Friday, September 28, 2012

IMPACT Hosts “PREVIEW: A Red Carpet Affair 2012” Honoring Emerging Leaders

Chief of Staff Virgil Miller, Guest, FL Rep. Alan Williams, and FL Commissioner Andrew Gillum attend IMPACT's annual “PREVIEW: A Red Carpet Affair” on September 21, 2012 at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C.

By Ebonie Johnson Cooper

Last week the Nation's capital celebrated the 42nd Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). On Friday September 21, while members of Congress hosted state soirees, IMPACT took time to honor the nation’s most influential emerging leaders at “PREVIEW: A Red Carpet Affair 2012.” Held at the St. Regis Hotel, PREVIEW recognized IMPACT’s 12 Leaders of the Month; young leaders who make significant positive contributions to their communities, both professionally and philanthropically. While all of the Leaders deserved recognition, through popular on-line voting, Founder/Editorial Director of Urban Cusp, Rahiel Tesfamarian won the IMPACT Leader of the Year Award.

The event opened with Sabrina Fulton, the mother of the slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin, along with her Attorneys Daryl Parks & Benjamin Crump. With more than 600 guests in attendance, PREVIEW was definitely the event to attend. Guests enjoyed a live musical performance, cocktails and an array of networking opportunities that included government agencies, non-profit organizations, and top international corporations. It was truly the affair to attend for any Emerging Leader!

IMPACT Director David Johns presents Editorial Director/Founder of Urban Cusp Rahiel Tesfamariam the IMPACT Leader of the Year Award.

IMPACT Leaders of the Month are honored for their excellence at “PREVIEW: A Red Carpet Affair 2012.”

In addition to PREVIEW, IMPACT hosted other events during CBCF ALC week that included an Emerging Leaders Town Hall and the Young Elected Officials Roundtable featuring young elected officials, policy professionals, and members of the Obama Administration.

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) 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

October 3rd Forum to Launch Leadership & Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement

Open Society Foundations, Root Cause, and PolicyLink partner to improve life outcomes for black men and boys

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement at the Open Society Foundations, has announced a $2 million dollar investment to launch the Leadership & Sustainability Institute for Black Male Achievement (LSI). Created in partnership with Root Cause and PolicyLink, the Institute will consist of a national membership network of organizations across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors that are committed to improving the life outcomes and creating systemic change for black men and boys.

“Black men and boys are challenged by entrenched and systemic problems in need of innovative solutions,” said Shawn Dove, manager of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. “Leaders working in the field of black male achievement have always grappled with a lack of funding, capacity, and momentum. With the strong network of leaders created and sustained by the LSI, we can now create the support system necessary to sustain effective programs and policies that will do much to improve the lives of black men and boys across the United States.”

As many organizations that serve black men and boys struggle with the challenge of sustaining their work, this is welcome news. PolicyLink will focus on strengthening and forming networks of organizations at the local, state, and national levels to coordinate on shared policy and field-building efforts that improve outcomes for black men and boys, and develop and disseminate communications content that builds momentum and positive narratives for the black male achievement field. Root Cause will manage a centralized portfolio of resources for LSI members to access high-quality, capacity-building services that help them sustain their work. In addition, Root Cause will lead a Black Male Achievement Social Innovation Accelerator to support cohorts of effective organizations to spread their work, demonstrate their impact, and become nationally recognized leaders.

The LSI will be formally launched on October 3 at the network’s first Innovation & Impact Forum that will showcase major initiatives and innovations in the black male achievement field, highlight practical research and tools, provide networking opportunities, and identify proven strategies that are working. Register to view the live stream here.  The forum will be hosted by Susan L. Taylor of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, and feature remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Geoffrey Canada of Harlem's Children's Zone, Earvin 'Magic' Johnson and Dr. Robert K. Ross of the The California Endowment.

Joining the Open Society Foundations in funding the LSI are The Skillman Foundation, The California Endowment, Knight Foundation, and the The Heinz Endowments, with an investment of over $1 million.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meet the President of United Way USA: Stacey D. Stewart

Alexandria, VA – United Way Worldwide has announced this week the appointment of Stacey D. Stewart as President of United Way USA – a newly created position that reflects the organization’s commitment to its U.S. network of more than 1,200 local members. Stewart’s appointment is effective October 15.

