Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Celebrity Philanthropy In the News

Actress and Take Wings Foundation Founder Terri J. Vaughn (2nd from left) with Nicole Ari Parker, Kelly Price, and Malinda Williams attend the 8th Annual Angel Awards Benefit on August 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California.

Actress Terri J. Vaughn and singer Kenny Lattimore set to host 9th Annual Angel Awards benefiting the Take Wings Foundation, August 18th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — International award winning R & B singer Kenny Lattimore and actress Terri J. Vaughn, Founder of the TAKE WINGS FOUNDATION, will host the highly-anticipated 9th Annual Angel Awards Gala Benefit on August 18, 2012. Take Wings Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to motivate and inspire at-risk youth in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area. The gala will honor London Breed, Executive Director of the African American Art & Cultural Complex and Mary L. Booker, Artistic Director, Infinity Production, Inc. The recently renovated Oakland Marriott City Center (1001 Broadway in Oakland, CA) will be the affair’s host venue, beginning with pre-gala receptions at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $150 each, and may be purchased online www.takewings.org.

Michael Vick Launches Team Vick Foundation

On July 30th, Michael Vick announced the creation of the Team Vick Foundation, a non-profit charity to provide second chances and support to individuals and communities. Committed to improving lives and communities, Vick’s vision and leadership will be focused on improving livelihoods and communities through public service.

“It was important for me to find a way to give back that provided support and encouragement for those who have fallen off course and may have lost their way,” shares Vick. “This foundation was created to remind those individuals that not only can they still make it, but they can still make a difference.”

With a full year of programming ready to roll out beginning this August, the Team Vick Foundation is poised to inspire individuals through its diverse initiatives and programs that touch on the foundation’s seven principles: Responsibility, Citizenship, Care, Fairness, Respect, Trustworthiness and Accountability.

Visit the website at http://www.teamvickfoundation.org, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TeamVickFoundation and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TeamVickOrg.

Join Antwan "Big Boi" Patton and the Big Kidz Foundation Board of Directors at the "Champions of the Arts" Reception

ATLANTA, GA - Big Boi Patton, one half of the hip hop group Outkast and founder of the Big Kidz Foundation, will host the Champions of the Arts reception on Thursday, August 2nd at the Metro Atlanta Chamber.  The evening will honor George Clinton, Hinton Battle and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The foundation's programs provide cultural exposure, musical and literary expression and travel experiences to help develop well-rounded youth.

Tickets are $75.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the foundation website at http://www.bigkidzfoundation.org/.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

9th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Weekend Benefits Philadelphia Youth

Charlie Mack, Jaden and Will Smith and Marla Green attend the 9th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Weekend in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - On July 20-22, 2012, long-time Philadelphia activist, philanthropist, and entertainment insider, Charlie Mack, presented his 9th Annual Charlie Mack Party 4 Peace Celebrity Weekend that brought out a host of Hollywood stars, recording artists, and professional athletes. Proceeds raised during the weekend benefited local non-profit, the Charlie Mack Cares Center, a place of refuge for inner-city children founded by Mack in southwest Philadelphia.

The theme of this year’s weekend was “I WILL BE GREAT LEADERS” set out to honor and highlight the accomplishments of outstanding Philadelphia youth, educate children on the importance of physical health, and provide motivation to help transform the lives of incarcerated young men and women.

Event activities included a “I WILL BE GREAT LEADERS” luncheon and formal fundraiser dinner honoring Charlie Mack’s philanthropic efforts presented by the American Benefactor Foundation, Charlie Mack’s Talented Teens Competition, Annual All White Affair, Annual Fashion Show, Charlie Mack Loves The Kids Luncheon, Comedy Show, Healthy Hoops and Asthma Clinic presented by AmeriHealth Mercy Foundation/Keystone Mercy Health Plan, Global Fusion Concert Series, a private brunch where the celebrities learned about Sickle Cell Advancement through the Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia and a visit to Philadelphia’s Youth Study Center, the local youth detention center.

Terry and Rebecca Crews with Affion Crockett

AJ Calloway, Kendra G., and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

Hill Harper, Charlie Mack, Reverend Run and son Russy

Among the celebrity guests were Affion Crockett, AJ Calloway, Al Be Back, Alphonso McCauley, Bernard Hopkins, Carvin Haggins, Cedric Ceballos, Chris Spencer, Faizon Love, Hill Harper, Ivan Barias, Jamal Dolman, JD Williams, Kendra G, Kyla Pratt, Lil Rell, Melanie Comarcho, Q Parker of 112, Raheem Brock, Rev. Run, Sheree Whitfield, Tamala Jones, Terry & Rebecca Crews, and Tisha Campbell-Martin.

Sponsors and partners included the AmeriHealth Mercy Foundation, Keystone Mercy Health Plan, The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, and Sheraton Hotels.

About Charlie Mack:

Affectionately referred to as Philadelphia’s “big brother,” Charles “Charlie Mack” Alston is a seasoned, connected and respected entertainment industry and sports insider who has had ties to many of today’s leading actors, musicians and athletes for nearly three decades. Aside from being friends to many high profile individuals, Mack has earned a reputation as a successful film executive having co-produced the blockbuster hit, “ATL,” starring Rapper/Actor, Tip T.I. Harris. Additionally, Mack produced the soon to be released “Streets,” a film directed by Jamal Hill that premiered during the charity weekend. Charlie Mack’s passion and purpose in life is to use his relationship and influence to improve the safety and quality of life for the Philadelphia community at large.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AMREF USA Hosts National Launch of ‘Stand Up for African Mothers’ Global Campaign

Carol Jenkins (center), AMREF USA Board Chair with Osas Ighodaro, Founder/ President, Joyful Joy Foundation and Sioux Greaux, Managing Director, Joyful Joy Foundation at the Stand Up for African Mothers global campaign launch in New York.

NEW YORK, NY - On Thursday, July 19th, the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF), the largest African-led health development organization on the continent, launched their Stand Up for African Mothers campaign to the African Diaspora with a breakfast event held at The Cornell Club - New York. A live stream feed enabled other Diaspora associations across the country and beyond to participate in the launch as well. The campaign was launched last October to draw attention to the plight of African mothers and to mobilize citizens worldwide to ensure that mothers get the basic medical care they need during pregnancy and childbirth.

Targeting the African Diaspora is perhaps a first for a health development nonprofit organization and something AMREF feels very passionate about. With Africans making up 97 percent of its staff and 90 percent of whom live in the communities in which they work, AMREF strongly believes in engaging the Diaspora to contribute to better health in Africa.

AMREF’s Director General, Dr. Teguest Guerma, an Ethiopian national, medical doctor, infectious diseases specialist and the first African woman to lead the organization since its inception in 1957, launched the US arm of the global campaign, Stand Up for African Mothers at the event.

Dr. Teguest Guerma, AMREF Director General and Teresa Clarke, CEO of Africa.com

Dr. Guerma spoke about the more than 170,000 women who died in Africa in 2010 alone during pregnancy and childbirth due to a lack of access to basic medical care, resulting in 950,000 children who will grow up without the love and care of their mother. With the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign, AMREF aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015 to prevent many of these needless deaths.

Attendees included African American entrepreneurs, prominent philanthropists, executives, representatives from non-governmental organizations, academia and supporters of the arts, including a media contingent reporting on the morning’s events.

The Honorable Milton A. Tingling, Justice, Supreme Court, State of New York; Lisa Meadowcroft, Executive Director, AMREF, USA; and Liz Ngonzi, Founder/CEO, Amazing Taste, LLC (Co-organizers of the launch)

Joyce Mullins-Jackson, President, Deerfield Marketing & Consulting, Inc. and Marcia McBroom-Small, President and Founder, For Our Children's Sake Foundation

AMREF is grateful for the passionate and enthusiastic response from the Diaspora and looks forward to growing this relationship in the future.

