier and host Barbara Johnson

Actress CCH Pounder said, “I thought the evening had a great home spun feeling to it. The reception held at M Hanks gallery included the encouraging words of Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, who looks to include the west coast as part of the family of art lovers and art supporters that could take the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art into the 21st century with an amazing and expanding collection of traditional and contemporary art from Africa.”

Dr. Cole and Eric Hanks, owner of M. Hanks Gallery in Santa Monica

About the National Museum of African Art and the Sanaa Circle
The National Museum of African Art is America’s premier museum dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25. Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines in Washington, DC.

The Sanaa Circle started in 2009 and exists to support and enhance the learning and outreach programs offered to the community by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAFA) and to provide financial support to further the mission of the museum.

On November 18, 2010, the Museum will host a fundraising event co-sponsored by the Sanaa Circle in Washington DC. The event will celebrate the museum’s newest exhibition, “African Mosaics: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting,” the unveiling of Ousmane Sows’ Toussaint Louverture, and acknowledge the leadership of Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole. More Sanaa Circle events are planned for 2011.

For more information, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the museum’s website at

Photo credit: Reed Hutchinson,PhotoGraphics/

The California Wellness Foundation Honors 2010 California Peace Prize Award Recipient Aquil Basheer

By Kim Anthony, Los Angeles Contributor

Los Angeles, CA – The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) recently honored Aquil Basheer as one of three 2010 California Peace Prize recipients at the 2010 Conference on Violence Prevention in Los Angeles, CA. Basheer, a nationally known crisis-intervention specialist, educational consultant, and youth development expert, has worked 40 years to reduce community violence. Basheer is the chief executive officer of the BUILD Youth Empowerment Academy, which operates conflict-resolution training, mentoring, and gang-violence deterrence and intervention programs in middle schools and community centers throughout Los Angeles County.

Basheer received a cash award of $25,000 as recognition for 40 years of community service. He and his organization work daily with high-risk youth to develop their sense of self-responsibility, discipline, commitment and self-esteem.

Basheer is also the executive director of Maximum Force Enterprises, a personal development institute for frontline “peacekeepers” who deal regularly with gang violence. One of the institute’s programs, the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (PCITI) in partnership with the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, was recently adopted as a model for gang intervention by the Los Angeles City Council.

“TCWF is proud to acknowledge the heartfelt work of Aquil Basheer,” said Elizabeth M. Gomez, TCWF Board Chair. “We commend Aquil Basheer for his passion and persistence throughout the years in improving the safety and well-being of Californians.”

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women’s health, and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities.

Since its founding in 1992, TCWF has awarded 5,828 grants totaling more than $735 million.

In photo: Aquil Basheer, a renowned gang intervention practitioner, speaks passionately about his calling to stand up against violence, after accepting TCWF’s 2010 California Peace Prize in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo credit Robert Pacheco)

Happy Willie Horton Day!

Baseball legend Willie Horton with students at Northwestern High School in Detroit, MI, October 18, 2010.

By Talitha Johnson, Detroit Contributor

Detroit is home to many legends, first Henry Ford, then Berry Gordy and the magic of Motown, and now Detroit baseball legend Willie Horton.

In 2004, the State of Michigan named October 18 its official Willie Horton Day. Horton was honored for two reasons: his birthday and his momentous achievements in baseball.

Several community and civic leaders joined Horton at his alma mater, Northwestern High School, to help celebrate his special day. Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown, State Representative Fred Durhal, Jr. and Joe Barber, president of Northwestern High School Alumni Association all gave remarks and high accolades to the baseball legend. Executives from the Detroit Tigers baseball organization were also in attendance.

During the event, Horton greeted the audience of civic leaders, staff, faculty and students alike, as he delivered an inspirational speech about the importance of setting goals and reaching one’s dreams.

Horton is the fourth person in Michigan recognized with a day, with the late Rosa Parks as the third honoree. The United States Military honored him with the highest honor a civilian could receive for his humanitarian efforts.

Horton has played with six American League teams, most notably the Detroit Tigers, which he boasts 14 seasons and had played a pivotal role in leading the team to its 1968 World Championship. Throughout his career, he became a seven-time-all-star baseball player. The American League eventually recognized him as its top designated hitter. Horton now serves as the special assistant to Tigers President, CEO and General Manager David Dombrowski.

