Wednesday, November 30, 2011

4th Annual Congressional Minority Business Awards Salutes Game Changers

National Black McDonald’s Operators Association among honorees

On November 16, 2011, Mountaintop Marketing Group (MMG), LLC hosted the 4th Annual Congressional Minority Business Awards at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC. Each year, MMG, along with the nation's elected leadership, political and business leaders pay tribute to the remarkable achievements, tremendous contributions and unwavering commitment of minority business leaders and supporters during the Congressional Minority Business Awards.  In photo: Honoree Roland Parrish, Chair & CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA), U.S. Congresswoman Laura Richardson, McDonald’s Owner/Operator Leroy G. Walker, Jr. of Jackson, MS.

Michael Bowlds, CEO of Mountaintop Marketing Group, shared that this year was particularly meaningful in that they honored the Game Changers. When the honorees were faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, barriers, or restraints (financial or otherwise), they literally changed the game in a relentless pursuit of success.

The 4th Annual Congressional Minority Business Awards honorees are: Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC); Congressman Donald M. Payne (D-NJ);  Susan L. Taylor, Founder and CEO, National Cares Mentoring Movement; Dr. Leonard Haynes, Senior Director, U.S. Department of Education; Roland Parrish, President & CEO, National Black McDonald's Owners Association; Mauricio Vera, Director, Office of Small & Disadvantaged Businesses, U.S. Agency for International Development; Gloria Parker, President, Parker Group Consulting; Jimmie Lee Solomon, Executive Vice President, Major League Baseball; Fernando V. Galaviz, President & CEO, The Centech Group, Inc.; Jacqueline S. Beauchamp, CEO, Nerjyzed Entertainment, Inc.; and Thomas Harvey, Senior Vice President, AT&T Government Solutions.

The National Black McDonald’s Operators Association was recognized for their commitment to economic development in minority communities. Mr. Parrish, President & CEO, accepted the Economic Development award on behalf of the organization. McDonald’s is credited with injecting more than $3.2 billion into the economy and creating more than 70,000 jobs along with a host of community programs and educational assistance throughout the nation. More than 70 percent of McDonald’s U.S. workforce and more than 25 percent of its leadership team is comprised of women and people of color.

Roland Parrish, Chair & CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Michael Bowlds, President of Mountaintop Marketing Group, LLC.

For more information on the 4th Annual Congressional Minority Business Awards, please visit:

Source: Press release

Monday, November 28, 2011

Announcing the 5th Annual BlackGivesBack Top Ten Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2011

It's that time of year again for you to tell us - who is your favorite celebrity philanthropist?

This year we've assembled over 30 celebrities, athletes and high profile individuals, all who have made headlines for their charitable efforts this year. They've hosted fundraisers, brought awareness to a cause, or made a significant donation to their favorite organization.

Here's how you can help us pick the top ten black celebrity philanthropists of 2011.

Pick your favorite celebrity philanthropist by taking our survey HERE. If you'd like, let us know why you picked him or her.

This year we've partnered with The Admiral Center, an organization that helps athletes and celebrities use their resources and influence to develop sustainable and impactful solutions to our nation's most pressing social problems. Staff from the center along with our contributors will serve as judges, ranking the celebrities with the most votes for the final top ten list.

Please vote early! The survey will close on Sunday, December 11th at 11:59 pm EST.

Celebrities Host Holiday Giving Tours to Support Children in Need

Multi-Platinum Recording Artist Ne-yo and National TV Host/NYC Radio Personality Egypt Sherrod celebrate the season of giving

Egypt Sherrod presents 2nd Annual Egypt’s Give Back Tour: Charity Coat & Toy Drive

NEW YORK, NY - National TV Host/New York City Top-Rated Radio Personality and Philanthropist, Egypt Sherrod, continues to spread holiday cheer to the tri-state area's residents who are in need the most by embarking on the 2nd Annual "Egypt's Give Back Tour" taking place from November 28-December 3, 2011.

Created in 2010 as the inaugural activity of the non-profit, Egypt's Cares Family Foundation, Egypt's Give Back Tour is a 6-day coat, toy, and fundraising drive. The goodwill tour will be anchored by a daily 5-hour radio live broadcast originating from locations in Brooklyn, Bronx, Harlem, Queens, Newark, NJ, and Plainfield, NJ (heard locally via 107.5 WBLS-FM and worldwide via With the support of the public last year, Egypt's Give Back Tour received thousands upon thousands of coat and toy donations for New York Cares, Jersey Cares, Hudson Cradle, and The Children's Aid Society.

“The goal for the Egypt's Give Back Tour is to inform the public of how we all have an opportunity to make a difference. Something as small as a gently worn or unused coat or a new toy brought someone happiness for the holidays. I thank the public for responding to the call of action and look forward to this years’ Egypt's Give Back Tour being even more of a success!,” says Egypt.

