Monday, May 30, 2011

Chevrolet Launches “The Table of Brotherhood” Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here’s your chance to share with the world how Dr. King has inspired you.

Chevrolet is launching a new online community where people can share the impact our nation’s greatest civil rights leader has made on their lives. Be among the first to be featured on the site when it goes live in June! This online community is part of a larger effort being made by Chevrolet leading up to the unveiling of the MLK Memorial in Washington, DC this summer. 

To get started, you can create submissions on the following suggested topics in the form of text, video, or photos:

“What is your dream?”
“What is the current state of human rights?”
“What’s in the future for our youth?”
“How can we improve education?”

In addition, any type of original photos, videos, or artwork would be an excellent fit as well. Please submit your submissions via the website here:  The campaign, “The Table of Brotherhood,” will include a variety of local events, discussions, and live video broadcasts from across the country. For more on the upcoming MLK Memorial dedication in Washington, DC this August, visit HERE.

The Insider: Lisa Brown Morton, President & CEO of Nonprofit HR Solutions

By Sandra C. Davis
Guest Contributor,

A true Insider uses their skill and/or knowledge to help uplift others. Lisa Brown Morton, President & CEO of Nonprofit HR Solutions, helps nonprofit organizations successfully recruit, employ, and manage their staff. With over 20 years of human resources experience for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations such as The Black Alliance for Educational Options, the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Law Schools, Greenpeace and many others, Ms. Morton definitely knows the business of human resources. Lisa also founded the Nonprofit HR Solutions Scholarship Fund, dedicated to supporting limited-resourced nonprofit HR professionals and their organizations improve their human resources practices. Ms. Morton and her staff host the Nonprofit Human Resources Conference, the nation's only human resources conference serving the needs of nonprofit human resource professionals. For more information about this year’s conference, visit here.

Read on to learn why Lisa is passionate about nonprofit HR, how to remain competitive in this tight job market and several nonprofit job search tips.

Why are you so passionate about nonprofit human resources?

Nonprofit organizations do absolutely phenomenal work! They serve those who many times would otherwise be overlooked. If I can help an organization strengthen its internal capacity so that it can better serve the community and those in need, then I think that’s a perfect match. HR serves as a key partner in making sure an organization can deliver on its mission. We often don’t look at HR that way but that’s its primary role – to make sure that the employee and management of an organization can work in an environment that is healthy, free of organizational barriers, and able to deliver on its stated purpose. I can’t think of any better work than that!

Helping nonprofits find and keep the best employees is your business, but would you also consider it philanthropy as well?

Not really. Human resources – when done well – is serious business that requires knowledge, skills and abilities that require honing and developing. Philanthropy is a different profession. I wouldn’t pretend to understand how it works. What I do know is that it is critical to the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization – just as HR is. That’s probably all that they share in common, though.

How should a nonprofit job seeker evaluate his/her compatibility with an organization?

Nonprofit jobseekers should first align their passions with the purpose of an organization. If you believe in gun control, working for the NRA would not be in alignment with your personal values. Because so much of nonprofit work is connected to mission, job seekers must feel they have some degree of compatibility with what an organization is all about if they are going to work with them. The other area of compatibility that needs to be explored is that of organizational culture. Connecting with an organization’s workplace culture is as important as having the right skills to do the job. One without the other is not a recipe for success.

How should a nonprofit job seeker engage an organization before and after he/she submits a resume?

Before submitting a resume, a nonprofit job seeker should thoroughly research the organization. Know their mission, their work in the community, if they’ve won any awards or are recognized leaders in their areas of focus. This information should be incorporated in one’s cover letter. By doing so, one conveys that they know what the organization is about, who it serves and its impact on the community. Volunteering with the organization is another way of getting a better perspective on how the organization works. It is also beneficial in that it will provide invaluable “inside” information about how the organization works on a day-to-day basis. After submitting one’s resume, the job seeker should follow-up in writing and by phone, if necessary to convey interest in the position and the organization.

What are the top five skills/areas of expertise that nonprofit professionals should develop? What are the top five characteristics of successful nonprofit professionals?

That’s not a cut and drive question. The nonprofit sector is rich with diversity in the types of professional opportunities that are available. Whether your professional interest is in accounting and finance, counseling, marketing, or IT, you can find a job in the sector. Many people believe the myth that everyone working in the sector is working in a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. That’s not at all the case. If you want to serve on the front lines, opportunities exist, but if you are also interested in serving on the “business” side of the sector, you can find a dynamic career there too. That being said, there are some characteristics that are commonly found in professionals attracted to working in the nonprofit sector. They often include: a strong sense of compassion, empathy for those who may be in need; a strong desire to serve others that may not result in personal profit; patience – nonprofit organizations frequently operate at a pace that is different than the for-profit sector; a willingness to work in environments that value collaboration and consensus-styled decision making, and; a willingness to work an environment that may be under-resourced (especially when compared with for-profit entities).

With such a tight job market and static salaries, what are the various forms of compensation and/or benefits a nonprofit professional should seek when negotiating a compensation package?

It’s often said that nonprofit jobs don’t pay top dollar. While there may be some truth to that, many nonprofits – especially those located in large metropolitan cities where they are competing with for-profit companies and government – must be competitive in their pay practices in order to attract and retain talented staff. Often times, nonprofits are willing to offer non-cash compensation such as scheduling flexibility, more generous annual leave policies; richer cost-sharing on health insurance premiums and similar benefits and more challenging work experiences in lieu of paying top dollar. If you are accepting a lower salary to move into a nonprofit job, ask for additional leave or a flexible work schedule. Chances are your request will be given serious consideration, especially if you bring strong talent/experience to the organization.

Should nonprofit professionals of color develop any special skills and/or brand themselves differently from their counterparts?

Not really. The biggest challenge for nonprofit professionals of color is the need for them to be visible. Many nonprofits are challenged with identifying professionals of color to fill their mid and senior management positions. Making yourself visible for career opportunities by volunteering, serving on nonprofit boards, and becoming donors is an excellent way for organizations to see you and know who you are.

About the Guest Contributor:  Sandra C. Davis is an award-winning marketing communications professional and passionate arts/ community advocate. Ms. Davis has successfully pitched national media outlets and created integrated marketing communications plans for the South Shore Drill Team, African Festival of the Arts, Dream for Kids, and the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League.  Sandra is also a graduate of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago On Board nonprofit board governance training program, and now serves as a New Arts Forum Member (Junior Board Member) for Urban Gateways.  Ms. Davis also serves as the Organizer (Chief Design Enthusiast) for the Chicago Design Meetup.

Black Eyed Peas Teams Up with CharityBuzz for Charity Auction

By Akira Barclay, NY Contributor

Fergie, Taboo,, and are pulling out all the stops for two lucky fans this summer in a bid to raise funds for the Robin Hood Foundation. The Black Eyed Peas have teamed up with luxury charity auction site to offer the ultimate concert experience at their Central Park Summerstage show in NYC on June 9th. The auction winner and a guest will meet the band pre-show, as well as enjoy a pre-party including open bar and light food, before being escorted to their ultra VIP seats – on stage for the entire performance! The winner and guest will be on stage as part of the show, which is being filmed in 3D, while 60,000 fans cheer them on.