Horton remains engaged with the Detroit community through philanthropy. He works in partnership with local organizations, including a $5,000 scholarship he awards to Northwestern High School.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CJ by Cookie Johnson: A Champagne Celebration with a Cause

Cookie Johnson attends the CJ by Cookie Johnson Launch Celebration at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills on September 30, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.
By Kim Anthony
(Beverly Hills, CA) Hollywood’s brightest sports, entertainment, business and community leaders were on hand as Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills hosted a Champagne Celebration for the launch of CJ by Cookie Johnson on September 30. The event, which featured a star-studded “denim-couture” fashion show, was held at Saks’ “WEAR on Four.” Attendees were treated to champagne and delectable desserts as they “shopped and socialized” in support of the Magic Johnson Foundation and Women Alive, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving women affected by HIV/AIDS information, encouragement and emotional support.

A businesswoman at heart, Johnson came out of “retirement” -- from being a busy, full-time mom -- to pursue this endeavor. “I wanted to let women know that no matter their shape, they can look good and enjoy premium denim,” she says. The ‘women’ she refers to are women who have typically avoided jeans because their curves didn’t fit well into the trendy, high-end denim cut for waifish figures. “This was my story, too” adds Johnson, who works out daily, eats healthy, but isn’t a size two.

Nia Long, Judy Pace, Cookie Johnson, Sheila Frazier and Beverly Todd attend the CJ by Cookie Johnson Launch Celebration.
Another “story” that is close to Cookie Johnson’s heart is the plight of the women served by the evening’s beneficiaries, Women Alive. Created in 1990 by a group of women living with HIV/AIDS who recognized the need to provide a more specialized gender specific AIDS service organization for women, Women Alive reaches nearly 150 HIV+ clients and their families, and over 1,000 individuals through their outreach endeavors, out-patient clinics, health fairs, home visits, posters, brochures, and role model stories.

“Starting out as a multi-service AIDS advocacy organization for people with the virus, Women Alive has evolved into a health promotion and disease prevention agency that helps people at risk for HIV to stay healthy and stay connected to services and care,” said Carrie Broadus, Executive Director.

Saks Fifth Avenue General Manager John Cruz; Cookie Johnson, Co-Owner, CJ by Cookie; and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Magic Johnson Foundation
Woman Alive is supported by the Magic Johnson Foundation. Founded by Earvin “Magic” Johnson in 1991, the Foundation works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.

Photos: Wireimage

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Calling all Dreamers…The 2011 Disney Dreamers Academy

Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey, a motivational event for teens, will take place at Walt Disney World in Florida in March 2011.
By Talitha Johnson
Detroit Contributor
The nationwide search for young aspiring dreamers has begun. Essence Magazine and Steve Harvey have teamed up to produce the 2011 Disney’s Dreamers Academy. Each year, celebrities, Disney representatives and motivational speakers gather to inspire children to pursue their dreams. Youth across the nation will collaborate for interactive workshops and seminars, while exploring a variety of career possibilities.

A panel of leaders in the communications, education and entertainment industries will sift through thousands of submission applications to select only 100 students who will become Disney Dreamers.

The chosen winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort for three days, March 3-6, 2011; during which they will learn to “dream big.” Students also will learn interviewing and networking skills.

“Each year we strive to find young people who may have a will or passion, but may not have the courage to explore their dreams,” said comedian and radio host Steve Harvey. “So we hope to unlock the power that will allow them to pursue their hearts’ desires.”

Nuttin’ But Stringz at Disney’s Dreamer’s Academy: Nuttin’ But Stringz, a violin duo blending classical, jazz, R&B and hip-hop, perform and inspire participants at Disney’s Dreamers Academy 2009. (Photo credit: Todd Anderson)
“Disney’s Dreamers Academy is helping teens take steps in the right direction, and we want to be right there with the students, both encouraging them and sharing their stories,” Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, said in a press release.

High school students, ages 13-19, are encouraged to cast their nominations to: Legal U.S. residency is required.

The submission deadline is October 31.

Black Faces in White Places: New Book Outlines Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness

Dr. Randall Pinkett is the first and only African American to win NBC's hit reality TV show 'The Apprentice.' He is also the chairman and CEO of his own multi-million dollar business. This month, he along with business scholar Jeffrey Robinson will launch a pivotal book, Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness.