Egypt's Give Back Tour is scheduled to take place from Monday, November 28-Saturday, December 3, 2011 from 10 am-3 pm at the following locations:

Monday, November 28th-QUEENS, NY
Metro PCS-16201 Jamaica Ave., Queens, NY 11432-(718) 297-6727

Tuesday, November 29th-HARLEM, NY
Hue-Man Bookstore-2319 Frederick Douglas Blvd, New York, NY 10027- (212) 665-7400

Wednesday, November 30th-BROOKLYN, NY
Carver Bank- 1281 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216-212-360-8887

Thursday, December 1st-BRONX, NY
Metro PCS- 2901 3rd Ave. (corner of 151st St.), Bronx, NY 10455-(718) 926-9386

Friday, December 2nd-NEWARK, NJ
The Spot Lounge- 45 Commerce Street, Newark, NJ 07102- (973) 848-9400

Saturday, December 3rd –PLAINFIELD, NJ
Two Fish Five Loaves-113 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060 (908) 222-2000

For more information on Egypt's Give Back Tour 2011, please visit, or follow her on Twitter @EgyptSaidso and @EgyptCares.

Multi-Platinum Recording Artist Ne-Yo to Host Annual Compound Foundation Giving Tour

The Boys and Girls Clubs joins R&B Superstar Ne-Yo and The Compound Foundation to celebrate and bring joy to children of the foster care system

NEW YORK, NY -- Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C. serve as the sites for The Compound Foundation's Annual GIVING TOUR, a celebration of giving. R&B superstar Ne-Yo, founder of The Compound Foundation, will kick-off the 4-city tour, highlighted by gifts provided by Toys for Tots, books, clothing and meals for 3,000 area children ages 3-18. The Compound Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs and its partners are working to drive community awareness and action as part of its campaign to benefit children in foster care and group homes. In addition to being one of the most anticipated events of the year, this Giving Tour will also serve as a platform to raise awareness for two important organizations, The Compound Foundation and The Boys and Girls Club of America.

“We are bringing the magical experience of Christmas to children that otherwise might not have an opportunity to experience it. I love this time of year and can't wait to see the wonderment in the eyes and the smiles of joy on the faces of the children as they come out and share in the holiday festivities,” said Loraine Smith, President of The Compound Foundation.

Loraine Smith, President, Compound Foundation with son, Ne-yo at a fundraiser benefiting the foundation in September 2011.

“The Giving Tour is rooted in our commitment to uplift youth growing up in the welfare system within underprivileged communities. The Christmas season is all about giving of yourself - that's the true meaning of Christmas. Helping those that are less fortunate than ourselves – that’s what this time of year is all about” says Ne-Yo.  For the second year, Angela and Vanessa Simmons will join the tour, taking photographs with the children and distributing products from their Pastry line.

The four-city celebration tour schedule is Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 7th; Chicago on Thursday, December 8th; Boston on Friday, December 9th; and Washington D.C. on Sunday, December 11th. The events are not open to the public.

About The Compound Foundation
The Compound Foundation was founded in 2007 by Shaffer "Ne-Yo" Smith and his business partner Reynell Hay to enhance the well-being of youth growing up in foster care and group homes. The Foundation's goal is to support bright futures for young people by helping them to forge healthy relationships, pursue education and training, and realize their dreams. For additional information visit:

The Fab Empire Hosts 'Coats & Cocktails' for the Homeless

By Sonia Huntley, Guest Contributor

BALTIMORE, MD - On November 7, one hundred people gathered at Baltimore nightspot Eden's Lounge for The Fab Empire's 2nd Annual Coats and Cocktails. BlackGivesBack served as a partner for this year's event, that garnered 600 coats for the homeless that were distributed to homeless shelters Bea Gaddy Family Center in Baltimore and Martha's Table in Washington, D.C.

The idea for Coats and Cocktails was birthed out of a passion to give back by Joi-Marie McKenzie (pictured on right with Ashlee Tuck), The Fab Empire's CEO and Editor in Chief. Joi-Marie explained to the crowd in attendance that four years ago while working in Washington, DC, she would see the same homeless people on her way to work. So much so that she came to know each by name. As the seasons changed from summer to winter, she noticed that many of them continued to wear the same clothes, and specifically were without coats to protect them from the winter's cold and inclement weather. Consequently, she began thinking about what she could do to make a difference. It struck her that many in her sphere of influence were doing well enough in their careers to help the less fortunate. So she launched a coat drive that eventually became the "Coats and Cocktails" event.

The first year 300 coats were collected and this year 600 -- doubling the collection results from last year. Joi-Marie believed that her network had the disposable income and extra clothing in their own closets to help.  She also has been able to show those who participated that, "what we are doing really matters and is making a difference." She shared, "it's great to see young people getting together for a cause." Cynthia Brooks, the daughter of the late Bea Gaddy, a longtime Baltimore advocate for the poor and homeless, commented,  "by giving you are not only affecting the lives of children but of entire families."

The Fab Empire's Mia Fields-Hall, Adam Dickerson, The Fab Empire's Ashlee Tuck, and Heather Womack.

Additional event partners included DivasMPH, Eden's Lounge, Events 4 Good People and Just Velvet Desserts. The Fab Empire covers society, politics, celebrities and local events for young professionals in Baltimore, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. (

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BronzeLens Film Festival 2011 Showcases Lights, Camera, Action in Atlanta

By Lisa Brathwaite, Atlanta Contributor

Film makers, actors, and film aficionados were treated to education, entertainment and empowerment when they converged for the second annual BronzeLens Film Festival at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, November 10-13, 2011.

