Friday, February 25, 2011

Classically Orchestrated for the Next Generation: The 14th Annual Sphinx Competition

Aaron P. Dworkin, Founder, Sphinx Organization; Afa Sadykhly Dworking; Paul Laraia, First place winner in the senior division; Alexandra Switala, First place winner in the Junior Division; Karla Hall, DTE Energy Foundation

By Talitha Johnson, Detroit Contributor

The 14th annual Sphinx Competition held on February 6th at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit honored the best and brightest emerging classical musicians, as 18 semi-finalists swept the stage in hopes of earning the esteemed first place prize trophy. The competition was presented by the DTE Energy Foundation.

After undergoing intensive training and rigorous hours of practice to help bring diversity to chamber and classical music, the Sphinx Competition finally announced the winners. Alexandra Swital, 16, won first place in the Junior Division competition, and Paul Laraia, 21, claimed the first place prize in the senior division. Both winners receive prizes and scholarships.

Aaron Dworkin founded the Sphinx Organization in 1996 in an attempt to promote diversity within the classical music genre. “I didn’t envision what all our musicians and staff had ended up turning it into. I really wanted to develop a process so that this art form… could embrace everyone in our community,” said Dworkin.

Acclaimed conductor Michael Morgan served as this year’s guest conductor. When the Catalyst Quartet, a group of top laureates and alumni of the Sphinx Competition took the stage, the audience was captivated.

The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Michael Morgan

“Classical music as an art form lacks diversity. As an art form, we thrive on evolution. If we could bring… diverse interpretations… the art form is going to evolve,” Dworkin explained.

The annual competition welcomes all junior high, high school and college age Black and Latino string players nationwide. It offers aspiring classical musicians the opportunity to compete under the guidance of internationally renowned judges. Contestants also receive a chance to perform with professional musicians in a competition setting.

Each year nearly 20 semi-finalists from throughout the country convene in Ann Arbor and Detroit, where the competition takes place. During competition week, contestants are paired with jury members for coaching and master classes. Competition week culminates as the top three senior division finalists vie for scholarships, prizes and a chance to be accompanied by the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.

“Early classical music instruction is an incredible benefit to all young people. When you look at academic scores, when you look at discipline, later life achievement, when you look at income levels; if you’ve had classical music as part of your early life… all of those other things are impacted positively,” Dworkin stated.

In related news, Aaron Dworkin has been named a recipient of Harvard University’s Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award. Dworkin will visit Harvard University on Friday, March 11 to attend a lunch in his honor and deliver the lecture, “Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Sphinx Organization and Classical Music,” which will be held at 3 pm at the Barker Center for the Humanities, 12 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA. Admission is free and open to the public (tickets or RSVPs are not required). For more information, call 617.495.8676 or visit

Related Post: The Sphinx Organization Hosts 6th Annual Sphinx Laureates at Carnegie Hall

Photo Credit: Glenn Triest

Steve Harvey Hosts 100 Teenage Boys & Special Guests for Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles

Comedian, best-selling author, top radio personality and TV host Steve Harvey and comedian Cedric The Entertainer attend the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles on February 18-20, 2011.

Steve Harvey Welcomes Hollywood & Sports Leaders For Empowering 3-Day Mentoring Experience

LOS ANGELES, CA (February 22, 2011) – Bringing together 100 teenage boys from the Los Angeles area on February 18-20, 2011, comedian, best-selling author, top radio personality and TV host Steve Harvey hosted his first L.A. Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in the city where he started his radio show, The Steve Harvey Morning Show. In this dynamic program created by Harvey to bring guidance to young men ages 13-18 who are without fathers in their lives, empowering them with the principles of manhood and dream building, Harvey filled the weekend with speakers including Cedric the Entertainer, David Robinson, Lamman Rucker, Terrence J, workshops and more, with support from sponsors American Airlines, US Army, and KJLH-FM.

Converging at the University of Southern California (USC), Harvey bonded the boys together in groups with personal coaches, life-affirming activities and speakers who shared their first-hand knowledge about the tools and role models that helped them achieve success and face roadblocks. The power-packed weekend included guidance on dream building, manhood, image, grooming, career and personal insights from Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, the NBA’s David Robinson, BET’s Terrence J, actor Lamman Rucker, Hollywood director/producer Stan Lathan, television producer/writer Ralph Farquhar, KJLH-FM’s Kevin Nash, The Steve Harvey Morning Show’s Lance Crayton, attorney Joe Richardson, sports executive Mark Scoggins, celebrity barber James Thomas, celebrity fashion designer Woody Wilson, Faithful Central’s Daven Baptiste, a sneaker design workshop with former Brand Jordan footwear design director D’Wayne Edwards, chess challenge with Orrin Hudson, games lounge and more.

Steve Harvey talks Dream Building and Manhood with the boys at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles.

BET’s Terrence J shares a story with the boys during the morning You Can Be Me session at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles.

The boys learn chess strategy and more with Orrin Hudson (L) during the chess challenge workshop at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles.

NBA great David Robinson shares words of encouragement during a morning session featuring (sitting L-R) The Steve Harvey Morning Show’s Lance Crayton, sports executive Mark Scoggins, BET’s Terrence J, attorney Joe Richardson, and KJLH-FM’s Kevin Nash (podium) during a morning session at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles.

Two boys receive tips on grooming as celebrity fashion designer Woody Wilson demonstrates tying a necktie and celebrity barber James Thomas gives a haircut at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles.

Says Harvey of the need for mentoring, “If a young boy does not get the proper mentoring, then he’s left on his own to figure manhood out. A boy without a role model is like an explorer without a map, and the mentoring weekend is absolutely critical in the development of a young boy going into manhood.”

Chosen from essay submissions, the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles mentored 100 teenage boys aged 13-18, between grades 9-12, from single-mother households in the area. The cornerstone of Steve Harvey’s community activities, to transform and empower teenage boys to recognize their highest potential on their path to manhood and achieve successful and fulfilling futures, Harvey will host his annual Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend in Dallas during Father’s Day Weekend for 100 teenage boys from across the country with registration starting March 7th, and also host Regional Mentoring Weekends in Chicago and New York in 2011.

