Monday, November 29, 2010

A Special Holiday Contest for NYC Readers presented by Diversity Affluence

Be a VIP guest at the 4th Annual Holiday Dreams Benefit & Reception - Meet NY Jets Player James Ihedigbo
Hello NYC readers, looking for a great holiday party with a cause to attend? The 4th Annual Holiday Dreams Benefit and Reception will be held on December 3rd from 7 to 11pm in New York City. The event is being hosted by the JI Group V-Force, a team of young NYC professionals dedicated to volunteering their time and resources to positively enriching the lives of those in need, and will support the United Cerebral Palsy of NYC Santa Project.

We've partnered with our friends at Diversity Affluence to sponsor a great contest for a winner to be the VIP guest of the event's honorary chair, Andrea Hoffman, President and CEO of Diversity Affluence. You'll also meet NY Jets player James Ihedigo, also an honoree.

To enter, send a brief submission on why it is important for Blacks to Give Back to by Wednesday, December 1, 2010. Entries must be received by 12 midnight EST and the winner will be announced on December 2. You must be 21 or older and live in the NYC metropolitan area.

For more about the event, visit HERE, and to learn more about Diversity Affluence and the book, Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans, see previous post HERE. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Partners with Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series to Support Emerging NYC Artists

NY finalist Joe Bramley-Fenton, Danny Simmons, artist Andre Guichard, photographer Eric Henderson, and finalist Ian Reid attend the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series on November 17, 2010 in New York City.

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor
On November 17th, the Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea played host to the New York City finals of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. Launched in June, the national search is designed to provide exposure for emerging talent in multi-media art and photography. Before announcing the winners, hip hop impresario Russell Simmons and his artist brother, Danny Simmons, accepted a donation from Bombay Sapphire to their Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Danny Simmons shared with BlackGivesBack, “In this time of budget cuts, dwindling sponsorship opportunities and increased need, the Rush galleries are more than grateful to Bombay Sapphire for making this critical donation to our galleries program. This gift will help to maintain our commitment to the artistic community to provide emerging artists with exhibition opportunities that might not be there for them if not for organization like ours.”

In its first year, the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series received nearly 2,000 entries from around the country. After careful consideration, New York City artists Ian Reid and Joe Bramley-Fenton were selected as the regional winners and will go on to compete for the top artisan title at a finale event during Art Basel Miami in December. Bramley-Fenton expressed his gratitude saying, “At the start of an artist’s career, getting the right exposure is one of the hardest if not the hardest thing to achieve. Being a part of the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, having my work displayed at the Miami Art Basel and being selected as one of the regional winners by a panel of artists and creative thinkers, could not have me more excited and appreciative by this experience.”

Russell Simmons, Andre Guichard and Danny Simmons
ABOUT RUSH PHILANTHROPIC ARTS FOUNDATIONRush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing underserved urban youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, and to offering exhibition opportunities for underrepresented artists and artists of color. Rush was founded in 1995 by three brothers: Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; media mogul Russell Simmons; and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC. Their goal was to fill the gap that poor and minorities face in both accessing the arts and exhibition opportunities. Over the past 15 years, Rush has served over 700,000 urban youth and has developed a broad base of friends, collaborators and supporters dedicated to addressing these issues. In addition to the 2,000 students served each year in its education programs, Rush exhibits the work of 40 to 50 emerging and community-based artists in its galleries; welcomes over 10,000 gallery visitors; distributes grants to nonprofit arts organizations in NYC and South Florida; and provides unique opportunities for young people interested in careers in the arts. Rush currently operates two galleries, Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center in Chelsea (Manhattan) and Corridor Gallery in Clinton Hill (Brooklyn).

For more information on Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, visit

First Lady Michelle Obama Promotes “Let's Move” Fitness Campaign in Harlem

First Lady Michelle Obama exercises with Harlem children at a Let's Move event held at the New York Police Athletic Center in New York City on November 18, 2010.

Photo story by Margot L. Jordan, International Photojournalist

First Lady Michelle Obama visited Harlem's Police Athletic League (PAL) center to lead a workout session to promote her Let's Move campaign, a nationwide initiative to combat childhood obesity. PAL youngsters waited with excitement as the First Lady arrived dressed in purple fitness attire. She got the little ones to promise to exercise more and “turn off the TV.” Some of the youngsters told the First Lady that they saw her promote the Let's Move campaign on The Disney channel.

The First Lady joined the children by running in place, doing several pushups, jumping jacks and later a relay shuttle run. Michelle Obama also took time out to acknowledge the First Lady of the State of New York, Michelle Paterson, who has been busy promoting a fitness and healthy eating campaign around New York State.