To learn more about the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign and what you can do to help reduce maternal mortality in Africa, please visit www.standupforafricanmothers.com.

African American Philanthropy News & Events

Register Now for The “Philanthropic Renaissance”

Are you passionate about giving back? Do you want to connect with like minded givers? Learn more about giving circles? Then the Philanthropic Renaissance: Illuminating Creative Expressions of Giving conference is for you! This is an annual gathering of everyday philanthropists who come together to share stories, exchange ideas and learn strategies to create and affect change in local communities by giving back.

The “Philanthropic Renaissance” is the annual conference of the Community Investment Network and is co-hosted by the Birmingham Change Fund. Join them this fall in Birmingham as they celebrate the inspiring changes made in communities big and small across the country, and showcase the long history of civil rights, social justice and Blacks giving back in Alabama. In addition to plenaries and workshops, the Philanthropic Renaissance will offer local tours of Birmingham, free yoga practice on-site, and evening festivities.

And just announced - a youth track focus on October 6th: A one-day pass for self-organized, self-authorized and youth-led sessions on philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. Cost $25. BlackGivesBack will be there and we hope to see you also!

When: October 4-7, 2012
Where: Birmingham, Alabama
How to Register: http://cin2012.eventbrite.com

Visit the conference website at http://thecommunityinvestment.org/philanthropic_renaissance/.

Teaming Up:  The Black Benefactors and the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Many readers know of my efforts to support nonprofit organizations serving the African American community in my hometown of Washington, DC through my giving circle, The Black Benefactors. This year, we celebrate five years and announced a new partnership with the Catalogue for Philanthropy, a print and online resource that identifies some of the best smaller nonprofits in the DC region. Over 100 reviewers evaluate nonprofit applicants for merit, distinction and impact, and the best are included in the annual publication that celebrates its 10th anniversary next year.

We used the Catalogue to select a grantee for our 2012 Black History Month grant awards, and in doing so, we learned we were in the minority. Many of the nonprofits featured in the Catalogue serve the African American community, but the majority of donors who use resource to identify organizations to support are white. This is something I hope to change.

Read my two-part series on how I plan to accomplish this on the Catalogue's Good Works blog:

Part I: Teaming Up - Black Benefactors and The Catalogue
Part II: Black Benefactors & the Catalogue Part II

Long Legacies of Giving: A discussion of the rich histories of giving within communities of color

TUESDAY, JULY 31st at 4:00-5:00 pm ET (3-4 CT, 2-3 MT, 1-2 PT)

Join the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) and staff and member circles from the Community Investment Network (CIN) for an hour-long discussion about the tremendous histories of how communities of color have organized fundraising and giving efforts to affect social change. From the American South, to diasporas across the globe, there are numerous examples of how our ancestors have given money and time, food, transportation and other types of in-kind contributions to advance social movements and campaigns for justice.

The call will feature Valaida Fullwood [award-winning author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists; founder of New Generation of African American Philanthropists - Charlotte; and a member of CIN's Board of Directors], Channapha Khamvongsa [Founder of Legacies of War, http://www.legaciesofwar.org/] and other invited guests.

To register for the free call, visit here.

This is the second in a series of four ”For Us/By Us: Raising Money and Building Resources in Communities of Color” conference calls, jointly hosted by GIFT and CIN between June-November 2012. The calls will address a variety of topics on race, class and identity by highlighting the campaigns, projects and efforts that inspire individuals to fundraise for and give back to their communities.

To learn more about GIFT visit http://www.grassrootsfundraising.org/.  To learn more about CIN visit http://www.thecommunityinvestment.org/.

Friday, July 20, 2012

IMPACT and National Bar Association Honors “2012 Nation's Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40”

David Johns, IMPACT Director; Angela Rye, Esq., IMPACT Founder and Director; Jeff Johnson, Gala Emcee; and Joe D. Briggs, Esq., IMPACT Founder and Director

On Sunday, July 15, 2012, IMPACT and the National Bar Association (NBA) honored the “2012 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” during the NBA’s 87th Convention in Las Vegas, NV.

Nation’s Best Advocates recognizes talented individuals (age 40 and under) within the African American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction, professionally and philanthropically. Selected nominees represented a cross-section of legal professionals: solo practitioners, government lawyers, judges, academicians, corporate counsels, young elected officials, and other lawyers using their degrees in innovative ways. Nominees were chosen based on their achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and legal community involvement.

“The NBA is proud to partner again with IMPACT for this year’s 40 Lawyers Under 40 event. We applaud the awardees for their significant accomplishments and contributions towards the legal profession and community,” said Daryl Parks, NBA President. “We look forward to sustaining our mission of service and ensuring that justice is achieved by all.”

“The 2012 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 are continuing the tradition of legal giants in American history,” said Angela Rye, IMPACT Director of Strategic Partnerships. “The invaluable contributions made by these attorneys establish a standard for service and excellence in our communities and our Nation.”

Honorees Camille Townsend, Latrice A.G. Byrdsong and Alisia Mary Adamson

Attendees network at the third annual Nations Best Advocates Gala and Reception

The recipients of the Nation’s Best Advocate of the Year, Excellence in Leadership, Service, Activism, and Innovation awards were recognized at the event, which is the only of its kind. The honorees are: Alisia Mary Adamson, Advocate of the Year; Latrice A.G. Byrdsong, Excellence in Leadership; Goldie K. Gabriel, Excellence in Activism; Camille Y. Townsend, Excellence in Innovation; and Catherine Ongiri, Excellence in Service.

View the entire list of the 2012 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 honorees here.

The 2012 “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” Class

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit http://www.nationalbar.org/.

IMPACT is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit http://www.impact-dc.com/.

Photography by Kea Taylor

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Boxcar Grocer: Part Social Justice, Part Retail

ATLANTA, GA - Alison and Alphonzo Cross are on a mission to make nutritious, organically grown healthy food accessible – especially to urban communities. The siblings are the founders of The Boxcar Grocer, an alternative convenience store and cafe that stocks on its shelves the best organic foods including high-quality, all natural Georgia produce from local farmers, and respected national brands such as Dr. Bronner's soaps. Alison stated, “I had an idea for a store unlike any other health food or convenience store I had ever seen. I knew I needed my brother, with his 15 year retail management background, to make it happen. Once the two of us put our minds together, The Boxcar Grocer is what evolved from that original idea: part social justice, part retail.”

Their goal is to make food access a reality by building at least 3 new Boxcar Grocers by 2014 in food deserts - areas where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain.

Last week, The Boxcar Grocer launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to jump start their Pop Food program, an innovative farmer's market style food court located inside the store, create marketing materials, buy additional inventory that has been requested of patrons, expand the kitchen to enable the prepared foods department to grow beyond just sandwiches, and purchase refrigerated produce merchandisers to support their growing customer demand for fresh produce. Any additional monies raised will be used to fund new locations.  The Kickstarter project will be funded if $30,000 is pledged by Sunday, August 12th at 3:34 pm EST.

Visit here for their Kickstarter campaign homepage and to learn more about The Boxcar Grocer concept, visit www.boxcargrocer.com (and be sure to check out their insightful blog posts)!

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Announces New Executive Director

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) has announced the appointment of Rahsaan K. Harris as its new Executive Director.

Founded in 2001, EPIP develops extraordinary new leaders for foundations and the communities they support. With over 600 diverse members from 35 states and 12 robust chapters, the EPIP community offers members valuable peer support, professional development, and a voice in shaping the future of organized philanthropy. Program offerings include orientation to foundations and grantmaking for social change; career coaching; support for emerging leaders of color; tools for supporting grantee talent; and the premiere conference for the next-generation of grantmakers.