(L-R) Hollywood talents Woody Wilson, Kevin Nash, Ralph Farquhar, James Thomas, Stan Lathan, and Lamman Rucker shared inspiration and answered questions in the What is the Image of a Man? Session at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men in Los Angeles.

For details on registration for the upcoming Father's Day Mentoring Weekend, please visit starting March 7th. For information about The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men or to make a donation, please visit

Photo Credit: Valerie Goodloe

Thursday, February 24, 2011

b Michael America Pays Tribute to Rwanda and Raises Awareness for The DreamYard Action Project

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor

On Wednesday, February 16, 2011 during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, famed fashion designer b michael with the help of Francine LeFrak paid tribute to Rwanda at his b michael America Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Show at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Legendary Actress Cicely Tyson walked the runway. New York Former First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson, Myrna Colley- Lee, Ashford & Simpson, Harriette Cole, Amy Fine Collins, Tamara Tunie, Gregory Generet, Rhonda Ross Kendrick, Drew Hawkins, Francine LeFrak, Melba Moore, Susan L. Taylor, Sidra Smith, Kathryn Chenault, Alicia Bythewood, Pamela Joyner, Anne Gordon, Peter Gordon, Maritza Williamson, Harold Koda and Faye Wattleton were all spotted front row.

Sponsored by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the b michael America Fall/Winter 2011 collection featured SAME SKY bracelets made by women from Rwanda and jewelry by Joan B. Hornig . The glamorous beauty look was created by Laura Ziba with Faces Salon and Michelle Virtue for Damone Roberts New York.

The b michael America Fall/Winter 2011 Fashion Show also raised awareness for the "The DreamYard Action Project," the largest arts education provider in Bronx, New York.

Young Philanthropy Professionals Host How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar: 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor
On February 16, The New York Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy hosted top nonprofit blogger and co-author Trista Harris for a meet-and-greet and book discussion around her latest work, How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar. The event, sponsored by the New York University Fundraising Students Association in partnership with Resource Generation was held at The Atlantic Philanthropies in New York City.

Trista Harris is Executive Director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a leading voice for Generations X and Y. She has been featured on CNN and her work has been covered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the New York Times, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, Career Builder, and numerous social sector blogs. She writes about generational change in the foundation field in her blog, New Voices of Philanthropy and is an international speaker on working across generations to create social change.

With How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar, Harris along with her co-author Rosetta Thurman present a roadmap designed to help nonprofit professionals navigate through a healthy career path that includes vision building, self-branding, and network growth.

To learn more about How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar visit:

About Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP)The EPIP mission is to support and strengthen the next generation of grantmakers, in order to advance effective social justice philanthropy. For information about membership visit:

Photo credit: Katina Rogers

The Home Depot® Offers HBCUs the Opportunity to “Retool Your School” with their 2nd Annual Grant Program

Home Improvement Giant Encourages Alumni, Family and Friends to Vote For Their Favorite HBCU as Schools Compete for $150,000 in Grants for Sustainable Campus and Facility Upgrades
New York, NY– February 23, 2011 – The Home Depot® continues its long-standing support of diverse communities with the second year of its highly successful “Retool Your School” grant program. Designed to reinvigorate Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide through evergreen campus improvement efforts, this year’s program provides HBCUs with the opportunity to win $150,000 in grants to be awarded as one $50,000 Grand Prize major grant and ten $10,000 minor grant winners. Online voting will take place from March 1 – April 22, 2011.

“We were extremely pleased with the response from schools and the community as a whole to last year’s “Retool Your School” program. These institutions really showed us their school spirit and pride with the overwhelming amount of online votes we received,” said Trish Mueller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, The Home Depot®. “This year, we look forward to reviewing the unique ideas and proposals that each school develops as we provide grants for a variety of practical and eco-friendly projects.”

During the online voting period, consumers will be able to view descriptions of major and minor projects and can cast one vote per day for their favorite HBCU. Following the online vote, a panel of distinguished judges will also evaluate each school’s proposal. Projects will be judged based on votes posted to the website –, as well as, relevance of the proposal requirements as listed on the website and application. Entrants must highlight how each project will make a lasting, positive impact on its campus. Special attention will be given to schools that pitch eco-friendly tasks. Judges will also take into consideration the depth of each proposal and the school’s ability to execute the project within the budget of $50,000 (major) or $10,000 (minor), as applicable. The winning schools will be determined based on a combination of online votes and the judge’s evaluations. The Home Depot® will announce the top finalists on May 16, 2011.

As a company that prides itself on making a positive impact on the environment, The Home Depot® “Retool Your School” program judges will provide special consideration to schools who plan to use sustainable, eco-friendly and energy-saving resources, including, but not limited to, energy-efficient lighting and windows, and water-saving faucets and toilets, etc. With the goal of issuing grants for projects that have a lasting impact, last year The Home Depot® awarded Elizabeth City State University with the Grand Prize of $50,000. The school will use the funds to build the first-ever home baseball field in the school’s 119-year history.

“Last year, I had an enjoyable experience picking the colleges, but what I learned the most is where people’s priorities are,” shared Jasmine Guy, renowned Actress and 2010 “Retool Your School” National Judge. “I’m proud that The Home Depot® took the time to really analyze each proposal, so that we knew we were giving substantive donations to the schools that would last longer than something that just looks good.”

For more information on The Home Depot® “Retool Your School” grant program or to register online for “Retool Your School” program updates, visit

Philanthropist Cheryl Pemberton Inspires the African American Community to be Bold Givers

By Akira Barclay, New York Contributor

Cheryl Pemberton is on a mission to inspire the African American community to be Bold Givers. Through the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, with 800 chapters worldwide and the Five Pearls Foundation, which she founded with five of her sorority sisters, Cheryl seeks to embody an accessible model of strategic, engaged, and bold giving.