Before the final group photo, the First Lady was hugged by many eager PAL youngsters. It was a fitting expression from the children of Harlem. Earlier, the First Lady visited with Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory A. Booker and school children from Newark's Maple Avenue School. “You are our future, that's why I spent so much time with you guys,” said The First Lady.

Before heading back to the nation’s capital, the First Lady took in a Broadway performance of FELA. Robert Morgenthau, PAL Chairman and former Manhattan District Attorney was pleased with Mrs. Obama's visit and her positive impact on the children. “She's a great role model,” he exclaimed. For more information about Let’s Move, visit

Source: Margot L. Jordan, 646 226 6652

PepsiCo and Books For Africa Bring 20,000 Books to South African Children

Partnership driven by MOSAIC, PepsiCo’s African American Employee Resource Group

PURCHASE, N.Y., November 17, 2010 – PepsiCo, in coordination with Books For Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa, announced today that it will distribute 20,000 books and supplies to locations in need in Johannesburg and the surrounding region.

Throughout the week, SIMBA, PepsiCo’s local snack business in South Africa, with support from local community leaders, will deliver the books to three schools and one orphanage in rural and impoverished areas facing challenges such as high unemployment levels. The partnership with Books For Africa was driven by MOSAIC, PepsiCo’s African American employee resource group, and the company’s global technology function, Business + Information Solutions, in an effort to expand community engagement activities outside of the United States.

“PepsiCo’s involvement with Books For Africa responds to the recognized need to improve education and computer literacy in South Africa, particularly in rural areas,“ said Arnold Selokane, Community Manager at SIMBA in Isando, Johannesburg, who is leading distribution efforts and will personally deliver the donations to the schools and children. “Through this donation, we hope to generate broader awareness of the needs and issues in Africa. We will continue to work with communities in which we do business and form partnerships to bring about positive change.”

Books and supplies will be donated to the following locations: Seema Makapan Middle School in Dipetlwane Rural Village in the North West Province of South Africa, attended by 850 students; Dithamaga High School, attended by 650 students and located in Ga Matlala Village in Mpumalanga Province; Mlilo Primary School in Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Province, about 325 Km from Johannesburg; at which SIMBA recently built a computer room and science laboratory; and Fountain of Love Orphanage in Katlehong Township (Johannesburg), an AIDS orphanage attended by 150 children.

“The tremendous support for this project from PepsiCo employees and partners, both in the United States and in South Africa, serves as an outstanding example to others of what can be achieved when people decide to help,” said Pat Plonski, Executive Director of Books For Africa. “Books For Africa is honored to work with PepsiCo to help improve education and literacy in South Africa.”

Source: Press release

Monday, November 22, 2010

Africare Hosts 2010 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner

Dr. Darius Mans, President, Africare; Dr. Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala, Honoree; and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, attend the 2010 Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner on November 5, 2010 in Washington, DC.

By Stacey Trammel, Guest Contributor

Well-heeled Washingtonians and guests from around the world were in the nation’s capital recently to attend the Africare 2010 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner, held on November 5th at the National Building Museum. The dinner is one of the most widely-recognized annual fundraisers in support of economic and social improvements in Africa.

Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, was bestowed the organization’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless efforts to enhance the lives of those in Africa and globally. Zindzi and Zondwa Mandela, daughter and grandson of Nelson Mandela, accepted the award on his behalf. He received the organization’s Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award in 1994, joining such highly regarded recipients as human rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1992), civil rights icon Dorothy Height (1997), philanthropists Melinda & Bill Gates (2003), former President Bill Clinton (2006) and last year’s awardee, performer and global activist John Legend (2009). The memorial dinner is named after Bishop John T. Walker, former chair of Africare's Board of Directors, a position held until his death.

This year’s Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award was presented to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director at The World Bank. Okonjo-Iweala is widely noted for her work at The Bank, where she chairs the 16th replenishment of its’ International Development Association (IDA). The IDA fund provides over $14 billion in grants and interest-free loans to economically disadvantaged countries worldwide. Other accolades include serving as the Foreign Affairs Minister and Finance Minister of Nigeria, where she negotiated the cancellation of almost $50 billion of the country’s foreign debt, co-founding the Makeda Fund, a $50 million private equity that invests in women-owned businesses in Africa, and being named Time Magazine’s European Hero of the Year Award in 2004. Dr. Darius Mans, President of Africare, presented Okonjo-Iweala with the esteemed honor.

