Thursday, December 29, 2011

The 5th Annual BlackGivesBack Top Ten Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2011

For the fifth year in a row, BlackGivesBack is pleased to present our annual top ten black celebrity philanthropists list! As 2011 comes to a close, we again highlight those making a significant impact in areas such as education, HIV/AIDS, mentoring, and supporting at-risk youth.

New this year, we’ve partnered with the Admiral Center, an organization that harnesses the power of “celebrity” to better the lives of low-income people, to help us research those who were nominated and rank the final list. Here’s how the list was created: We asked you, our valued readers, to vote for your favorite celebrity philanthropist and share comments. Admiral Center staff and a few of our BGB contributors then took those with the most votes and ranked them 1-10 according to their philanthropic and charitable contributions this year. Did your favorite celebrity philanthropist make the cut?


Topping the list this year for the first time is Academy award winner, film director and producer Denzel Washington, who made philanthropic headlines this year for his $2.25 million donation to Fordham University, his alma mater, for an endowed chair of the theatre department. And this is certainly not his first substantial gift. In 2010, he generously donated $1 million to the Steve Harvey Foundation to support their work with mentoring young males, and in 2007, he donated $1 million to Wiley College in Texas, best known from the film ‘The Great Debaters’ to re-establish their debate team.

BlackGivesBack contributor Akira Barclay shares, “Denzel Washington’s giving shows us the wonderful range of impact that a celebrity can have as a philanthropist. From leveraging his fame as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to quietly making gifts to support scholarships and families in need, we see him accept honors at benefit galas and not forget to “benefit” the organization with a personal donation. Washington and his wife Pauletta promote volunteerism and truly give their time, talent and treasure setting a great example for their children and the rest of us to follow.”

STEVE HARVEY, The Steve Harvey Foundation

“The amount of work that goes into his mentoring weekends [for young men] across the U.S. is incredible. He is touching lives beyond the amount of money that he gives.” -- BlackGivesBack Dallas contributor Froswa’ Booker-Drew

Comedian, author, and media powerhouse Steve Harvey knows how to bring the funny, but gets serious when it comes to committing his life to service. Evelyn Burnett of the Admiral Center states Harvey’s commitment began early in his radio and comedy career and today, he is a vocal and committed champion of mentoring to support young boys being raised without their fathers. She shares, “His Mentoring Weekends provide boys with the opportunity to build relationships with strong male role models and helps them make strong positive male connections. Since its founding in 2009, the camps have served over 1,000 young men between the ages of 13 and 18.

In addition to his work through the Steve Harvey Foundation, Steve partnered with Walt Disney World, to create the annual Disney’s Dreamers Academy in 2009, a program mentoring 100 teenage boys and girls per year, inspiring and exposing them to a number of job skills and career opportunities. Steve has given nearly $4 million to charitable causes over the last 5 years and is committed to taking his passion for mentoring to more audiences. For all that he continues to do in the community, Harvey was named Humanitarian of the Year at the 2011 BET Awards.”

JOHN LEGEND, Show Me Campaign

Recording artist and philanthropist, Legend has won six Grammy Awards and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. This year, Legend teamed up with Communities in Schools (CIS) to heighten awareness of the nation’s dropout rate and to raise funds to keep youth in school. He shared about the partnership, “By teaming up with Proctor & Gamble and CIS on the GIVE Education campaign, I can further support a cause of great importance to me – ensuring that all kids receive a quality education, regardless of where they grow up. All students deserve the chance to learn and succeed, but not everyone has the same resources available to do so.” (Photo and source: CIS)

Throughout his career, he has worked to make a difference in the lives of others. In 2007, Legend launched the Show Me Campaign, an initiative to break the cycle of poverty by fighting for equal access to quality education in the United States. John, who has a deep engagement in improving education in urban and rural areas is also a member of Teach for America, the national corps of top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in underserved schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.


2011 McDonald’s 365Black Awards recipient Mary J. Blige (2nd from right) with McDonald’s Men of McCafĂ© Celebrity Ambassadors NFL Star Isaac Keys, TBS’s Meet the Browns Lamann Rucker and TBS’s House of Payne Lance Gross in July 2011.

Mary J. Blige’s music continues to inspire many, especially women, who are the focus of her foundation, FFAWN (Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now). The mission of the organization is to inspire women “to reach their individual potential” by offering scholarships and programs to help foster self-esteem and career development. In 2009, the Mary J. Blige Center for Women opened in Yonkers, NY and in 2010, Mary sponsored an all-girls public school in the Bronx, NY. She shared with the young girls during a visit, “When you're educated, you're confident. You know what you're speaking about. You know who you are.” (Source:

In May, Blige hosted her 2nd annual Honors Concert in New York to benefit FFAWN’s scholarship fund, that honored their 2011 FFAWN scholarship recipients. Also this year, Mary was honored at the Variety Women of Power Impact Luncheon for her work with FFAWN, and in August, her newest fragrance ‘My Life Blossom,’ debuted on HSN with $1 from every purchase benefiting the foundation.

USHER, New Look Foundation

Usher Raymond created his New Look Foundation in 1999, with the goal “to give kids a “new look” on life.” The foundation certifies young people in four leadership pillars: talent, education, career and service – to ensure their success as leaders throughout the world. New Look's process to certify youth in the leadership pillars was developed in partnership with Emory University's Goizueta Business School.

A powerful characteristic about this model is that it focuses attention both on an individual, through Education, Talent and Career, and on things bigger than the individual, through Service. This point of view is wholly consistent with the Goizueta's mission to create principled leaders for global enterprise.

Usher Raymond (right) with former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin at his foundation's Annual World Leadership Conference and Awards in Atlanta, July 2011.

This year, the foundation held its 2nd annual World Leadership Conference & Awards that hosted nearly 350 youth from the U.S. and around the world. The event provided youth leaders with a real world platform to sharpen and display their skills as leaders and work with their peers from around the world to develop global solutions to local problems. Also this year, Usher was a recipient of The Freedom Award, that recognizes individuals who work for justice, equality, philanthropy, civil and human rights and humanitarian causes.

ALICIA KEYS, Keep A Child Alive

Grammy award winner Alicia Keys is known for her HIV/AIDS advocacy as much as her music. As the co-founder and global ambassador for Keep A Child Alive, the organization provides treatment, love and support to individuals affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, India and South Africa. In November, she hosted the organization's annual Black Ball in New York, that raised 3 million dollars. The Black Ball has generated over $17 million since 2004.