“Rahsaan's experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector will serve the organization well as we harness the potential of emerging professionals to create social change,” said Trista Harris (no relation), EPIP Board of Advisors Chair and Executive Director of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice. “His laser-like focus on strengthening the value proposition of EPIP, and amplifying the voices of our members, will take our work to the next level.”

Upon accepting the position, Mr. Harris noted, “Continuing to expand our membership, and the leadership development opportunities we offer members as they advance in their careers, will truly create a powerful force for the field and for social change. I am looking forward to building on the great foundation that has been developed over the last decade.”

Mr. Harris is a doctoral candidate in Public and Urban Policy at the New School University in New York City. His dissertation examines the philanthropic influences and interests of African-Americans. Rahsaan holds a Masters in Management from NYU and a Masters in Education from Columbia University. He attended Princeton University, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uruguay.

A member of EPIP since 2009, Mr. Harris serves as Board Chair of the Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases. He is a member of the Council on Foundations Professional Development Committee, and has been a Connecting Leaders Fellow with the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) and an American Express NGen Fellow at Independent Sector.

He led diversity and racial equity initiatives as a program executive at The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation with assets over $3 billion. During his seven years at Atlantic, Mr. Harris managed the foundation's response to the Haitian earthquake; oversaw grants to community groups in Bermuda; and supported the CEO on spend-down planning, discretionary grantmaking, and high-engagement grantmaking practices. Prior to Atlantic, Mr. Harris was Executive Director of Playing2Win, the nation's first public access technology learning center serving inner city, low-income residents.

Mr. Harris succeeds Rusty M. Stahl, Founder and Executive Director since 2002. Rusty announced his departure in February of this year and will conclude his term this month as he reaches his 10-year mark. Mr. Stahl, who will serve as an advisor to Mr. Harris, stated, “In light of Rahsaan's involvement in EPIP over the years, his substantial contributions to philanthropy, and his deep knowledge of our field, I am delighted to pass the torch to my brilliant colleague and to support his leadership.”

Learn more about EPIP by visiting http://www.epip.org/.

Source:  Press release
Submitted by Akira Barclay, NY Contributor

Catching Up with BlackGivesBack Contributor Tokiwa Smith, Founder of SEM Link, Inc.

Tokiwa Smith (far right), founder of SEM Link, Inc., served as an exhibitor at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. Pictured with Tokiwa are (L to R) Marilyn Smith, microbiologist, FDA; Kahli Smith, graduate student at Howard University in pharmacology; and Angela M. Hardin, epidemiology fellow, FDA.

Our contributors have been busy in their communities working as social entrepreneurs, hitting the books as graduate students, and one wrote a book on African American philanthropy. Tokiwa Smith, our San Francisco contributor, is the founder of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link, Inc. (SEM Link), an organization that enhances the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational experience for thousands of K-12 students. This is accomplished by providing opportunities for students to engage in hands-on STEM activities, explore STEM careers and learn about real-world applications of STEM.

In April, SEM Link served as an exhibitor and presenter at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, the nation's largest celebration of science and engineering. Tokiwa's exhibit, “Linking Science to Everyday Materials,” engaged attendees in cool science experiments using everyday materials from grocery and discount stores.

SEM Link was also selected as a grant partner of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation to help provide resources and support to young African American college-bound males throughout the Bay Area.

Looking forward to the upcoming 2012-13 program year, SEM Link will partner with the California Alliance of African American Educators Carver Scholars Program to provide STEM support to an afterschool program in the San Francisco Unified School District, and will host the 2nd annual STEMposium collaborative with Youth Speaks and The I.S.I.S. Project in Oakland, California.

The organization is currently seeking a diverse group of professionals (mid-level career to retiree) to serve on its Board of Directors, and has launched a “Donate Your Lunch Money” individual donor campaign with a goal of raising $45,000 for SEM Link's programs.

Learn more about SEM Link by visiting www.semsuccess.org and read Tokiwa's interview with Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation here.

Photo credit: Stacey Trammel/Buzzology

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

African American Female Executives Gather to Increase Representation at Fortune 500 Companies and on Corporate Boards

Johnson Publishing Company CEO Desiree Rodgers and Linda Johnson Rice, Chairperson of Johnson Publishing with Yanick Rice Lamb during the Executive Leadership Council’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Minneapolis on July 10, 2012.

The Women’s Leadership Forum of the Executive Leadership Council Hosts National Conference on “Potential.Purpose.Power.” at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On July 10th, the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) hosted more than 200 African-American women executives for the annual Women’s Leadership Forum and Black Women On…Power series at Target Field. The meeting focused on leadership development and increasing the representation of African-American women in senior leadership positions in corporate America.

This event speaks directly to ELC’s mission and aspirational goals, a recently launched effort to promote corporate diversity. Over the next five years, the ELC will work with corporate America to add at least one African American at the CEO level or one to two levels below at each Fortune 500 company for a total of 500 and increase the number of African Americans on the boards of publicly traded companies by 200.

“The ELC is a national organization of current and former African‐American CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies, and we develop the next generation of African-American business leaders from the classroom to the boardroom,” said Ronald C. Parker, interim president and CEO. “Our goal is to make sure that African Americans have a seat at the decision-making table in corporate America, and that includes African-American women. This group will play an important role in bringing diversity of thinking to the table which spurs innovation and leads to stronger, more profitable corporations and better communities.”

The ELC is taking the lead on elevating the issue of corporate diversity because recent statistics have raised concerns about minority representation, specifically for African Americans at the senior levels in Fortune 500 companies. Key statistics demonstrate that African-American women are extremely underrepresented:

Of the more than 35,000 senior executive positions at the CEO level or those one and two levels below CEO within most Fortune 500 companies, it is estimated that only 3.2 percent – or fewer than 800 – are African American. Furthermore, even within that group, African-American women are disproportionately underrepresented.

According to the Alliance Board for Diversity, of which the ELC is a founding member, the number of Fortune 500 board seats held by women and minorities has remained flat compared to 2004, and they were already severely underrepresented. Even worse, the number of Fortune 100 board seats held by African Americans has declined.

In 2012, there are only six African-American CEOs, accounting for barely one percent of the chief executive officers of the 500 largest companies in the United States. Of the six, only one is an African-American woman, Ursula Burns who heads Xerox.

Laysha Ward (center) board chair of The Executive Leadership Council Foundation and president, community relations, Target Corporation, engages participants in The Executive Leadership Council Women’s Leadership Forum.

“I am honored to welcome this distinguished group of women to Minneapolis,” said Laysha Ward, president, community relations for Target, and board chair of The Executive Leadership Council Foundation. “The Women's Leadership Forum is a great way to help build our pipeline of corporate leaders. With a focus on Potential. Purpose. Power., we will provide critical tools to help African-American women executives tap into their promise and power as they advance in corporate America.”

The first ELC Women’s Leadership Forum was held in October 2003 in Washington, D.C. for ELC members active on public policy issues. Since that time, the forum has grown, and host cities have included New York, Chicago, and now Minneapolis. In addition, the forum’s mandate and reach have expanded with the focus primarily on leadership development, and is now open to all high potential African-American women business leaders.

Pictured L to R: Ronald Parker, interim president and CEO, The Executive Leadership Council; Laysha Ward, board chair, The Executive Leadership Council Foundation; Desiree Rodgers, CEO, Johnson Publishing Company; Linda Johnson Rice, chairman, Johnson Publishing Company; Yanick Rice Lamb, editor-at-large, Heart & Soul magazine; and Women’s Leadership Forum Co-Chairs Leilani Brown, vice president and chief marketing officer of Starr Companies; Nicole Lewis, vice president of global marketing, Kelly Services; and Julia Brown, chief procurement officer and senior vice president for global procurement, Kraft Foods. (Not in photo, co-chair Susan Chapman, senior vice president global real estate and workplace enablement, American Express Company.)

For more information on the Women’s Leadership Forum or The Black Women On…Power panel, please visit www.elcinfo.com/wlsf.php.