Roger Bobb, CEO, Bobbcat Productions, Kathleen Bertrand, founder, BronzeLens Film Festival and actor-director Mario Van Peebles

Throughout the weekend, the BronzeLens Film Festival showcased more than 30 films across metro Atlanta and provided networking opportunities to develop the next generation of filmmakers. The event attracted top names in film, direction and production willing to share their time and expertise.

Among the highlights of the workshops, panel discussions and Master Classes was Saturday afternoon’s BronzeLens Film Festival Women SuperStars Luncheon. Multi-hyphenated actresses Sheryl Lee Ralph, the Visionary SuperStar honoree, Jasmine Guy, the Legendary SuperStar honoree, and Jennifer Holliday, the Ultimate SuperStar honoree, were joined by WNBA's LA Sparks owner Paula Madison and actresses Ziah Colon and Eugenia Yuan, celebrated for their contributions, achievements and work still to come within the industry.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Visionary SuperStar honoree; Jasmine Guy, Legendary SuperStar honoree

Honorees Ziah Colon and Eugenia Yuan; Sheryl Riley Gripper, founding executive director, BronzeLens Film Festival

A non-profit organization that has grown significantly since its founding in 2009, the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta is dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. For more details follow BronzeLens on Twitter @BronzeLens_ATL or visit

Photo credit: Alex Johnson III Photography,

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Report Examines Portrayal and Perception of African American Men and Boys in the Media

In recent years, several studies have been conducted on the coverage and portrayal of African American men and boys in the media.  Results have shown that black men and boys are overrepresented in crime related stories with little coverage on topics such as education, leadership and business. 

This month, a new report adds to this growing body of research, commissioned by the Heinz Endowments' African American Men and Boys Task Force:  "Portrayal and Perception:  Two Audits of News Media Reporting on African American Men and Boys."  Researchers analyzed Pittsburgh's news media for three months, with the results showing that the largest block of news stories linked to African American men and boys involved crime:  86 percent for television newscasts and 36 percent for two daily newspapers.  They found scant coverage of  "quality of life" topics such as the arts, environment, education, leadership/community and business/economy.  Also found was the near-absence of positive coverage of young black men and boys ages 15-30.   Interview subject Jahmiah Guillory, a 19 year-old college student stated about the media, "They don't show...positive African American men that have obtained degrees within business and marketing and that are moving in a positive direction.  They only show the guys getting caught with drugs...And that affects our overall perception of different ways to become more economically fit as African American males."

The report states that when the Heinz Endowments decided to conduct this research two years ago, the foundation was not expected to be surprised by the results.  But it was expressions of concern from local residents during community meetings that led the task force to include the power of storytelling in its strategy for finding ways to improve life outcomes for black men and boys.  Findings have also encouraged efforts to support projects that put media in the hands of African American males, to tell their own stories and challenge stories told about them.

The report includes recommendations specific to Pittsburgh, but can be easily adapted for your city.  Among the recommendations are for local media to actively find and feature everyday examples involving African American men and boys, and to partner with and engage readers and viewers; and for the African American community to be proactive in inviting media to events in your neighborhoods, introducing them to influential people they may be seeking or missing, and to use/grow the local blogosphere as a vehicle to highlight positive stories.

For more on the report's findings and recommendations, read the full report HERE.

Related website:  Learn about the work of the 2025 Campaign for Black Men and Boys working to address this issue at

Photos of the Day

Alicia Banks from Newark, New Jersey is crowned 2012 Miss Black New Jersey on November 5, 2011 at the Harlem Stage in New York. Also crowned during the evening was Selena Watkins from Yonkers, New York as 2012 Miss Black New York. Nineteen candidates from within the Tri-State NJ/NY area competed for the 2012 title and $2,500 towards their college or graduate tuition.

Ijeoma Obilo, Miss Black New York & Miss Black New Jersey State Director stated, “It has been a privilege to award these outstanding young women with the opportunity to engage in community service, positive public appearances, network development, motivational workshops, and the chance to be a positive representative for women of color in their respective states.”

Restaurateur and cookbook author B. Smith (2nd from right), Dan Gasby (center) and The Liberty Bells celebrate 70 years of the USO at B. Smith's New York Restaurant's 25th Anniversary on November 14, 2011 in New York City.

Pharrell Williams and Soledad O'Brien attend a cocktail reception for Soledad O'Brien + Brad Raymond Foundation hosted by Grammy award winning music producer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams at a private residence on November 18, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Kim Bondy, Michele Thornton, Pharrell Williams, Soledad O'Brien and Rica Trigs at the event.

A view of the atmosphere from the funeral service for hip hop legend Dwight 'Heavy D' Myers at Grace Baptist Church on November 18, 2011 in Mount Vernon, New York.

Harry Belafonte discusses and signs My Song: A Memoir with Richard Steele, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio host and correspondent at the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library on November 8, 2011. As both an extraordinary artist and inspiring activist, Harry Belafonte has led one of the great American lives of the last century. My Song reveals his life, his struggles, tragedies and triumphs. The discussion was part of the library's free monthly Authors Series. Photo credit: CPL Library photographer, Phillip Moloitis

Actress Gabrielle Union (left) hosts "Confessions of a Smartaholic" at a Washington, DC Verizon Wireless store with BET host Alesha Renee (right) on November 17, 2011.  Over 150 businesswomen lined up to meet Union and to get a glimpse of the latest smart technologies, including its lineup of 16 different 4G devices.