After enjoying the better-than-front-row view of every dance number, every special effect and every perfectly harmonized chorus, the winners will head to an after party at an exclusive NYC club with open bar and desserts and receive a merchandise pack to commemorate the experience.

Bidding is open through Friday, June 3 at: This one-of-a-kind experience up for auction is valued at $50,000. 100% of net proceeds benefit the Robin Hood Foundation.

Since 1988, the Robin Hood Foundation has targeted poverty in New York City by supporting and developing organizations that provide direct services to poor New Yorkers as well as improving their earning power and long-term prospects. Robin Hood provides program grants, general operating support, capital grants, and funds to build management capacity. Over the last 25 years, Robin Hood has raised hundreds of millions of dollars all over the world for this amazing cause.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Verizon Launches “It’s a Family Affair” Family Reunion Contest

By Tokiwa T. Smith, Contributor
BlackGivesBack San Francisco/Oakland

Enter to Win an All-Expense Paid Family Reunion

On Saturday, May 21, 2011 at its communications store in San Leandro, California, Verizon Wireless in partnership with BlackBerry® hosted a family-friendly event from noon to 3pm to celebrate the launch of It’s a Family Affair™ Family Reunion Contest. The grand prize winner of Verizon Wireless’ It’s a Family Affair™ contest will win an all-expense-paid family reunion for up to 100 guests. The prize includes a reunion venue, catering, entertainment and a dedicated website to post family images, videos, comments and more. To learn more and register for the contest, visit The deadline to enter is midnight on May 30, 2011. The contest is one of Verizon Wireless’ outreach efforts to the African American community.

The launch event provided a great time of fun, music and food. The attendees had an opportunity to win prizes from BlackBerry® smartphones and tickets to concerts in the Bay area. In addition, the first 100 people that donated no-longer used cell phones and accessories to Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine®, phone recycling program at the event had an exclusive opportunity to participate in a meet and greet, which included a photo with actor and director Blair Underwood.

“I’m happy to be a part of such a great initiative. I had a great time at the Verizon Store in San Leandro, CA this past weekend launching a new campaign whereby your family can win an all-expense paid Family Reunion this summer,” said Blair Underwood.

“It is important for Verizon Wireless to connect with the African American community,” said Latonya Grundy-Jenkins, Verizon Wireless Marketing. “This contest is a natural way for us to engage with everyone because everyone has family.”

Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation are active partners in the San Francisco Bay Area African American community. They co-sponsored the Freedom Riders celebration at the Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD) on May 12, 2011, and will be a sponsor of the 100 Black Men of America's 25th Annual Conference on June 9-12, 2011, hosted by the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area and 100 Black Men of Silicon Valley.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Hosts Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala in DC

Star Jones, Heart Health Advocate; Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network; Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO, The National Coalition; Kevin Parker, Capital Consulting Group and Event Committee Host Chair attend The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's 35th Anniversary Gala in Washington, DC

The National Coalition Celebrates 35th Anniversary During Gala

A diverse selection of honorees reflected upon the significant accomplishments of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (The National Coalition) over the past 35 years and its impact on the number of Black elected officials during its Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala and 35th Anniversary Celebration on May 18, 2011 in Washington, DC.

The intergenerational gala was hosted by former New York prosecutor and TV personality Star Jones, and included a tribute to the late Dr. Ronald Walters, a renowned political scientist and a founder of The National Coalition. Long-time National Coalition events manager Ruby Pulliam was also recognized during the event. Guests included leaders from civil rights, government, labor, and the faith communities.

The gala honored five individuals as 2011 Spirit Award honorees that have demonstrated a commitment to creating balance in the democratic process and support The National Coalition's mission of making civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition. They are: Dennis Van Roekel, president, National Education Association; Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers; Yelberton Watkins, chief of staff, Congressman James Clyburn's Office; Wade Henderson, president and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights; Minyon Moore, principal, Dewey Square Group; and Rev. Al Sharpton, president, National Action Network.

“Our esteemed honorees exemplify our theme of Leadership, Engagement, and Empowerment. Each of their remarks touched on issues ranging from the crisis in education to civil rights and the assault on labor unions,” said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of The National Coalition. “This year, the 35th anniversary of the organization, our audience left with a charge to get to work so we can keep moving forward instead of backward.”

Kevin Parker, principal, Capital Consulting Group and 35th Anniversary Spirit Host Committee Chair shared, “In 1976, The National Coalition launched the first nationally coordinated coalition to register 15 million Black people to vote. Today we bear witness to the impact The National's Coalition's work has had on the number of elected officials in office. We have Black members of congress, mayors, and the election of the first African American president of the United States, President Barack Obama.  Thank you for your dedication and commitment.”

Title 35th Anniversary partners included AT&T and Verizon. For more information on The National Coalition, visit

Source:  Press Release/Photo Credit: CitiVisual, Inc

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Insiders: The Miami Dolphins Community Outreach Team

Many youth dream of playing for a professional sports team, but the odds of becoming a professional athlete is strikingly low. So how's this for a professional sports career - working behind the scenes as a vice president, manager, or director for a professional sports team? Our latest Insiders do just that. As executives of the Miami Dolphins’ NFL organization responsible for community outreach efforts, they coordinate the team’s activities and initiatives that focus on four cornerstones: education, youth programs/athletics, volunteerism and health.

The team includes several African American executives and two former Miami dolphins players. They are (left to right): Gordon "Eric" Knowles, Senior Director of Government Affairs; Nat Moore, Vice President/Special Advisor; Leslie Nixon, Manager of Volunteer Programs; Twan Russell, Director of Youth Programs; and Ilona Wolpin, Senior Director of Community Relations. Let’s meet each of them below:

Eric Knowles, Senior Director of Government Affairs, is responsible for communicating the team's mission to the public and governmental agencies. He interfaces with local government and various municipalities throughout South Florida ensuring that the organization is engaged in local communities with events such as an annual sickle cell walk and a partnership with an African American church for a fall family festival.

Knowles is also active in the local community, presently serving as a Bethune-Cookman University Trustee, Chairman of the M. Athalie Range Cultural Arts Foundation; the immediate past Chairman of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce; and is a member of 100 Black Men of South Florida and 5000 Role Models of Excellence, a scholarship program for young black males. A recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for community service throughout South Florida, he developed the Dolphin Stadium Reads To The Community program addressing literacy with elementary school aged students.

Eric Knowles often speaks to youth in the community as shown in the photo above.

He shared that he is especially proud of his role because it allows him to positively impact young men and women in the African American community:

“Obviously a lot of our young men think they’re going to grow up to be football players, basketball players and baseball players, and for whatever reason that opportunity never presents itself. I did not know there was an ability to be an executive for a sports organization. We didn’t have directors or vice presidents of football teams coming into schools saying there’s an opportunity that you can do this one day because not all of you will have the ability to be on the playing field. There is a great opportunity for young black men and women to find a great career in professional sports, but not just in professional sports, but sports in general.”