Join Bolder Giving, whose mission is to inspire and support people to give at their full lifetime potential and the Chronicle of Philanthropy for an upcoming special event today featuring Cheryl Pemberton:

Bold Conversation with Cheryl Pemberton
February 24, 2011
Noon - 1pm EST
To register for the free teleconference visit:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Honey Shine Mentoring Program Hosts Valentine's Day Reception and Fundraiser

Event hosts Ramona Hall, Kisha Holt; Tracy Wilson Mourning, founder, Honey Shine Mentoring Program and host Tracy Seaton attend the Honey Shine Mentoring Program's Evening Reception and Fundraiser, on February 11, 2011 in Plantation, FL.
Lady Bugs Share the Love with Prospective Members and Sponsors
PLANTATION, FL (February 15, 2011) — Honey Shine Mentoring Program’s founder, Tracy Wilson Mourning, Honey Shine Lady Bugs (members), and prospective Lady Bugs attended a lovely reception and fundraiser this past Friday, February 11th, at the home of Kisha and Ron Holt in Plantation, FL. While sharing some love and learning more about Honey Shine Mentoring Program, 170 guests were wooed with a special musical performance by Maryel Epps, “Diva of Song and Love,” while they sipped on wine from PRP Wines and enjoyed gourmet coffees and a chocolate fountain from Aroma Espresso. The evening event was hosted by Lady Bugs Ramona Hall, Kisha Holt, and Tracy Seaton.

The event was appropriately themed “Love is in the Air,” taking place just a few days before Valentine’s Day. It served as an important membership recruitment activity and opportunity to create awareness for corporate support and interest in the program’s Camp Honey Shine. Camp Honey Shine will celebrate its sixth year of success in 2011 as it expands from four to six weeks. The camp continues to offer young girls (a.k.a. Honey Bugs) from the Honey Shine Mentoring Program the opportunity to participate in educational experiences and activities that further enrich their lives and continue to broaden their horizons throughout the summer.

Acclaimed singer, songwriter and actress, Maryel Epps was joined on this love-filled evening by 15-year old Honey Bug, Jasmine White, to share their gifts of song alongside one another. Young Jasmine, a sophomore at Miami Arts Charter School, has been part of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program since 2006. She is an aspiring singer who is not only being mentored by the Lady Bugs of Honey Shine but also by Grammy winning singer-songwriter, Betty Wright.

“Having our event themed around a romantic holiday gave us a special opportunity to celebrate the important work of Honey Shine Mentoring Program and the love that fills our hearts every day by the young girls we serve,” said Tracy Wilson Mourning, Founder of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program.

Front row: Ramona Hall, Kisha Holt, Tracy Wilson Mourning, Tracy Seaton (Back Row) Anthony Hall, Ron Holt, Douglas Seaton

About the Honey Shine Mentoring Program: Founded in 2002, this program works to empower young girls to shine as women through bi-weekly workshops and summer camp that helps encourage the balance of mind, body, and soul in girls and women by providing nurturing experiences that enlighten their paths and empower their future. The program is part of Alonzo Mourning Charities, a nonprofit public fundraising foundation.

For more information about the Honey Shine Mentoring Program or to become a corporate partner of the program, visit or call 305/476-0095.

Photo Credit: Jo Winstead

Diet Coke®, Capitol Hill, DC Media and Washington Sports Teams Come Together to “Flag” Heart Disease for Local Women and their Families

Via Press Release: On February 14th, Diet Coke kicked it old school and hosted a “Capture the Flag” tournament to raise awareness and funds for heart health programs in Washington, D.C.

Participants from Capitol Hill and local D.C. media outlets competed in the tournament to win $20,000 in donations to local heart health organizations. In photo, Washington Mystics player Alana Beard participates in the tournament.

The CQ Roll Call team, who represented The Links, Incorporated, was victorious in the tournament and Diet Coke presented the organization $10,000. The Links, Inc. is an international professional membership network for women of color that is one of the nation's oldest volunteer service organizations . A donation of $7,500 will be shared by MedStar Women's Heart Program and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The organizations were represented well by the Capitol Hill team. The National Journal team even helped the Association of Black Cardiologists walk away with $2,500.

The Heart Truth®, a national awareness campaign sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is embraced by millions of people who share the goal of better heart health for all women. For the fourth year in a row, Diet Coke is supporting the campaign and using its cans and bottles, advertising and digital assets to reach people to raise awareness and funding for heart health programs across the country.

“We all know a woman who may be at risk for cardiovascular disease—a mom, a sister, a friend—that’s why I’m joining Diet Coke in its continuing commitment to The Heart Truth® to raise awareness about the importance of heart health,” said Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics. “Plus, the game was a fun way to get hearts pumping while we helped raise funds for local heart health programs.”

The Heart Truth® campaign has made great strides in raising awareness, but heart disease is still the number one killer among women. More people are becoming aware of the disease and its risk factors, but it remains a fact that more women die of heart disease than all cancers combined. There is still more work to do, so together, Diet Coke and The Heart Truth® campaign hope to continue generating awareness and motivating women to take action for heart health.

Those who couldn’t make it to the game can play “Capture the Flag” online throughout the month of February, which is American Heart Month. Simply visit and capture a flag. Each flag captured triggers a donation, with Diet Coke contributing up to $100,000 to heart health programs. This initiative is part of the continuing commitment of Diet Coke to women’s heart health programs. For the second year in a row, Diet Coke cans and bottles have a new look throughout the month of February. The limited-edition packaging includes a stick figure carrying a heart flag, communicating how Diet Coke is supporting The Heart Truth®. In addition to the limited-edition cans and bottles, more than six billion packages of Diet Coke carry The Heart Truth ® logo to raise awareness of women’s heart health year-round.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heather Headley Headlines Benefit for Pace Academy's Diversity Initiative

Recording artist Heather Headley, Pace Academy's Director of Diversity Philip McAdoo and Headmaster, Fred Assaf at Pace Academy’s “Diversity at the Table 2011” on February 17, benefiting the diversity initiative at the Academy, which provides scholarships to students in need.