About The Executive Leadership Council

The Executive Leadership Council is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(6) corporation founded in 1986, comprised of current and former African-American CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies. For more than 25 years, the ELC has worked to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline and to empower African-American corporate leaders to make significant and impactful contributions in the global marketplace and their communities. Their programs develop future business leaders, filling the pipeline from the classroom to the boardroom.

Photo credit: Stephen Allen

Beverly Bond & Black Girls Rock! Inc.™ Join Forces with My Black is Beautiful and UNCF to Empower One Million Girls

Verizon Wireless and Coca-Cola also support BGR! At 2012 Essence Music Festival

NEW YORK, NY – Non-profit organization BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. and Founder Beverly Bond shined brightly throughout the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival weekend!

On Friday, July 6, on the mainstage of the Essence Music Festival, Beverly Bond and BLACK GIRLS ROCK! announced a collaboration with Proctor + Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) for the official launch of Imagine A Future Initiative, a multi-partnership effort to create and provide opportunities for young girls of color across the country.

“At BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, we are committed to youth empowerment, mentorship, and the positive portrayal of Black girls and women in media,” said Beverly Bond, Founder and Executive Director of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! “We’re so excited to take the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! movement to the next level by collaborating with My Black is Beautiful and UNCF.” In unison, they have pledged to reach and broaden the lives of Black girls through enriching educational opportunities, as well as uplifting once in a lifetime experiences that help give girls a sense of pride, purpose and possibility. The organizations have set a goal to impact the lives of one million girls by 2015 through scholarships, mentoring, national empowerment conferences, online outreach, PSA’s and regional leadership camps.

This partnership officially launched during the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans with the awarding of 6 book scholarships and one academic scholarship to local high school students. The next phase of this initiative includes the UNCF Empower Me Tour, and the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Queens Camp for Leadership and Excellence, an international summer leadership intensive program designed for exemplary teenage girls of color. This year, 50 dynamic girls from all across the United States, as well as countries as far away as Liberia, South Africa, Jamaica, and Japan will receive full scholarships for this enriching program that will be held in Upstate New York from July 21, 2012 - August 4, 2012.

During another mainstage moment during EMF, Beverly Bond announced that Coca-Cola would be donating technology equipment towards the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Queens Camp Turntable Lab. “For six years now, the young ladies of BGR have learned the basics of DJing and turntablism coupled with music history and education,” said Bond. “While this course is highly technical and requires discipline, it is also important to preserve this global cultural art form. As an accomplished DJ, I appreciate having a hand in sharing this with the next generation. It is truly an honor to have an institute as prominent as Coca-Cola believe in our mission!” In addition to the generous donation, Coca-Cola sponsored an all-inclusive VIP trip for one of the Essence Music Festival attendees and three friends to attend the 2012 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards in New York City this fall.

In addition, the Verizon Wireless’ Celebrate Your Story, Empower Your Network initiative, which highlights prominent community leaders and activists, honored Bond on the ESSENCE mainstage alongside actor Laz Alonso, Pastor Marvin Sapp, The Three Doctors, educator Dr. Steve Perry, and athletes Tia Norfleet, and Malcolm Jenkins. The honorees received awards acknowledging their dedication to positively impacting their respective communities.

Beverly Bond was also a guest speaker to the graduates of Chaka Khan’s Superlife Foundation Graduation Ceremony, where 50 women from New Orleans embarked on a yearlong journey in the pursuit of life-changing self-awareness and achievement. During the ceremony, Bond was especially moved by the speech of a graduate who eloquently expressed her drive to honor her purpose and work fervently to see her dreams come into fruition. Honoring her recent transformation, Bond offered her a pair of tickets to the 2012 BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards to be aired on BET.

The Brooklyn-based non-profit will continue its year-round partnerships in an effort to implement its expansion plan both nationally and internationally. For additional information on BLACK GIRLS ROCK! visit www.blackgirlsrock.org.

Source:  Press release

Monday, July 16, 2012

Meet the Vice President of Philanthropy at JCPenney & Join the Commitment to Building Stronger Communities

Retailer launches new charitable giving program, 'jcp cares'

PLANO, Texas – As jcpenney sets its sights on becoming America’s favorite store, the Company has launched jcp cares, a new charitable giving program. Through jcp cares, jcpenney will support a new cause each month by inviting customers to round up their purchases to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to the Company’s featured charity partner. jcpcares will kick-off July 1 with jcpenney’s support of the USO (United Service Organizations), a nonprofit, congressionally chartered, private organization dedicated to lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families. Along with round-up donations raised by customers throughout the month of July, jcpenney will be making a $1 million donation to the USO. jcpenney will also donate $1 – up to $50,000 – to the USO for each customer that checks in to a jcpenney store via foursquare from July 23-31.

“As a company founded on the Golden Rule, jcpenney has a strong legacy of giving back. Through jcp cares, we’ll be able to work with our customers to address some of the most pressing issues facing our communities today,” said Miki Woodard (pictured), president of jcp cares and vice president of philanthropy at jcpenney. “Whether it’s improving education, supporting our troops, or making sure no child goes hungry, working together, we can become a powerful force for good.”  Woodard was previously featured as an Insider on BlackGivesBack and shared valuable tips on celebrity involvement for fundraisers and nonprofit sustainability.

Additional monthly charity partners this year will include:

August – Back-to-School shoppers rounding up their jcpenney purchases in August will make it possible for more children to participate in life-enriching afterschool programs offered by 4-H and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. These important organizations jointly serve over 10 million children a year.

September – With the school season officially underway, donations in September will benefit Teach for America. Working in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in efforts to end educational inequity.

October – With nearly 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed among women in the United States this year alone, jcpenney will support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, an organization committed to funding scientific research to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer.

November – As families prepare for their annual Thanksgiving feasts, jcpenney will help in the effort to end childhood hunger in America through its support of the national nonprofit, Share Our Strength.

December – jcpenney will share the holiday spirit this Christmas through its support of The Salvation Army and its annual Red Kettle campaign, which provides meals, clothing, toys, and basic necessities to families in need.

jcp cares will be supported by a robust, integrated marketing campaign which will include digital, social, mobile, in-store and direct mail and e-mail components. This will include a dedicated jcp cares page on http://www.broadcause.com/, a social media platform dedicated to activating, accelerating and aggregating passionate communities around cause-based initiatives. Additionally, beginning in August, customers will be able to join the jcp cares cause the through the Facebook social game, WeTopia. Created by Sojo Studios, WeTopia allows players to connect with friends, build their virtual town, and spend a unique form of currency called “Joy” that spreads real-world aid to various non-profits around the world. Customers can also make donations online at www.jcp.com/jcpcares and find more information about jcpenney’s philanthropic commitment and monthly charity partners.

Stand Up for African Mothers Campaign to Host National Launch

NEW YORK, NY - Join the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF-USA) for the national launch of its global campaign: Stand Up for African Mothers. The July 19th media briefing (9:45am - 10:30am at The Cornell Club - in Manhattan) will be attended by a select group of members of the media whose outlets target the African diaspora (African Americans and African immigrants) to learn about the global Stand Up for African Mothers campaign and how they can publicize the campaign to catalyze the African diaspora to support the largest African-led health development organization on the continent.

The Stand Up for African Mothers campaign was launched last October to draw attention to the plight of African mothers and to mobilize citizens worldwide to ensure that mothers get the basic medical care they need during pregnancy and childbirth. The basic premise is that no child should be left an orphan due to lack of health care for women.

Since 1957, AMREF has been transforming the lives of families and communities across Africa.  Over 200,000 African women die each year in pregnancy and childbirth for lack of simple, affordable medical care. With Stand Up for African Mothers, AMREF aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015 to help reduce this appallingly high rate of maternal mortality.