Earl Stafford, founder, the Stafford Foundation; Amanda Stafford, Zindzi Mandela and Zondwa Mandela

Dr. Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala, 2010 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award Winner, and Kojo Nnamdi, Master of Ceremonies, Radio Host and Journalist

Former Washington, DC Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly

Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and founder, Morehouse School of Medicine and guests

Attorney Billy Martin, NPR's Michel Martin, and Mrs. Maria Walker, Widow of Bishop John T. Walker & Honorary Vice Chair, Africare Board

W. Frank Fountain, Chairman, Africare Board; Darius Mans; Larry Bailey,Vice Chair, Africare Board

Rex Tilleson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Mobil Co., was given Africare’s first ever Corporate Service Award in acknowledgement of the company’s continued commitment to economic development in Africa. Exxon Mobil, whose partnership with Africare began in 1993, has invested in numerous initiatives, giving nearly $5 million to support efforts such as micro-enterprise, Malaria control, and sustainability within Africa.

Guests were feted to a pre-dinner reception, three course meal and entertainment by Grammy award-winning artist Angelique Kidjo and Elliott Yamin of Fox’s “American Idol” fame. Kidjo, an electrifying performer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, along with Yamin, sang a soulful rendition of her latest single “Move On Up“.

Grammy award-winning artist Angelique Kidjo and Elliott Yamin

The KanKouran West African Dance Company performs.

Luminaries such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, former Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young, singer-songwriter and “Dancing With The Stars” runner-up Mya, who has partnered with Africare on various causes, former DC Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, and Congressman Donald Payne (NJ) were just a few who were in attendance.

Africare, now in its 40th year, is one of the world’s premier organizations benefiting the continent of Africa, having provided more than $1 billion in assistance and support since its inception. Major focal areas include Health and HIV/AIDS, Food Security and Agriculture, and Water and Sanitation, including a new program, “President Obama and Africare’s Water and Sanitation Program in Ghana” that seeks to educate 1,500 residents on the availability of water and sanitation facilities within their communities.

Guests enjoy the pre-dinner reception.

Atmosphere by Hutchinson Design Group, an African-American owned design firm based in Ft. Washington, Maryland

To learn more about Africare and how the organization is making a major impact, visit the website at

DC Guest Contributor Stacey Trammel has a passion for volunteerism and making a difference in her surrounding community. Currently, she works pro-bono for a well-known foundation that performs capacity building and provides board recruitment strategies for small to mid-sized nonprofits in the Washington, DC area.

Photos courtesy of Africare

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pat and Emmitt Smith Honored with 2010 Folsom Leadership Award

A reception was held at the home of former President and Mrs. George W. Bush on November 3, 2010 for major donors to the 2010 Methodist Health System Foundation Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award. Shown here (l to r): April Box Chamberlain, president and CEO Methodist Health System Foundation; Daryl Johnston, 2010 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award event co-chair; former President George W. Bush; former First Lady Laura Bush, 2008 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award recipient; Pat and Emmitt Smith, 2010 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award recipients.

By Froswa' Booker Drew, Dallas/Fort Worth Contributor
A reception was held at the home of former President and Mrs. George W. Bush on November 3 for major donors to the 2010 Methodist Health System Foundation Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award. President Bush started the evening by welcoming everyone stating, “Laura and I are privileged to be a part of this special occasion to honor Pat and Emmitt Smith as the recipients of the 2010 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award. Without a doubt, they exemplify the great legacy of Bob Folsom.”

The foundation presented the 2010 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award to Pat and Emmitt Smith on November 11, during a dinner held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Established in 2005, the award recognizes individuals whose demonstrated commitment and excellence in community leadership emulates the achievements of former Dallas Mayor Robert S. Folsom.

April Box Chamberlain, President and CEO of Methodist's Foundation expressed her thanks to President Bush. “Your generous support of the 2010 Folsom Leadership Award has allowed us to spotlight the significant responsibility Methodist fulfills in Dallas by serving one of the most diverse and vulnerable populations in the Metroplex. It is noteworthy that Pat Smith serves on Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s advisory board. And we could not have an event honoring the Smiths without the involvement and support of their good friends, Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston.”

Event Co-Chairman Daryl Johnston said, “The Smiths have always done things behind the scenes and have asked for no notoriety and no praise. They’ve touched the lives of so many children. They have asked that the funds raised from this year’s Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award event to go to help provide care to indigent patients at Methodist Health System.”

Pat and Emmitt Smith added, “Our connection to Methodist is that our parents have been treated there. They received intense love, support and kindness, and we want others who may not be able to afford healthcare to receive that type of care. Last year, Methodist provided nearly $91 million in charity care.”