Verizon Wireless selected Union as a brand ambassador because she believes deeply in giving back to the community. Union is an Ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and supports the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA. Verizon Wireless’ chief philanthropic focus is the prevention of sexual abuse/domestic violence, through the company’s HopeLine wireless phone recycling program.

The Apple Store Upper West Side Presents Meet The Filmmakers with puppeteer and creator of Elmo, Kevin Clash on November 20, 2011 in New York City.

Photo credits: Wireimage; Chicago Public Library

Friday, November 18, 2011

African American Philanthropy Lecture featuring Erica Hunt Hosted by NYU

By Akira Barclay, NY Contributor

On Tuesday, November 8, 2011, philanthropy expert Erica Hunt delivered a guest lecture on African-American philanthropy to an intimate group of students at New York University. The accomplished poet and former long-time President of the Twenty-First Century Foundation shared her experiences in the field for the George H. Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising course “Understanding Racial, Ethnic and Gender-Based Philanthropy.” The course, taught by Professors Eugene Miller and Jane Karlin is part of NYU’s George H. Heyman, Jr., Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising’s M.S. in Fundraising and Grantmaking curriculum. (In photo, left to right: Eugene Miller, Erica Hunt and Jane Karlin).

A leading expert on social justice philanthropy, Hunt has been engaged in social justice work since childhood when the native New Yorker raised money to bail Freedom Riders out of jail, served as a peer counselor in high school, organized against war and in support of civil rights and women’s rights and became a board member at age 22. In fact, Hunt revealed that she was in her late twenties before she realized she could have a career and get paid for doing nonprofit work. Her storied career began with an internship at the New World Foundation. Hunt shared powerful stories of her time at the social justice institution where she was promoted to program associate and ultimately senior program officer, funding organizing and legal representation for activists in the South. Inspired and educated by grantees, Hunt said, “People were teaching me how to be a program officer.”

In 1994, she met Robert Span Browne (“Bob”), a forward thinking economist and vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam who used a $1 million gift to endow a foundation for African-Americans in 1971. The Twenty-First Century Foundation, one of the few endowed Black foundations in the United States, works to advance the welfare of the Black community through strategic and collective grant making; special initiatives and research; donor education and donor services. Hunt assumed the helm in 1998 and introduced a public foundation model for the organization. She was faced with the unique challenge of figuring out what kind of board was needed to be successful in raising money from her African-American peers. The Twenty-First Century Foundation released two important publications, Time, Talent and Treasure: A Study of Black Philanthropy and African-American Philanthropy: A Legacy of Giving about the ways that Black people give. For the latter, Hunt commissioned photos so African-Americans could “see themselves” as philanthropists.

Jane Karlin, Natasha Campos, Student; Nia Jones, Graduate; Professor Eugene Miller; Erica Hunt; Nancy Vedrine, Student; Morolake Odeleye, Student; and Nia, Student

Today, as a writer and organizational consultant, Erica Hunt is writing a history of the Twenty-First Century Foundation and looking forward to what lies ahead for Black Philanthropy in the future.

Follow Akira Barclay on Twitter @BlkGivesBackNY

Upcoming Events

Black Philanthropic Alliance Hosts Annual Meeting featuring Valaida Fullwood, author of Giving Back & Honoring Tracey Webb, Founder of and The Black Benefactors

Join me at the Black Philanthropic Alliance's Annual Meeting along with my Charlotte contributor, Valaida Fullwood, who will discuss African American philanthropy and sign copies of her newly released book, Giving Back:  A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.  BPA will also present me with their legacy award!  RSVP by December 2nd.

December 5th, 2011
8:30 am
PNC Bank, 800 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC
$15 for BPA members/$25 non-members
Visit HERE to RSVP.

DC Social Innovation Project to Host "District Innovation: A Showcase of Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation"

The DC Social Innovation Project  (DCSIP), founded by Darius Graham, identifies and invests in creative, new ideas that tackle pressing social issues in Washington, DC. Through idea competitions and community solution-building activities, DCSIP seeks to be a breeding ground for initiatives that create a better DC with a better quality of life and more opportunities for all. Join them for their end-of-year fundraiser on November 29, 2011 where they will showcase the organizations and projects supported this year.

BlackGivesBack readers can receive a 20% discount off the ticket price by using code "BGB." Visit HERE to purchase tickets.

Raising Him Alone to Host "Educating Parents On the Role of Mentoring Programs"

A FREE Virtual Tele-Conference for Parents
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
8:30 - 9:30 pm EST
Phone: 605-475-4000 Access Code: 324970#

In light of the Penn State scandal, Raising Him Alone will host this tele-conference to make sure that parents understand the role of mentoring programs, as well as the screening process of mentors. They state that many parents sign up boys for programs without doing research, checking staff credentials, or visiting a program in advance.

Special guests will be Stephen Powell, Executive Director of Mentoring USA and Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director and founder of Mentor Me.