The special guest speaker will be Dr. Teguest Guerma, Director General of AMREF. Join them in supporting and celebrating the outstanding role African midwives play in saving the lives of mothers and their children. Contact diaspora@amrefusa.org for more information.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Black Male Achievement Fellow Aims to Increase Number of Black Male College Students

In the field of black male achievement, an issue often discussed is why do few black males enroll in and graduate from college? Our second Black Male Achievement (BMA) Fellow profile is a national scholarship expert who aims to increase this number.

Meet Jessica Johnson, founder of the Scholarship Academy, which empowers low‐income and first‐generation students in the financial aid process. As a recipient of over $200,000 in scholarships, she uses her firsthand knowledge and expertise to guide students to claim scholarship success. To date, Scholarship Academy students have received over 5 million dollars in scholarships, with top college admissions ranging from Harvard and Brown to Howard and Fisk with a 100% college acceptance rate.

Jessica has traveled the country to empower families and help students realize the dream of a college education. She serves as the national scholarship expert for the Black College Expo, and has conducted workshops for the New York Urban League, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the U.S. Department of Labor. Jessica’s success and dedication has earned her numerous awards, among them The Root’s Top 100 Emerging Leaders award and the NAACP Entrepreneur of the Month.  A Howard University graduate, she is the author of The Scholarship Workbook: A 3-Step Scholarship Tutorial, and the scholarship database manager http://www.scholarshipsdc.org/.

As a BMA Fellow, Jessica’s bold idea is to train black college males to serve as Scholarship Ambassadors, using their own stories of scholarship success to empower black high school males to take ownership of the financial aid process. Anthony, a Fisk University junior shared, “I didn’t know where to turn. Without the support of my family, college seemed like a stretch by the time I reached December of my senior year. I sat in on one of Ms. Johnson’s presentations and I knew my life was going to be changed that day.  I became a Scholarship Ambassador for the Scholarship Academy, and Ms. Johnson taught me how to make myself stand out from other applicants. While my classmates were struggling to find money, I had a complete college funding plan. Within 4 months, I had accumulated over $40,000 in scholarships! There’s no stopping me now!”

Read on to learn what inspired Jessica to create the Scholarship Academy, her 10 year goal for the organization and how you can get involved.

What inspired you to create the Scholarship Academy?

As a recipient of over $200,000 in scholarships, I was inspired to create The Scholarship Academy because I quickly discovered that for many families, particularly low-income/first-generation families; the path to financial aid is paved with uncertainties. Across the nation, the overwhelming emphasis on student loan debt tends to overshadow the realities that most families simply approach the financial aid process haphazardly, waiting until it's an emergency to take action. After working in a number of high schools, I knew that guidance counselors didn't have the capacity to create individualized college funding plans for students. I designed the Scholarship Academy curriculum to help students and their parents explore financial aid options in a more strategic way, maximizing their resources and ultimately minimizing their debt.

What do you hope to achieve as a 2012 BMA Fellow?

As a 2012 BMA Fellow, I hope to eliminate the invisible barriers to college access that prevent black males from enrolling in college and maintaining matriculation. I want to prove to black males throughout the country that college is a realistic possibility, regardless of their GPA, test scores, or even family dynamics. Because our scholarship curriculum combines the principles of leadership, civic engagement and entrepreneurship, I believe we are uniquely positioned to empower young black males to do more than just obtain a degree. I am excited about the opportunities to create a platform for these young men to become leaders in their chosen field by equipping them with the financial tools to make meaningful investments in the lives of those around them.

Where do you envision your organization 5-10 years from now?

Ten years from now I envision our organization boasting partnerships with school districts, churches and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. I would love to have Scholarship Centers set up in underserved communities and build a massive online scholarship tutorial network that would support students and their families through the financial aid process on-demand. I envision a trained cohort of Scholarship Ambassadors that will spread our message of debt-free education to at-risk populations that have not previously viewed themselves as college material. Through a combination of workshops, bootcamps, staff trainings and Scholarship Fairs, I believe our organization can easily become the premier scholarship prep resource in the country.

How can individuals get involved with the Scholarship Academy?

There are a number of opportunities for individuals to join in our fight to prepare students to go to college without going into debt.
  • Become A Scholarship Ambassador: We're training young professionals to facilitate our Scholarship Teaser workshops at local high schools and community events.
  • One-On-One Mentoring: Whether it’s essay reviews, help with their scholarship brag projects, or just simple guidance and support, our students NEED YOU!
  • Partnerships/Outreach: Please consider sharing our resources (workbooks, trainings, etc.) with organizations you may be affiliated with.
  • Office/Programming Donations: We’re in need of a few items/services this summer, in preparation for the upcoming school year. If you know companies/organizations that would be willing to donate supplies or sponsor a Scholarship Lunch at a local high school, please let us know.
Visit the Scholarship Academy at http://www.scholarshipacademy.org/ and follow on Twitter at @scholarshipacad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson Appointed as After School Matters Board Chair

Late founder Maggie Daley's children to join organization's board of directors and advisory board

CHICAGO, IL - The Board of Directors of After School Matters, the nonprofit organization that provides high quality, out-of-school time opportunities for Chicago high school teens in the arts, communications, science, sports and technology, announced today that Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson will serve as the organization's new chairman, a position that had been vacant since the passing of its founder Maggie Daley in November of last year.

Additionally, it was announced that Nora Daley Conroy will join the organization's board of directors and Patrick Daley will join its advisory board, carrying on their mother's legacy of ensuring that Chicago teens have opportunities to develop their talents and gain critical skills for work, college and beyond.

In announcing these appointments, Roger J. Kiley, Jr., vice chairman of After School Matters Board of Directors, expressed great confidence about the future of the 21-year-old nonprofit organization. “Mellody’s strong financial leadership and managerial skills are just what we need to sustain the vitality of our organization and ensure that we continue to fulfill our vision to help Chicago teens discover their potential and find their path to a meaningful life,” said Kiley. “I know that Mellody and our new CEO, Dr. Mary Ellen Caron, will help our organization grow and expand to meet the needs of even more Chicago teens.”

Beyond her work at Ariel, Hobson serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Hobson currently serves as a director of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Groupon, Inc. and Starbucks Corporation. She also serves on the boards of various civic organizations, including the Field Museum, the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Sundance Institute. A nationally-recognized expert on financial literacy and investor education, Hobson is also a regular contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America." Hobson earned her AB degree from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She also received an honorary doctorate degree in humanities from Howard University.

In her role as board chairman, Hobson will be responsible for engaging and cultivating new board members; expanding the organization's donor base to include major private gifts and individual donors; and providing strong support for After School Matters leadership in their efforts to expand access to and continue to improve the quality of the organization's programs.

“I am proud and honored to step into the role of chair of the After School Matters board. I recognize that, as the first and only person after Maggie Daley to serve in this position, I have big shoes to fill. But, I share Mrs. Daley's vision of helping young people and will work to preserve and protect her legacy,” said Hobson. “The future of our teens is important to Chicago and its corporate community. They are our future workforce and we have a vested interest in supporting their growth and cultivating their talents.”

About After School Matters®

Founded in 1991 by former Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley, who served as its Board chairperson until her passing in 2011, After School Matters® is a nonprofit organization that offers Chicago high school teens high quality, out-of-school time opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. Over the past two decades, more than 100,000 teens have participated in our hands-on, project-based arts, communications, science, sports, and technology programs at Chicago public high schools, community locations across the city and Downtown at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts. After School Matters programs are developed and delivered through a network of public and private partnerships, including Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library and a wide range of community organizations.