Stewart will drive the strategic direction for United Way U.S.A., working with leaders throughout the United Way network to drive community impact in the areas of education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality of life. She will also work to protect and enhance the organization’s brand and reputation.

“I am honored that Stacey will serve as U.S President and continue working to advance the United Way movement,” said Brian Gallagher, president and CEO, United Way Worldwide. “Her depth of expertise working across multiple sectors allows her to create real impact throughout the United Way network.”

Prior to this appointment, Stewart was Executive Vice President, Community Impact Leadership and Learning at United Way Worldwide. Before joining United Way, Stewart was with Fannie Mae where she was Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President for the Office of Community and Charitable Giving. Prior to that appointment, Stewart was President and Chief Executive Officer for the Fannie Mae Foundation.

“I am deeply honored to lead United Way U.S.A. and build on its rich history of strengthening communities. I look forward to working with United Way leaders across the country, as well as our partners worldwide, so that together we can create opportunities for a better life for all,” said Stewart.

In 2009, United Way of America joined with United Way International to create United Way Worldwide, the world’s largest private support charity, with more than 1,800 local organizations in 41 countries and territories. In 2011, the organization raised $5.14 billion ($3.927 billion in the U.S.).

Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan. She has won several notable professional honors and awards including the 2007 Leadership Award from the National Urban League; the 2006 Entrepreneurial Philanthropy Award from the Washington Area Women’s Foundation; and numerous honorary degrees including Texas Southern University, Alabama A&M and Trinity University in Washington, DC. She currently serves on several boards nationally and in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Mrs. Stewart is married to Jarvis C. Stewart, the Chairman and Managing Partner of Ian Reid, LLC a strategic advisory firm based in Washington, DC. The Stewarts have two children, Madeleine and Savannah.

Source: Press release

Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of the Roots to Host ‘Power Forward’ Charity Concert

Event at Newark Museum will raise funds for women and girls in the Greater Newark, NJ area

NEWARK, NJ – Co-founder of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) and lead MC of the Grammy-Award winning band The Roots, Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter, will join forces with New Jersey policymakers and citizens for a fundraiser and charity concert on October 6th called Power Forward, to raise funds for women’s and girls’ health at the Newark Museum.

Power Forward will bring together business professionals, Essex County city officials, activists, philanthropists, and residents of Newark, East Orange and Orange for a lively night of music and advocacy. The event will include dynamic performances from Black Thought of The Roots, along with Malene Younglao, Maya Azucena and Nneka Best.

Trotter is also bringing his hometown with him. Members of The Roots and Philadelphia Mayor Nutter are confirmed to be in attendance. Last year, GrassROOTS Community Foundation adopted Georgia King Village (GKV) in Newark as a community of strategic priority. GCF has been partnering with like-minded organizations and individuals to provide health and educational resources to the residents of GKV.

“Research shows that 47% of children are overweight or obese in Newark compared to the national average of 36%,” says Janice Johnson Dias, Ph.D., sociologist, co-founder and president of GCF. Because of these alarming numbers, GCF founders felt compelled to galvanize and motivate residents to do something about their health.

Trotter shared with BlackGivesBack, “For me GrassROOTS is unique because it’s not just another celebrity charity that functions as a tax break effort. I am connected to the operations of the foundation. GrassROOTS’ mission and work is real for me. I have a daughter and I want her and all girls to grow up to be healthy women. GrassROOTS is my investment in ensuring that future.”

Hosting the event is actress and renaissance woman, Amanda (Diva) Seales. The Power Forward event starts at 7:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, please visit

“We expect 300 folks to come out to the Newark Museum,” Trotter stated. “We know these are hard times, but we need the good people of NJ and NY to show some love for our women and girls who need us. All proceeds go to our three programs in the greater Newark area. Plus it's tax deductible.”

About GrassROOTS Community Foundation

The foundation is committed to contributing to the health and well-being of vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities. Merging the talents of socially conscious artists with those of a rigorous scientific research and creative team, GCF invests their energy into developing the capacity of community based organizations that offer educational and recreational services to disadvantaged women and girls. Among its programs are H.E.A.L., S.H.A.P.E. and Super Camp. For more information, please visit

Monday, September 24, 2012

Founders of Black History Month to Host 97th Annual ASALH Convention in Pittsburgh

Featuring Community Activist Shirley Sherrod, World-Renown Poet Sonia Sanchez, Civil Rights Champion Dr. Mary Frances Berry and Sweet Honey in the Rock Founder Bernice Johnson Reagon

PITTSBURGH, PA — The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), well-known for being the founders of Black History Month, will hold its annual convention on September 26-30, 2012 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Pittsburgh. The annual convention, now in its 97th year, brings together more than 900 leading scholars, historians and supporters of the study of African American life and history. This year’s theme, “Black Women in American Culture and History,” honors African American women and their impact on the African American community and the nation.  Pictured is poet Sonia Sanchez.