Guests will answer: How do parents identify reputable mentoring programs? What should parents look for regarding staff credentials in mentoring programs? What should be the screening process for mentoring? What should parents have learned after the incidents at Penn State?

R.S.V.P via Facebook at
or e-mail,  Please submit your questions for the speakers by Sunday, Nov. 20th at the same email address.

Have an event in your community you'd like to share?  Submit it for our Upcoming Events page by sending an email to blackgivesback[at] with 'BGB Events' and the event date in the subject line.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New York Urban League’s 25th Annual College Fair Provides Dollars and Sense to College Hopefuls

Arva R. Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, was joined by "The HBCU Experience" panelists, who are all HBCU graduates. (Left to right) Simon Obas, Chistian Elloie, Arva Rice, K. Foxx, Ian Davis, Antoinette Miller

Over 60 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Offer Fee Waivers, On-site Admission and Scholarships

NEW YORK, NY - New York City's Riverbank State Park drew a huge crowd of high school students on November 12, 2011. They weren't there for a concert or to spend the day at the ice skating rink. They were there for their future. Over 2,500 prospective college students and their families converged at the park to take part in the New York Urban League's (NYUL) 25th Annual HBCU Fair.

As tuition costs continue to rise, exploring college options for many has become cost prohibitive. For over two decades, the NYUL has leveraged their relationships with the HBCU community to bring schools and students together. Representatives from over 50 schools, including Hampton University, Howard University and Spelman College offered guidance to students with questions about their choice of majors, the application process and more.

The schools remain committed to assisting students with aid to ease the financial burden and Fair attendees applied for scholarships and application fee waivers, and completed the on-site admission process for schools of their choice. At last year's NYUL HBCU Fair, scholarships totaling $528,500 were awarded, participating schools waived application fees of $37,765, and 161 students were accepted on-site.

This year's Fair kicked off with a panel discussion on The HBCU Experience, where HBCU graduates shared their experiences and insight with the audience.

“I am always inspired by the students who attend the HBCU Fair each year. We are so honored to be able to provide New York City's students with the opportunity to connect with schools that would otherwise be out of reach. We are committed to providing the leaders of tomorrow with access to quality education,” stated Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League.

After the step exhibition by the sisters of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the NYUL HBCU volunteers and Hot 97 Street Team came together for a photo opportunity.

More than 2,500 attended the 25th Annual New York Urban League HBCU Fair at Riverbank State Park on Saturday, November 12th.

As part of NYUL's College Readiness Initiative, the organization recently released 'A Parents Guide to College.' The Guide answers common questions raised by parents at the HBCU Fairs. It was written for parents who are not familiar with college preparation to help them successfully navigate the timelines and requirements involved. All attendees of Saturday's Fair received a copy of the guide.

Partnering with NYUL for the 25th Annual Fair was Riverbank State Park, the NYUL's Young Professionals, the Malcolm Bernard HBCU College Fair, and Hot 97 and KISS FM. This event was sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities, McDonalds, and News Corporation.

About the NYUL
For more than 90 years, the New York Urban League (NYUL) has advocated on behalf of underserved New Yorkers to ensure equal opportunities in education, employment and civil rights. With a presence in all five boroughs of New York, the League seeks to eliminate those barriers that hinder people from improving their social and economic conditions. Since 1971, the NYUL has provided more than $20M in scholarship funds to help college hopefuls pursue higher education. The NYUL is one of the local affiliates of the National Urban League, a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities.

Source & Photos: Press release/NYUL

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mount Sinai School of Medicine Hosts 'Signature Event' Supporting Diversity in Healthcare

Enjoying Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs’ The Signature Event are left to right: Dinner Committee co-chair Denise Ellison; Dinner Committee members Janice and Christopher Williams, Chairman and CEO of the Williams Capital Group and NYS Former First Lady Michele Paige Paterson who served as Honorary Chair.

NEW YORK, NY - Under the leadership of Dr. Gary Butts, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs (CMCA) held its 2nd Annual Signature Event in late October. More than 300 guests enjoyed cocktails, a silent auction, dinner and an awards program at the elegant New York Academy of Medicine.

The celebratory fundraising event supports the Center’s efforts to promote diversity in the healthcare workforce while eliminating heath disparities in order to meet the needs of the diverse community which Mount Sinai serves. CMCA also sponsors educational pipeline programs which introduce science and medicine to thousands of inner city youth, institution-wide diversity initiatives for medical and graduate students, faculty and trainees, and facilitates health disparities research within the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

This year’s honorees were Dr. Marc A. Nivet, EdD, Diversity Leadership Award; Ray Cornbill, MBA, Distinguished Community Service Award; Lynne D. Richardson, MD, Outstanding Health Care Leader Award; and Lloyd Sherman, EdD, Special Recognition as Director of the Center for Excellence for Youth Education.

DeMarco Morgan, Anchor/Reporter, NBC4, was Master of Ceremonies; NYS Former First Lady Michele Paige Paterson served as Honorary Chair and Dinner Committee co-chairs were Denise Ellison and Diane Fogg.

About The Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs
The Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs is a Health Resources and Services Administration-supported Center of Excellence for Minority Health. It supports improving health equity through targeted programs and initiatives to increase health workforce diversity, improved culturally effective healthcare, and research on issues impacting minority and disadvantaged communities.