Multiple independent studies and recent data analyses have confirmed that teens who participate in After School Matters apprenticeship programs have fewer course failures, better attendance and higher high school graduation rates. Learn more at http://www.afterschoolmatters.org/.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Black Male Achievement Fellows Create Next Generation's Environmental Leaders

John Jordan and Markese Bryant, founders of Fight for Light and 2012 Black Male Achievement Fellows

As a black male that overcame many obstacles, it is my moral obligation to increase the quality of life for black boys.”
                                                                                                                   -- Markese Bryant

In June, the Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green announced the inaugural class of 2012 Black Male Achievement Fellows, a group of social entrepreneurs dedicated to creating innovative solutions to advance the lives of black men and boys in the United States. Shawn Dove, manager of the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement shared, “We’re proud to support innovators working to transform the lives of black men and boys and their communities. Historically, black males have been prevented from fully engaging in American society due to a host of economic, civic, social, and political barriers. Now for the first time, there’s a fellowship program dedicated to providing creative thinkers the space and support they need to tackle this complicated and entrenched problem.”

The eight Black Male Achievement Fellows receive start-up capital and technical assistance over 18 months to help the new leaders launch and build their organizations; receive access to technical support and pro bono partnerships, and a community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders. This is the first time that Echoing Green’s Fellowship class is uniquely comprised of both traditional Echoing Green Fellows, and an inaugural group of Black Male Achievement (BMA) Fellows.

The latest in our Black Men and Boys Series features two BMA Fellows and their cause to empower local black college students to become environmental leaders. Meet Markese Bryant and John Jordan, founders of Fight for Light, that aims to recruit high performing students to become change agents for environmental sustainability in low-income communities. Read on to learn more about these Morehouse graduates and their different paths that led them to social entrepreneurship.

Markese, your early life was marked with challenges. How did you find your way to a mentor diversion program and eventually to Morehouse College?

After losing my mother to crack cocaine and my father to the prison system, I nearly met the same fate in 2005 when I was arrested for selling crack cocaine. Fortunately, I was given an opportunity to correct my mistakes through the Oakland Mentor Diversion Program, which compelled me to enroll into Laney Community College. One year later, I enrolled into Morehouse College and subsequently graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in African American Studies.

John, after your graduation from Morehouse you served as an Oprah Winfrey South African Fellow assisting youth living with HIV/AIDS. Please share about this experience and how it impacted you.

Being selected as a Morehouse College Oprah Winfrey South African Fellow was a transformational experience that really widened my perspective of life. As an African American, just being in Africa was spiritually renewing. The purpose of my trip was to work with youth living with HIV/AIDS and it was with them that I really learned more about the power of the human spirit and the idea of hope. The most impactful part of the trip took place during a communal gathering for those that had passed away because of the disease. It was then that I experienced the value of community and togetherness.

The Oprah Winfrey Fellowship also afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the struggles of the South African blacks. It was interesting to parallel their struggles with apartheid with those struggles for civil rights by blacks in America. While there, we connected with students from a South African historically black university who were leading innovative efforts to address the issues of HIV/AIDS and sexual health education. After dialoguing with those students, I was really inspired to create more opportunities for Africans and African American college students to learn from each other and work together to impact social change in the world. That trip was a major inspiration in Fight For Light’s study abroad component.

How did you both get involved in environmental sustainability, and what inspired you to create Fight for Light?

John: While in college, I was very active in my passion about addressing the many disparities facing African American communities. I focused my efforts through founding a student organization that gets students engaged in addressing the spectrum of these issues. I had a banking internship the summer leading into senior year, and that shifted my perspective about the potential of using business models and raising capital for social investments. That internship opportunity also allowed me to see the increasing trend of investments into green businesses. Upon returning to school, Markese shared his paradigm shift caused by Van Jones’ book, The Green Collar Economy and asked me to co-found Fight For Light, which I knew would be the perfect intersection of using my business degree to address social and scientific issues that could ultimately economically empower minority communities.

Markese: During my junior year at Morehouse, I began searching for a way to help prevent black mothers from losing their sons and daughters to the prison system, drug addiction and senseless violence. While seeking a solution, I read, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones. The book details how green jobs can provide disadvantaged youth with an alternative to the streets by creating pathways out of poverty. After I finished reading the book, I wrote a theme song for the green jobs movement entitled “The Dream Reborn” and partnered with Green For All to create the music video (http://bit.ly/7EkUQ9), which garnered over 26,000 views on YouTube.

In 2009, my former partner and I had a vision to launch an organization to mobilize HBCU students to retrofit their schools with LED lighting. We set the foundation for a retrofitting project at Morehouse College. Eventually, the partnership dissolved for various reasons. In an effort to complete the project, I reached out to John Jordan. We completed a successful retrofitting project with Morehouse and subsequently established the new Fight For Light model.

What do you hope to achieve as a BMA Fellow?

John: My hope with the fellowship is that our work will be the catalyst that redefines the black college experience. We will start a movement across HBCUs that will harness the power of college students and use their energy, talents, and creativity to transform their campuses and minority communities towards a sustainable future.

Markese: I’ve watched many of my friends fall victim to the prison system, drug addiction and violence. The underlying causes of these circumstances are inadequate education, and unemployment. As a black male that overcame many obstacles, it is my moral obligation to increase the quality of life for black boys. I did not have any positive role models as a child, so my goal is to serve as one. I pray that impoverished black children study my life story and recognize that my success was not a direct result of my formal education, but a result of the lessons I learn from common folks, my experiences on the streets and the history of my people.

How can individuals get involved to support your efforts?

There are several ways to support Fight For Light, Inc. First, we have been granted tax- exempt status, so we are capable of receiving tax-deductible donations. For more information, please email us at fightforlightinc@gmail.com.  Secondly, our supporters can spread the word about this fellowship and our mission to build momentum around our work. Also, our supporters should look out for the launching of our website www.fightforlight.org in July 2012.

Learn more about the Open Society Fellowship for Black Male Achievement, powered by Echoing Green at http://www.echoinggreen.org/bma-fellowship.

Friday, July 6, 2012

UNCF of Chicago Hosts 12th Annual Black & White Ball, “Living the Legacy”

Judith Rice, Senior VP & Head of Community Affairs and Economic Development, Harris Bank;  Paul Cadorin; Patty Cadorin, Harris Bank;  Monica Billinger, American Airlines, Manager, Diversity Markets/Chicago;  Michael House, President, Chicago Defender; Jody Furlong;  Mark Furlong/President & CEO, Harris Bank; Merri Dee, AARP Illinois State President.

Gala Honors American Airlines and Chicago Defender

CHICAGO - On Saturday, June 9th, UNCF (United Negro College Fund) hosted the twelfth annual Black & White Ball “Living the Legacy” fundraiser which was held at the Fairmont Hotel, Chicago-Millennium Park. The gala attracted over 500 guests who are committed to minority education. Gala chairman, Mark F. Furlong, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Harris Bank, N.A., served as the host for the evening, and musical entertainment was provided by The Temptations featuring Dennis Edwards.

“Every year the UNCF Black & White Ball brings Chicago leaders who believe in the power of an education together, to help the next generation of doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, business executives and entrepreneurs get the education they need to compete in a global economy,” said Michael L. Lomax, UNCF President and CEO. “The Black & White Ball is not only a fantastic celebration with food, fun and entertainment but it’s an opportunity for our community to come together and join UNCF to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get a good education from pre-school through college.”

Judith Rice; Priscilla Stratten, Development Director, UNCF; Monica Billinger; Michael House; Jann Honore, Regional Development Director, UNCF; and Mark Furlong.

UNCF honored American Airlines, with the prestigious Harold H. Hines Jr. Benefactor’s Award for its leadership. For more than 35 years, American Airlines has been a proud sponsor of the United Negro College Fund’s signature event, “An Evening of Stars.” American’s employees volunteered to work on UNCF’s former telethon, which raised significant funds to assist with worthy efforts including aiding students at Xavier University and Dillard University who were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. American employees who attended those universities helped raise more than $20,000 in less than two weeks. Additionally, members of American’s African American Employee Resource Group raised $10,000 in three weeks. Employees also assist with local UNCF fundraising events across the nation by volunteering and the company sponsors local UNCF functions.