The 2012 Convention will feature a variety of events and sessions, including events that are free and open to the general public. Over 175 sessions on black history will be offered throughout the entire convention. An author’s book signing, including 50 authors, will take place on Thursday, September 27th, starting at 6 p.m. Plenary sessions include We need Your Hurricane Voices: A Discussion with Sonia Sanchez and Bernice Johnson Reagon on Thursday at 4 p.m., Mightier than the Sword: Conversations on the Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett on Friday at 5 p.m., and Changing the Odds for Others: The Legacy of Derrick Bell on Saturday at 4 p.m. Also on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Shirley Sherrod will be the keynote banquet speaker. There are several other opportunities to be a part of this great convention, including a poetry slam (an open mic evening for anyone interested), a youth day, several banquets and luncheons, black history tours of Pittsburgh, and a teacher’s workshop. A complete schedule of events is provided at

The convention kicks off on Wednesday night, September 26th with a reception and tour at the Heinz History Center in the historic Strip District at 6:45 p.m.

Participation in ASALH’s convention is open to non-ASALH members and many activities are not limited to conference registrants. Attend any of the free public events and sessions, sign up as a convention volunteer or have your own exhibit area, space is still available. Prices, exhibitor registration and advertising information can be found at  For more information on volunteer opportunities, go to

‘MANHOOD 101: Navigating Toward Success’ Empowers Male Minority Youth

LOS ANGELES – In an effort to educate and elevate high school-aged minority male youth, West Angeles Community Development Corporation (WACDC) has announced their newest initiative, Manhood 101: Navigating toward Success.

Tunua Thrash, Executive Director of WACDC believes that, “Many people quote the African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ but in times like these it takes an entire community to prepare a generation of young people. The future of our community rests in the dreams, ambitions, and actions of our youth.”

On Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the West Angeles Villas in Los Angeles, WACDC hosted Manhood 101, a youth empowerment conference aimed toward addressing the issues facing minority youth within their communities through empowerment and the cultivation of success in their lives. Young men were engaged in topics ranging from spirituality to health and wellness to cultivating academic success.

Guest industry power players included: Dr. Juan Carrillo, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Elder Ryan Sims, Youth and Young Adult Pastor of The Dwelling Place Church of God in Christ; Romal Tune, Founder and Executive Director of Faith for Change; and Dr. E. Emel, M.D., lead pediatrician of Kaiser Permanente. The event was sponsored by Walmart, Southern California Gas Company and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing California. Visit the website at

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bill Cosby, Roland Martin and Jalen Rose Join StudentsFi​rst Board of Directors

StudentsFirst Announces Diverse Board to Help Bring Ed Reform Message, Mission to Broad National Audience

Sacramento, Calif. - StudentsFirst has announced the appointment of a team of diverse and dynamic leaders to its board of directors. Each will help bring the StudentsFirst movement and its message, that all kids deserve a great education, to a wide-ranging audience.

Joining StudentsFirst founder and CEO Michelle Rhee on the board are: Connie Chung, award-winning television news journalist; Bill Cosby, comedian and educator; Jennifer M. Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of Franklin Resources Inc.; Roland Martin, award-winning journalist, host of Washington Watch and syndicated columnist; Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, current Executive Vice president, News Corporation and CEO of Amplify; Jalen Rose, former NBA star, current ESPN Analyst and Announcer, Charter School Founder; and Blair Taylor, Starbucks Chief Community Officer and former President of the Los Angeles Urban League.

“We at StudentsFirst are grateful that these talented and passionate leaders are joining our effort to build a grassroots movement that puts children’s interests at the center of decision making in our schools,” Rhee said. “This board is going to do so much to help us communicate our message to a broad and diverse group of people and will provide the counsel and energy needed to further expand our efforts nationally.”