This year we also saw the songstress delve into Broadway, as the producer of Stick Fly, a story about an affluent Black family. She shared, “This is a story that everybody can relate to. I’m passionate about this play because it is so beautifully written and portrays Black America in a way that we don’t often get to see in entertainment.”

CHRIS PAUL, CP3 Afterschool Zone

NBA star Chris Paul is an All Star on and off the court. Paul’s CP3 Afterschool Zone presented by Chase currently serves 140 students at KIPP Central City Primary School in New Orleans. The program has increased the number of students served this year by 30% and is an enrichment–based model that gives youth the opportunity to pursue classes and opportunities ranging from Martial Arts, Yoga, Zumba, Music Production, African Drums and Dance, Visual Arts, Videography, International Cooking and more.

Students participate in monthly assemblies, which has hosted guests such as the Mardi Gras Indians and African Drum and Dance performances, providing the students the opportunity to display their skills.  Assessments consistently show that the program provides strong, positive relationships between youth and instructors, and organized and challenging activities for students.

NBA All-Star Chris Paul hosts his first CP3K Walk for Kids presented by The Coca-Cola Company on June 30, 2011 at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana

DWYANE WADE, Wade's World Foundation

"The reason I selected Dwyane Wade is because he is an inspiration to my team, he shows that even in their [youth's]environment, if they work hard and stay out of trouble, they too can chase their dreams and become successful." Brandon, H.S. Basketball Coach, South Carolina

He’s won an NBA title, was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People…..but to Dwyane Wade, his ultimate dream is to “leave the world a better place than I found it.” Through his Wade’s World Foundation and countless appearances, signings and donations, he is fulfilling his goal….one step at a time. The Wade’s World Foundation provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Dwyane was inspired to start the foundation because he wanted to give back to underserved communities and support issues of purpose. “I can’t just let basketball define who I am and what I am supposed to become,” said Wade. “Like my mother always tells me, ‘[My life] is bigger than basketball.’”

Wade visits Chicago public schools as part of the Wade's World Weekend on August 26, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.

This year, Wade hosted Wade’s W3 Weekend in Chicago, that featured a father and son basketball camp, a benefit dinner, visits to local schools, a youth summit and a talent show to raise funds for the foundation and Chicago based organizations. Since 2003, Dwyane and his family have been dedicated to giving back to their core communities in the Chicago and South Florida areas through a variety of community outreach programs.

BIG BOI, Big Kidz Foundation

"Antwan Patton is a phenomenal artist who has always given back to his city of Atlanta!" -- Shenell, Atlanta

Making the list for the third year in a row, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton of the famed hip hop group Outkast continues to enrich Atlanta youth through his Big Kidz Foundation. Created in 2005, Patton had a desire to provide youth with much needed development in the arts and humanities. Through the foundation’s programs: Big Voices, Big Moves, and Big Talent, children ages 11-18 are allowed to express themselves by using art as an outlet. Throughout the year, the foundation hosts several signature events, including an annual Halloween fundraiser, which attracts Atlanta’s celebrities and notables for a good cause.

On December 14, the Big Kidz Foundation ended a stellar year by celebrating the holidays with youth participants, supporters and the founder by giving a $1,000 scholarship to Charles Bennett, a college freshman (pictured below). “We are especially proud of Charles Bennett and the work he has done with the foundation. It is our pleasure to help support this bright young man with his future goals,” said Dr. Joi Edwards, Chairperson of the Big Kidz Foundation.

Special holiday performances by Douglas High School, Tri-Cities High School (Big Boi’s alma mater) and the Coretta Scott King Girls School entertained over 200 guests that included CNN contributor and foundation supporter, Clyde Anderson and Atlanta City Councilwoman, Carla Smith of District 1. “Having the opportunity to touch the lives of our youth through the arts is our mission” says Jennifer Lester, Executive Director of Big Kidz Foundation. “When we say we are saving lives through the arts, we mean it; our youth need the arts to live successful and passionate lives.”

JAY-Z, Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation

Making his inaugural appearance on our top ten list, hip hop legend Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter established the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation in 2003 along with his mother Gloria Carter. Now approaching its 9th year, the foundation has awarded $1.1 million to date to 750 scholarship recipients. The foundation is unique in that it offers scholarships to single mothers, children who attend alternative schools, students who have earned a GED, students with grade point averages of 2.0 and students who have previously been incarcerated, etc. but desire a higher educational opportunity.

This year, Jay-Z held a carnival themed fundraiser in New York to benefit the foundation, and announced plans to host two benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall in February 2012 to support his foundation and the United Way of NYC. He shared, “It's every artist's dream to play a venue as legendary as Carnegie Hall. The fact that I can use the arts and my talent to benefit the education of the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs, and great thinkers makes for a legendary night.” 

Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter at the Barclays Center press conference at Atlantic Terminal on September 26, 2011 in Brooklyn, New York.

Jay-Z’s past philanthropy includes raising awareness of and combating the global water shortage, and pledging $1 million to the American Red Cross’ relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina along with Sean "Diddy" Combs.


LeBron James, LeBron James Family Foundation

James recently changed the name of his annual King for Kids bike-a-thon, which he started in 2005, to Wheels for Education, an expansive partnership with Akron Public Schools to provide hundreds of kids about to enter third grade with the tools and resources they need to achieve academic success. The name change is an outgrowth of James's involvement with the 26 Seconds Campaign, a public awareness initiative sponsored by State Farm that addresses the concern that every 26 seconds a young person drops out of school. "The bike-a-thon is something very personal and inspired by my own life experiences," says James.

MAGIC JOHNSON, The Magic Johnson Foundation

The Magic Johnson Foundation, founded by Earvin “Magic” Johnson in 1991, works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities. Since its inception the foundation has had a significant, impact towards positively changing the face of urban, minority communities. Their programs and services are dedicated to harvesting an affirmative effect on community revitalization by eliminating negative cultural barriers; advancing economic and social equality by engaging minorities in every aspect of their communities; increasing academic and innovative achievement; raising HIV/AIDS awareness, treatment and prevention; the creation of positive emerging leaders; and promoting collaboration and alliance among all sectors of the community.

Didn't see your favorite celebrity on this year's list and you know he or she was involved in considerable charitable efforts in 2011? Then keep us updated on their giving throughout the year via Twitter (@BlkGivesBack, @BlkGivesBackNY, @BlkGivesBackCLT), Facebook, Linkedin or comments, and remember to vote next year!