Nat Moore is a standout in the South Florida community, widely known for his community work. As the team’s Vice President/Special Advisor, his role is to serve as a liaison between the organization and the players with community relations, youth football and other special events and projects. A former wide receiver for the Dolphins, Moore's positive reputation on and off the field led him to be named the 1984 NFL “Man of the Year,” an honor bestowed on a player who gives outstanding service to his community. In 1998, he founded the Nat Moore Foundation to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged Miami Dade County youth and their communities, awarding over $1,800,000 to South Florida-based programs and initiatives. In recognition of Moore’s impact in South Florida, the Dolphins renamed their community service award to The Nat Moore Community Service Award. This award is given each year to a Miami Dolphins player recognized for his involvement in the South Florida community.

Nat Moore at Project Medishare Field Hospital in Haiti.

Learn more about the work of the Nat Moore Foundation by visiting

Coordinating the volunteer efforts for the team is Leslie Nixon, serving as Manager of the Special Teams Volunteer Program. The program offers hands-on services to communities and families in need, and partners with existing organizations to support community efforts in times of emergency in South Florida.

Prior to the Dolphins, Leslie served as the Director of Volunteer Services for Super Bowl XLIV and Pro Bowl 2010 for the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee, that recruited and successfully activated more than 6,000 volunteers. Building on this success and to continue leveraging the service of those volunteers after these events, Nixon coordinates the efforts of thousands of volunteers who help local organizations.

This is a notable accomplishment, as in 2009, the city of Miami ranked last in the nation in the percentage of volunteers and volunteer hours. To date, the program has served 3,120 volunteers that have logged 41,509 of community service, making them the most impactful group of its kind. She shares, “Through this program it allows us to continuously on a day to day basis to be out there, reaching and impacting people and fulfilling the needs of the community whereas staff are not always available to go out there and answer the call.”

Leslie Nixon (at left) graduated cum laude from St. Thomas University School of Law and is member of the Florida Bar. She is pictured with Special Teams Award Winners Sheldon Porter, Sunrise Resident Andy Weisenborn, Miami Dade Resident Ron Hatchett, and Sergio Xiques.

Another former Dolphins player, Twan Russell, serves as Director of Youth Programs, overseeing the team’s youth programs including school programs, football clinics and camps and its field grant program, one of the organization's signature programs that has refurbished five football fields totaling a quarter of a million dollars.

Russell joined the Dolphins in 2000 and made an immediate impact both on and off the field. In 2001, Russell was named special teams captain and won the prestigious Nat Moore Community Service award. Upon his retirement from the NFL, Russell quickly made his mark in community service. He created and serves as Chairman of the Russell Life Skills and Reading Foundation, Inc. The Foundation currently serves more than 1,000 youth in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties annually and is dedicated to providing young people with the fundamental tools essential to success.

Russell (left) participates in a NFL Play 60 event at the White House.

He shares about working for the team, “It’s awesome that I can have a job that I get to serve the community and that allows me to be the man that I am. It’s great to have an owner that gets it when we say there’s a need in the community and he doesn’t bat an eye to say how can we help, whether it be youth football or volunteerism, or all the things we do in the community. He gets it and he gives us the latitude not to just support the community but be a part of the community and help the community where the need is.”

Entering her 13th season with the organization, Ilona Wolpin is responsible for the daily community outreach, fundraising and charitable giving of the organization as the Senior Director of Community Relations. A native of South Florida, Wolpin graduated from the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.

Wolpin (left) with students before a Dolphins game at Sun Life Stadium.

She implemented the Foundation's award-winning Most Valuable Reader program, which is a statewide partnership with local libraries, and manages a number of other community events, including School Programs (Student of Week, Backpack Giveaway), Holiday Toy Event, Food Giveaways (Team Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway) as well as Player Ticket Programs. Ilona summed up the experience of working for the team, “It’s nice to see how we can make a difference in the position that we’re in to give back when we work together with our players, our alumni, members of the organization and our sponsors to help people in the community. It’s a special thing to be in this position to be able to do that.”

For more information on the Miami Dolphins' community outreach projects, visit HERE.

Gordon Parks Foundation Set to Host The Gordon Parks Awards Dinner and Auction in NYC

Event highlights include a live and silent auction with special performance by the Blue Man Group

On June 1, 2011, the Gordon Parks Foundation will host the Gordon Parks Awards Dinner and Auction at Gotham Hall in New York City.  The foundation will honor five individuals who embody his artistic passion and vision, each at the pinnacle of creativity, in the fields of film, fashion, media and art: Karl Lagerfeld, Photographer; Spike Lee, Director; Sir Ken Robinson, Author/Educator; Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group; and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Director of Fashion, Lincoln Center. The evening will include a live and silent auction featuring photographs by Gordon Parks, Peter Beard, Chuck Close, Richard Gere, Herb Ritts, Ed Ruscha, Mark Seliger, James Van Der Zee, Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber and Carrie Mae Weems. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

The foundation is named in honor of Gordon Parks, who was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era—from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes.

He continued working right up until his death in 2006, winning innumerable awards, including the National Medal of Arts in 1988, and over fifty honorary doctorates. The core of his accomplishments, however, remains his photography; the scope, quality, and enduring national significance of which is reflected throughout the Collection.

The Foundation permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks and other artists, making it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media, and supports artistic and educational activities in which he had an interest during his lifetime.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Call to Action for African American Donors to Invest in Public Education

Michael Parkins, Patrick Diamond, Tiffany Capers and Kwain Bryant—guests at the recent Project L.I.F.T. reception in Charlotte, NC.

Boosting Academic Achievement through Project L.I.F.T.

By Valaida Fullwood, Contributor
BlackGivesBack Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Civic leaders in Charlotte recently launched Project L.I.F.T.: Leadership and Investment for Transformation, an initiative to improve public schools in the city’s historically black neighborhoods composing the West Charlotte corridor. A concerted fundraising appeal aimed at African American residents invites 1000 donors to give $1000 and become a part of Project L.I.F.T. The goal is to raise at least $1M from black donors as an investment in educational resources for the community’s lowest performing schools.

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Harold W. Cogdell, Jr. and Attorney James E. Ferguson, II

In total, the initiative seeks to generate $55M in private donations for support services and educational enhancements for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) students who attend West Charlotte High School and the middle and elementary schools that feed into it. CMS data indicate only 51 percent of students assigned to West Charlotte High go on to graduate high school.

“Project L.I.F.T. represents an opportunity for African Americans to do what we have always done or to remind us of what we used to do—share our bounty of our good fortune with family members who were in need. We do give. We do contribute. This is an opportunity for us to contribute in a different, equally meaningful way,” says Tiffany Capers, an organizer of the fundraising campaign.

Tiffany Capers and Vi Lyles, host committee members of the Project L.I.F.T. African American fundraising campaign

Duke Energy Foundation President Richard “Stick” Williams presents findings from a citizens’ study group on local schools.