Atlanta –On February 17, 2011, Tony Award winning actress and Grammy Award winning singer Heather Headley shared her talents with hundreds at Pace Academy’s “Diversity at the Table 2011,” a unique fundraising event held in an intimate setting at the acclaimed Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta to raise money for Pace Academy’s Diversity Scholars Fund. Pace Academy is a private school located in the Buckhead community of Atlanta.

The event united community leaders, education advocates, corporations and donors whose presence and contributions will have a direct impact on a child’s education and will support Pace Academy’s goal of excellence in diversity. Headley enthusiastically gives back to society and Pace Academy welcomed her to Atlanta for a rare, yet intimate and elegant night of music accompanied by Herman Jackson, pianist, producer, arranger, musical director and conductor most recently featured on American Idol.

The Pace Diversity Scholar’s Fund was established to provide a quality education with service and leadership opportunities for youth with outstanding academic promise. The fund provides financial assistance and educational support for qualified students from underserved communities in Atlanta who meet Pace Academy’s admission standards. As part of their diversity initiative, Pace Academy created an exchange program with the Ron Clark Academy in 2009.

Heather Headley is currently on tour with Andrea Bocelli and returns to the studio later this month to begin recording her next album.

Heather Headley receives a thank you gift from Pace Academy's sponsor, Tiffany & Co. and Store Director, Charles Ellis

Heather Headley with Ron Clark of the Ron Clark Academy (RCA). RCA graduates have become beneficiaries of Pace Academy's scholarship program.

Heather Headley signs autograph copies of her grammy award-winning gospel CD, 'Audience of One.'

Submitted by M-Squared Public Relations
Photo credit: Christopher T. Martin Photography

Photos of the Day: NBA All Star Edition

Jay-Z and LeBron James attend the groundbreaking ceremonies for a renovated gymnasium at a local Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles as part of the Sprite Spark Parks project on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California during NBA All Star Weekend.
Here's more information from Sprite: Sprite will invest approximately $2 million into building or revamping more than 150 basketball courts, community spaces, playgrounds and athletic fields in at least 40 American cities throughout 2011. As a result, an estimated one million young people will have greater access to recreational spaces where they can be inspired to be active and creative.

The program tips off with a chance for people to nominate their local basketball court for renovation. Sprite and LeBron James will encourage people to log on to between February 18 and April 8 to designate a court in their area for consideration. Participants also will be able to post photos or write a short message detailing why their court deserves to be revamped.

Approximately 70 finalists will be chosen -- based on support generated during the nomination phase -- to be part of a nationwide fan vote to select the courts that will be refreshed. As part of the program, at least 21 courts will receive funding in 2011 for items such as new rims, backboards, blacktop surfaces and art installations created by local artists to inspire play. Seven courts -- with one winner coming from seven different regions across the country -- will be awarded a $35,000 grant. An additional 14 locations will receive $20,000 each.

"Rebuilding playgrounds, gymnasiums and places for young people to play is one of my biggest priorities," said LeBron James. "Sprite Spark Parks offers young people an opportunity to make a difference in their community with their local courts where future generations of basketball stars can develop their skills."
Jay-Z, Gloria James, and LeBron James at the Sprite Spark Parks Project in Los Angeles.

NBA star Baron Davis and students from his Rising Star Of America Foundation at the Lexus CT200h Challenge Mobile Track on February 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Gabrielle Union and Savannah Brinson host the Beats NBA All-Star Brunch For Ladies benefiting The Step Up Women's Network on February 19, 2011 at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California.

Basketball Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Premieres Screening of Inspirational Film

Ford Motor Company Fund partners with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Skyhook Foundation on National Education Initiative

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services collaborated with all-star basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the premiere screening of 'On the Shoulders of Giants - The Story of the Greatest Basketball Team You've Never Heard' at L.A.'s Belasco Theater on February 17, 2011 during NBA All Star Week.

The film is the first in a series produced by Abdul-Jabbar's Skyhook Foundation and Union Productions. 'On the Shoulders of Giants' highlights the Harlem Renaissance as well as the first African-American basketball team to win the world basketball championship. The films combine sports with educational messaging and are designed to level the playing field of how American sports history is told and to celebrate diversity.

“Ford Motor Company is proud to continue our legacy of supporting education," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “This film will both educate and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds."

The Los Angeles premiere of the documentary will feature a discussion panel moderated by Los Angeles Lakers legend Norm Nixon. Panelists include James Worthy, NBA Hall of Fame honoree; Bill Russell, Boston Celtics Captain and 11-time NBA Champion; Quincy Jones, Grammy Award-winning producer, arranger and composer; Etan Thomas, Atlanta Hawks player and poet; and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA all-time leading scorer and New York Times best-selling author.

“Sports has a special effect on American life because it often brings us together and enables us to know each other”, said former NBA great, Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. “My film, On the Shoulders of Giants - the story of the greatest team you never heard of - is a statement about my community and the things that I find special in my life.”

NBA basketball player Etan Thomas, Quincy Jones, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy participate on the discussion panel.
As part of the film series, the Skyhook Foundation will provide free lectures and kits for educators at high schools and colleges with a particular focus on schools located in low-income areas. On the Shoulders of Giants features an accompanying study guide to teach students about the Harlem Renaissance, an important period of cultural and social advancement and artistic expression for African-Americans.

In addition to the Los Angeles premiere, Ford Motor Company Fund is partnering with Skyhook for a live screening in Maryland where the film will be shown in high schools statewide.

About the Skyhook FoundationFounded by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 2010, the mission of the Skyhook Foundation is to motivate today's youth to pursue higher education through sports. Skyhook achieves this goal primarily by developing, supporting and promoting programs that focus on life-affirming aspects of the African-American experience-the same stories that have not only inspired sports legends like Kareem but legions of musicians, politicians, writers, artists and dancers to succeed.