About the Admiral Center:  The Center, which harnesses the power of celebrity to better lives of low-income people, was founded by David Robinson, former NBA star and philanthropist. David and his wife Valerie opened the doors to The Carver Academy, an elementary school in San Antonio focused on inspiring students to become men and women who exemplify the principles of leadership, discipline, initiative and integrity – which was made possible through their personal donations of more than $11 million to the school and the community. David is the namesake of the NBA’s Community Assist Award which has the inscription “Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson who improved the community piece by piece.”

We wish you a happy, healthy, safe, prosperous and charitable New Year!

BGB contributors Akira Barclay, Froswa’ Booker-Drew, Stacey Trammel; and Evelyn Burnett of the Admiral Center contributed to this post.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

African American Executive Gifts $5 Million to Museum for African Art

As reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Museum for African Art in New York has received a generous gift of $5 million dollars by Mannie Jackson, business executive and Chairman of the Harlem Globetrotters.  The gift will fund a gallery dedicated to Nelson Mandela in the museum's new building, scheduled to open in late 2012.

Jackson rose from great poverty to become one of the nation's most powerful and influential black corporate executives.  A former Harlem Globetrotters player, he left the basketball organization to work at Honeywell, where he rose the ranks to become the company's highest executive.  In 1993, Jackson purchased the Globetrotters as they were nearing bankruptcy.  He revived the team and tripled its revenue in just three years.

Mrs. McCabe Thompson, President of the Museum for African Art stated, “The Museum for African Art is pleased and honored by Mr. Jackson’s gift; not only because of its size, but because it is given by an individual who shares our values and commitment to championing the best of Africa’s rich art and cultural legacy with the people of the City of New York City and with people around the world. We are particularly pleased that Mr. Jackson has given this extraordinary gift in honor of one of the most remarkable men whom world will ever know - - a man who made forgiveness an integral component of his national policy - - Mr. Nelson Mandela. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Jackson for his generous and important gift. It is an unprecedented investment in the Museum’s future.”

Mr. Jackson stated, “I am extremely pleased to support the growth of the Museum for African Art and humbled to play such an active role in exposing the world to the beauty and historical relevance of African art and culture. I believe in the power of art to have a positive impact on the lives of all people, regardless of their background. The Museum for African Art will serve as a wonderful, new beacon of diversity and discovery atop Museum Mile.”

The WSJ article, "Globetrotter's Goal:  Extend New York's Museum Mile," states that as Jackson traveled with the Globetrotters around the world, he witnessed poverty that made him determined to give back, particularly to educational causes.   To date, Jackson's family giving has totaled $25 million dollars.

Read more about Mannie Jackson's historic gift to the museum HERE. (Note:  Subscription may be required to view).

Related post:  Detroit Institute of Arts Names African American Gallery in Honor of Black Philanthropists

Sources:  Wall Street Journal; Museum for African Art press release

Evidence, A Dance Company to Host 8th Annual Gala

Actress Phylicia Rashad to Serve as Honorary Chair; Verizon Foundation to receive 2012 Corporate Award

NEW YORK, NY – Evidence, A Dance Company will host its 8th Annual Gala on Monday, February 13, 2012 at New York's Manhattan Center to support the dance company's mission to promote understanding of the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling and to provide sensory connections to history and tradition through music, movement and spoken word.

The Verizon Foundation will receive the 2012 Corporate Award for their long standing support of the arts and Evidence, A Dance Company. Distinguished guests from the entertainment industry and the arts and business community will attend the star-studded benefit gala.  The black-tie affair will begin with an elegant cocktail reception, followed by dinner, a special performance by Evidence, dessert and Evidence’s signature “Dancing with the Dancers.”

Actress Phylicia Rashad will serve as the Honorary Chair, with co-chairs Monica F. Azare and Larry Satterfield. The Honorary Committee includes actress Lynn Whitfield; former ESSENCE editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor and writer Khephra Burns; actress Tamara Tunie and jazz vocalist Gregory Generet; leading U.S. financiers Reginald Van Lee and Pamela J. Joyner; and WCBS-TV news anchor Maurice DuBois and Andrea DuBois.

The Gala will present Evidence's first ever performance of Gatekeepers, a powerful modern dance work that explores the theme of service and intergenerational care giving. Choreographed by Founder and Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown, this work blends Native American myth and African traditions to artistically convey bridging the gap between young people and elders in the community, and the fundamental for both groups to serve each other as caregivers.

“Evidence is thrilled to present Gatekeepers at our annual benefit gala,” said Brown. “This majestic new work will capture the audience with its passionate message on the continuity of caregiving among youth and the elderly to strengthen communities and teach respect and collective responsibility.” An internationally-acclaimed choreographer who has also choreographed works for Alvin Ailey, Brown choreographed Gershwin’s masterpiece Porgy and Bess, which opens on Broadway in January 2012.

All proceeds will benefit Evidence's outreach programs, including the Gatekeeper Project, which through unique performances and outreach activities in communities across the U.S., aims to teach young people responsibility and respect for their elders, and help them better understand the meaning of community service. The dance company will perform to electrifying music by longtime collaborator and costume designer Wunmi.

For tickets to the gala performance and dinner, please visit HERE, call The JFM Group at 914-235-1490 x16 or email for more information. Individual tickets begin at $1000, table packages begin at $10,000.

For more information on Evidence, A Dance Company, please visit

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrity Philanthropy: HollyRod Foundation Kicks Off “Give the Gift of Voice” Campaign

Rodney Peete Jr., Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete at HollyRod Foundation's “Give the Gift of Voice” campaign kick off in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA - On December 19th, AEG’s Season of Giving hosted a special on-ice presentation and skating party for Holly Robinson Peete’s HollyRod Foundation at L.A. Live. The night kicked off HollyRod’s “Give the Gift of Voice,” holiday campaign that provides iPads with specially designed communication “apps” to help give a voice to individuals with autism. As part of the “Give the Gift of Voice” campaign, Holly surprised a few families with the first iPads of the season. To date, the foundation has given away more iPads for communication for autism than any other organization.

Following the presentation, Holly and her family along with the families from the HollyRod Foundation, enjoyed an evening of ice-skating and holiday festivities at the LA Kings Holiday Ice.

About HollyRod Foundation: Inspired by a father and a son, the HollyRod Foundation was founded in 1997 by actress, author and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete and her husband former NFL great Rodney Peete. The HollyRod Foundation is dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease. Efforts of the HollyRod Foundation are providing a better quality of life for individuals and their families. For more information, please visit

About AEG’s Season of Giving: AEG’s Season of Giving is an annual holiday charitable initiative designed to raise funds and generate awareness for non-profit organizations working on issues of hunger, homelessness and healthcare in the Los Angeles area. During the month of December, a different non-profit organization will be highlighted each night during a brief program at the Los Angeles Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE.