Foundation For The Carolinas served as convener of the citizens’ study group that developed Project L.I.F.T. The foundation will manage funds invested in the initiative. The African American fundraising campaign kicked off with a reception at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in March. The event attracted over 100 guests, including educators, business and civic leaders, public officials and other community members. Speakers shared personal accounts of public education’s role as the great equalizer, presented data on the challenges local schools and students face and outlined the resources and strategies needed to close the gap in student achievement.

Reception guests Kwain Bryant, Torre Jessup and Patrick Graham

Rubye Britt-Height and Eulada Watt

Research from the study group found that nearly a third of CMS students who entered 8th grade in 2009—the majority of whom are poor and/or minority students—will fail to graduate, based upon current trends. Strategic investments and community collaborations made possible through Project L.I.F.T. aim to bring innovation and a culture of achievement to schools in the West Charlotte corridor.

More than $40.5M has already come from individual donors, family foundations and corporations. The education initiative is spurring people and organizations to give and engage in new ways. During the reception a presenter noted the unprecedented amount of dollars generated for a local initiative that wasn’t a capital campaign.

To learn more about Project L.I.F.T. and its African American fundraising campaign, contact Tiffany Capers of Foundation For The Carolinas at 704-973-4537 or Click here to make an online donation.

Reception guests Amy Phillips, Ron and Dorothy Leeper, and Emma Allen

Story submitted by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings a mix of unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer, creative consultant and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists and author of the forthcoming book “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.” On Twitter, follow @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

Photo credit: Foundation For The Carolinas

DC School Children Sing Science's Praises With Hands On Learning

Siemens scientists and students at Malcolm X Elementary School create and explore the properties of Oobleck, a slimy cross between a liquid and solid.

ISELIN, NJ - On Friday, May 13, students at the Malcolm X Elementary School in Washington, DC, experienced a special day of hands-on science discovery during Siemens Science Day. Friday’s festivities were the fourth in a series of “adopt-a-school” events at the Alabama Avenue school, all sponsored by the Siemens Foundation.

“Children are natural born scientists. At Siemens Science Day, our engineers and scientists feed the children’s innate curiosity. We want them to see that a career in math and science is a path they too can pursue,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation.

Representatives from District of Columbia Public Schools were also present at the school wide event. “Siemens Science Day provides experiential ways to get kids pumped-up about STEM and see how it can bring their world to life,” said Josh Edelman, Deputy Chief of School Innovation for DC Public Schools. “We’re happy to see this type of collaboration and appreciate the opportunity to work with the Siemens Foundation.”

Two hundred and twenty of the schools’ pre-K through 5th graders took part in the science extravaganza. The day kicked off with a science-themed musical assembly. A mini-concert was followed by Oobleck!, an interactive lab in which students created a slimy cross between a liquid and solid and explored its properties. As students learned by doing, so did their teachers. Led by Discovery Education curriculum experts, the school’s teachers learned of instructional strategies that can be immediately used in the classroom and adapted to students’ learning styles.

“Having hosted several events at the Malcolm X Elementary School, I can say first-hand we see the impact the program is making in the community and we are delighted,” said Cathe Reams, Director of Marketing for Siemens Corporation. “Siemens Science Day gets kids talking about math and science. It is among the most important work we do.”

In September, the Siemens Foundation plans to bring the program to another DC school, Emery Education Campus. During a time of shrinking school budgets, this public-private partnership is a successful example of how corporations can help our nation’s education efforts.

Siemens Science Day brings hands-on learning to the students of Malcolm X Elementary School.

About Siemens Science Day
Siemens Science Day was launched in 2005 and has reached well over 30,000 children nationwide. The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues. The Foundation’s mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens’ U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information, visit

Comedian, Radio Personality & Best-Selling Author Steve Harvey Announces 2011 Ford Hoodie Awards

Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Kyle Massey, Among Celebrity Presenters at Annual Awards Show Created to Honor Community Businesses and Leaders

LAS VEGAS, NV (May 19, 2011) – After a stellar 8th year with a sold-out crowd of 12,000, it’s that time of year again for multi-faceted entertainer Steve Harvey to host the 2011 Ford Hoodie Awards. Being held on August 13th at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the ever-popular awards show will recognize some of the best businesses, schools and leaders in communities across the nation. The presenters for this year’s Hoodie Awards include Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Kyle Massey, Elise Neal and George Wallace, with live performances by R&B Soul stars Kem, Jill Scott, plus Gospel singer Kirk Franklin.

Celebrating the everyday men and women who impact and uplift the community with their service and passion for what they do, the Hoodie Awards are the crowning honor for communities to recognize their long-standing or even new businesses, churches, schools and leaders in the categories of Best High School, Best High School Teacher, Best Church, Best Church Choir, Best Soul Food, Best Barbecue, Best Fried Chicken, Best Car Wash/Detail Shop, Best Beauty Salon, Best Nail Salon, Best Barber Shop and Best Community Leader. The nomination period in the twelve categories runs May 23rd to June 8th, and voting on the nominees runs June 27th to July 13th, with nominations and voting for one category per day.

Guests this year will be treated to an even bigger blow-out throughout the four-day weekend with new events added to the list of well-loved staples. The Hoodie Awards Weekend, August 11th-14th, will feature the Ladies Gambling Party hosted by Shirley Strawberry and Carla Ferrell and State Farm Singing Hoodie Finals hosted by Cedric The Entertainer with performances by Eric Benet and more on August 11th; The Nielsen Company Hoodie Awards Interactive Expo, Hillshire Farm Freedom Friday Party with performances by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and Faith Evans, and the Midnight Comedy Jam hosted by Sheryl Underwood on August 12th; the Hoodie Awards Nominee Luncheon, Screening of Gyre Entertainment’s film “From the Rough” starring Taraji P. Henson, 9th Annual Ford Hoodie Awards Show hosted by Steve Harvey with performances from Kirk Franklin, Kem, Jill Scott and more, and Ford Hoodie Awards VIP After Party hosted by Kevin Hart with music by DJ Kid Capri on August 13th; culminating with The Steve Harvey Foundation Charity Golf Tournament and Hoodie Awards Charity Beach Party with performances by MC Hammer and Raphael Saadiq on August 14th. The Steve Harvey Morning Show presented by Outback Steakhouse will also be broadcasting live on Friday, August 12th.

Created in 2001 by Steve Harvey & producing partner Rushion McDonald, The Hoodie Awards recognize the countless contributions and dedication of the everyday men and women who are the backbone of their neighborhoods, working together as independent businesses, churches and more to nurture and strengthen their communities. Always a sold-out event, the Hoodie Awards is an event that the superstar entertainer and New York Times best-selling author looks forward to hosting every year, saying “In tough times and even in good times, it can be difficult for independent businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive, and these individuals continue to be beloved in their community for everything they do teaching the kids, inspiring their congregations, and enriching the neighborhood with their hard work and expert service.” Harvey adds, “I am blown away and humbled by the throngs of men and women who come to enjoy Vegas and support each other at the Hoodies every year, and I am grateful for the supporters, celebrities and performers who help make these celebrations unforgettable and cheer on everyone’s special accomplishments.”