UNCF Celebrates 40th Anniversary of 'A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste'®

Via Press Release: The UNCF (the United Negro College Fund) has announced that it will mark the fortieth anniversary of "A mind is a terrible thing to waste"® at the UNCF "A Mind Is" Gala, Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel at 1535 Broadway in New York. UNCF will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Y&R, and The Ad Council.

Jordan (pictured), an investment banker at Lazard, adviser to President Bill Clinton, and civil rights leader, headed UNCF when the motto was coined. Y&R contributed the creative work on the campaign of public service announcements built on the famous phrase and The Ad Council distributed the campaign across the country.

"When 'A mind is a terrible thing to waste'® made its debut, the idea that African Americans should attend college was neither familiar nor widely accepted," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. "But forty years of seeing and hearing the famous phrase catalyzed a revolution in attitudes and reality, and today African Americans attend almost every college and university in the country. We are marking this anniversary, not only to celebrate how far we've come, but how far we still have to go before every American can get the education they need and the nation needs them to have."

The UNCF "A Mind Is" Gala co-chairs are UNCF board members Tamara Harris Robinson, Vice President of the Robinson Harris Foundation, and Mark Mason, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Citi Holdings. A reception for the event will begin at 6 p.m.

The nationally-attended annual event typically attracts an audience of 1,400, including financiers, attorneys, senior executives from Fortune 100 corporations, prominent education advocates, athletes and entertainers. Well-known figures from the Washington-New York-Connecticut corridor make up the core of those who attend the Gala.

Proceeds from the Gala will be directed at helping recession-impacted seniors at UNCF member institutions. As the recession lingers, many students at UNCF schools continue to find themselves in financially vulnerable positions. Layoffs, pay cuts and the disappearance of many private student loan programs have left students owing money for tuition, text books, and dormitory rooms—bills that must be paid before they can graduate. Individuals, corporations and foundations can help thousands of students finish the fall semester by contributing to the Campaign for Emergency Student Aid. To make a donation, visit and click on Campaign for Emergency Student Aid to help keep kids in college.

Gala proceeds will support the college education of the 55,000 students who attend UNCF's 39 member historically black colleges and universities. Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than three billion dollars and helped more than 350,000 students secure college degrees. Each year, in addition to supporting its member institutions and their students, UNCF awards 10,000 scholarships and advocates for the rights of low income and minority students to receive a good education from preschool through college graduation.

For tickets or additional information regarding UNCF's "A Mind Is" Gala, please contact the UNCF Benefit Office at (212) 843-1751 or e-mail For more information about UNCF, please visit

Source: PRNewswire

Friday, February 18, 2011

Men of McCafé® Celebs Make Special Visit to Los Angeles Ronald McDonald® House

Hosea Chanchez, actor, "The Game"; Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Vincent Bryson; BET personality Alesha Renee; Lance Gross, actor, "House of Payne" and former Arizona Cardinal football player Isaac Keys at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House.

OAKBROOK, IL (February 17, 2011) – On February 17, McDonald’s Men of McCafé® celebrity ambassadors Hosea Chanchez (The Game); Lance Gross (House of Payne); BET personality Alesha Renee and former Arizona Cardinal football player Isaac Keys kicked off their NBA All Star Weekend festivities with a special surprise visit to the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House. The visit highlighted their ongoing efforts as ambassadors for the Men of McCafé Casting Call as well as their passion for giving back by serving McDonald’s charity of choice – Ronald McDonald House Charities®. The group participated in a tour of the state-of-the-art facility led by Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Vincent Bryson, provided lunch and spent time interacting with families currently residing at the House.

Last fall, McDonald’s launched the Men of McCafe Casting Call in partnership with AOL Black Voices – a nationwide talent search to identify community-service minded men to serve as brand ambassadors during the 2011 Essence Music Festival. As part of the inaugural program, McDonald’s teamed up with an all-star group of celebrity talent that have a strong commitment to their community and promoting positive images of men. The current Men of McCafé celebrity ambassador roster includes: Hosea Chanchez (The Game); Lance Gross (House of Payne); BET personality Alesha Renee; Lamman Rucker (Meet the Browns) and former Arizona Cardinals player Isaac Keys.

For more information about the McDonald's Men of McCafe Search, please visit or visit for Official Rules, restrictions and entry details.

Related Post: McDonald's Men of McCafe Kicks Off in Atlanta

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sean “Diddy” Combs Donates $100,000 to the 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Foundation

Bryan-Michael Cox hosts the SESAC & 100 Urban Entrepreneurs brunch honoring Sean "Diddy" Combs at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 13, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Business Mogul Helps Fund Startup Businesses for Urban Youth at the 7th Annual Bryan-Michael Cox Executive Brunch

Los Angeles, CA, February 14, 2011 – On Sunday, February 13th during the 2011 Annual Bryan-Michael Cox Pre Grammy Brunch at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Sean "Diddy" Combs committed $100,000 to fund young urban entrepreneurs in conjunction with The 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Foundation. Music Producer Bryan-Michael Cox, SESAC and 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, a non-profit foundation that serves urban youth, honored Sean “Diddy” Combs at the brunch.

Annually, Bryan-Michael Cox recognizes a leading business executive’s commitment to music, business and service. The brunch was well attended by a mix of music and corporate executives, friends and family. Bryan opened the brunch with heartfelt words about the impact that “Puff,” as he referred to him during his speech, had on him. "When you’re around Puff, you just want to be better," Cox told guests. "Puff challenged me early on by asking, Son, do you know how hot you really are? I walked away wanting to make even greater music.” Bryan credited Combs as a mentor that offered him an opportunity to be greater. Sean “Diddy” Combs continued the message of mentorship and opportunity with his acceptance speech and accredited his success to being given an opportunity by mentors like Quincy Jones, LA Reid and Andre Harrell. Bryan-Michael Cox recognized the founders of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, Magnus Greaves, Lucas Riggins and Dan Carriere and illustrated to the audience the value and impact of the organization. “Minorities are fundamentally at a disadvantage because many lack the access to financial resources and mentoring opportunities to start sustainable businesses.”