The Chicago Defender was also honored with the UNCF Legacy Award, by Sculptor Debra Hand for their support of the UNCF mission and long-standing commitment to minority education. In 1905 Robert Sengstacke Abbott founded the Chicago Defender in a small kitchen in his landlord’s apartment with an initial investment of 25 cents and press run of 300 copies. In 1956 the Chicago Defender began publishing on a daily basis. Today, The Chicago Defender is a flagship publication of Real Times Inc., a media company that also includes among its holdings the Michigan Chronicle, the Front Page, the New Pittsburgh Courier, and the Tri-State Defender. It has won the prestigious John B. Russwurm Award during 2009’s National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Awards Gala, along with two first place and two third place awards, including the John H. Sengstacke General Excellence Award. The Chicago Defender has been a long time supporter of UNCF for many years. It has helped raise funds for UNCF over the years by donating media support.

Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, Chicago Urban League; Barbara Lumpkin

Merri Dee, AARP Illinois State President; Art Norman, NBC5

Since the inaugural gala in 2001, the Black & White Ball has raised more than $9 million. The proceeds from the event will allow UNCF to administer more than 400 scholarship and fellowship programs for students and faculty who attend its 38 member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Additional sponsors to this year’s gala included: Aon Hewitt, Target, Allstate Insurance Company, Macy’s and State Farm. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and President Toni Preckwinkle of Cook County Board of Commissioners were honorary co-chairs of the gala. The presenting sponsor was BMO Harris Bank and the presenting sponsor emeritus was ITW and ComEd an Exelon Company.

About UNCF
UNCF is the largest and most effective minority education organization in America, supporting more than 60,000 students who attend its 38 member colleges and universities and receive UNCF scholarships, internships and fellowships. Learn more at http://www.uncf.org/.

100 Black Men of New York Award Scholarships to Deserving College Bound Students

Members of One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York and renowned Civil Rights Attorney Ted Shaw (3rd from left) surround The Eagle Academy for Young Men 2012 scholarship winners. The students are, first row (left to right): Brandon Young, Befadil Eustate, Xavier Thomas, and Gerard Carty. Second Row (left to right): James Kale, Kofi Boateng, Heru Coleman, Omashola Oroye, Surendranauth Persaud, Jevone Watt, Akil Hollington, Najee Senior, Ramel Haines, Devon Coombs, and Victor Martinez.

Civil rights trailblazer, Ted Shaw, delivered keynote address

NEW YORK ─ One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York recently awarded 15 deserving outgoing high school seniors with $60,000 in scholarship grants during the 2012 Education and Scholarship Awards Ceremony. The graduates from The Eagle Academy for Young Men will attend a variety of colleges and universities this fall, including Syracuse University, Boston College, Lafayette College, and others.

Ted Shaw, former Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony which was held in the NASDAQ MarketSite building in Times Square.

For more than twenty years, One Hundred Black Men, Inc. has provided scholarships based on academic performance, community service and financial need to seniors in New York City public schools who have been accepted to an accredited college or university. As the founder and initial sponsor of the Eagle Academy for Young Men, scholarships are given to Eagle Academy graduates. The Eagle Academy was opened in the Bronx in 2004 as New York City’s first single-gender school in more than thirty years. Schools are also open in Brooklyn and Queens, each with a focus on academic excellence, leadership and character development. In addition to the $60,000 given away in this ceremony, One Hundred Black Men, Inc. has awarded $100,000 in scholarships through other programs this year.

One Hundred Black Men, Inc. of New York City was founded in 1963 when a group of successful African-American men came together to pool their resources to positively impact the Black community. For more information about One Hundred Black Men, Inc., or to support the programs of the organization, call 212-777-7070 or log on to http://www.ohbm.org/.

Founders of Focal Point Global Honored as White House Champions of Change

WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, July 6th, the White House will honor Hassanatu and Hussainatu Blake as two of eleven Champions of Change who are leaders in communities from across the United States.  They were selected from over 1500 nominations submitted by friends, family, co-workers and community members.

The Champions of Change program was created as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

Ms. Hassanatu and Hussainatu Blake are Founders of Focal Point Global, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to empower the world’s underserved youth to address social issues using global education and technology.

Focal Point Global is dedicated to fostering global partnerships to create the next generation of leaders. Youth are connected through low cost bandwidth tools, like Skype, to discuss issues facing their community and then matched with local organizations to complete projects to combat those issues. Focal Point Global has reached nearly 50 youth in the US, Cameroon, and Namibia to address HIV and child trafficking in their communities.

The dynamic twin sisters were featured previously on BlackGivesBack, learn more about them here. And to learn more about the Champions of Change, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/blog.

Congratulations ladies!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Black Owned Consulting Firm Helps Nonprofits Build Financial Sustainability

Free consulting event for Chicago area nonprofits to be held July 13

Dhyia Thompson possesses a wealth of experience within the corporate and non-profit environments that includes strategic planning, program development and conceptualization, project management and organization design. During her career, she has provided administrative oversight and managed approximately $65 million in federal and non-federal sponsored program awards and grants, and her social venture projects have included clients and project partnerships with Illinois Institute of Technology, Groupon and more.

Now, she’s using her expertise to help nonprofit organizations as the founder and principal of Virgo Project Consulting, a practice that designs nontraditional methods for nonprofits to earn revenue.

Thompson says that in 2010, 45% of revenue in the nonprofit sector was generated from fee-based products and services. This means that nearly half of the nonprofit sector is relying on a budget solely supported by grants and government contracts, which is not the answer to sustainable social services. To address this, her Chicago-based firm assists organizations, projects and people build financial sustainability through the earned-income continuum, from minor social ventures to full-scale social enterprises.  And, she’s a major proponent of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are being led by and supporting the African American community.

Thompson gives back to the community by offering free one-on-one consulting services to nonprofits. The project’s Guerrilla Consulting events have provided free consultations in New York and Chicago. At a Chicago event, 100% of attendees were black executive directors serving predominantly black and Latino communities.

Attendee Chuck Swartz from LI Green attended the session in New York. LI Green’s mission is to reduce the carbon footprint of homeowners within the greater New York metro area, specifically Suffolk County. Schwartz feels this growing industry is an avenue to help address the high unemployment rate within Long Island’s low-income communities. He attended the session because his government contract to conduct in-home energy audits is slated to end in October. The organization is growing, but losing the government contract will mean a loss of some serious capital for LI Green. He had no expectations coming into the session, but after he met with Virgo Project Consulting he stated, “This session was extremely helpful, I had no expectations going into it, but we were able to identify two areas of opportunity to drive more revenue. What I’m most surprised about is how Virgo Project Consulting was able to help develop tangible and executable strategies for LI Green to maximize revenue from my existing earned-income strategy. I was at a point where I thought I didn’t have the capacity or even the capability to bring in more money, and Ms. Thompson was able to show me the same picture I have been staring at for six months, but from a different angle. I highly recommend her services.”

Virgo Project Consulting is hitting the streets of Chicago, D.C. and New York -- guerrilla style -- to help strengthen the financial sustainability of the social sector. Register now and spend one-on-one time with an industry professional to help generate earned-income by leveraging the assets you already possess. An upcoming free event will be held in Chicago on July 13th. To register, visit here and visit the website at http://thevirgoproject.com/.

Evidence, A Dance Company to Host its 9th Annual “On Our Toes”… In The Hamptons Summer Benefit Honoring Actress Ruby Dee

Evidence Dancers perform "Come Ye"

Legendary actress and philanthropist Ruby Dee to receive the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Gatekeeper Award

Jason Moran, award-winning jazz musician and composer, to receive the 2012 Visionary Gatekeeper Award

NEW YORK – Evidence, A Dance Company will host ts 9th Annual “On Our Toes”… In The Hamptons Summer Benefit, one of the premier cultural events of the Hamptons social season on Saturday, August 18, 2012, from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton. The contemporary dance company's mission is to promote understanding of the African Diaspora through music, movement and spoken word.