Source: Press release/Photo credit: Gregory Partanio

Friday, November 11, 2011

World Leaders Celebrate "A New Africa" at 2011 Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner Gala

President of Africare, Dr. Darius Mans, addresses the audience filled with leaders of the diplomatic, business and international development communities at the 2011 Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner Gala in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC - On November 9, 2011, over 1,000 guests including national and international government leaders, the African Diplomatic Corps, representatives from multinational corporations, and individuals from the world’s most influential social, educational, and religious organizations gathered at the Marriott Wardman for the 2011 Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner gala. The event celebrated a renewed investment in a "New Africa" as echoed by Dr. Darius Mans, president of Africare: "We celebrate Africa—a fast changing, rapidly globalizing and rising Africa [that] is making real economic, social and political progress." The dinner gala raised just $70,000 short of its one million dollar goal.

The gala honored former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Sula with the Leadership award; Donald F. McHenry, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman Emeritus of Africare with the Humanitarian Service Award; and Vale, the world's second largest diversified mining company with the Corporate Service Award. The master of ceremonies for the evening was CNN anchor TJ Holmes who set a jovial tone for the evening's festivities. He shared with BlackGivesBack that his involvement in Africa began over five years ago with regular trips there to countries such as Tanzania and Morocco. He stated that as a journalist, he'd like to see more coverage of Africa.

CNN anchor and master of ceremonies TJ Holmes with wife Marilee Fiebig, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Guests dined on Maryland crab cakes, braised beef short rib, eggplant wrapped halibut and a trio of fig marscapone, chocolate pave and creme brulee tart for dessert.  The gala was made possible by generous global partners and sponsors such as the Coca-Cola Company, whose philanthropic support of Africa has been long standing. Ingrid Saunders Jones, Senior Vice President, Global Community Connections, the Coca-Cola Company and Chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation, shared with BlackGivesBack at the gala, "One of the best kept secrets about the Coca-Cola Company is that we are the second largest employer on the continent of Africa second only to the energy industry. Our African business is robust, it is where we are very involved with the community."  She went on to share that their support in Africa will make a difference in the sustainability of the continent in areas such as the conservation of water and developing entrepreneurs especially among women.

Ingrid Saunders Jones and Harry E. Johnson, Sr., President & CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation

Performers present dance and song, embodying the Brazilian-African fusion that ties the nation and continent together.

CNN Anchor TJ Holmes shares his laughs and insights with the large audience as the host of Africare’s annual gala.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Donald McHenry, accepts his award highlighted for a lifetime of service to the continent.

Mr. Mamadou Beye of Chevron; Guests arrive at Africare Bishop T. Walker Dinner.

Former CEO of Vale, Roger Agnelli, accompanied by head of Corporate Affairs, Raphael Benke, accepts the Corporate Leadership Award. Vale, the world’s second largest mining company based in Brazil, was honored by Africare for their leadership in investment and development in Africa.

Stephen Marley, son of Bob Marley, performed at Africare’s annual gala.

The Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner is held each year in memory of Bishop John T. Walker, the first African- American Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. and Africare's longtime Board Chair. Bishop Walker distinguished himself as an exemplar of peace, justice and interracial harmony. The dinner plays an important role in enabling Africare to both broaden awareness about its work in Africa and to raise critically needed funds to deliver life-saving services.

Since its founding in 1970, Africare has delivered over $1 billion in assistance and support — with over 2,500 projects and millions of beneficiaries — to 36 countries Africa-wide. These projects have reached 6.5 million direct beneficiaries and approximately 30 million indirect beneficiaries.

Photo credit:  Africare & Stacey Trammel

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Launches Initiative to Improve Health & Success of Young Men of Color

Forward Promise is looking for the best ideas to help young men succeed in life, school and work

If you work with young men of color, or have an interest in their well being, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) wants to hear from you!

Via RWJF: Forward Promise, a new initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is looking for the best ideas that promote opportunities for the health and success of middle- and high-school-aged young men of color. This initiative focuses on “opportunity factors” that can play a significant role in helping young men grow up healthy, get a good education and find meaningful employment.

Starting with a Call for Ideas, Forward Promise is identifying promising programs, policies and approaches to evaluate what works, and spread successful models to communities that need them.

From now until December 2011, the foundation is actively seeking ideas from a broad group of individuals and organizations that will help shape their future grantmaking strategy in 2012.

To get started, visit HERE and join the Forward Promise forum with your ideas and questions, and network with others.

Abraham Lincoln Centre Humanitarian Awards Honor Regina Taylor and Jennifer Hudson

Katey Assem, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Regina Taylor, Actress; Melanie Miller, Director of Child, Youth and Adult Services; Zirl S. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Abraham Lincoln Centre

By Sandra C. Davis, Chicago Contributor

Chicago, IL - On Friday, October 21, 2011 a diverse mix of community activists, Hollywood elite, media legends, politicians, leading business and philanthropy executives attended the Abraham Lincoln Centre Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Hotel Chicago to celebrate actress/playwright/director/activist Regina Taylor and Chicago’s own Jennifer Hudson.