Photo credit: Evan Gole /AEG

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Photos of the Day

CENTURY CITY, CA - Fitness trainer Jeanette Jenkins, health fitness champion Laila Ali, actress Kim Whitley and television host Kevin Frazier wrap gifts at Jayneoni Moore's Holiday Children's Wrapping Party, where celebrities wrapped gifts for young children living in the Los Angeles foster care system. Toys were also donated to the Jenesse Center, Los Angeles' oldest shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence. The toys were collected via The Jayneoni Moore Toy Drive.

Jayneoni Moore (center) with Jenkins and Ali. Also present was Chad L. Coleman from FOX's "I Hate My Teenage Daughter."   Photo credit: Tara Rochelle Photography

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Community College of Philadelphia President Stephen M. Curtis, center, with celebrity photographer Whitney Thomas, right, and acclaimed TV chef G. Garvin, who recently hosted fund-raising events for the College. Thomas hosted 'Exposed,' a party in the new Pavilion Building on the College’s Main Campus on December 3rd, and Garvin prepared a $100-plate-dinner for fifty guests on December 2nd to support a scholarship for the College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students.

In October, the College was awarded $2.9 million in grants to enhance and expand innovative programs that are currently improving the educational outcomes of African-American males, a group with high college and high school dropout rates. The Center for Male Engagement and Project Achieve programs are enhancing efforts to increase the graduation rate of African-American males. Of the 144 students who participated in the Center during its first year, 90 percent were still attending classes in 2010 — more than double the normal 41 percent fall semester-to-fall semester persistence rate for new African-American male students at the College. African-Americans comprise 53.2 percent of the College’s overall student population, and the College is the largest single point of entry into higher education for minorities in Pennsylvania.  Photo credit: Community College of Philadelphia

City of Newark, NJ Mayor Cory A. Booker helps to distribute coats and gifts for the organization Newark Now during the holiday season.

NEWARK, NJ - On December 17, 2011 at the JFK Recreational Center, Newark Now partnered with Burlington Coat Factory and the Bass Foundation to provide over 2,000 new coats, toys and warm clothes to families in need for the holiday season. Since 2003, Newark Now’s Brighter Holiday has supported and empowered over 10,000 families through this initiative.

“Newark Now is proud to have partnered with Burlington Coat Factory, Standard Charter Bank and the Bass Foundation for our 2011 Brighter Holiday Campaign this holiday season,” says LaVar Young, CEO and President of Newark Now. “During these extremely difficult times we are happy that we were able to provide families with the essentials for the holidays. The holiday season is a time for family, reflection and setting goals for the New Year, and at Newark Now we work daily to close the gap and truly provide a Brighter Holiday for the families we serve.”

Newark Now COO, Michael Anne Kyle, Newark Now VP, Darrel Finley, NFL Player Rashawn Jackson, Newark Now CEO & President, LaVar Young

National Society of Black Engineers DC Metro Alumni Chapter Hosts Holiday Party Fundraiser

WASHINGTON, DC - On December 10, 2011, the Washington D.C. Metro Area Alumni Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE-AEDC) held a Holiday Networking Fundraiser at Tabaq Bistro. The “Majestic Night” Holiday Party celebrated the contributions of NSBE-AEDC members and volunteers; as well as provided a festive environment for networking between technical professionals. Proceeds from the gathering supported the Washington Mathematics Science and Technology (WMST) Public Charter High School in D.C.

Founded in 1998, WMST is a leading public charter high school in the city, and is ranked as one of the top schools in the U.S. by Newsweek with a 99 percent graduation rate. 

NSBE-AEDC has adopted several schools in the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia. Members of the chapter and its affiliates are committed to positively impacting the community by providing funding support for education and by promoting public awareness of science and engineering. Visit to find out more about the chapter’s initiatives.

In photo: NSBE-AEDC Leadership: Tolani Onigbanjo, Vice President; Rosalina Bray, Finance Chair; Arthur Edge, President

Monday, December 19, 2011

Association for the Study of African American Life and History to Host 2012 Annual Luncheon in Washington, DC

Dr. Johnnetta Cole to serve as keynote speaker with the 2012 Black History Month theme, 'Black Women in American Culture and History'

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has announced its 2012 Annual Luncheon and Featured Author's Event will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2012 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel in Washington, DC. ASALH was founded in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson, also known as the father of Black History. Its mission is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community. Some of its activities include setting the annual theme for Black History Month, sponsoring an annual convention to celebrate and study African Diaspora life and history, and publishing the Journal of African American History (formerly the Journal of Negro History), and the Black History Bulletin (formerly the Negro History Bulletin).

In 1926, Woodson established the annual Black History Luncheon, by bringing together black educators, policy-makers and well-known scholars of his day to engage an audience around an annual Black History month theme that has continued to this day. The 2012 event will mark the 86th annual luncheon.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, who will present the 2012 Black History Month theme of 'Black Women in American Culture and History.' The annual luncheon attracts 1,000 guests from members of the military, noted scholars and community leaders, high school and college students, policymakers and friends from the White House.

I am honored to serve as an Honorary Co-Chair for the luncheon, alongside an esteemed group of women from academia, media, arts and community. I invite you to attend this event to learn more about ASALH and their $8.7 million comprehensive campaign that will help to develop the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site (Woodson NHS), establish an operating endowment, and retire the mortgage on its Q Street headquarters in Washington, DC.  To assist ASALH with their efforts, the organization has teamed with Walmart to launch a loaned executive program. The program is designed for corporate partners to lend executives to assist the non-profit organization in key organizational and capital campaigns. The Association’s first executive is Walmart senior marketing executive Gwen Kelly. Kelly, an award-winning and recognized multicultural marketing advocate will provide expertise to the organization now through February 2012.

Ticket prices begin at $75 for individuals. Luncheon table and corporate tickets are also available beginning at $200. For more ticket levels, to purchase, or to sponsor a ticket for a youth, visit HERE.

For D.C. area readers:  Join ASALH tonight as they host Dr. Woodson's Birthday Celebration at Shiloh Baptist Church, 6pm.  More info HERE. The featured speaker is Mr. Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, who will share an update on the progress of the restoration of the Woodson Home site and other exciting projects that involve our youth.