Methodist Health System is a nonprofit organization. More information is available at

Photo: Methodist Health System/Source: Press release

Lionsgate Supports the Trust Black Women Partnership with 'For Colored Girls' Benefit Screening

Carolyn Young, Ambassador Andrew Young, and actress Kaira Akita attend a screening of FOR COLORED GIRLS, to benefit the Trust Black Women Partnership (TBW) on November 2, 2010 in Atlanta, GA.

By Lisa Brathwaite, Atlanta Contributor

Before the national conversation commenced at water coolers, on Facebook, @Twitter and via other social means, on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, almost 200 Atlantans attended a private, advanced screening of FOR COLORED GIRLS, made possible by Lionsgate for the Trust Black Women Partnership (TBW) at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema in heart of Atlanta, GA. All proceeds from the event benefited the TBW Partnership, established to help ensure that Black women have the human right to make their own decisions about their reproductive lives. A private pre-screening VIP reception featured cocktails provided by Conjure Cognac and a panel discussion immediately followed the film.

Guests included Roger Bobb from Tyler Perry Studios, actress Kaira Akita, Civil Rights Leaders Joseph and Evelyn Lowery, Ambassador Andrew Young and Carolyn Young and producer Nina Brown from the Frank and Wanda Morning Show.

“With the collaboration of Lionsgate, Trust Black Women, celebrity hosts, and all of our community partners, this night was just perfect. FOR COLORED GIRLS is a poignant film based on a story and a play that we have known about for years. These issues are not taboo anymore and we must discuss them in order to uplift each other and move forward collectively,” said Loretta Ross, National Coordinator of SisterSong, an Atlanta-based organization among eight nationwide in the TBW Partnership. “Many issues amplified in FOR COLORED GIRLS are supported by the organizations involved in the Trust Black Women Partnership. Trust Black Women is a cause that cannot be ignored and FOR COLORED GIRLS is a movie that cannot be missed.”

Paris Hatcher, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!; Dazon Dialos, Sister Love; Loretta Ross, National Coordinator, SisterSong

Civil Rights Leaders Dr. Joseph and Evelyn Lowery; Stacey Rogers; Lauren Evette Williams, Event Publicist; Nina Brown, Producer of the Frank and Wanda Morning Show

Dazon Dialos, Sister Love; Heidi Williamson, National Advocacy Coordinator, SisterSong; CriStyle, Songwriter, New Spokesperson for GA Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Nina Brown, Producer of the Frank and Wanda Morning Show

Corean Elam; Monica Simpson; Laura Jimenez; Heidi Williamson, National Advocacy Coordinator, Sister Song; Rhiannon Reeves; Belle Taylor-McGhee; Tonya Williams, Spark Reproductive Justice NOW!; and Guest

For more information on the Trust Black Women Partnership, please visit

Photo Credit: Alex Johnson III Photography,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reginald F. Lewis Museum to Honor Maryland Legal Icons at Awards Gala

Keynote speaker to feature Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
November 16, 2010 (Baltimore, MD) –This year, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture hosts a distinguished awards gala fundraiser honoring three outstanding members of the Maryland legal community who have made significant contributions in the areas of service and achievement. This black-tie affair will take place at the museum on Saturday, December 4, 2010 from 7 p.m. to midnight with a keynote address from U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin.

The evening includes a formal sit-down dinner, live music by D.C.’s own “Nightlife” and a silent auction offering participants an opportunity to bid on the following items: a seven day/six night stay at the Lewis family’s six-acre East Hampton vacation home; three cultural art pieces; a 37” LCD HD flat-screen television; a 15-second speaking role on the new television show “Good Fellas of Baltimore” and other items on display. Guests will also witness the unveiling of a Reginald F. Lewis bust by renowned sculptor Gabriel Koren, best known for her life-sized, bronze creation of Malcolm X in New York City.

Recognized individuals include: The Honorable Andre M. Davis, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and first African American appointed from Maryland, The Honorable Michele D. Hotten, the first African American female appointed to the Maryland Appellate Courts, and Dean Phoebe Haddon, JD, LLM, the first African American dean in the University of Maryland School of Law’s 185-year history. The Honorary Chair of the gala is Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Court of Appeals of Maryland.

“It is very fitting that the Reginald F. Lewis Museum celebrates these outstanding Marylanders for their service and achievement in the legal community,” said Dr. David Taft Terry, Executive Director. “Honoring these individuals supports our mission to share the rich contributions of African American Marylanders, and we are proud to recognize them.” Reginald F. Lewis (in photo), the museum’s namesake, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968, and two years later established the first African American law firm on Wall Street. The museum chose to bring this year’s gala home to recognize the accomplishments of Marylanders who carry on Reginald F. Lewis’ legacy.