Among the advocates joining the board of StudentsFirst is Bill Cosby, who announced the new board to StudentsFirst members. “I’ve long been an advocate for public schools and educational programs that have focused on the developmental needs of children,” Cosby said in an email to StudentsFirst members. “In fact, in 1976 I earned a doctorate in education – and my passion for education didn’t end when I received my diploma. I’ve been arguing that we need to make a greater commitment to education ever since.”

Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City public schools, pointed to the successes StudentsFirst has had in building a movement and advocating for common sense education reforms across the country.

“What I’ve learned from working to improve public schools is that you have to be willing to take on the toughest fights and stand on principal in order to make a difference, even if the sort of reforms you’re working for seem like they should be common sense,” said Klein. “In its first year and a half of work, StudentsFirst has taken on tough fights and made a real difference to help improve our nation’s schools, and I’m proud to be joining their work to fight for great schools and great teachers for every kid in America.”

About StudentsFirst:

StudentsFirst is a bipartisan grassroots movement of more than 1 million members nationwide, working to focus our education system on what's best for students. Today, too many of America's children are not getting the quality education they need and deserve. StudentsFirst is helping to change that with common sense reforms that help make sure all students have great schools and great teachers. The organization is working to ensure educators are valued for the critical role they play in kids’ lives, families have high-quality school choices and a real say in their child's education, and that tax dollars are spent wisely on what works for kids. Launched by former Washington D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee in December 2010, StudentsFirst has successfully helped pass more than 70 student-centered policies in 17 states, and the movement continues to grow.  Visit the website at

Source: Press release

The Insider: Sandra R. Smith, President, Foundation for the African Diaspora

By Valaida Fullwood
BlackGivesBack Contributor

Meet Sandra R. Smith, president of the Foundation for the African Diaspora (F4AD), a public charitable organization based in Columbus, Ohio. F4AD supports and promotes the educational and economic goals of people living in poverty. Much of its emphasis is on women and girls as a means to promote family stability and sustainability; however, it does not exclude programs targeting men and boys.

The aims of F4AD include supporting organizations that provide access to primary and secondary education for girls in the African Diaspora, including girls living in poverty or non-supportive environments and rural areas; promoting and providing education and information about the needs of poor and low-income women and girls in the African Diaspora; supporting organizations that provide access to education and technical skills training for nontraditional students, with an emphasis on single parents; and supporting organizations that provide economic empowerment programs for people living in poverty including entrepreneurial, micro-loan and micro-enterprise programs.

Read on for more information about Sandra—her background, her current work at F4AD and her lessons learned.

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Education:: B.A. Arts Education-Capital University; M.A. Arts Administration-The Ohio State University

Previous Positions: Senior Program Officer, The Columbus Foundation; President & CEO, Madame Walker Theatre Center (Indianapolis); Deputy Director, The King Arts Complex (Columbus)

Civic Involvement: Leadership Council, United Negro College Fund/Columbus

Tell us more about the mission and grantmaking of the Foundation for the African Diaspora.

F4AD is a nonprofit organization founded in Columbus, Ohio in 2009. F4AD’s mission is “to support, inform, and partner with Diaspora organizations that assist persons living in poverty across the African Diaspora achieve self-sustainability.” F4AD believes that if people are nurtured, well educated, and economically self-sufficient, they and their children will become self-reliant, contributing citizens of their communities and the global workforce.

What’s your response to people who question global giving, citing disparities and needs here at home in the United States?

I believe that we can support our needs here at home and support needs abroad, especially on the African continent. In many cases, a small amount can make a big difference on the continent.

Your foundation follows a “modified social venture philanthropy model.” What does that model look like? And what are your guiding principles?

We like to work closely with the organizations we support. We offer technical assistance if needed, and we invite our supporters to direct their funds where they feel it will do the most good. We focus on supporting and partnering with smaller community based organizations that are on the ground in the community making change. Many times these organizations benefit from both monetary and technical support.

How did you become involved in the field of philanthropy?

In my previous employment as a funder and in the nonprofit sector, I have seen how important philanthropy is to addressing needs in communities across the world. Secondly, I grew up in a household with a mom that was philanthropic in her activities without it being money. She constantly shared with other people, not understanding she was being philanthropic by sharing food, information, time, and in some cases our home with others.

What lessons have you learned that could benefit others interested in diaspora philanthropy?