Evidence, A Dance Company will present a special performance of BETTER DAYS, choreographed by Founder and Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown. The piece is a spectacularly spirited, yet melancholy, dance work that pays homage to friends of the choreographer who have passed away and illustrates a nonlinear juxtaposition of present and past. Brown is the world-renowned choreographer of the Tony Award-winning The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

Distinguished guests from the arts and entertainment industry and the business community will gather on the sprawling grounds of the Hayground School to attend the annual benefit. The festive summer affair will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by a light dinner, auction, a dynamic performance by Evidence, dessert and their signature “Dancing with the Dancers.”

“Evidence’s Hamptons Summer Benefit honoring award-winning actress Ruby Dee, who has contributed more than 50 years to the arts, and Jason Moran, a young critically-acclaimed and respected jazz musician, is keeping with our mission to strengthen connections to history and tradition through the arts as well as the spirit of our Gatekeepers Community Project, which seeks to bridge the gap between generations,” said Evidence’s Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown.

This year’s Event Chair is international financier Reginald Canal. Event Co-Chairs are artist, educator and activist Jon Snow, co-founder of the Hayground School, and financial advisor Lola C. West, Managing Director of West Fuller Advisors LLC. The Young Patrons Chair is Jenna Bond-Louden. To date, Belvedere Vodka and Prudential are the Corporate Sponsors for “On Our Toes”… In the Hamptons.

For tickets to the Hamptons Summer Benefit, please visit http://www.evidencedance.com/ or call The JFM Group at 914-235-1490 x11 or email evidence@thejfmgroup.com. Individual tickets are $350 and $500. Sponsor packages begin at $5,000.

See highlights from last year's event here.

Despite Hardships, Black Men in Urban Communities Are Resilient, Researcher Says

Health programs should focus on men’s strengths to help them thrive amid societal stressors

Michelle Teti, assistant professor in the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri, studied the resilience of low-income, Black men living in urban areas.

COLUMBIA, Mo. –Black men, especially those living in low-income, urban areas, face many societal stressors, including racial discrimination, incarceration and poverty. In addition, these men have poorer health outcomes. Now, a University of Missouri faculty member has studied these men’s efforts to negotiate social environments that are not designed to help them attain good health and success.

“Too often, researchers focus on Black men’s weaknesses rather than their strengths,” said Michelle Teti, assistant professor of health sciences in the MU School of Health Professions. “By understanding what’s working, we can reinforce those positive behaviors and help men make healthier choices.”

The study explored resilience—how individuals demonstrate positive mental health regardless of stress and adversity—among low-income Black men living in urban areas. Through interviews, the researchers learned about societal stressors in the men’s lives, including racism, incarceration, unemployment and surviving rough neighborhoods. Despite these hardships, many research participants had found ways to overcome their adversities through five primary forms of resilience: perseverance, commitment to learn from hardships, reflecting and refocusing to address difficulties, creating supportive environments and obtaining support from religion and spirituality.

“Resilience is not a psychological trait that you either are born with or not; resilience can be taught and nurtured,” said Teti’s co-author and principal investigator of the study, Lisa Bowleg, an associate professor in the School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “Accordingly, our findings suggest we can use resilience strategies used by men in our study to teach other low-income Black men how to better protect themselves and their sexual partners from risk despite some harsh social-structural realities.”

Teti and Bowleg say community members and government officials should do more to prepare Black men for success rather than failure and, in particular, to teach them protective behaviors against HIV.

“It is admirable that these men are resilient in the face of such severe challenges; however, the men’s efforts only can be translated into success if they are supported by social environments and policies that change the odds against them,” Teti said.

“Low-income, Black, urban men desperately need jobs; they need quality educations; they need policies designed to keep them out of prisons. They need opportunities to make living wages for themselves and their families; they need safer neighborhoods,” Bowleg said. “The most disconcerting aspects of our research on resilience were the narratives of men who were doggedly trying to be resilient in the face of seemingly insurmountable social-structural obstacles.”

The study was published in Qualitative Health Research. Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Development, this research is part of a larger study, “REPRESENT: The Health and Sexual Experiences of Black Men,” which focuses on understanding Black heterosexual men’s sexual HIV risk and protective behaviors. Coauthors included Ashley Martin from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Richa Ranade and Jenne Massie from Drexel University, David Malebranche from Emory University and Jeanne Tschann from the University of California-San Francisco.

Source: Press release/University of Missouri

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

NY Young Leaders Host "Love and Politics II" In Observance of National HIV Testing Day

Brian Benjamin, Founder, Young Professionals United For Change; Aletha Maybank, Assistant Commissioner, New York Health Department; Reggie Nance, Former Director of Incite at Emmis Communications; and Athena Moore, Director of Public Policy, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

NEW YORK, NY - On June 27th in observance of National HIV Testing Day, New York's young leaders hosted a two-tiered event aimed at raising awareness of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic. "Love and Politics II" featured a daytime event in Harlem that provided free HIV testing, and an evening reception at the New York Social Club to recognize individuals for the strides they have made in the fight against the virus. For the second year, the event series aimed to educate as well as to encourage New York City residents, in particular, residents of color, to get tested.

The event was hosted by Young Professionals United for Change, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, bcondoms, Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition (YWCHAC), National Action Network (NAN), Veaux Productions, Being Latino and Human Intonation.

Aletha Maybank and Reggie Nance with Honoree Melyssa Ford (center), television personality and HIV/AIDS activist.  Ford spoke about the importance of knowing one's status and how honored she was to be recognized for her work in the field.

Brian Benjamin thanked Tameka D. Mallory of the National Action Network for securing Cheryl "Salt" James" (pictured 4th from right) of the legendary hip hop duo Salt 'n Pepa, to serve as the keynote speaker. James shared that she feels blessed to use her platform to educate her fans, and that we must always remember to educate children about their choices, so they can make safe choices. After the program ended, honorees, VIPs and those who were tested received gift bags and everyone mingled and danced the night away to the tunes of the DJ.

See highlights from "Love and Politics I" here.

Source & photos:  Press release

DC Professionals Host New Community for Children's 2012 Summer Soirée

2012 Summer Soiree Host Committee members: Grace Dickerson, New Community for Children (NCFC) Founder; Edgar Jones, Baltimore Ravens; Nadine Duplessy Kearns, NCFC Executive Director; Nicole Clifton, UPS Public Affairs; Daphne Dufresne, RLJ Equity Partners; and Brendon Pinkard, Wiley Rein LLP.

WASHINGTON, DC - On June 28th, New Community for Children held its 3rd Annual Summer Soirée and Live Auction at the UPS townhouse. The event raised over $14,000 to support direct program costs of after school and summer academic enrichment for kids in DC! Event hosts were Nicole Clifton of UPS, Camelia Mazard of Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC, Daphne Dufresne of RLJ Equity Partners, Brendon Pinkard of Wiley Rein LLP and A. Scott Bolden of Reed Smith. UPS Public Affairs office served as lead sponsor for the third year.

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton attended the soiree and provided special remarks in support of the organization. Ward 5 DC Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie also attended the event. New Community for Children presented the Spirit of Community Awards to Edgar Jones of the Baltimore Ravens, Josh Portis of the Seattle Seahawks and Vic Jagger formerly with the Russ Parr Morning Show for taking the time to engage with the program’s kids this past school year.

About New Community for Children
Established in 1988, New Community for Children provides under-served children and families in Washington, DC with before school, after school, and summer programs that help them strengthen their academic skills as well as foster the self-confidence and creativity needed to realize their fullest potential. To learn more visit www.ncfc-dc.org.