Support for this event is provided by corporate sponsor Miles & Stockbridge P.C. and media sponsor The Afro-American. Additional corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For details, contact Dawna Baker, director of development, at 443-263-1810. Individual donors can purchase tickets for $500 (*Note: Tickets are now $250), please call 443-263-1806. Event details are available at

About the museum: The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is Baltimore’s premier facility highlighting the history and accomplishments of African Americans with a special focus on Maryland’s African American community. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum is the East Coast’s largest African American museum occupying an 82,000 square-foot facility with ample permanent and special exhibition space, interactive learning environments, auditorium, resource center, oral history recording studio, museum shop, cafĂ©, classrooms, meeting rooms, outside terrace and reception areas. The museum is located near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor at the corner of Pratt and President Streets. The museum is also accessible on Baltimore’s Charm City Circulator Orange and Green Routes. For more information, please call 443-263-1800.

NFL Veteran Brings Attention and Funding to Brain Tumor Research

Janie Rouse, mother of Chandria Rouse, named for the Chandria Rouse Kent Brain Tumor Fund; Washington Redskins Defensive End and NFL veteran Vonnie Holliday; Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; Eboni Holliday, wife of Vonnie Holliday and sister of Chandria Rouse; Darrin Kent, Chandria’s husband; Diane Cassels, Winship’s Executive Administrator; and Timothy Fox, PhD, Director of Emory’s Division of Medical Physics.
ATLANTA - When Chandria Rouse Kent was in her 30s, she was making decisions that few people her age ever have to make. After being diagnosed with a brain tumor at 32, the married mother of one planned carefully for the difficult fight that lay ahead.

She fought for five years, finally succumbing to the disease in 2008. Her battle had a profound impact on her family, which includes 13-year NFL veteran and Atlanta resident Vonnie Holliday. As a result, Holliday and his family established The Chandria Rouse Kent Brain Tumor Fund at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

“Before my sister-in-law received the brain tumor diagnosis, I didn’t personally know anyone who has suffered or died from brain cancer,” says Holliday, who established Chandria’s Fund through the Vonnie Holliday Foundation, following a fundraiser in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps earlier this year. “After you watch someone you love suffer with the disease, you learn a lot. I want to make sure people are aware of the disease because it is one that is rarely talked about in the news media.”

“Vonnie’s commitment to this effort, along with his wife Eboni, brother-in-law Darrin, and mother-in-law Janie, has touched all of us,” says Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director of Winship at Emory. “That Vonnie and his family have decided to bring attention to this underserved area of research funding is humbling to all of us at Winship. They have turned their profound loss into a beacon of hope for other families. Our brain tumor team truly believes that among Chandria’s legacies will be that someday other families may not have to face the tragedy that she and her family faced.

“Glioblastomas are among the most difficult types of brain tumors to treat,” says Curran. “Though these tumors can occur at any age, we too often we see vital young people, such as Chandria, afflicted by this disease in the prime of their lives. Research is critical to ensure new treatments for this devastating diagnosis. We are focused daily at the Emory Brain Tumor Center of Winship Cancer Institute on finding a cure. There is, unfortunately, limited community awareness of brain tumor research funding needs, and this presents a consistent challenge.”

To learn more about The Chandria Rouse Kent Brain Tumor Fund and the Emory Brain Tumor Center of Winship Cancer Institute, please call 404-778-5175.

About Vonnie HollidayVonnie Holliday is an NFL defensive end currently signed with the Washington Redskins. During his 13-year NFL career Holliday has played with the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos. He is known throughout the league as a leader on and off the field. In 2001, he founded The Vonnie Holliday Foundation to improve the quality of life of citizens in underserved communities by donating time and monetary resources. Since its inception, the Foundation has improved the lives of those in many communities. Holliday is determined through the Foundation, to give back to the community that has given him so much. Holliday plans to create new programs under the foundation that will benefit families in Atlanta. For more information, visit

Monday, November 15, 2010

“How Sweet The Sound” Celebrates Gospel Choirs with Grand Finale in Washington, DC

Voices of Destiny of the Greater Zion Church Family from Los Angeles, are the 2010 winners of Verizon's How Sweet The Sound 2010 Finale at the Verizon Center on November 13, 2010 in Washington, DC.