In addition to presenting sponsor Ford, the 2011 Hoodie Awards activities are being made possible with gracious support from State Farm Insurance, Hillshire Farm, The Home Depot, Outback Steakhouse, Wells Fargo, Prudential, SoftSheen-Carson, Magic Shave, AT&T, Gyre Entertainment, The Nielsen Company, K&G Fashion Superstores, General Mills and more for the weekend. Tickets and packages for the 9th Annual awards show and weekend festivities are currently available for purchase, with packages on track to sell out quickly. Tickets are available for purchase at and the Mandalay Bay box office.

Log onto for up-to-the-minute news or more information about the 2011 Ford Hoodie Awards.

For breaking news and exclusive content, connect with Steve Harvey on Facebook and Twitter.

Get To Know Tracy Mourning, Founder of Honey Child Enterprises & Honey Shine Mentoring Program

Tracy Wilson Mourning is a mentor, designer, broadcast journalist, motivational speaker, soon-to-be published author, and loving mother and wife to NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning. She is a Howard University graduate with a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Business. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tracy is a proud resident of the South Florida community.

She has dedicated herself to the young women of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, which she founded in 2002. The mission of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program is to 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 provides ongoing guidance through bi-weekly workshops and a summer camp. Tracy is currently working with the Honey Shine team to expand the program across the country.

Tracy is also the CEO and Creative Director of Honey Child Enterprises, a company that owns the lifestyle brands Honey Child and TWM by Tracy Wilson Mourning Bath & Body Ritual Collection. The company is comprised of bath & body products, hair care products, and apparel and home goods created and designed for the GODDESS, SOULMATE, MOTHER and FRIEND that she believes all women are.

The TWM By Tracy Wilson Mourning Bath & Body Ritual Collection consists of the GODDESS collection: formal, dressy, and delicate yet modern; the SOULMATE collection: wicked and innocent, like most soulmates; the MOTHER collection: warm, inviting, and refreshingly sensual; and the FRIEND collection: a fun and sexy blend with a touch of orange flower.

Tracy is a proud mother to sons Trey and Alijah, and daughter Myka. She is grateful for the higher power that guides her. Her spirituality gives her the peace and empowerment that is reflected in the ideologies of the Honey Shine Mentoring Program and Honey Child Enterprises.

For more information on the TWM Bath & Body Ritual Collection and store locations in Florida, Maryland, California, Georgia and North Carolina, visit

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New York Urban League Holds 46th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner

Event Honors Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Peace Activist Cora Weiss and Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins

By Akira Barclay, Contributor
BlackGivesBack NY

New York, NY (May 17, 2011) – More than 340 guests came out last Thursday evening in support of the New York Urban League’s 46th Annual Frederick Douglass Awards dinner. The event was a who’s who of prominent New Yorkers including Mayor Bloomberg, former Governor David Paterson, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Lewis, previous FDD recipient Frank Thomas, real estate mogul Daniel Rose, SNY Sportscaster Brian Custer and NY1 Anchor Errol Louis.

Named in honor of the former slave who rose to prominence as one of the nation's most influential abolitionists, the black-tie affair took place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan, with WNBC-TV News Anchor David Ushery as master of ceremonies. Honors were bestowed upon former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and peace activist Cora Weiss in recognition of their efforts to promote equal opportunity and civil rights.

The Honorable David Dinkins is the first and only African-American to date to serve as New York City mayor, and currently he is a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, chairs the Earth Institute’s NYC Sustainable Development Initiative and hosts the annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum.  Marcus Samuelsson is a chef, cookbook author, TV personality, restaurant owner and philanthropist. He presided over the Obama administration’s very first State Dinner in 2010, and restored and renovated the legendary Harlem hot spot The Red Rooster to its former glory. Cora Weiss, president of The Hague Appeal for Peace, was honored with the Ann S. Kheel Award that recognizes individuals who, in the spirit of the late Kheel, founder of the Frederick Douglass Awards Dinner and longtime member of the NYUL Board of Directors, that have made charitable causes part of their life’s work.

First held in 1965, the NYUL’s Frederick Douglass Awards dinner has recognized a wide range of private and public-sector leaders including Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Dr. Betty Shabazz, Russell Simmons and Bud Selig, whose contributions have helped break down racial obstacles and promote opportunities for the less fortunate.

NYUL President and CEO Arva Rice told the audience the story of how Frederick Douglass' slave owner unsuccessfully tried to halt his efforts to learn to read to show how far African-Americans have progressed since his time:

“Clearly, over 150 years, one African-American president and a billionaire media mogul later, we can say that African-Americans are free. But it is through the continued access to and mastery of reading that our young people will be dissatisfied with their positions and seek to do more,” she said. “It was Frederick Douglass who provided us with this year's theme, ‘Once You Learn To Read, You Will Be Forever Free.’ It is our role to provide young people with education and adults with job training and placement so that they can be free to live up to their true potential.”

Former NY governor David Paterson, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, NYUL President & CEO Arva R. Rice, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Proceeds from the evening supported the League's core programs in education and employment.

About NYUL:   The New York Urban League was founded by a group of prominent New Yorkers concerned with the poor state of blacks migrating to New York City from the south. From its inception it provided employment and connections for migrating blacks bridging the adjustment from the agricultural/rural life to the industrial urban center. Each decade following, “The League” provided critical services such as emergency aid for the unemployed during the Great Depression; formed the Committee for Interracial Voluntary Hospitals to provide care and work in local hospitals; negotiated the opening of employment for blacks in the airline, brewing, and baking industries; created “Street Academies” which became a national model for high school students; published the first State of Black New York report; and created its signature events including Frederick Douglass Dinner, Whitney M. Young Jr. Classic, and Champion of Diversity Breakfast among many other milestones.

Upcoming Events

National Museum of African Art Launches Second Installment of Africa Underground—West Africa to the Caribbean

Coming on the heels of a successful first installment in February, Africa Underground is back with an evening of West African and Caribbean delights at the National Museum of African Art, Friday, May 20, from 7 to 11 pm in Washington, DC. The museum’s doors will be held open after hours, giving revelers the chance to enjoy West African and Caribbean foods. Highlights include a demonstration of African textile headwrapping, West African and Caribbean storytelling, and guests can participate in an art-making workshop to decorate cloth with custom-made West African wooden stamps to take away and frame for a personalized memento.

Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at  Africa Underground is held four times a year in the winter, spring, summer and fall.

The DC Social Innovation Project Announces Launch Event
Special Discount for BlackGivesBack Readers

The DC Social Innovation Project (DCSIP) is a new nonprofit organization that identifies and invests in creative new ideas that tackle pressing social issues in Washington, DC. The project was founded by Darius Graham, a lawyer and author who left his law career to pursue his philanthropic passion full time.