In the book, Pinkett and Robinson present a trailblazing path for leveraging ethnic and cultural assets to not only win the game of success in any arena, but to reshape America and leave a powerful legacy. Building on the four dimensions of the contemporary Black experience—identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity -- Black Faces in White Places provides a strategic roadmap to keep African Americans moving forward in their journey toward not simply equal treatment but equal respect for their diversity and uniqueness.

In the book you’ll find strategies such as:

Seek the wisdom of others. There is always something you can learn from others, whether younger, older, less experienced, or more capable. Learn from others' mistakes as well as their successes. When you seek the wisdom of others, you develop your own. Learn from your peers. Find a mentor, and be one, too. The best way to learn is to teach.

Find strength in numbers. Surround yourself with people who share your perspective, affirm your values, and support your goals. Cultivate an inner circle whose members are all comfortable with each other, trust each other, and watch out for each other. (The key isn't necessarily ethnicity, but compatibility.) Get involved in collaborative organizations, which range from Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities to the NAACP.

Think and act entrepreneurially. You must take control of your career; you must dare to be in the driver's seat of your destiny; and you must be in a position to pursue your economic prosperity. The entrepreneurial mindset of passion, creativity, resourcefulness, courage, and resilience is mandatory for success in the twenty-first century. Work outside the system to build wealth for yourself and the community as a whole.

Give back generously. Each and every one of us represents the continuation of a countless number of legacies and we can blaze trails for others to follow. Today, African-American giving is no longer only about survival or even helping each other; it is about empowerment and collective self-determination. To address the many challenges in our community, we must leverage our combined efforts through organizations and businesses to reach as many people as possible.

For more information, visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about Randal’s philanthropic efforts visit HERE.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Special Needs Network’s 5th Anniversary “Evening Under the Stars” A Huge Success

By Kim Anthony
Los Angeles Contributor

While national statistics offer a dire picture of children being diagnosed with developmental disabilities, southern California’s premier organization providing services to families raising children or caring for adults of color with autism or other developmental disorders proudly acknowledged those who helped during a special 5th Anniversary “Evening Under the Stars” gala presented by Toyota. Pictured are J.L. Armstrong of Toyota, recording artist Melanie Fiona, and Areva Martin, founder, Special Needs Network.

Held Sunday, October 10, 2010 at the Ebell of Los Angeles Gardens and Salon, Special Needs Network, Inc. (SNN) hosted its 5th annual gala honoring California State Senator Curren Price Jr., Steve Mauldin, President and General Manager of CBS/KCAL 9, and Terrie M. Williams, PR and communications pioneer, author and co-founder of the Stay Strong Foundation.

With 'The Doctors' television show co-host, Dr. Jim Sears serving as Master of Ceremonies, along with Grammy nominated R&B artist Melanie Fiona and DaBreeze Band as entertainment, SNN welcomed 300 corporate executives, community leaders, celebrities and parents including KNBC's Beverly White, Actress Erin Murphy, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, Toyota’s National Manager of External Affairs, J.L. Armstrong; and US Bank Vice President Darryl Brown, to the historic Ebell. Under the direction of event manager Todd Hawkins of The Todd Group, SNN’s “Evening Under the Stars” also offered dining and dancing, silent and live auctions and elegant boutiques.

“Our honorees have shown an unwavering commitment to children and families in our community,” commented Areva Martin, Esq., SNN president and co-founder. “With long track records providing community support, our top honorees are more than deserving of this recognition.” Martin is also managing partner of Martin & Martin, LLP, a legal expert to the Dr. Phil Show and author of “The Everyday Advocate.”

A particularly touching moment in the program occurred when SNN kids and their parents read special tributes to the honorees regarding their experience with SNN’s Joe Patton summer enrichment program that welcomed 200 kids this year for a full day of free summer camp. Moving testimonies encouraged the sold-out crowd to provide continued support for the program which serves youth ages 5 to 16 with autism and related disorders and their typical siblings and peers. The event raised close to $300,000 for SNN’s enrichment program and other programs.

The Special Needs Network was founded by Martin in 2005 after her son was diagnosed with autism, to address the epidemic proportions in which children of color were being diagnosed with autism and other developmental disorders. SNN is a community based, nonprofit organization designed to raise awareness and resources for low-income families to navigate through bureaucratic red tape to obtain services. Its signature programs include an annual conference for parents, professionals and stake holders; town hall meetings, resource fairs, enrichment programs for children; and policy, advocacy and education forums.