On Saturday, November 13th, Verizon presented the finale of the 3rd annual How Sweet the Sound national tour at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, that brought fourteen regional finalists from across the country to compete for the title of “The Best Church Choir in America.” Voices of Destiny, hailing from Compton, California, took the top prize after an energetic and dance filled performance of My Time For God's Favor, Presence of the Lord remix. As the newly crowned best church choir, Voices of Destiny will perform at two upcoming events, the 2011 Stellar Gospel music awards in Nashville and at the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration in Dallas.

The evening was hosted by Grammy award winning artists CeCe Winans and Donald Lawrence along with award winning artists Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard and Fred Hammond, who served as judges.

The choir director of GFC Chorale of Greater First Church, East Chicago, Ind., first national runner up.

Judges Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark-Sheard and Fred Hammond

In addition to the stirring renditions of gospel hymns and moving testimonies, a highlight of the evening was a $50,000 check presentation by Verizon to the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, accepted by Dr. Oliver J. Williams, Executive Director. During the regional competitions, choirs were encouraged to collect and donate no-longer used cell phones to HopeLine for Verizon. The program turns no longer used wireless phones into support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Proceeds are used to provide wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and cash grants to local shelters and non profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy. More than 1,200 phones were collected across the country. “Verizon's How Sweet The Sound is a wonderful event for the whole family and is just one example of Verizon's commitment to give back to the community,” said Richard Williams, executive director of multicultural marketing for Verizon.

National People's Choice Award Winners, Greater Mount Calvary Men of Valor from Washington, DC, the first all-male choir to become a regional winner, perform onstage during Verizon's How Sweet The Sound 2010 Finale.

BeBe Winans and CeCe Winans perform. During the event's press conference, CeCe shared about her upcoming conference for youth, Always Sisters Forever Brothers, that will be held July 2011 in Nashville. The conference aims to educate, motivate and redirect the life choices of teens, young women and men. For more information, visit

For more about How Sweet the Sound, visit, and for more information about HopeLine from Verizon and to learn how to organize a HopeLine drive in your community, visit

Photos: Wireimage/Getty

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photos of the Day

Deborah Roberts, Mary J. Blige, Ray Halbritter, Marcia Gay Harden and scholarship recipients attend the HELP USA 2010 Domestic Violence Graduate Scholarship awards luncheon hosted by by Marcia Gay Harden and Deborah Roberts, honoring Mary J. Blige at Four Seasons Restaurant on November 9, 2010 in New York City.

Actress Queen Latifah, Tiffany R. Warren and NBA star Dwyane Wade attend the 2010 ADCOLOR Awards at Fontainebleau Miami Beach on November 7, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. The annual event serves to promote increased diversity in the advertising, marketing and media industries and inspire current and future communications professionals of color by celebrating the accomplishments of diverse role models and industry leaders. A special congratulations to Kim Hunter, Founder and Chairman of the LAGRANT Foundation (previously featured HERE) as the recipient of the Change Agent Award.

Volunteers line up to prepare sandwiches for distribution for Martha’s Table mobile soup kitchen during the Northern Virginia Urban League’s National Day of Empowerment, October 30, 2010.

Volunteers with the Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) did their part in supporting the Inaugural National Day of Empowerment on October 30, 2010. The new initiative was supported nationally by the National Urban League Young Professionals, National Council of Urban League Guilds and YUM ! Brands in a fight to end world hunger through volunteerism and education.

“This is a great way to get involved in the fight against world hunger,” said Kristen Herring, a member of NOVAUL’s Young Professionals Network (YPN), as she placed a slice of cheese onto two pieces of turkey meat. YPN members, who range in ages from 21-40, were joined by the NOVAUL Guild Auxiliary, whose members are 40 and over. High school-aged volunteers from NOVAUL’s N.U.L.I.T.E.S. youth development program were also in attendance.

YPN urges the community to join them in volunteering at the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walk on November 20, 2010 in Washington D.C. For more information on this walk and other YPN activities, please visit

Craig Simmons, Executive Director, 100 Black Men of New York, Inc.; Victoria Rowell, Actress, Author and Humanitarian; Matilda Cuomo, Founder /Chair of Mentoring USA; Stephen Powell, Executive Director of Mentoring USA, at the 21st annual International Forum for Child Welfare conference on November 8-11, 2010 in Palisades, NY.

International delegates and child welfare experts gathered at the IBM Learning Center in Palisades, New York, November 8-11th for WorldForum 2010, the 21st annual summit of the International Forum for Child Welfare (IFCW)—an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to the promotion of the rights and well-being of children globally that recognizes the contribution of effective leadership in the challenge of making the world a better place for children.