That most of us are philanthropic even though we don't think of ourselves that way. We will say, "if I had the money, I would...." We can be philanthropic by working together for the things we want to change in our own communities. If we are not investing, we don't have a voice in what happens for our people. Our tagline is "helping the diaspora help itself." We have the means to work together and give together to make meaningful change. Sometimes it means just giving the cost of a pair of designer shoes, a month's gym membership, a tank of gas, and in mass we can make change for our own community.

Learn more about the Foundation for the African Diaspora at

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

Photo credits: F4AD and Art of Exposure Photography

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Forbes Showcases Multimedia from Historic and First-Ever Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy

"In terms of giving where you really want to make a sustainable change, that has to be thoughtful and strategic." -- Oprah Winfrey

Forbes 400 List of the wealthiest Americans to be announced on at 12 noon ET today

In June this year, Forbes brought together more than 150 influential entrepreneurs – from Warren Buffett and Oprah to Bill and Melinda Gates and Marc Benioff – for a private discussion about ways to help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems.

As part of the event, 12 of the greatest philanthropists were photographed for the cover of the Forbes 400 issue (pictured above), representing $126 billion in combined net worth: Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Pete Petersen, Leon Black, Jon Bon Jovi, Marc Benioff, David Rubenstein, Steve Case, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and Marc Andreessen. The Forbes 400 issue - on newsstands Sept 21 - will also detail the results of the summit. also tapped Thinglink, the largest interactive image network for business and consumers, to create a digital interactive infographic that showcases the philanthropists’ efforts through embedded audio, video and rich media.

Some of the videos available are: Why Give at All?: Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, Steve Case, and David Rubenstein (moderated by Randall Lane, Editor-in-Chief Forbes); Leveraging Fame: Steve Forbes and Bon Jovi; Investing in Women: Melinda Gates, Jacqueline Novogratz and Diane von Furstenberg (moderated by Denise Restauri, Forbes); and dinner talk on philanthropy with Bill Gates along with additional interviews from Donna Karan and Martha Stewart.

Visit and for the full series and multi-media assets, and while you're there, read the article: "The Education of Oprah Winfrey:  How She Saved Her South African School" here.

Source:  Forbes

Monday, September 17, 2012

Concerned Black Men National Partners with Urban Retailer DTLR on Mentoring Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC - Concerned Black Men National is excited to announce a partnership with DTLR, Inc. to support the CBM CARES® National Mentoring Initiative for the current school year. DTLR, based in Hanover, Maryland, owns and operates a chain of urban fashion stores in the Mid-Atlantic region that retails footwear, men’s apparel, music and accessories.

The CBM CARES® National Mentoring Initiative is a one-to-one and group mentoring program for middle school age African American boys. Presently operating in several cities across the country, the program uses mentoring as a catalyst to increase academic achievement and reduce gang and “crew” participation among young black boys prior to reaching high school.

CBM CARES® has invited DTLR and its employees to mentor a group of young men at Ideal Academy, a public charter school in the Nation’s Capital. Working with other CBM mentors, DTLR employees will visit with the young male students regularly, counsel them on various life issues such as personal responsibility and character, and accompany them and CBM staff on enrichment activities in this year-round mentoring effort.

CBM CARES® DC Program Manager Nate Giles has provided training to DTLR employees and other mentors prior to working with the boys. DTLR Community Outreach Manager Sherri Goodall, and District Manager Roderick Campbell, enjoys making a difference in the lives of boys who need special attention from supportive adults. “Our employees are excited about this partnership,” says Goodall. “CBM is serious about transforming lives, and so is DTLR.”

“We’re very pleased with this partnership and want to make it a model collaboration,” says George L. Garrow, Jr., Executive Director of Concerned Black Men National. “Our boys need caring and responsible men in their lives.”

The CBM CARES® National Mentoring Initiative is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Department of Justice. CBM CARES® program sites include Columbia, SC; Prince George’s County, MD; Richmond, VA; Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC. Additional cities are scheduled to be included within the coming months.

On Wednesday, September 19th from 8am to 4pm, CBM will host its 2nd Annual Fatherhood Summit in Washington, DC. The theme of the summit is “Responsible Fatherhood: No One Does It Alone - Partnerships, Collaborations, Community.”