Fall 2011 Issue of Philanthropy NYU Highlights Philanthropy and Culture

Philanthropy and Culture is the theme of the latest issue of Philanthropy NYU, the online publication by the George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University.  Featured articles include a book review of Giving Back:  A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists by Kam Williams, a syndicated book and film critic, and the article 'Black Philanthropy and the Culture of Collective Giving' that highlights giving circles and the work of the Community Investment Network.  Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Community Heroes, Rodney Peete Kick Off Allstate’s National “Give Back Day” in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Former NFL Quarterback talks with BlackGivesBack about Allstate’s Give Back Day movement & how you can get involved

For the fourth consecutive year, Allstate Insurance Company is paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by encouraging individuals to volunteer in their communities on MLK Day 2012 (Jan. 16) through its Give Back Day program ( Rodney Peete, former NFL quarterback and co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation, is helping launch the program along with four outstanding community heroes who are recognized as leading volunteers in their communities. Peete and the four Heroes will be guiding Give Back Day activities in their home cities with Allstate.

Rodney shared with BlackGivesBack,“Recognizing local heroes who give back to their communities is the essence of the Give Back Day program. These individuals volunteer to causes they are passionate about and that is something that resonates with me and Allstate. We hope their stories inspire others to put their good hands to work in their own communities every day and on Jan. 16, in honor of Dr. King. Allstate’s Give Back Day program highlights everyday individuals who selflessly give back to their communities and that is something that I try to instill in my family and practice.”

Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate stated about the Heroes, “Their volunteer efforts reflect the values and causes important to Allstate and communities across America.”

On behalf of the Give Back Day Heroes, Allstate is making a donation of $2,500 to a charity of each Hero’s choice. The Heroes along with Peete, will attend The King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Awards in Atlanta on Jan.14, 2012, for a celebration of individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership.

Individuals interested in participating in Allstate Give Back Day 2012 can visit to find local volunteer opportunities via VolunteerMatch, an online search engine promoting volunteerism and civic engagement by matching volunteers with charitable organizations and non-profits. Visitors to the website can view profiles of the four Allstate Give Back Day Heroes and learn about their community involvement through a series of video interviews. In 2011, more than 1,500 Allstate employees, agency owners and community members volunteered in dozens of cities across the country on Give Back Day.

Allstate’s 2012 Give Back Day Heroes are:

Joyce Calvin, Chicago - A survivor of domestic violence, Joyce Calvin founded Women of Valor Ministry (WOVM), a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, empowering and equipping women and girls to develop their full potential. Since its inception, WOVM has reached more than 10,000 women through skills development, domestic violence workshops, health and wellness conferences, one-on-one interaction and retreats. Calvin also serves as a project coordinator for the All Faiths Against Domestic Violence Project at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Networks. In 2011, she published her first book, Sister to Sister Support for the Abused Woman: Beauty for Ashes. Calvin currently serves as president of the Women in Ministry and Business Alliance (WIMBA) and executive director of WOVM.

Robert Cradle, Baltimore - In 2001, Robert Cradle was running a successful barbershop when he realized that he wanted his career to make more of an impact. He decided to put his skills to use and started Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation (R.B.C.F), which provides grooming services for the homeless and children in need throughout Baltimore. Over the past ten years, the projects sponsored by R.B.C.F. have provided over 16,000 services to 6,000 homeless and/or individuals in need. The foundation currently has shops operating at transitional shelters and drug treatment programs. Baltimore’s community members who otherwise could not afford these types of services are now able to attend job interviews or school with a neat and clean appearance, not to mention a heightened sense of self-confidence. In 2010, Cradle was granted the "Hometown Hero Award" from the American Red Cross Chesapeake Region for his extensive work in the Baltimore community.

John Darjean, Dallas - John Darjean has served as a mentor and coach for the past ten years, teaching inner-city youth the fundamentals of baseball in an effort to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. Darjean grew up in a rough neighborhood and struggled in school but baseball was the one thing that helped keep him out of trouble. After four years playing minor league baseball for the New York Yankees, Darjean started Majors 2 Minors, a baseball league for inner-city kids. He also co-founded the Dallas Baseball Alliance, a program leveraging the fundamentals of baseball to teach kids discipline and life skills. A lifelong volunteer with the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, having endured sickle cell traits since birth, Darjean also volunteers with the Dallas Police Athletic League and the American Cancer Society.

Alexandria Phillips, Atlanta - Never-ending compassion for humankind was instilled in Alexandria Phillips at a very early age. Phillips was five years old when she moved with her mother from their hometown near Kansas City, Mo., to the Dominican Republic for a year-long stay in a poverty stricken village. In 2011, she served as Haiti Team intern at the Clinton Foundation and worked for the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. She was also recently named an Opportunity Nation Scholar. Phillips, 21, is currently a senior at Spelman College in Atlanta where she is majoring in International Studies and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, the Student United Way, Actively Changing Tomorrow through Service (ACTS) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. After graduation, Phillips hopes to work for a non-profit.

Peete also shared what's next for the HollyRod Foundation. “The foundation is currently raising funds for our Holiday Give The Gift of Voice Campaign. This program donates iPads loaded with revolutionary apps that help non verbal children with Autism communicate. The HollyRod Foundation is also planning our 2012 DesignCare and the My Brother Charlie Family Fun Festival events. This is our annual fundraiser that helps raise funds for individuals living with Autism and Parkinson's Disease.”

Visit the website at and view a video narrated by Rodney Peete announcing the heroes HERE.

Birmingham Change Fund to Host 2011 CHANGE Luncheon featuring Dr. Steve Perry

Join members of the Birmingham Change Fund, a giving circle based in Birmingham, Alabama, as they host the 2011 CHANGE Luncheon featuring Dr. Steve Perry, author, CNN Education Contributor and Principal, Capital Preparatory Magnet School on Friday, December 16, 2011.

For more than five years, the Birmingham Change Fund has been a portal for strategic giving and collective philanthropy in the Birmingham community. They are a giving circle of professionals who come together for the purpose of doing something unique in their community - ensuring that people of color are on the "supply side" of philanthropy.

The luncheon will also announce the fund's 2011 education grants.

Friday, December 16, 2011
Harbert Center
2019 4th Ave N # 100
Birmingham, AL 35203

VIP Reception: 11 a.m. Ticket price of $50 includes a meet and greet with Dr. Perry and a signed copy of his book, Push Has Come to Shove
Luncheon:  12 noon, $25

Special ticket price for teachers and corporate tables are available.