Pastor John Hunter, J.L. Armstrong, Toyota; LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, and Dr. Ludlow Creary

Melanie Fiona performs

Areva Martin, Sonjia White Esq., Honoree Terrie Williams, Dr. Ruth Creary, Annette Holloman and Bonnie Berry Lamon

“Evening Under the Stars” corporate sponsors included Toyota, Southern California Edison, Zenith Insurance Co., US Bank, SEIU-ULTCW, Martin and Martin, LLP, Superbtech, One Hope and Modivendi.

For additional information visit the SNN website at or call 213.389.7100. Source and photos: Press release/The Todd Group

Beyond the Bricks Community Engagement Tour Visits Oakland Town Hall Meeting

By Tokiwa T. Smith
San Francisco/ Oakland Contributor

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, the 'Beyond the Bricks Community Engagement Tour' held its Oakland, CA town hall meeting at the Allen Temple Baptist Church, the second stop of a ten city national tour that features the documentary film, “Beyond the Bricks.” The film focuses on issues of consistently low performance of African American males in school.

The film’s producers, Ouida Washington and Derrick Koen of Washington Koen Media Productions, selected the cities for the tour based on certain statistics about African American males. “The purpose of these town hall meetings is to bring the community together to provide an opportunity for us as a people to feel good and empowered to solve problems in our community,” says Ouida Washington, film producer. “We want people to walk away from the town hall meetings with hope, wanting to be a part of a movement, a unified force, that is moving forward.” The national partners for the Community Engagement Tour are the Open Society Institute, Centric, United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and The local partners for the Oakland town hall meeting were Allen Temple Baptist Church, Insight Center for Community Economic Development, 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys, and the National Equity Project.

Daniel Mastin, a student on the community panel

The film follows African-American students Shaquiel Ingram and Erick Graham as they struggle to stay on track in the Newark, NJ public school system. The idea for the film was birthed from the film director and co-producer’s experience with his oldest son. “African American males face issues with the meaning of manhood and other problems in society,” says Derrick Koen. “We wanted to provide an example of what African American males can be when they are supported…this documentary is a model of educational and community programs that allow African American males to succeed.”

The agenda for the day was opening remarks, the film screening, a community panel discussion, community planning workshops and action planning as a group. The panel discussed issues that face African American males in public education, the criminal justice system, the family, the community, the media, and general culture. The moderator for the community discussion was Reverend Daniel Buford and the panelists were: Mr. Cheo Tyehimba-Taylor of Forever Media, Media Advocate; Dr. Shawn Ginwright, San Francisco State University, Educator; Mr. Chris Chatmon, Oakland Unified School District and 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, Community Agency; Mr. Roger A. Clay Jr, Insight Center for Community Economic Development, Policy Advocate; and Mr. Daniel Mastin and Mr. Martin Grace, Student.

Overall, the Oakland town hall forum was exactly what Washington Koen Media Productions envisioned with the tour. It was an opportunity for students, parents, educators and community leaders to discuss challenges and come up with solutions to ensure that African American males in Oakland succeed. The next step is for the town hall attendees and individuals in Oakland that did not attend the meeting, but want to be part of the solution, to visit the Beyond the Bricks website to join the web portal, The web portal is a way to connect individuals across the country that are interested in sharing information and resources to ensure that African American males succeed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey - Where Art and History Intersect

Artist Samuel L. Dunson, Jr., Bernard Kinsey, Khalil Kinsey and Shirley Kinsey are pictured with Dunson's painting, "The Cultivators" at the press preview for the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Collection on October 14, 2010 at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery in Washington, DC.
In 2008, I profiled Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, prominent philanthropists and art collectors who have amassed a historical collection of artifacts documenting the hardship and triumphs of the African American experience. A collection that spans four centuries, “The Kinsey Collection: The Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey – Where Art and History Intersect,” has been viewed by over 300,000 people in museums across the country, saluted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now will be on display at one of the world’s premier museums, the Smithsonian.

On October 14, 2010, the couple along with their son Khalil hosted a press preview of the collection in the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery, located in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC. Bernard Kinsey shared that he never dreamed his collection would one day be featured at the Smithsonian; he just simply wanted to inspire future generations to collect and preserve stories, so they wouldn’t be lost or forgotten. The collection features more than 100 items such as bills of sale, advertisements, letters and legal papers documenting the slave trade; hand-colored tintypes from the Civil War era, and items spotlighting key moments in the civil rights movement, including the Woolworth store boycotts and the 1963 March on Washington. The collection also includes artwork by renowned African American artists such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones and Henry O. Tanner.