This one-day forum will feature Dr. Patrick Richard of Johns Hopkins University, Lauren Hogan, Director of Public Policy of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) and George Garrow, Esq., Executive Director, CBM National. Panel discussions will include why fathers matter and how CBM and its partners help fathers become better parents. For more information and to register, visit

About CBM National

Concerned Black Men (CBM) was founded in 1975 when several Philadelphia police officers sponsored social events for kids at risk to gang violence. CBM’s vision was to fill the void of positive black male role models in many communities by providing mentors and programs that affirmed the care and discipline that all youth need, while providing opportunities for academic and career enrichment. While the vision of CBM’s founding members has expanded to include children and their parents nationwide, the philosophy of men offering themselves as positive role models to children has remained CBM’s mission for more than a quarter of a century.  Visit the website at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Academy Award-Winner Mo’Nique Serves as Honorary Chair of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 2012 Gala Benefit

Revelations Sung Live by Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Anika Noni Rose

Tickets for Gala Benefit and Entire Five-Week Season On Sale Now!

NEW YORK, NY – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will kick-off a five-week holiday season on November 28th with a star-studded gala benefit performance at New York City Center and party at the Hilton New York. Academy award-winning actress and comedienne Mo’Nique will serve as the evening’s Honorary Chair and Alvin Ailey’s timeless masterpiece Revelations will be sung live with special celebrity guests onstage.

“Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a cultural treasure that ignites your spirit each time you see them,” said Mo’Nique, the evening’s Honorary Chair. “I take my family to experience the Ailey company whenever I have the opportunity and I am looking forward to taking part in this special night.”

The evening begins with Minus 16, Ohad Naharin’s eclectic dance and musical excursion that delights audiences with improvisation and an invitation to join Ailey’s acclaimed dancers onstage. The inspiring finale of Revelations will be performed live on-stage by special guest musicians. Featured vocalists will include Tony Award-winning actors and singers Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Anika Noni Rose who will sing Fix Me, Jesus; I Wanna Be Ready and Sinner Man respectively.

The event’s co-chairs are Simin & Herb Allison, Kathryn & Kenneth Chenault, Daria L. Foster, Agnes & Gerald Hassell, Debra L. Lee and Joan & Sandy Weill. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit Ailey’s extensive educational programs, including scholarships for the performing artists of the future. For benefit tickets to the gala performance and dinner-dance in the Hilton New York Grand Ballroom, attended by prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy and politics, please call (212) 405-9031.

“Our opening night gala benefit is a one-night-only event that should not be missed, thanks to the electrifying audience favorites Minus 16 and Revelations, performed by a truly special combination of great musical and dance artists,” said Robert Battle, who last year became only the third Artistic Director in the Company’s 54-year history. “I can’t wait to see audiences at the opening and throughout the season experience all the treasures we will be sharing this December.”

Beloved as one of the world’s most popular dance companies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will continue to surprise and delight audiences through December 30th with premieres and new productions that add dynamic choreographic voices to the repertory and give Ailey’s extraordinary dancers more ways to inspire. Premieres and new productions include rising young choreographer Kyle Abraham’s Another Night, renowned European choreographer Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Tony Award-winning The Lion King choreographer Garth Fagan’s From Before, Artistic Director Robert Battle’s thrillingly intense duet Strange Humors, Ronald K. Brown’s landmark work Grace and Ailey Classics, a vibrant anthology of highlights from founder Alvin Ailey’s prolific 30-year career.

In addition to encore performances of Ohad Naharin’s unique and innovative Minus 16, premieres from Robert Battle’s celebrated 2011 inaugural season will appear in the repertory, including modern dance master Paul Taylor’s Arden Court and hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris’ soul-lifting Home. Mr. Ailey’s beloved Revelations, an American classic acclaimed as a must-see for all and recognized by a U.S. Senate resolution, will also be performed with live music on December 15th and 16th, and with an expanded cast of 50 dancers including members of Ailey II and The Ailey School, on Saturday and Sunday matinees through December 16th.

Tickets are now on sale! For a detailed schedule of the performances from November 28th through December 30th, or for tickets starting at $25, visit,, call CityTix (212-581-1212), or visit the New York City Center box office.

Opening Night Gala Benefit Sponsors: Simin & Herb Allison; American Express; BET Networks; BNY Mellon; Daria L. Foster; and Joan & Sandy Weill and The Weill Family Foundation.