Through two programs, DCSIP provides funding and resources to help individuals and community groups launch projects and social ventures in order to improve their communities. On June 8, 2011, DCSIP hosts their launch event where you can meet their team, learn about their work and how you can get involved, and meet others interested in social innovation. Each ticket includes light appetizers, one drink, and a chance to win a $100 Amazon or Apple gift card (winner's choice) or one weekend at a vacation home on North Carolina's High Rock Lake.

DCSIP is offering a special $5 discount off the ticket price for BlackGivesBack readers! Visit HERE to purchase tickets (use discount code BGB) and visit their website at

Jarvis Green Foundation Launches Southern Louisiana Annual Wine Tasting Gala in Baton Rouge

The Jarvis Green Foundation's wine tasting gala, which benefits disadvantaged single mothers in low income areas comes to Baton Rouge on May 27, 2011. The evening festivities at the Cook Hotel/Lod Cook Alumni Center will include a live band, dining on gourmet food, sipping fine wines, a raffle and a silent auction.

“As athletes we need to think twice about the decisions we make to help the community. So many people invest time in helping to develop an athlete and support that person. So the least we [athletes] can do is give back,” shares Green, defensive end for the Houston Texans.

Jarvis will be joined by former LSU and NFL players and coaches, Hollywood celebrities, and various top local executives. To purchase tickets, visit

For more upcoming events, visit HERE.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy Hosts Nonprofit Match Event for Young Professionals

German Dubois III, Miami Children's Initiative, Vice President of Community Collaborations and Strategic Partnerships; Thamiah Tutt, Event Chair; Dr. Angelique Grant, South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy, Chair; and Debi Harris, President of The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade attend the South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy's "The Color of Money" nonprofit board match cocktail evening on May 11, 2011.

SOUTH FLORIDA - Last week, the South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy hosted over 100 young professionals at the Haitian Heritage Museum in an evening of power networking, designed to connect them with nonprofit organizations actively seeking board members, advisory members and volunteers.

Funds were raised for the host organization – The Haitian Heritage Museum, and the event provided increased awareness about local organizations that included the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, Broward Meals on Wheels, Easter Seals South Florida, TACOLCY (The Advisory Committee of Liberty City Youth), Take Stock in Children, and The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade.

“Since May is Haitian Heritage Month, we decided to have the event at The Haitian Heritage Museum to not only bring together young black professionals who are interested in non-profit board service, but to kick off the month long celebration. And what better way to celebrate the importance of South Florida’s Haitian Heritage,” shared Angelique Grant, Ph.D., Chair of the South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy.

Karriem Edwards, Boys & Girls Club of Broward County; Simone Kelly-Brown, Reception Facilitator; Thamiah Tutt, Event Chair; Dr. Angelique Grant, South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy Chair; Serge Rodriguez, Haitian Heritage Museum Co-Founder

The event was held in partnership with the National Black MBA Association, South Florida Chapter; Young Professionals Network of Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce; Urban League of Broward County Young Professionals Network; and The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade. Sponsors included ICABA, Chef Jean Max Benjamin, and the event was facilitated by Simone Kelly-Brown.

Event participants

The South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy (SFNBP) is a network of professionals employed in the field of philanthropy either within an organization or independently (as a consultant). The network consists of fundraisers, program officers, foundation professionals, marketing and communication professionals, non-profit executives, institutional advancement professionals, special event specialists and philanthropists. The group was created to foster professional multi-cultural networking opportunities and facilitate interaction among its members to promote and encourage multicultural philanthropy in South Florida.

Planning committee members included Kimberly Bankhead (Urban League Young Professionals Network, National Black MBA Association, South Florida; Senior Accountant, Assurant), Fabiola Fleuranvil (Young Professionals Network of Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO, Blueprint Creative Group), Angelique S. C. Grant, Ph.D. (South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy, Chairperson; Executive Director of Major Gifts, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine), Brandon Okpalobi (Young Professionals Network of Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce; Development Director of Annual Giving, University of Miami), Thamiah L. Tutt (National Black MBA Association, South Florida; South Florida Network of Black in Philanthropy, Event Chair; Development Director of Major Gifts, Department of Anesthesiology, UM Miller School of Medicine), Faye Wright (The Women’s Fund, Board Member; Regional Managing Director, American Airlines), Regine Cambronne (South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy; Director of Development, Baptist Health Foundation).

Photos by Sumner Hutcheson III

Gospel Powerhouse CeCe Winans Set to Host 5th Annual “Always Sisters, Forever Brothers” Youth Conference in Nashville

Mary Mary, David & Tamela Mann (Meet The Browns), Fred Hammond, Lecrae, Canton Jones, Mali Music, Judge Greg Mathis, Warren Ballentine, Dr. IV Hillard, Matt Pitt, Mom Winans, Nancy Alcorn, Kim Daniels ready to join forces with Winans at the Curb Event Center

Via Press Release: Nashville based gospel singer, entrepreneur, and conference founder CeCe Winans continues sharing the vision and empowering youth with her three day conference, "Always Sisters, Forever Brothers." The conference is back for its 5th year and will be held July 21-23 at the Curb Event Center located at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

In 2005, Winans launched Always Sisters to promote the true value of pure sisterhood and friendship. Her long-time dream to reach young girls was created so that the older sisters could pour love, wisdom and knowledge into the younger sisters. Winans wanted the young women to learn what sisterhood is all about and to teach the importance of loving God, themselves and others. In 2009, she decided it was time to broaden the vision and include young men, so the organization’s name was then changed to Always Sisters, Forever Brothers with the goal of empowering and equipping young male and females simultaneously.

“I am so excited about having the opportunity to make a positive impact on this generation. I know they will in turn affect positive change on the generations to come. My experience has been that young people want to be loved, heard, understood and told the truth,” says Winans.

The conference will feature an array of talented speakers and musical performances with emphasis on the importance having a male foundation in the family setting. Over the years disturbing statistics have been reported about the effects of young people without fathers or father figures, leaving single mothers to do their best to take on the responsibilities of both parental roles. This year the registrants will hear from strong men and women who will speak into their lives as family, spiritual leaders, friends, mentors and positive role models.

Special guest speakers include Dr. I.V. Hilliard, Judge Greg Mathis, Matt Pitt, and CeCe Winans. Panelists include Kim Daniels, Nancy Alcorn, Dr. Deirdra Jackson and Warren Ballentine. Topics will include Love or Lust (dating violence, bullying, anger), Do You See What I See (self esteem and addictions), Oh Daddy Where Art Thou (the effects of and living beyond fatherlessness), What Will It Cost to Be Your Own Boss (AIDS, STD’s, Teen pregnancy – from hopelessness to hope), Sick and Tired (Health) and so many more issues that young people face daily.  Conference and concert guests include Mary Mary, Fred Hammond and Mali Music.