In a special presentation honoring Combs, Damone Franklin and Charlie Fyffe owners of Charlies Brownies, a 100 Urban Entrepreneur funded business, announced the establishment of the “Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs” Entrepreneurial Fund. Moved by the founders’ commitment to urban entrepreneurship and the stories of those currently served by the foundation, Sean “Diddy” Combs personally committed $100,000.00 to The 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Foundation. The donation will be used to fund 10 startup businesses and provide entry into the 100 Urban Entrepreneur Mentor Program.

For more information about 100 Urban Entrepreneurs visit
Related Post: Bryan Michael-Cox Elected to 100 Urban Entrepreneurs Advisory Board
About Bryan-Michael CoxBryan-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 have earned him accolades and awards with song - "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 named by Billboard Magazine as one of the top ten producers of the decade. Cox is nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album for Executive Producing Monica’s Still Standing.
About 100 Urban Entrepreneurs100 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 businesspeople that might otherwise lack access to startup capital and a professional network. Our goal is to provide the tools to help talented young dreamers create viable, profitable companies.
Photo credit: Nunez/Wireimage

Monday, February 14, 2011

Evidence, A Dance Company Gala Sponsors Celebrate World Premiere of “On Earth Together” at the Joyce Theater

Chairman Emeritus of Evidence, A Dance Company, Reginald Van Lee; Janice Combs, 2011 Honoree; Princess Keisha Omilana and Prince Kunle Omilana, 2010 Honorees

NEW YORK - On February 8, 2011, the world premiere of renowned choreographer Ronald K. Brown’s “On Earth Together” inspired by the music of Stevie Wonder at the Joyce Theater was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation for the electrifying performance of Brown’s acclaimed troupe, Evidence, A Dance Company.

Following the final curtain call, VIP supporters headed over to Chelsea hot spot Elmo’s for a reception hosted by Reginald Van Lee, Chairman Emeritus of Evidence, for the sponsors of the upcoming “A Breath of Spring Gala.” Among the fashionable crowd were Janice Combs who will receive the Company’s 2011 Inspiration Award at the gala, Law & Order SVU star Tamara Tunie & her husband jazz vocalist Gregory Generet who will host the gala; newly elected Board Chairman Zaid Abdul-Aleem& Vice Chairman Joanne Hill, Joyce Mullins Jackson, Andrea Hoffman, Gail Monroe Perry, Dr. Ancy Verdier, Susan Taylor & Khephra Burns, Bruce Michael, Clif De Raita, Peg Alston & Willis Burton, singer Dorothy Bishop, Colin Lively, Princess Keisha Omilana and Prince Kunle Omilana, Jocelyn Brown and Ballet Hispanico Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro. Brown will create a new work for the Ballet Hispanico Company this spring titled “Espiritu Vivo.”

The 7th Annual Evidence…A Breath of Spring Gala, will be held on April 12, 2011 at the Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center that will feature the Company performing “On Earth Together,” with cocktails, a luxury auction, dinner and dancing. Honorary Chair is Pamela Joyner, Dinner Chair is Reginald Van Lee. For further information, please contact The JFM Group at 914.235.1490 ext. 16 or

Newly elected Board Chairman of Evidence, A Dance Company Zaid Abdul-Aleem and Vice Chairman, Joanne Hill

Gregory Generet and Tamara Tunie, 2011 Hosts for the upcoming “A Breath of Spring Gala”

Dr. Ancy Verdier, Maria Boafo and Mitch Proux

Reginald Van Lee, Janice Combs, and Evidence choreographer Ronald K. Brown

Janice Combs with Evidence, A Dance Company dancers

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Launches its 2011 National Voice Survey

Attention nonprofit professionals - your voice is needed!

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) has recently launched its 2011 National Voice Survey to gather input from nonprofit professionals across the country to provide the nonprofit sector with an in-depth look into the thoughts and experiences of its young and emerging leaders.

The network wants to ensure that voices are heard from all throughout the sector - particularly those from young and emerging professionals of color and LGBTQ communities.

Take the survey here:

About YNPN’s 2011 National Voice Survey:

Over the past several years, a great deal of literature has been released noting significant leadership challenges for the nonprofit sector. These include a looming leadership gap, an unsustainable chief executive role, intergenerational and diversity issues as well as a base of young professionals somewhat hesitant to lead in the near future. With each issue revealed has come a compelling set of recommendations for how the sector can meet these challenges head on.

As a movement of now over 20,000 young professionals across the country, YNPN is uniquely positioned to put these recommendations to the test. Is offering more competitive compensation a priority for retaining talent? Is succession planning occurring at your organization? Is prioritizing diversity having a positive impact on your organization? The valuable feedback and experiences you and your peers will share by completing this survey could impact how our sector addresses its leadership challenges over the next decade.

Our team will analyze our findings at a national and local level, meaning both our national network and your local chapters will be able to use the survey’s results to more effectively advocate for emerging nonprofit leaders in your community and across the sector.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Haitian Philanthropist and NYC Young Professionals Host “Haiti Cherie” to Support Haiti Relief Efforts

DeMarco Morgan, Anchor and Reporter, WNBC4 New York; Fabrice Armand, Haitian philanthropist; and Nkrumah Pierre attend the "Haiti Cherie" fundraising event on February 3, 2011 in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 8, 2011 – On Thursday, February 3rd, 2011, Fabrice Armand, native son of Haiti and philanthropist, commemorated his birthday by presenting the first annual “Haiti Cherie: Pride. Love. Commitment” to benefit Grace International, Inc. whose mission is to RESCUE, RELIEVE, and RESTORE Haiti by providing health-care, education, feeding programs, and empowered living to those in need. The base of the organization's work in Haiti is Grace Village, located in the county of Carrefour. More than 350 people attended the event held at District 36 that included celebrities and notables including: DeMarco Morgan, Anchor and Reporter, WNBC 4 New York (Master of Ceremonies); Keenyah Hill, America’s Next Top Model; Nigerian Prince Kunle Omilana and Princess Keisha Omilana; Plus Size Model, Angellika Morton; and Stylist, Alexa Winner.