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation acknowledges the following for the special support of the Opening Night Gala Benefit: Wells Fargo is the sponsor of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s season at New York City Center, and Diageo is providing the spirits for the Gala dinner-dance following the performance.

Related postYoung Professionals Launch Alvin Ailey Young Patrons Circle

Source:  Press release

Morgan State University Professor Seeks Black Male Youth for Research Study

Dr. Natasha C. Pratt-Harris, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, is recruiting eligible candidates for the research project, “Black Males, Falsely Accused as Juveniles and Charged As Adults.”

Dr. Pratt-Harris began to explore the “faulty” criminal charges of the black male juvenile in the early 1990s. Preparing a critique of a news story as an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Maryland (where she double majored in criminology/criminal justice), she noted that the picture of black male juveniles accused in a rape case graced the top-fold cover of a major newspaper. Weeks after the story, the charges were dropped. She began to explore the collateral consequences of the adult criminal conviction in assessments of employment opportunities for ex-offenders (her master’s thesis topic, University of Baltimore), and in a comparative study of Black male ex-inmates and Black male college graduates (subjects in her doctoral dissertation, Howard University).

The stories of Black males who live with adult criminal records began to envelope when assessing the expungement and pardon process. She learned of men who sought expungements or pardons because they have criminal records that they claim they should not have. Dr. Pratt-Harris has conducted research about ex-inmates in the past, utilizing several methodologies (surveys, interviews, and focus groups). She has also assessed the literature on the topic of adult criminal convictions, involving juveniles, and special topics related to the falsely accused. Dr. Pratt-Harris is on the planning committee for Maryland’s 2nd Annual Disproportionate Minority Contact Conference scheduled for Wednesday October 3, 2012 on the campus of Morgan State University. She invites readers of Black Gives Back to share the study announcement and/or complete the screening questions to confirm eligibility for the study. 

Visit here to view and complete the screening questions.

About the Study
In an era of  “the innocence movement,” there has been a push to exonerate those who were falsely accused of crimes, freeing them from prison based on DNA evidence. The Innocence Project (part of the “innocence movement”) has exonerated nearly 300 men and women to date (Innocence Project, 2012). Dr. Pratt-Harris' case study explores the experiences of Black males (25 years of age or older), who were charged as adults, while juveniles, for crimes they report they did not commit. These men fall outside of the radar of the “movement” – they are not currently incarcerated and may not have DNA evidence to help prove their claimed innocence. Through an examination of video footage, that will include interviews, court records, media accounts, and observations, the case study examines the lived experience of those who claim innocence after serving time in an adult prison and/or after an adult conviction, and it offers implications for action oriented research.

Monday, September 10, 2012

National Convening of Philanthropists to Focus on Strengthening Communities of Color

Members of the giving circle Birmingham Change Fund, host for the convening.

2012 Community Investment Network Conference to be held in Birmingham, AL

RALEIGH, NC— The Community Investment Network (CIN) announces its 2012 National Conference, titled “Philanthropic Renaissance: Illuminating Creative Expressions of Giving.” The conference takes place October 4-7, 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. The public is invited to participate in the full weekend of activities or a specific conference session. Registration information can be found at:

“The theme represents a renewed vision and understanding that when ordinary people pool their time, talent, and resources we can accomplish extra ordinary results,” says CIN Board Vice Chair Lyord Watson Jr. CIN, a nonprofit membership organization, encourages and supports people to collectively think, act and give strategically to drive social change in their communities.

This year marks the eighth CIN gathering where donor education and discussions of community-led philanthropy attract participants from across the country. The national conference draws seasoned donors as well as emerging philanthropists who are eager to share and gain deeper knowledge. Diverse and ever-evolving, conference presenters and attendees include leaders of giving circles, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, community groups, civic organizations and foundations.

CIN comprises 14 giving circles and is growing nationwide, in both urban centers and rural areas. Giving circles are a way for people to pool resources and invest time, talent and treasure to strengthen communities. Host of the upcoming conference is the giving circle, Birmingham Change Fund.

The 2012 conference promises an invigorating mix of fellowship and learning. Breakout and plenary sessions will delve into such topics as: Giving Circles 101, Social Entrepreneurship, Collective Giving and Democracy, Social Media and Community Change, Philanthropy in a Faith-based Context and more.