The entrance of the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery in Washington, DC.
Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture shared at the preview, “I have opened many exhibitions throughout my career but few have excited, challenged and moved me as has the Kinsey Collection.” He went on to share, “I have been moved by so many of the materials that are housed in this exhibition. Who could not be affected by the letter carried by an enslaved girl only to cruelly discover that the message was about her sale to the person to whom she delivered the note? Or the beautiful document that coldly lists the names and color and condition of slaves that would soon be sold as a result of the death of their owner?”

In 2008, the couple founded the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation for the Arts and Education, to continue their exhibition in museums across the country, and in schools. In addition to their collection, the Kinsey’s have raised 22 million for education and college scholarships, and have published "The Kinsey Collection," a must read coffee table book.

The exhibition is on display from October 15, 2010 to May 1, 2011. See below for upcoming programs at the National Museum of American History in celebration of the exhibit:

Saturday, October 16, 20102:00-3:30 pm
“What You Didn’t Learn in High School History”
Carmichael Auditorium
Join Bernard and Shirley Kinsey as they take visitors on an extraordinary journey through art and history that is certain to transform your perspective on the African American experience. A book signing will follow.

Sunday, October 17th from 11:00am–12:00pm
Saturday, October 23rd from 10:00am-12:00pm
The Kinseys lead a special and personal tour of their collection. Hear how they amassed their collection while traveling to exotic destinations around the world. Free and open to public. Ongoing tours. No reservations required. A Q&A and book signing will follow. Location: NMAAHC Gallery, 2nd Floor

Sunday, October 17th1:00-3:00 pm
“A Conversation: Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Discuss Collecting”
NMAAHC Gallery

Friday, October 22, 20107:15 and 9:00 pm
Smithsonian Teachers’ Night 2010: Tours for Educators Only
Meet the Kinseys and learn about their history and art collection. The Kinseys will introduce teachers to their artifacts and tell how their materials have been used in school systems around the nation. Space is limited; please do not bring children or other guests. Register for this free event at A book signing will follow.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)The museum was established in 2003 by an Act of Congress, making it the 19th Smithsonian Institution museum. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. The Smithsonian Board of Regents, the governing body of the Institution, voted in January 2006 to build the museum on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument on the National Mall. The building is scheduled to open in 2015. Until then, NMAAHC is presenting its touring exhibitions in major cities across the country and in its own gallery at the National Museum of American History. Learn more at

Seeing Possibilities, Seeking Opportunities, Seizing the Power of Giving

Author Wes Moore (center) and book club members attend a book-signing event at the Community Investment Network's 7th annual conference in Durham, NC.

Community Investment Network Celebrates Seventh Season

By Valaida Fullwood

DURHAM, NC — A powerhouse weekend marked the 7th annual gathering of the Community Investment Network (CIN), Sep 30-Oct 3, at Durham’s Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Conference Center. Themed It’s Our Time! A Collective Call to Act, the CIN conference attracted over 150 people from across the country, primarily African American donors and doers vested in positive community change.

New York Times best-selling author Wes Moore kicked off the conference with an opening-night message about the achievement of Black men and boys. His book, “The Other Wes Moore,” was a springboard for timely discussions about the role parents, education, societal messages and community support systems have in shaping Black male identity and directing young men’s paths.

William Rhoden, award-winning New York Times columnist and author, and Athan Lindsay, social entrepreneur and consultant on philanthropy.

William Rhoden, another featured speaker and best-selling author, spoke during a luncheon plenary, sharing perspectives on philanthropy and social responsibility profiled in his book "The Forty Million Dollar Slave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete." Powerful storytelling and photography punctuated the keynote delivered by Eugene Cho, founder of One Day’s Wages, a movement to end global poverty. James Joseph, former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa and Linetta Gilbert, a veteran grantmaker formerly with the Ford Foundation, paired up for a panel discussion on the history of Black philanthropy and offered provocative advise to a cross-section of givers.

Everyone has the potential to be a philanthropist, regardless of income level or social status. That’s the firm belief of our leadership and members.” — Charles E. Lewis, CIN Board Chair

Eugene Cho, founder of One Day’s Wages

Heritage Quilters’ Earleann Henderson and Jereann Johnson displaying their giving circle’s collective talent at the CIN Conference Marketplace.