“Grace International is doing amazing work to bring a sense of normalcy to the lives of the more than 25,000 people who reside at Grace Village. I’m proud that we were able to raise awareness and support for the great work that they do,” shared Fabrice Armand, philanthropist and organizer of the event.

Grace Village is the second largest tent camp in Port au Prince with more than 25,000 residents. Haiti Cherie aims to provide much-needed support for the people who sought refuge at Grace Village after the earthquake that ravaged the country on January 12, 2010. Grace International is now working to resettle many of the people living in this camp, and create small communities that are models of holistic, sustainable and industrious living.

D'Isabella Lee, Fabrice Armand, Kwame Jackson and Calcie Cooper

Guests enjoy the event.
Guests enjoyed Hennessy Privilege and Given Liqueur. Silent auction items included a 4 day 3 night all-inclusive with a sunset cocktail cruise for two sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Authority, a photo shoot with celebrity photo journalist Kimberly Butler, autographed works by Shari Belafonte and Maurizio Fiorini, and a shirt and tie by B. Oyama. Guests also had the chance to win raffle items including a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt and tie, tickets to 'Cheaper to Keep Her' starring Vivica A. Fox, a Hank Aaron autographed baseball, an autographed copy of Wyatt Gallery’s Tent Life: Haiti, B. Braxton gift certificates, a personal training session by Chris Sainsbury, a luxury session with master hair stylist Laura Braunstein, and much more. Modus Couture, District 36, Fund Art Now, The Global Syndicate, Haiti Is Me, RJ Media, Stuart Films and Wyatt Gallery were event partners.

Haiti Cherie was a celebration of the Haitian people’s resiliency in the face of adversity while demonstrating our collective commitment to helping the country recover and rebuild from disasters that have plagued it over the last year.

Source: Latoya Henry
Photo Credit: Daphney Boutin/Liz Allen, RINY Media

New African American Book Retailer Aims to Donate Books to Children in Need

A new website has launched that could place books in the hands of thousands of black children across the globe: The online retailer is adding a philanthropic touch to the business of selling black books by donating a book to a child in need for each book sold. The site’s slogan is Buy One, Give One. Their goal is to donate 100,000 books for Black History Month. To make the donations, North Paran partners with non-profit organizations in the United States and abroad to find children who do not have access to new books.

Neil Nelson, the site’s co-founder, is driven by the memories of his childhood in Jamaica, when his family only had five books in the house that he and his sister had to share. But Neil read those five books over and over, until he had all the words memorized. Now he wants to change this bleak picture for as many children as he can. After starting a vastly successful celebrity news and video site that reached nearly 30 million unique visitors last year, Neil partnered with husband-and-wife authors Nick Chiles and Denene Millner to create, a cutting-edge site that will publicize black books and nourish black children. Chiles and Millner have written or co-written 19 books between them — Millner is the co-author with Steve Harvey of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” which was the top-selling nonfiction book in the country in 2009, and the sequel “Straight Talk, No Chaser,” which has already reached #1 on the New York Times list. Chiles co-authored with gospel legend Kirk Franklin “The Blueprint,” which also was a New York Times bestseller last year. Millner and Chiles are both also award-winning journalists and the parents of three children of their own.

Visit the site at

Source: North Paran

D.I.V.A., Incorporated Hosts Fundraiser to Benefit Howard University Department of Theatre Arts

D.I.V.A. Incorporated to Present Staged Reading of Award-Winning Playwright Katori Hall's Saturday Night/Sunday Morning During 28th Annual Anniversary Weekend in Washington, DC

The Ladies of D.I.V.A., Incorporated, The Society for Women in the Arts, is pleased to announce that it will present a staged reading of award-winning playwright-performer Katori Hall's Saturday Night/Sunday Morning on Friday, March 4, 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Church, 680 I Street, SW, Washington, D.C. Playwright Katori Hall, whose new work, The Mountaintop, will premiere on Broadway in 2011 with Halle Berry and Sam Jackson, will host a post-performance audience Q&A.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Howard University Department of Theatre Arts, where D.I.V.A., Incorporated was founded in 1983 by six women who saw a need for an organization for all female fine Art students. The organization is dedicated to the enrichment, encouragement and fulfillment of women of color who have chosen the arts as their career.

The reading will be directed and performed by Broadway veteran, Lynda Gravatt (Cat on A Hot Tin Roof), and stars fellow Broadway veteran, Harriett D. Foy (Mamma Mia), and Gavin Lawrence (a recent AUDELCO award-winner for his performance in Off-Broadway's Pure Confidence).

Set in a Memphis beauty shop/boarding house during the final days of WWII, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning tells the story of a group of African-American women struggling with the heartbreak of losing their men to the war and with the uncertainty of what the future may hold when, and if, their soldiers return. Rich with humor and history, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning is a story about friendship and finding love in unexpected places.

Tickets are $10 General Admission/$5.00 for students/seniors. Tickets may be reserved by sending full name and number of tickets requested to before Thursday, March 3rd at 5 p.m. (recommended). Tickets will be held at will-call and payment collected at that time. Tickets may also be purchased at the door. All tickets are payable by cash only. For more information on ticket purchases, patrons may call Lynneisha Ray at 212.569.4618.