Alongside the IFCW, co-hosts for this year’s summit were the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF), Mentoring USA and Mentoring USA/Italia. Featured speakers included Bryan Samuels, Commissioner, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families; Victoria Rowell, New York Times Bestselling Author, Actress and Humanitarian; Cheryl Perera, Founder and President, OneChild, Canada; Dr. Djibril Diallo, Senior Advisor to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and Efren Penaflorida, Founder of the Dynamic Teen Company, and CNN Hero of the Year, Philippines. For more information on future World Forum conferences, please visit or

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chicago's Primo Center for Women and Children Hosts RedHot Diamonds and Denim Gala

By Yolanda Hancock Rahman
Chicago Contributor

On Saturday, October 16, 2010 more than 300 guests attended the 2010 RedHot Gala Diamonds and Denim, a benefit for the Primo Center for Women and Children in Chicago. Guests included Choreographer Debbie Allen, Editor -in-Chief for High School Football America Jeff Fisher, Chairs Diane and Quintin E. Primo III, Film Producer David Garfinkle, and Pat Quinn, the Governor of Illinois.

Gala Chairs Quintin E. Primo III and Diane Primo

Founded by the late Bishop Quintin E. Primo Jr., the Primo Center's mission is to empower women and children to become productive, responsible and independent members of their communities. Bishop Primo was first to serve in many areas: the first president of the National Union of Black Episcopalians; the first black bishop of Chicago; the first bishop to ordain women priests in that diocese; and the first black Episcopal bishop in the Diocese of Delaware.

The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour reminiscent of the days when the preeminent Chess Records (inspiration for the movie Cadillac Records) ruled supreme, producing musical icons like Muddy Waters, Etta James, Bo Didley and Chuck Berry. Guests enjoyed enticing appetizers and divine drinks while listening to classic and current hits. Following cocktails, guests strolled into the main room to experience a soulful, gourmet inspired menu conceived by the Entertaining Company, one of Chicago's finest catering companies. After dinner, Vance Guitar Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band had everyone dancing well into the night. This year's event raised more than $310,000 for the Primo Center.

Choreographer Debbie Allen, James Bell and Marion Brooks

Heather Mitchell (Quintin Primo's niece) and Cynthia Primo-Martin (Quintin's sister)

For more information about the Primo Center for Women and Children, visit the website at http//

Bryan-Michael Cox Elected to 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Advisory Board

Grammy Award Winning Producer Bryan-Michael Cox Announced as Newest Advisory Board Member for 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, a foundation of TheCASHFLOW

NEW YORK, November 9, 2010 - Grammy award winning producer Bryan-Michael Cox has been elected to serve on the 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Advisory Board for the 2011 - 2012 year. An important milestone for Cox, and an honor for 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, the appointment marks the first charity with which Cox has aligned himself. Cox, a long time supporter of underserved youth within the Atlanta community and his hometown of Houston, Texas, believes strongly in the mission of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs and TheCASHFLOW, which is to fund, mentor and educate young, urban entrepreneurs in order to start companies and create jobs.

“TheCASHFLOW and 100 Urban Entrepreneurs are very excited to partner with Bryan-Michael Cox,” stated Dan Carriere, Chairman of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs. “As we strive to reach our goal to fund 100 urban entrepreneurs, I am personally thrilled to have Bryan-Michael Cox support in these efforts. Seeing first hand his devotion to assisting young entrepreneurs throughout the past year, I know Bryan’s contribution will make a difference.” Due to the large number of business submissions in the areas of music, video production, entertainment and publishing, Cox will lend his expertise specifically to young entrepreneurs who are funded in those fields.

Bryan-Michael Cox began working with TheCASHFLOW and 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Foundation in February 2010 where he introduced the company's mission at his annual Grammy Brunch in Beverly Hills. In October 2010, Cox also served as a judge during TheCASHFLOW Elevator Pitch Competition in Atlanta, GA alongside TheCASHFLOW co-founder Lucas Riggins and BeeHive FM "Live from Plutopia" host Taiye "The Wild Afrikan" Samuels. Inspired by how TheCASHFLOW and 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Foundation provided three start-up businesses in Atlanta with access to $10,000 each in funding and mentoring, Cox made a personal commitment to become more involved.

Eager to serve as an advisory board member, Cox stated, “As a believer and advocate for entrepreneurship and fostering business development within communities, I am privileged to be a part of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs as they continue to change lives for individuals and urban communities. Access to $10,000 in funding is great, but I’m here to help really shine the spotlight on how important this mentoring opportunity is. These young entrepreneurs need mentors.” Bryan-Michael Cox looks forward to working closely with 100 Urban Entrepreneurs and other advisory board members to bring growth to the organization.