CIN is a national nonprofit that educates and supports donors to give strategically and to act collectively. A key objective is demystifying institutional philanthropy for the benefit of donors and communities of color. By channeling resources to a growing network of members, CIN supports the philanthropy of diverse donors, including individuals, families, giving circles, civic and social clubs, and grantmakers across the United States. CIN’s mission is to inspire, connect and strengthen African Americans and communities of color to leverage their collective resources and create the change THEY wish to see.

We want everyone to know that we all have the power! Many people don’t realize that a network of everyday Black donors exists and that they possess a passion to change their communities with their time, talent and treasure.” — Dionne Lester, CIN Chief Operating Officer

Joy Webb, Circle of Joy in Atlanta; Renee Bradford, New Generation of African American Philanthropists-Charlotte; Ruth Chambers, Heritage Quilters based in eastern North Carolina; and other CIN members during roundtable discussions.

Conference participants from Milwaukee attending (left to right): Jeff Berry, Dr. Jeanette Mitchell, Ron Kuramoto, Darryl Lester (seated), Margaret Arney, Pa Vang, Ava Hernandez, Yvette Murrell, James Murrell, Sandye Brown

Extraordinary times require ordinary people to join in bringing their gifts and exercising their full power. CIN members believe that the unprecedented crises in our economy, neighborhoods, schools, families and health serve as an amplified call to action. Collectively, members have put aside differences, excuses and lip service to make strategic investments in their communities. As a network, it seeks to engage other like-minded people in a movement to transform the future for our children, families and communities.

CIN has high interest in broadening its network and increasing its impact by attracting new members who are:

 Involved in improving their school, neighborhood or community
 Concerned about today’s challenges but unsure about leading change
 Thinking about leaving a legacy through a nonprofit, foundation or endowment
 Interested in starting a giving circle or strengthening an existing one
 Giving back through service and financial contributions

Come to Birmingham in fall 2011 for the next round of riveting keynote speakers, knowledgeable workshop presenters and inspiring people doing good work for the common good. Contact CIN for more information and begin making plans now to participate in Birmingham. Join the network’s impassioned pursuit of social change through strategic philanthropy.

Members of Birmingham Change Fund and William Rhoden (front row) Zhaundra Jones, Katrina Watson, Cherie Fields, Martha Emmett, Crystal Goodman; (back row) Lyord Watson, Shon Thurman, William Rhoden, Charles Lewis, Ed Fields

Story submitted by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings a mix of unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer, creative consultant and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and a CIN board member.

Photo credit: Pix by Ric

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Sphinx Organization Hosts 6th Annual Sphinx Laureates at Carnegie Hall

The Sphinx Organization: Building Diversity in Classical Music

“Our goal is to increase the support for these young musicians, who are truly changing the face of classical music.”-- Delroy Lindo, Actor and Director, 2010 Event Chair of Sphinx Laureates at Carnegie Hall

In 1996, Aaron P. Dworkin, an African American violinist founded the Sphinx Organization to help overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music, and to encourage the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field. Fourteen years later, the arts organization has accomplished noteworthy success, providing $750,000 in quality instruments to young minority musicians, reaching over 85,000 students in 200 schools nationwide, and awarding over 1.5 million in scholarship funds.

On October 5, 2010, Sphinx presented the 6th annual Sphinx Laureates at Carnegie Hall in New York City, that featured the critically acclaimed all Black and Latino Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, and soloists from the Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players. Presented by philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson and Bloomberg, the concert was a stunning display of masterful musicianship with a rave review in the New York Times. Highlights of the evening included the performance of Randall Goosby, a 13-year old violinist and junior division winner of the 13th annual Sphinx Competition, and the debut of the Catalyst Quartet, comprised of top Laureates and alumni from the Competition, both receiving standing ovations. The young musicians performed masterpieces by Mendelssohn, Sibelius, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, an African American composer and conductor. Serving as conductor for the evening was Maestro Damon Gupton, a television, film and stage actor, and alum of the Julliard School in New York.

“The annual Carnegie Hall performances by the young musicians from the Sphinx Organization are always illuminating, not only because they are the fruits of an inspiring program, but also because the performances are invariably energetic and finely burnished.” - Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

After the concert, guests mingled with the young musicians along with Sphinx staff, board members, and supporters at ‘The Afterglow,” held in the Hall’s Belvedere Lounge.