On Saturday, July 23 the conference will wrap on a musical note showcasing Lacrae, Canton Jones, Tamela Mann, Preashea Hilliard, and Voices of Destiny, and will be hosted by David “Mr. Brown” Mann of “Meet The Browns.” Event sponsors include Verizon Wireless, Mercy Ministries, How Sweet The Sound and internet partner

Donations and registrations can be made online from $72 - $130 with single purchase of concert tickets available for $17. Conference details are available on the conference website, and fans can follow and chat with CeCe at, on Facebook and on Twitter @CeCeWinansASFB .

Photos of the Day

Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt host the Three Doctors Foundation's 11th Annual Gala with Alan Houston (3rd from left) and Judith J. Pickens M.Ed., (2nd from left) on May 5, 2011 in Newark, NJ. Pickens, Senior Vice President of Program and Youth Development Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America accepted the Community Care Award on behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs who work with the Three Doctors Foundation to better communities on a local and national level.

Areva D. Martin, Stasia Washington of Union Bank of California and Monica Holt attend the Special Needs Network Inc.’s (SNN) sold-out third annual “Pink Pump Affair” in Beverly Hills on Sunday, May 1. The event is the brainchild of SNN's co-founder and president, Areva Martin Esq. that is designed to bring together powerful women from different backgrounds and to garner their support for more autism research and resources. The organization was formed to respond to the lack of representation of the underserved segment in special needs populations.

Women of Distinction Honorees: Monica Holloway, Denita Willoughby and Denise Hunter with SNN President Areva D. Martin, Esq.; Alva Mason, Toyota; Areva D. Martin, Esq., & Deborah Senior, Toyota.

The event was sponsored by Toyota, Broadway Federal Bank, Chase, Union Bank of California and Martin & Martin, LLP, and produced by Todd Hawkins of the Todd Group.

Jacques-Philippe Piverger (4th from left) and members of the Global Syndicate visit Michel Martelly, President-elect of Haiti (3rd from left). The Global Syndicate’s Haiti Project is a nationwide fundraising and awareness campaign that supports humanitarian efforts in Haiti.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dedicate The Dream: MLK Memorial Foundation Announces Plans for MLK Dedication in Washington, DC

Rendering of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Courtesy of Interface Multimedia
Located on the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial creates a visual line of leadership between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington, D.C. The memorial is the first on the National Mall to honor a man of hope, a man of peace, and a man of color. It will be an engaging landscape experience utilizing the natural elements of water, stone, and trees to convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s universal message – democracy, justice, hope, and love. A 450-foot inscription wall will feature more than a dozen Dr. King quotes engraved into granite to serve as a lasting testament and reminder of Dr. King’s humanitarian vision. The memorial will include the “Mountain of Despair” and the “Stone of Hope,” which will feature a 30-foot sculpture of Dr. King.

On Sunday, August 28, 2011 in Washington, DC, a historic and momentous event will take place - the dedication of the MLK Memorial honoring the life, legacy and dream of our nation's greatest civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr.

The dedication will occur on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King's historic speech, I Have A Dream. The event is free and open to the public, however reserved tickets for certain areas will be required that will be distributed through an online lottery system. The public may request up to six tickets by visiting by 11:59pm EDT on May 31.  Winners will be notified by June 15.

Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the MLK Memorial Foundation shared with BlackGivesBack, “The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation is thrilled that we will be dedicating the Memorial to Dr. King this summer. This Memorial, this dream, is made possible by the collective efforts of many, and we proudly look forward to presenting it to the people. The Memorial will be a source of history and inspiration for people of all colors and nationalities. It will be a constant reminder of Dr. King’s life, dream and legacy, and the great diversity on which our country stands.”

Johnson continues, “We’ve worked with generous corporations, foundations, individuals, churches and grassroots supporters to raise $112 million, but we still need $8 million to reach our goal. We sincerely believe that we will achieve that $120 million goal. When asked who should pay for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, the answer is anyone who ever benefited from anything Dr. King said or did. That includes us all. Dr. King was not just an American civil rights leader, but he was a universal, inspirational leader whose message transcends race, religion and nationality. He was a citizen of the world and every member of the global community shares a piece of this Memorial. Every dollar helps, and I sincerely encourage anyone whose life has been affected or influenced by Dr. King’s life or legacy, to generously give by visiting or calling 888-4-THE-DREAM.”

To learn more about dedication plans, including the many events that will take place earlier in Dedication Week, please visit

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brotherhood/Sister Sol Hosts 7th Annual Voices Event in New York City

Khary Lazarre-White, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Brotherhood/Sister Sol; Honorees David N. Dinkins, Rosario Dawson and Dr. Cornel West; and event host Soledad O'Brien

Honorees include David N. Dinkins, Rosario Dawson and Dr. Cornel West

By Akira Barclay, Contributor
BlackGivesBack NY

NEW YORK - On May 5, 2011, the Brotherhood/Sister Sol (BHSS), a leading non-profit organization that empowers young Black and Latino women and men, hosted their 7th annual Voices benefit at New York City’s ESPACE. The evening was hosted by CNN Anchor & Special Correspondent, Soledad O’Brien, and featured a cocktail reception, a silent auction, and performances by Lyrical Circle—an award-winning group of poets. The three celebrated honorees included: Former Mayor of New York City, David N. Dinkins who received the Ella Baker & César Chávez Award for Positive Community Development; actress and philanthropist Rosario Dawson who received the Frida Kahlo Award for Innovative Creativity; and acclaimed author Dr. Cornel West who received the Bayard Rustin Award for Social Justice.

Khary Lazarre-White, Executive Director & Co-Founder of BHSS shared, “Our honorees are all individuals who embody the ideals of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, which are Positivity, Community, Knowledge and Future. We strive to offer long term, intensive involvement for our members and provide unique services that support their personal development and academic achievements which is why 95% of BHSS Alumni are working full time or enrolled in college.”

Lazarre-White; David N. Dinkins and Congressman Charles Rangel

Dr. Cornel West with Russell Simmons

About The Brotherhood-Sister Sol: The Brotherhood/Sister Sol provides comprehensive, holistic and long-term support services to youth ages 8 to 22. BHSS focuses on issues such as leadership development and educational achievement, bias reduction, sexual responsibility, sexism and misogyny, political education and social justice, Pan African and Latino history, and global awareness. BHSS provides rites of passage programming, after school care, school and home counseling, summer camps, job training, college preparation, employment opportunities, community organizing training, a community garden stewards and environmental education program, and free legal representation.

BHSS exposes its young people to new opportunities through wilderness retreats, cultural performances, college tours, and month long intensive study programs to Africa and Latin America. Founded in 1995, BHSS has earned national recognition for its model, receiving awards that include Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network Use Your Life Award, Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award, Abyssinian Development Corporation’s Harlem Renaissance Award, Union Square Award for Grassroots Organizing and Special Achievement, and the Brown University inaugural Alumni Association Young Public Service Award.

For more information on The Brotherhood/Sister Sol organization and the Voices 7 event, please visit

HBCU, Community Leaders Aim to Reduce Judicial System Contact Among Black Youth

Secretary Frank Peterman, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice; Dr. Phyllis Gray Ray, Executive Director, Florida A & M University Juvenile Justice Research Institute; and President James H. Ammons, Florida A & M University (FAMU) attend the check presentation and grand opening of FAMU's Juvenile Justice Research Institute in October 2010.