Master of Ceremonies, Art Norman, and renowned news anchor started the evening by giving a brief overview of the 106-year history of service that the Abraham Lincoln Centre (ALC) has had in the historic Bronzeville community. Katéy Assem, ALC Chairman of the Board of Trustees, set the tone for the night when he expressed his sentiments and echoed the ALC Awards Dinner theme: “The most valuable gift is service! Making a Difference to Last a Lifetime!” When honoree Regina Taylor stepped to the podium to accept the Abraham Lincoln Centre Humanitarian Award, she gave an inspiring acceptance speech. “I come from strong women who had visions for themselves, their families, and their communities. These women gave back…You can get an award for what you do for a living. Or, you can get an award for being the best person you can be,” said Ms. Taylor.

Jennifer Hudson, actress/singer and founder of The Jennifer Hudson Foundation in honor of Julian King, was given special recognition for her commitment to service and her community. Last year, Ms. Hudson’s organization led a toy drive that benefited hundreds of children on behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Centre. Ms. Hudson gave her acceptance speech via a pre-recorded video. President and CEO of ALC, Zirl Smith, told the award attendees that the Abraham Lincoln Centre cannot do this work alone. “We need more people to give to us, so we can give to our community,” said Smith. After the awards presentation, in the tradition of great soul singers like Chaka Khan and Anita Baker, Terisa Griffin sang from her heart.

Abraham Lincoln Centre Dinner Guests

Dinner Guests

About the Abraham Lincoln Centre (ALC)
For over 100 years, the Abraham Lincoln Centre (ALC) has served communities on Chicago’s south side providing programs for children, teens, adults, seniors and people with mental and developmental service needs.

Photo credit: Jennifer Girard Photography

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stay Strong Foundation Celebrates 10 Years and Raises $125,000 for "Used 2 Be Me...Reinvent Yourself" Campaign

Xavier Artis, Co-Founder, Stay Strong Foundation, Creative Philanthropist; Rev. Al Sharpton, President, National Action Network/Host, PoliticsNation, MSNBC; Terrie M. Williams, Founder, Stay Strong Foundation, Mental Health Advocate and Author; Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks; Dana Dane, Used 2 Be Me Spokesperson; Jennifer Jones, Executive Director, Stay Strong Foundation

WASHINGTON, DC ─ On November 1, 2011, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, Debra L. Lee, hosted an invitation-only fundraising reception for the Stay Strong Foundation's (SSF) "Used 2 Be Me...Reinvent Yourself" Campaign.

Approximately 100 guests attended the event, including the Rev. Al Sharpton; Deputy Secretary of Education, Anthony Miller; Council Member At-Large ,Vincent Orange; The Honorable Thomas Motley; and Dr. Sharon Malone, wife of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The event raised $125,000 for SSF's national grass-roots movement, "Used 2 Be Me," including a gift of $100,000 from Mr. and Mrs. John and Regina Kulik Scully, donated on behalf of The Phoebe Snow Foundation.

Lee, along with long-time SSF supporter, Rev. Sharpton, spoke movingly throughout the evening about the impact of co-founders Terrie M. Williams' and Xavier Artis' work in the community for more than a decade.

SSF's "Used 2 Be Me...Reinvent Yourself" Campaign, which made its national debut on BET's The Mo'Nique Show in February 2010, is designed to raise awareness of the physical, mental and emotional challenges faced by youth and young adults, aged 13-25 years old. The Campaign's "Entertainment Therapy" philosophy maintains the road to healing and prevention--and begins motivating others to thrive by sharing their personal stories of loss and triumph through music and creative expression. The Campaign provides a safe environment for participants to engage in open and honest dialogue. This, in turn, enables others to recognize the many faces of emotional distress and depression (what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like) -- and also lets them know that they are not alone.

Highlights of the evening included:

Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, Debra L. Lee, who hosted the fundraiser at her private residence and donated all of the expenses for the event, has also supported SSF's collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Ad council by running its PSA campaign entitled, Share Ourselves: Healing Starts With Us, campaign across BET's sister network CENTRIC. Lee also announced that mental health is a focus of CENTRIC and that it is exploring how the brand can address the ongoing mental health crisis in the Black community. BET's newest sitcom "Reed Between the Lines," which stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, features Ross as a psychotherapist and tackles various mental health issues in each episode.

Rev. Al Sharpton, President, National Action Network/Host, PoliticsNation, MSNBC, shared his story of how, with encouragement from Terrie, that he began to examine the "why me" impact of being abandoned by his biological father, particularly his not attending his high school graduation and how his relationship with mentor and father figure, the late James Brown, helped heal much of that loss. It wasn't, however, until he was able to take his father, now in his eighties, to a recent honorary doctorate degree ceremony at Bethune Cookman University, that he was able to finally be at peace with their relationship. Said Sharpton, "No matter how far we go in our lives, we all need our mental health. Being in pain isn't your fault. It is your fault if you don't do anything about it." He added, "Terrie could have dealt with her mental health issue quietly and gone on to run her successful agency. She has instead chosen to share her personal journey with all of us and to lead us all toward healing."