For more information, visit and to purchase tickets visit HERE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Award Program to Celebrate Successful Schools Educating Boys of Color

First Annual Grant Program to Award $10,000 to selected schools 

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) is pleased to announce their first annual COSEBOC School Awards program, designed to recognize and celebrate schools that consistently generate male students of color with academic outcomes and personal characteristics that rival statewide averages.

The purpose of the award is to:
  • Identify, recognize and reward schools that have a proven track record of effective education of its male students of color;
  • Promote the replication of promising practices that contribute to the success of these schools; and
  • Demonstrate to the public that schools can successfully educate male students of color.
Selected schools will receive a $10,000 grant and their promising practices will be featured at their next Gathering of Leaders, April 26-28, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. COSEBOC will also promote these schools nationwide.

Applications are due January 12, 2012 at 5 pm EST. For more information about COSEBOC, the award program and application materials, visit

The award program is sponsored by the Open Society Foundations: Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

Celebrity Philanthropy: Willow Smith Teams Up with Target for NYC Youth

Via Press Release: Last week, Target teamed up with the Willow Smith and her “Kids Helping Kids” campaign to award eight deserving New York kids and their families with a holiday shopping spree in the Target Harlem store. The lucky kids were selected based on a nomination from The Boys and Girls Club of NYC for displaying leadership and academic excellence.

Fifty excited honor roll students from The Harlem Children’s Zone also joined in on the early morning festivities to cheer on the families as they sped through the store. See video footage HERE.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Question Bridge: Black Males Launch Online Educator Portal

Artists heed the call to close achievement gaps in education

A transmedia project aiming to change the way Black men think about themselves is brewing. It's called 'Question Bridge: Black Males' and its story is being told on art exhibit venues, on a robust website, and in classrooms. Question Bridge: Black Males aims to facilitate a healing dialogue among black males in America and offers them a platform to represent and redefine their identity. Recently accepted to the first ever Sundance New Frontier Story Lab, the team is composed of accomplished artists, thought leaders, and producers including:

Chris Johnson, creator/co-director, who originated the Question Bridge concept with a 1996 video installation he created for the Museum of Photographic Arts and the Malcolm X library in San Diego, CA.

Hank Willis Thomas, artist and co-director, whose work has been featured in the Rubell Family Collection, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Oakland Museum of California; the Smithsonian; National Museum of American History; and the High Museum of Art, among others.

Bayete Ross-Smith, producer, a noted photojournalist whose work has been featured at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the Goethe Institute (Ghana), the Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Poland), the Leica Gallery, Rush Arts Gallery (NYC), the SF Arts Commission’s “Art at City Hall” and the Oakland Museum of California.

Kamal Sinclair, producer; six-year cast member of STOMP, founder of Universal Arts and director of The Beat and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. She is a consultant for Strategic Arts (clientele: High Museum of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, Young Audiences and SCAD), and graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and GSU's Robinson College of Business (MBA).

Innovent (Antonio Kaplan & Elise Baugh), the project's transmedia partner, will drive the website, mobile application, museum patron interaction strategy, and community "HotSpots." Innovent was founded to affect socio-cultural change by using technological innovation that extends traditional storytelling delivery.

View of the website's education tab.

The project's recently launched educator portal offers a ten module curriculum for educators, teaching artists, and mentors working with high school-aged youth. Once registered, the online learning community of educators can view or download the curriculum modules, enroll in live or online training sessions, and take part in the educator’s wiki. The curriculum uses the art exhibition as a catalyst for a significant learning process in complex identity frameworks, conflict resolution communication, and developing environments of inclusion. It addresses issues related to the crisis of African American male achievement and the global achievement gap.

The Question Bridge curriculum is in use in six schools and programs this semester through the ‘Manhood Development Program’ of Oakland Unified School District’s ‘African American Male Achievement Initiative,’ Urban Arts Partnership (NYC), ACORN Community High School (Brooklyn), the Brooklyn Community Art & Media High School (Brooklyn), and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta’s learning initiatives (Atlanta).

Artist rendering of the art installation.

Upcoming educational alliances for Question Bridge:  Black Males

The Brooklyn Museum and the Oakland Museum of California will co-present Question Bridge: Black Males art installation to point to the national significance of this project that cuts across age, geography, and socio-economic conditions. The installation will be on display at the Brooklyn Museum from January 13 to June 3, 2012 and the Oakland Museum of California from January 21 through April 21, 2012.  Both museums will host accompanying discussions for educators to present Question Bridge's curriculum, and for youth and community leaders.

Dr. Jabari Mahiri and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education will be assigning graduate-level education students to facilitate the Oakland pilot program. Berkley Graduate School will use Question Bridge’s content in courses aimed at developing cultural literacy for pre-service teachers. Question Bridge is being incorporated into other university courses around the nation, including Portland State University (Dr. Joy DeGruy), Eastern Michigan (Dr. Chris Robbins), and the California College of Art (Professor Chris Johnson).

Camille Russell Love, Director of the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs, envisioned a comprehensive program for animating the youth of Atlanta Public Schools for leadership and achievement with the Question Bridge project, which launches this spring. It includes a media installation at the Chastain Art Gallery, field trips of 2500-3000 youth through their Cultural Experience Program, and a Blueprint Roundtable Discussion between 4,000 youth and their community leaders at the Atlanta Civic Center.

Through an alliance with AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a 31-year strong college readiness non-profit charged with college preparation for grades K-12 with programs in 4500 schools in 48 states, the Question Bridge curriculum will be promoted across the nation.

Upcoming releases include additional question and answer story arcs, mobile technology, a library of user-created videos, and data visualizations of an identity map of Black men in America. Visit the website at and on Facebook HERE.

Question Bridge: Black Males is a fiscally sponsored project of the Bay Area Video Coalition and supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Institute: Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The Tribeca Film Institute, the LEF Foundation, The Center for Cultural Innovation, and The California College of the Arts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photos of the Day

Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids program participants: Sarell Ahart, Patrick Weller, Gabrielle L. Kurlander, President and CEO, All Stars Project (ASP); Chief Philip Banks, Community Affairs, New York Police Department (NYPD); Lenora Fulani, Ph.D., Co-founder, ASP, and Director, Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids; Cheyenne Davis, and Melquan Gass.

NEW YORK, NY - The All Stars Project, Inc. hosted its 10th Annual Benefit Luncheon to support its afterschool leadership training program, the Joseph A. Forgione Development School for Youth, on Friday, December 2, at the New York Hilton. At the event, the Project saluted its partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids, which uses performance and improvisation to foster positive relationships between police officers and inner-city youth.