Terrie Williams, President, The Terrie Williams Agency; Arthur Mitchell, Artistic Director Emeritus, Dance Theatre of Harlem; 
Paunika Jones, Prima Ballerina, Dance Theatre of Harlem; 
and Delroy Lindo, Actor and Director, 2010 Event Chair

Pamela Pickens, Founder and Chief Intelligence Officer, urbanAdserve; Marshay R. Williams, Director of Leadership Investment and Event Architect, Sphinx Organization; 
Rashid Dilworth-Silvera, Model; Michael L. Clark,, Washington Post Digital; Maurice Belle, Principal Bassist, Sphinx Chamber Orchestra

Randall Goosby (right), junior division winner of the 13th annual Sphinx Competition with his parents Ralph and Jiji Goosby. The New York Times says of Goosby's performance, "The first-prize winner in the junior division of this year’s Sphinx Competition, exerted a masterly level of control and lavished an exquisite tone on Ysa├┐e’s unaccompanied Sonata No. 3."

The Catalyst Quartet: Christopher Jenkins, viola; Delroy Lindo; Karla Donehew Perez, violin; Karlos Rodriguez, cello; Bryan Hernandez-Luch, violin

Aaron P. Dworkin, Founder and President, Sphinx Organization; Deidre Bounds, Board President, Sphinx Organization and Chief Operating Officer, Ignite Social Media; Karla Hall, Vice President, DTE Energy Foundation; and Delroy Lindo

Dara D. Harris, Esq., of New York shared with BlackGivesBack at the event, “I will join and donate tonight as a result of a fabulous performance.” Among the sponsors and supporters for the event were the Frank & Lydia Bergen Foundation, Sander & Norma K. Buchman, Dr. James M. & Jaclyn P. Fox, James B. & Ann V. Nicholson, Nordstrom, Inc., Victoria Hull Sharp, Vanessa Williams, actress and singer; BEAT (Black Employees at Time Inc.), and the Metropolitan Chapter of Jack & Jill America.

About the Sphinx Organization: With offices in New York and Michigan, the organization is committed to building diversity in classical music through year-round programming in arts education, awareness and presentation. Programming includes five main areas: Artist Development, Sphinx Performance Academy, Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute, Sphinx Presents! and the Sphinx Legacy Project. For an overview of these programs, watch a video HERE and visit for more information and upcoming tour dates.

Photo credit: Nan Meville

Photos of the Day

Jerri Devard, Principal, DMG; Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kathryn Chenault, Esq., LaTanya Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson attend the BLUE Scholarship Gala to benefit Spelman College at The Plaza Hotel on October 4, 2010 in New York City. The event raised over 2.5 million to provide scholarships for talented young women attending Spelman College. Honored at the event were Mary J. Blige, Grammy award-winning singer; Rosalind Brewer (Spelman C’84), Executive Vice President & President-South, Wal-Mart; Kathryn Chenault, Esq.; and Marian Wright Edelman (Spelman C’ 60), President & Founder, Children’s Defense Fund.

Celebs in attendance: Steve Harvey, Marjorie Bridges Harvey, Spike Lee, Tonya Lee, Pauletta Washington, Lynn Whitfield, Cecily Tyson, Chris Rock, Malaaka Compton-Rock, Anthony Anderson, Star Jones, Deborah Roberts, Al Roker, Marian Wright Edelman, Andre Harrell, Cookie Johnson and Sally Richardson.

Anthony Anderson and Star Jones led the live auction and revved up the crowd to keep bidding; which played a significant part to the total amount raised. For more photos, visit Uptown magazine HERE.

Kita Williams, Monique Jackson, Malik Yoba, Kim Coles and Tatyana Ali serve as celebrity hosts for the 2010 UNCF HBCU Empower Me tour at Hampton University on October 2, 2010 in Hampton, Virginia.

Hip hop artist Common, MTV personality Sway Calloway, singer Marsha Ambrosius and hip hop artist Freeway attend The Get Schooled National Challenge & Tour at Abraham Lincoln High School on October 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sisters of Today & Tomorrow (SOT) Celebrates 2nd Anniversary with Style and Class: Kaira Akita, A Clothes Encounter; Demetria McKinney, actress, Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne;” Denise Hendrick, event co-host and producer of BET’s The Mo'Nique Show; Shanti Das, Carla Morrison, SOT founder; and Roger Bobb, event co-host and executive vice president of Tyler Perry Studios attend SOT's fashion fundraiser and networking event on October 1, 2010 in Atlanta.