About Katori Hall:
Katori Hall is a playwright-performer hailing from Memphis, Tennessee. Her plays include Hoodoo Love, which was produced Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and The Mountaintop, which was recently produced to great acclaim at London's Theatre 503 and transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in London's West End. It is a recipient of the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010. Other plays include Remembrance, Hurt Village, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, WHADDABLOODCLOT!?!? and The Hope Well. She is currently an artist-in-residence at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Her awards include the 2009-10 Lark Play Development Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, Kate Neal Kinley Fellowship, two Lecompte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, NYFA Fellowship, Van Lier Fellowship from the Public Theatre and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. More about Katori can be found at

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond

From Gotham Books: Forget what you think you know about Michael Oher. The mesmerizing kid at the center of the movie The Blind Side, whose quiet drive propelled him out of the ghetto and into the NFL, is finally sharing the real story.

Today marks the release of “I BEAT THE ODDS: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond” from Gotham Books. Michael Oher collaborates with New York Times best-selling author Don Yaeger to share untold tales of heartache, determination and courage. For the first time, Michael reveals the much darker truth of his childhood years; life in the foster care system, the way he tried to fight back, the emotions that overwhelmed him, and everything he needed to forget in order to survive.

I BEAT THE ODDS is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man’s quest to achieve the American dream. Michael not only separates real-life fact from movie fiction, but he opens our eyes to the heartbreaking world of foster care and reaches out to the nearly 500,000 children in America living in the system, and the adults in their lives who want to help them.

Book Giveaway: Gotham Books is providing a copy of the book to a lucky reader! To enter, send an email with your name and address to blackgivesback[at]gmail[dot]com with "Book Giveaway" in the subject line by Sunday, February 13, 2011. The winner will be notified on February 14, 2011.

Monday, February 7, 2011

America I AM: The African American Imprint Exhibition Opens in DC

Washington, DC Area Students and Families Eligible for Free Tickets Courtesy of Walmart
On February 2, 2011, the award winning "America I Am: The African American Imprint" touring exhibition opened at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. Conceived and presented by broadcaster Tavis Smiley and organized by the Cincinnati Museum Center and Arts and Exhibitions International, the exhibition features more than 200 artifacts and celebrates nearly 500 years of African American contributions to the U.S.

"We are pleased to host this exhibition highlighting the contributions of African Americans and furthering a dialogue about our collective experience," said Susan Norton, director of the National Geographic Museum. "We look forward to sharing the stories - some familiar, some surprising - of the influential African Americans featured in the exhibition. Our hope is that visitors leave with a richer understanding of the diverse culture and history of the United States."

On February 3rd, I attended a special preview for bloggers to tour the exhibit hosted by the museum. I've attended many black history exhibits, and this one is impressive. From its colorful and vibrant entryway leading to twelve galleries rich with original artifacts and stories of contributions from lesser known African Americans along with accompanying music and recordings, the exhibit successfully captures pivotal events in black history from slavery to present day. I learned more about African American's involvement in the Civil War (which is the theme for this year's Black History Month), and discovered a new foundation, the Oliver Hill Foundation, created in memory of Oliver W. Hill, a prominent civil rights attorney who helped to fight legalized segregation by helping to create the Brown vs. Board of Education case.

Walmart, the presenting sponsor for the exhibit, is helping to provide all families and students in the Washington, D.C. area access to this special exhibition by making 20,000 free tickets available to the public. Tickets are available for groups of 25 students or more on a first-come, first-serve basis. DCPS and public charter school teachers can contact the DC Arts & Humanities Education Collaborative at (202)204-7750. Other area student and youth organizations located in the counties of Prince George's, Montgomery, Charles, Frederick, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park can contact the National Geographic Museum at (202)857-7281.

Specially-priced tickets are available at select Walmart stores in the Washington, D.C. area: $10 for adults and $5 for children. The discounted prices are 17 percent off standard ticket prices.

The museum is also partnering with DC Public Libraries by hosting a reading program for children from March 1 to April 16. Each child who reads one or more of the selected books will receive a free ticket to the exhibition and parents will receive tickets at a discounted rate. Participating readers will be recognized on the museum's website and will have the opportunity to win a National Geographic book from their library. An additional sponsor for the exhibition is Northern Trust, serving as the educational partner.(In photo: The entryway of the "Atlantic Slave Trade" gallery, featuring "The Door of No Return" from the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, which enslaved Africans passed through to board ships to begin the Middle Passage).
America I AM will be open at the National Geographic Museum through May 1, 2011. The museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the exhibition and accompanying public (and upcoming free) programs, please visit

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Science Makers: Telling the Undertold Story of African American Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Professionals

By Tokiwa T. Smith
San Francisco/Oakland contributor

As we celebrate African American history month, we would like to highlight a great project of The HistoryMakers, Science Makers, which tells the story of African American Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals. The History Makers is a national nonprofit that combines a reference library, video archive, oral history footage, cultural organization and internet resource. It is the largest African American oral history archive in the nation. The project highlights the accomplishments of individual African Americans, shows the breadth and depth of African American history in first person and preserves oral history for generations to come.

ScienceMakers is a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) whose purpose is to use the stories of the ScienceMakers to encourage others, especially African Americans, to pursue STEM careers. ScienceMakers are individuals that have made significant contributions to research, education or other aspects of the STEM disciplines. The Science Makers features internationally renowned STEM professionals such as Dr. William Lester Jr., Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Dr. James Stith and over 100 other STEM professionals.

Dr. William Lester Jr, (left) a featured chemist of the Science Makers from the San Francisco Bay area, is pictured at a Science Makers event last fall.

The ScienceMakers Project is made up of the following components:
•Interactive website and social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube)
•Public programs which include programs for youth and evening programs for adults to give them an opportunity to meet and interact with the ScienceMakers
•DVD Toolkit which includes the stories of the Science Makers and educational curriculum
•Ongoing Outreach which includes special events at its partner institutions and e-newsletters

ScienceMakers will be holding a program in the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and its consequences, one year later. Speakers include: James H. Johnson, Howard University; Dawn Wright, Oregon State University; Krishna Foster, California State University; and Dale Morgan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The panel will be interviewed by Gibor Basri, Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. The exact venue is yet to be determined.

For more information Science Makers, visit the History Makers website and click on the ScienceMakers link.