After the success of 50 pilot workshop sessions involving over 500 police officers and 750 young people, Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids is now a program that has been used throughout NYC. The program was created by All Stars co-founders Lenora Fulani, Ph.D. and the late Fred Newman Ph.D. in response to the death of Sean Bell in 2006. 

Chief Philip Banks of the NYPD's Community Affairs Department was a special guest speaker at the All Stars benefit luncheon and stated, "The training that Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids is providing to police officers is invaluable... it's simple, it works, and it's effective."

The luncheon honored FTI Consulting and Edward Reilly, Global CEO – Strategic Communications and raised $450,000. It was attended by 250 executives from Fortune 500 corporations and financial firms across the New York region.  Bill Weir, ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor hosted the event.

The New York Urban League's (NYUL) Annual Meeting hosts panel discussion, "Law & Disorder: Developing Partnerships for Peace," that was moderated by WNBC's DeMarco Morgan (far left). Panelists included (left to right), Blake Tirado and L'Eunice Faust of the Harlem Youth Council; Arva Rice, NYUL; Iesha Sekou, Street Corner Resources; and Philip Banks, III, NYPD.

New York Urban League brings together NYPD, Harlem Residents, Youth and Local Nonprofits for Annual Meeting; Community Safety Tops the Agenda

On December 1st, Harlem residents, public safety officials and local nonprofits came together for the New York Urban League (NYUL) Annual Meeting, Law and Disorder: Developing Partnerships for Peace. Earlier this year, NYUL called upon leadership from the city and the Harlem community for Harlem Dialogues, a half-day think tank focused on how to restore safety to the neighborhoods plagued with violence. The conversation continued at this year's annual meeting held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with a panel discussion led by WNBC News Anchor, DeMarco Morgan, which included NYPD Chief of Community Affairs, Philip Banks, III; Iesha Sekou, Founder and Executive Director of Street Corner Resources; Harlem Youth Council participants L'Eunice Faust and Blake Tirado; and Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League. 

In preparation for the annual meeting, hundreds of Harlem residents participated in an online survey focused on community safety. Findings from the survey showed that the community believes the three leading root causes of crime and violence in communities are the prevalence of guns, gang activity, and a lack of positive activities for youth. Respondents also recommended more police presence, more positive activities for teens, and jobs for adults as needed actions to reduce crime.

The evening also served as an introduction of the NYUL Harlem Youth Council, created as a result of feedback from the Harlem Dialogues. The council is comprised of young adults from more than 10 youth agencies who will work closely with NYUL to provide a younger perspective on the issues they face and the viability of solutions to community violence.  L'Eunice Faust, age 16 shared, "Most teens are not aware of the positive programs that exist and many turn to gangs to be a part of something."

Afam Onyema, CEO, GEANCO Foundation; Dr. Godwin Onyema and the Reverend Jesse Jackson attend the GEANCO Foundation's Health and Hope for Africa Concert Gala in Chicago.

CHICAGO, IL - The GEANCO Foundation, an organization whose mission is to save and improve the lives of Africa's most vulnerable and impoverished citizens, held its first corporate sponsored Chicago fundraiser, the Health and Hope for Africa Concert Gala on Saturday, December 3, 2011. The hugely successful event was held at the iconic Museum of Science and Industry and drew the support of several illustrious celebrities and prominent leaders from Chicago's political community.

Amobi Okoye of the Chicago Bears co-chaired and hosted the evening, and American Idol's Syesha Mercado, fresh off of starring roles in the movie Dreams and the national Broadway tour of Dreamgirls, provided a powerful yet intimate performance. Among the guests in attendance were Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle along with top executives from AON/Hewitt, Ariel Investments, Ernst & Young, Discover Financial Services and General Growth Properties. The gala raised $60,000, which will be used to fund future medical missions to Nigeria and the building of Augustine Memorial Hospital in Anambra State.

Tara Dowdell (far right), Tara Dowdell Group; Newark City Councilman Ron C. Rice, honorary event chair, (center) and guests attend the 3rd Annual "Children Are A Gift" benefit in Orange, New Jersey.

On Wednesday November 30th, Tara Dowdell, President of the Tara Dowdell Group and progressive television commentator, hosted the Project Re-Direct’s Third Annual “Children Are A Gift” Networking Benefit.  David Webb, Sirus XM radio host and television commentator, lent his talents as emcee for the event, that was held at The Appian Way restaurant in Orange, NJ.  Funds raised benefited Project Re-Direct’s educational programs that serve to uplift and educate at risk youth.

Among the event honorees were Newark City Council President, Donald Payne, Jr.; Newark Public Schools Advisory Board Member, Shavar Jeffries; Chief of Staff for Mayor Cory Booker, Modia Butler; UNCF (NJ) President, Anthony Caldwell; Accounting Alternatives Executive, Mike DiBianco; Jessica Ballew of Investors Savings Bank and Newark Now Executive Director, Lavar Young. Honorary event chairs were Irvington, New Jersey Mayor Wayne Smith and Newark City Councilman Ron C. Rice.

Association for Black Foundation Executives Announces Multi-Year Campaign to Support and Connect Black Foundation Trustees

Leverage the Trust to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities

NEW YORK, NY - On the 40th anniversary of the signing of its articles of incorporation, the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) announces the launch of Leverage the Trust; a campaign to support Black foundation trustees in their efforts to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. By 2015, the multi-year Campaign aims to engage 100 current and future Black foundation trustees in regions across the country in a robust set of activities and opportunities designed to maximize the strengths and assets of Black trustees.

To carry out this work nationally, ABFE will partner with the Black Philanthropic Network; a group of 11 regional Black philanthropic associations. In the Campaign’s first year, the goals are to identify Black foundation trustees by region across the country to engage in this work; convene a core group of 40 Black trustees in customized discussions at ABFE’s 41st Annual Meeting in Los Angeles April 26-29, 2012; and survey Black trustees themselves to inform the design of regional and national strategies to support their work.

“We believe Black trustees hold a special place of power and prominence,” says Campaign co-chair Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, member and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota Council of Foundations. “As trustees, they join with their peers in influencing billions of dollars in philanthropic capital. Black trustees that sit at these tables of influence have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of Black communities and leverage investments to increase philanthropy’s responsiveness to the needs of Black communities.” The Campaign is co-chaired by Anita Brown Graham, a trustee of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem North Carolina.