Terrie M. Williams, Founder, Stay Strong Foundation, Mental Health Advocate and Author, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting, shared her own story of battling of depression while working as the high-powered head of her own successful, self-titled public relations agency, and the importance of the work of the Stay Strong Foundation. According to SAMHSA, in 2008 there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older living with serious mental illness. Among adults, the prevalence of serious mental illness is highest in the 18 to 25 age group, yet this age group is also the least likely to receive services or counseling. African-Americans as a group are more likely to experience a mental health disorder than their white counterparts and are less likely to seek treatment. Said Williams, "It is important that we continue to fight on behalf of our community and shed light on the mental health crisis that his slowly killing us."

Xavier Artis, Co-Founder, Stay Strong Foundation, Creative Philanthropist, debuted the "Used 2 Be Me" promotional video and introduced rapper/activist Dana Dane as a spokesperson for the movement. Said Artis, "Under the inspiration, direction and courage of Debra Lee, BET now represents "Barriers Eliminated Totally." She is fully committed and understands that it is only by sharing our stories across as many platforms as possible that we can break the silence of depression among our youth."

The Stay Strong Foundation ( was founded in 2001 by Terrie M. Williams and Xavier "X" Artis in conjunction with the release of Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens, the second book authored by Terrie Williams and published by Scholastic, Inc. A practical guide for youth, the book focuses on the challenges faced by youth and presents empowering, positive alternatives and advice to help youth rise above daily stresses to become dynamic individuals.

The Stay Strong Foundation launched "Healing Starts With Us" in 2007 as a public awareness campaign designed to educate minorities about depression and its negative impact on the community. An outgrowth of the overwhelming response to Terrie Williams' book, Black Pain, its goal is to reduce the number of minorities undiagnosed and suffering from depression, and to serve as a community network for awareness, dialogue, education and inspiration.

The Stay Strong Foundation believes that motivating a change toward social acceptance will decrease the negative attitudes and stigma that surround depression. Its "Used 2 Be Me...Reinvent Yourself" Campaign Series is designed to encourage teenagers and young adults to express and release their personal stories of struggle, perseverance, and resilience through music, audio books, and a documentary reality series. For more info, please go to

Source:  Press release/Photo credit: Phelan Marc

The Root 100 Hosts Signature Event to Celebrate Annual List of Most Influential African-Americans

Winners honored with exclusive awards reception in the nation's capital

WASHINGTON, DC - On November 5, 2011, honorees of the Root 100 and their guests gathered at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium for an exclusive awards reception to celebrate their inclusion on the annual list, that identifies African-American influencers 45 and under who shape our daily conversations with work that matters.  This is the third year for The Root 100, but the first time an event has been held to celebrate the honorees.

Among the honorees and VIPs in attendance were Ben Jealous, President and CEO, the NAACP; John Alderman, The Slate Group; Beverly Bond, Famous DJ and Television Producer – BET’s Black Girls Rock; Charles Blow, Columnist, The New York Times; Andre Carson, Congressman; Jamal Simmons, Principal, Raben Group Consulting Firm; Joshua DuBois, Director, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta; Melanie Roussell, Press Secretary, Democratic National Committee; Suzanne Malveaux, News Anchor, CNN; Adam Serwer, Reporter, Mother Jones; and Omar Wasow, internet pioneer who developed the list's first ever ranking formula.

Root 100 Honoree Melanie N. Roussell (left) and guest

Honoree Ben Jealous, and wife Lia Epperson Jealous

Honoree Joshua DuBois (right) and guest

Honoree Charles M. Blow

Honoree, Mayor Kasim Reed

Honoree Beverly Bond, founder of BET's Black Girls Rock talks to The Root assistant editor Akoto Ofori-Atta on the green carpet.

In addition to the more well known names gracing the list such as entertainers Beyonce, Tyler Perry and John Legend, power players behind the scenes are featured that include Angela Rye, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus, Michelle Alexander, the Ohio State law professor who has redefined the conversation about black incarceration, and Anthony McGill, Clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Managing Editor of The Root, Joel Dreyfuss stated, “The Root 100 reflects the richness and variety of leadership in the African-American community, a breadth and range of talent who are having an impact on our lives and our communities – boldly or quietly.”

The event began with welcome remarks by Donna Byrd, Publisher of The Root, and featured speeches from Root 100 honorees, and an awards presentation of honorees in attendance by Joel Dreyfuss and Sheryl Solomon, Deputy Editor of The Root.

Honoree Beverly Bond, DJ and producer of BET's Black Girls Rock shared with BlackGivesBack about being selected as a Root 100, "I am so honored to be here tonight amongst the 99 others that are considered the most influential blacks in the country. It's important because it means that you have to continue doing what you're supposed to be doing." Bond's work includes mentoring young girls through DJ'ing and the arts, that teaches them integrity, the importance of striving for excellence and work ethic. She shared, "While they're learning to DJ, they're learning that they have to put the work in, in order to see the results. One of our girls told me two weeks ago, I was a good student, but now I'm a great student. I love that! I love that it transfers like that."

Aisha C. and Danielle Moodie-Mills, advisors for the Center for American Progress

The invitation only event concluded with a post reception, games and dancing. The event was sponsored by Starbucks with additional support from Ciroc and Heineken.

The full list of The Root 100, including biographies, photos, and details on why each honoree was selected can be found at

Photo credit:  Stacey Trammel