TheCASHFLOW is the one-stop shop for young urban entrepreneurs dedicated to helping them start their own businesses and achieve financial independence. The short-term goal in partnership with the non-profit foundation, 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, is to provide 100 entrepreneurs with $10,000 in startup capital, along with mentoring and guidance, while making their proprietary startup tools and insights available online — for free — to all aspiring entrepreneurs. Their platform caters to ambitious young businesspeople of all levels of experience, and offers a unique blend of resources, e-commerce and community features. TheCASHFLOW is going into urban communities throughout the United States to find these entrepreneurs, partner with them — and help them handle their business. For more information please visit

About 100 Urban Entrepreneurs
100 Urban Entrepreneurs is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping provide a long-term economic boost to urban communities throughout the United States by supporting entrepreneurship at its earliest stages. In partnership with TheCASHFLOW, 100 Urban Entrepreneurs seeks to identify, fund and mentor 100 of the most promising young business people that might otherwise lack access to startup capital and a professional network. Their goal is to provide the tools to help talented young dreamers create viable, profitable companies and create jobs within Urban America. For more information visit

About Bryan-Michael Cox
Bryan-Michael Cox is an award winning producer and songwriter, who has written and produced songs for leading entertainers within the music industry. Notably, Cox’s writing and producing credits has earned him accolades and awards with the songs - "Be Without You" (songwriter award) in 2007, a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album - The Emancipation of MiMi (producer award) in 2005 and a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album - Confessions (producer award) in 2004. In 2009, Cox was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and in 2010, Cox was named by Billboard Magazine as one of the top ten producers of the decade.

Source: Press release/Photo:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thurgood Marshall College Fund Hosts 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner, Raises Record 1.3 Million Dollars

Virgis Colbert, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Chairman Emeritus; John F. Lundgren, Anniversary Awards Chair; Niecy Nash, Event Host; Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President/CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; and Jim Clifton, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Board Chair, attend the 23rd anniversary Thurgood Marshall College Fund awards dinner on November 1, 2010 in New York City.

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the strongest voice for the 47 Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 6 Law schools across the nation, held its 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner on Monday, November 1, 2010 in the Metropolitan Ballroom of the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. The gala was hosted by actors Niecy Nash and Anthony Anderson, and chaired by John F. Lundgren, President and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker. The event, which raised a record $1.3 million, continued a tradition that began more than 20 years ago in the name of civil rights activist and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Honorees Neil Golden, senior vice president, chief marketing officer, McDonald’s USA, LLC; Rhonda Mims, president, ING Foundation and senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs; Kenneth Wilcox, senior vice president of sales, LALA USA; and Dr. George C. Wright, president, Prairie View A&M University were recognized for their achievements in promoting diversity, leadership and community service.

Event hosts, actors Niecy Nash and Anthony Anderson

Sponsored by ING, McDonald’s USA, Bacardi USA, Costco, Stanley Black & Decker, Charmer Sunbelt, MillerCoors, AT&T and Hershey, the event featured performances by Patti LaBelle, Irish R&B sensation, Laura Izibor, and the Prairie View A&M University Chamber Singers. Highlights of the evening included a special tribute to the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height, the American administrator, educator, and social activist as well as appearances by Anika Noni Rose (“For Colored Girls”), Omarosa (“The Apprentice”), Jeanine Pirro (“Judge Jeanine Pirro”) and Kami Crawford (Miss Teen USA). Guests included Fashion Designer B. Michael, Author and Producer Tonya Lewis Lee, Real Estate Broker Spencer Means, and NBA Legend Walt Frazier.

Kenneth Wilcox, Honoree; Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.; the Honorable Judge Jeanine Pirro; Jim Clifton, Board Chair

B. Michael, Fashion Designer; Rhonda Mims, President, ING Foundation; Mark-Anthony Edwards, Vice President, Business Development and Media Relations, b michael America

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., Tonya Lewis Lee and Spencer Means

Omarosa Manigault and Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund 23rd Anniversary Awards dinner was hugely successful and we are pleased to have raised a record-setting $1.3 million this year,” says Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “We are grateful for the generosity of our sponsors and guests, and remain inspired by the talent and determination of the students we serve.”

Actress Anika Noni Rose introduces a special tribute to Dr. Dorothy Height.

The 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner concludes TMCF’s annual Anniversary Weekend, which brings together more than 600 students from across the country for a Leadership Institute and Recruitment Conference. Visit the website at

Jim Clifton and TMCF Founder, Dr. N. Joyce Payne

Source: Press Release/Photo credits: Alex Lipowec, Sebastian Piras and Akira Barclay