“We are excited about this work moving forward,” says Susan Taylor Batten, ABFE’s President and CEO. “This is a fitting end to the 40th celebration year for ABFE – reaching to the highest levels of foundation leadership to make change for Black communities. We believe that as Black communities are strengthened, other communities, and the nation, gain a set of tangible social, economic, and political benefits. We look forward to working with all of our partners to realize this vision.”

For more information about ABFE, visit

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Black Philanthropic Alliance Hosts Annual Meeting in Washington, DC

Guests celebrated rich legacy of black giving and honored founder of BlackGivesBack

WASHINGTON, DC - On December 5, 2011, the Black Philanthropic Alliance (BPA) hosted its annual meeting at PNC Bank Place featuring keynote speaker Valaida Fullwood, author of Giving Back:  A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists, and honoring yours truly with their first ever Legacy Award, for my work in black philanthropy by creating The Black Benefactors and  It was truly an honor to be the recipient of this inaugural recognition from a network of philanthropy and nonprofit professionals who work to strengthen and connect the Black community in the Washington, DC region.

As many of you know, Valaida is our Charlotte, NC contributor and she is a founding member of the Charlotte based giving circle, New Generation of African American Philanthropists.  Valaida shared with the audience how the idea for her book came about, stories of interview subjects, insights she learned along the way about giving in the black community, and recited an original poem featured in the book titled, Truth Be Told.   Following the keynote and award presentation, ten lucky guests won a copy of the book, that was recently submitted for a NAACP Image Award nomination under the non-fiction category.

BPA's work has grown since its inception in 2002, by launching a giving circle, The Black Benefactors in 2007, and by redefining its membership to include both Black professionals working in and supporting the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.  With this bold step comes a renewed commitment to the original intent of its founders - empowering and connecting the black community. 

BPA leaders and members are committed to providing quality professional and leadership development opportunities for Black professionals working in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors; raising issues that directly impact the Black community and creating opportunities for increased discourse and action; increasing Black representation on the boards and staffs of nonprofit and philanthropic institutions; increasing individual giving to Black-led and Black-serving nonprofit organizations and increasing their access to local and national funding opportunities.

This year, BPA launched the Peer Coaching Network, designed to provide professional development and enhance the leadership skills of BPA member executive directors, and the Nonprofit Board Leadership Development Program to recruit, train and place a cadre of African American leaders with the skills necessary to become effective members of local nonprofit boards in the DC region.

To learn more about BPA and upcoming events, visit  BPA is a member of the Black Philanthropic Network, one of 11 regional affinity groups coordinated by the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Read more highlights about the event in Black Philanthropic Alliance's newsletter HERE.

Top photo: Valaida Fullwood (center) with Dr. Ohmar Land and Thelma Jones. Bottom photo: Edward Jones, BPA Board Chair presents me with the Legacy Award.  Photo credit: Stacey Trammel

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicago Urban League Honors its Past, Sets the Course For An Empowered Future at 50th Annual Gala

Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO, Chicago Urban League; Grammy ® Award Winning Songstress Patti LaBelle; and Steve Harvey, author, comedian and radio personality attend the Chicago Urban League's 50th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner.

Steve Harvey and Patti LaBelle Headline Annual Celebration of Urban League’s Community Leadership; James W. Compton Awarded Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award

Submitted by Sandra Davis
Chicago Contributor

CHICAGO, IL - The Chicago Urban League reaffirmed its role as a community leader in educational, economic and social empowerment for African Americans at its 50th annual Golden Fellowship Dinner on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the Hilton Chicago. Hosted by radio personality, comedian and New York Times best-selling author Steve Harvey and featuring a show stopping performance from Grammy Award winning entertainer Patti LaBelle, the fundraiser drew a sellout crowd of more than 1,600 of Chicago’s top business, civic, religious and political leaders who support the Chicago Urban League’s efforts to build strong stable communities.

Established in 1961 by a multiracial group of local leaders led by then Chicago Urban League chief Edwin C. “Bill” Berry, the Golden Fellowship Dinner remains one of the city’s most diverse and well-attended fundraisers. The theme of the 50th anniversary gala was, “Honoring Our Past, Empowering Our Future.” Co-chairs of the dinner were Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments; James J. O’Connor, Jr., managing director, Chicago, MVC Capital; Anne Pramaggiore, president and COO, ComEd; and Frederick H. Waddell, president and CEO, Northern Trust. The gala host committee was led by Ralph Hughes of Macy’s and Joe Moore of Shell Oil.

In her remarks, Chicago Urban League president and CEO Andrea L. Zopp stressed that the Urban League’s 95 year history and half century tradition of the Golden Fellowship Dinner is a legacy that must be built upon and expanded to address current challenges that negatively impact African Americans. “The promises of the Civil Rights Movement have not yet been truly realized, and it is clear that the Chicago Urban League’s work to ensure that African Americans can fully access the opportunities that our country and city have to offer and can fully contribute to growing and building stronger communities, is as important now as it was at our founding 95 years ago or when this dinner was started 50 years ago,” said Zopp. “Our history, our longevity is not a weakness or a liability. It is a strength. It is the foundation on which we will ground our efforts as we refuse to go backward and we most decidedly and assuredly step forward.”

Andrea L. Zopp and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, City of Chicago; Jamell Meeks, Rev. James Meeks, First Lady and Pastor, Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, and Mellody Hobson, president, Ariel Investments

Tom Cole, partner, Sidley Austin; Andrea L. Zopp; Kimberly McCullough, director of external affairs, AT&T

James W. Compton, who served as president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League for more than 30 years, was presented the 2011 Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award. Named for Bill Berry, who led the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969 and was a key leader in the civil rights movement in Chicago, the honor is awarded to community and civic leaders who have left a mark on the nation through hard work, perseverance and creativity. During his tenure at the Chicago Urban League, Compton refocused the organizations’ interest in education and economic development and developed a new emphasis on community empowerment.

Rev. Marshall Hatch, Dr. Leon D. Finney, Jr., and honoree James W. Compton, 2011 Chicago Urban League Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award recipient

Patti LaBelle, The Legendary and Grammy ® Award Winning Songstress

Proceeds from the Golden Fellowship Dinner provide financial support for the programs, collaboration and advocacy work of the Chicago Urban League with key focus areas that include: education, human capital development, workforce development, entrepreneurship and housing. Legacy Sponsors for the 50th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner were Ariel Investments, ComEd, Ernst & Young, Loop Capital and Northern Trust.

About the Chicago Urban League
Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through progressive advocacy, effective collaboration and innovative programming. For more information, visit

Source: Press release/Photo credit: Powell Photography