In January of this year, we launched a reader survey to obtain feedback on what you enjoy the most and wanted to see more of on our site.  In response, we received an overwhelming request to feature in depth articles that focus on an issue impacting the black community and how you can get involved.  This article is the first in a series that will serve to inform you on an issue you may not have heard of, such as DMC.

You may not be familiar with DMC, but many states, cities and local communities are tackling this issue head on. DMC stands for Disproportionate Minority Contact, and it refers to the disproportionate number of minority youth that come into contact with the judicial system. Simply put, youth of color, particularly African American youth, are arrested, charged and incarcerated more than White youth for similar conduct, though studies show they do not commit more crimes.

According to the W. Haywood Burns Institute, a national leader in DMC, research has shown that across the country, low-level offending youth of color and poor youth who come into the contact with juvenile justice systems are often jailed even though they do not pose a public safety risk.

In 1988, DMC received national attention from a report to Congress by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice; however, this is not a new issue. As early as 1901, the noted African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois studied causes of the disproportional representation of Blacks in the criminal justice system. Today, states are required by Congress to address DMC in order to receive certain federal funds.

Understanding and addressing DMC is an important issue for the African American community, due to the high number of Blacks that make up the prison population. If youth are sent to prison or have a history of detention, they’re more likely to be imprisoned as an adult.

As a requirement of states to address DMC, many have formed DMC committees comprised of local stakeholders, judges, and community leaders. In Florida, an innovative partnership between Florida A & M University and the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) led to the creation of the Juvenile Justice Research Institute (JJRI) that identifies research and implements cutting edge juvenile justice services that will address the needs of youth at greatest risk of delinquency involvement. In addition to researching the causes and remedies to DMC, the Institute will promote a college student mentorship program with local DJJ facilities, increase minority researchers in the area of juvenile justice prevention and best practices, and serve as a local, state, regional and national resource/clearinghouse for juvenile justice professionals and practitioners.

The Juvenile Justice Research Institute at Florida A & M University

Florida DJJ Secretary Frank Peterman Jr. stated, “The over-representation of minorities, particularly black young men, is a special concern in juvenile justice systems across the country. I believe support from the academic community in addressing delinquency will greatly encourage our troubled youth, and show them a positive path filled with young people who are not so very different from themselves.”

Despite the efforts of many, not enough people of color are involved. Elijah L. Wheeler Jr., the DMC Reduction Coordinator at the Montgomery County Collaboration Council in Montgomery County, MD shares, “This issue affects us greater than anyone else, yet, not many people of color are involved in helping to keep our initiative in the forefront and address them via fundraising and volunteer efforts.”

Elijah also shares, “I cannot underscore enough the importance of us to question some of the policies and practices that systemically have led to disproportionate amounts of minority children being incarcerated versus their non-minority peers. This isn’t just a question of crime and punitive measures, but a question of whether or not fair and equitable justice is being dispensed across the board. People who are concerned should find out if there is a local board or entity involved in reviewing the decisions made by their juvenile justice systems and actively engage in helping to try to further reduce the disproportionality.”

To find out if there is a local board or entity addressing DMC in your community, visit the following resources:

Juvenile Justice Research Institute
The W. Haywood Burns Institute

If you have a suggestion for a future issue focused article, please let us know at blackgivesback[at]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Celebrating a 50 Percent Decline in D.C. Infant Mortality

Mother of R&B Star Trey Songz Encourages At-Risk Expectant Mothers at Community Baby Shower

On Friday, May 6, 2011, the DC Department of Health's Healthy Start Project celebrated its 20th anniversary and a 50 percent drop in the city’s infant mortality rate since the program’s inception. The project is a federally funded program that focuses on the needs of pregnant and postpartum women and parents with infants in low-income communities in DC. In 1991, the District's infant mortality rate was one of the highest in the country at a rate of 22 deaths per 1,000 live births. Twenty years later it is now less than 11.

To celebrate this achievement, the DC Health Department hosted its 8th annual community baby shower for 250 at-risk expectant mothers at Howard University Hospital. The shower provided the mothers with the necessary knowledge and tools to ensure healthy pregnancies and babies through greater attention to maternal and infant health, breastfeeding and prenatal care.

Among the guest speakers during the event was April Tucker, former teenaged mother of Grammy Award-nominated singer Trey Songz, who encouraged the attendees with her own story of becoming a mother at the age of 17. She shared with BlackGivesBack, “I need teen moms to know it’s not going to be easy, but it’s definitely worthwhile and there’s a whole network and support system. The stigma that used to be attached to reaching out to social services, agencies, and getting help is no longer there. I benefited from the system for 7 years and I was just telling someone just recently, I still have my last food stamp.” She went on to share, “I had Trey at 17, so from over a ten year span I’ve gone from welfare to well off.  I would have never imagined that the little baby that I almost didn’t have would become the person he is now.”

Tucker also shared about her son's upcoming philanthropic efforts, which include raising funds for their local recreation department, continuing his Songz for Peace campaign, and the charity efforts from his fan club, Trey's Angels.

She shared, “As far as philanthropy, its pretty simple - when you do better you have to give back. If my story, or rather our story, can help inspire or motivate someone I’m more than willing to tell it.”

Sheila Stewart, Radio One; April Tucker; Melinda Fallen; and Sharon Brancon, DC Department of Health

Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga & Christina Aguilera Join Auction for FFAWN

By Akira Barclay, Contributor
BlackGivesBack NY

As a follow up to her recent Honors charity concert on May 1 in New York City, superstar Mary J. Blige is partnering with luxury charity auction site Charitybuzz to raise funds for her nonprofit organization FFAWN (Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now). Blige has called upon her celebrity friends including Jay-Z, Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga to donate incredible experiences for a star-studded online auction to raise funds for the organization. Mary J. Blige's FFAWN online auction features the following exclusive music and entertainment experiences:

Jay-Z is auctioning a coveted internship at his entertainment and record company Roc Nation. The lucky auction winner will spend a month learning the ins and outs of the recording industry at the company that boasts an artist roster including Rihanna, Willow Smith, Santigold, Mark Ronson and many more. Visit the auction HERE.

Mary J. Blige is auctioning the chance to meet her on the set of her newest film Nina, about iconic singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist Nina Simone, this summer in Los Angeles. Visit the auction HERE.

Lady Gaga is auctioning the chance for the winner and a guest to meet her when she performs on Good Morning America in NYC. Visit the auction HERE.

Christina Aguilera has donated tickets to attend a taping to 'The Voice' in June in Los Angeles. NBC’s new hit show The Voice features celebrity judges Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton competing to find the ultimate singing star. Visit the auction HERE.

Proceeds benefit FFAWN’s mission to empower and encourage women by shaping and supporting programs that foster education, career development, strong self-esteem, and personal growth. Bidding is open internationally through June 1st at