Keynote speakers for plenary sessions include: Carol Jenkins, an award-winning writer, producer and consultant on media issues, women and people of color. Jenkins is the granddaughter of A.G. Gaston, a Birmingham entrepreneur that became one of America’s early African-American multi-millionaires in the mid-20th century; and Barry Knight, a social scientist and adviser on evaluation and knowledge management for the Global Fund for Community Foundations.

For more information on the CIN 2012 National Conference visit: and follow updates on Twitter at @communitynetwrk and @cinconference.

NBA Veteran Rod Strickland Hosts Golf Event to Support Young Athletes, Inc.

By Akira Barclay
Contributor, BlackGivesBack NY

SCARBOROUGH, NY - On Tuesday, August 28th, 2012, South Bronx native and 17 year NBA veteran Rod Strickland hosted a special golf event at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club. Proceeds from the event supported the work of Young Athletes, Inc., a youth development organization co-founded by Strickland in 1997 that provides free out-of-school time programming to youth in the South Bronx Mott Haven community where Strickland grew up.

Steve Mills, CEO and Founding Partner of Athletes and Entertainers Wealth Management, was presented with a recognition award for his outstanding leadership and dedication to encouraging others to invest in creating a legacy that redefines wealth and giving back to the community. Supporters included: Ron Harper, five time NBA Champion; Maurice Dubois, CBS New York television anchor; Len Burnett and Brett Wright, Uptown Magazine co-founders and a host of others.

Young Athletes’ (YAI) mission is to help disadvantaged youth in New York avoid the detrimental influences of poverty and achieve their full potential. In collaboration with parents, schools, and other youth service organizations, Young Athletes accomplishes its mission by providing comprehensive out-of-school time programs highlighted by social service and athletic components during after school hours, weekends and summer months for children ages six to eighteen. YAI has had a profound effect in the South Bronx Mott Haven community servicing 700 youth in 2012. Student proficiency rates at their partner school, MS 223, has increased significantly on standardized exams where staffers work collaboratively with school faculty and the Columbia University School of Social Work to provide a comprehensive school age child care program that includes academic support, counseling, an exploration of the arts, STEM programming, recreational play and field trips for 200 school age children, ages 10 - 14.

Rod Strickland played youth basketball under the leadership of YAI Executive Director, LaMarre Dyson, and later joined with him to co-found Young Athletes Inc. in 1997. Mr. Strickland has been a benefactor of the organization since its inception and continues his involvement as a Board Member Emeritus. Mr. Strickland is currently an integral member of the Men's Collegiate Basketball Staff at the University of Kentucky. To obtain more information on Young Athletes, visit

In photo:  Steve Mills, CEO and Founding Partner of Athletes and Entertainers Wealth Management; Rod Strickland, NBA Veteran, Co-Founder, Young Athletes, Inc. and Ron Harper, NBA Veteran.

The Apollo Theater and BET Networks Presents “Vote Like Your Life Depends On It” Town Hall Forum

Panelists Reverend Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, Elinor Tatum, Keli Goff and James Braxton Peterson To Discuss Key 2012 Election Issues Affecting the African American Community

Event Launches New Apollo Uptown Hall Series

Harlem, NY – The Apollo Theater and BET Networks will partner to present "Vote Like Your Life Depends On It,” a FREE community town hall forum to be held at the legendary Apollo on Monday, September 17th at 7:30pm. The discussion will feature esteemed panelists focusing on issues impacting the presidential election, from Supreme Court nominations and health care to voter suppression tactics and access to education.

The event marks the launch of the Apollo’s new series - Apollo Uptown Hall - and is part of BET Network’s multi-platform “Vote Like Your Life Depends On It” initiative, designed to track every aspect of the elections process and inform the nation about the issues that matter most to the African-American community.

“Since its inception, the Apollo Theater has served as a “town hall” for local community residents as well as people from all across New York City,” said Jonelle Procope, President & CEO of the Apollo Theater. “Uptown Hall is a natural extension of the role we have always played, and creates a platform for us to more regularly engage the community in conversations that matter.”

Moderated by BET Networks star and host of the network’s new show DON’T SLEEP!, TJ Holmes, the panel will include: civil rights leader and television and radio host, Rev. Al Sharpton, author and academic Michael Eric Dyson, The New York Amsterdam News publisher Elinor Tatum, political analyst and author Keli Goff and James Braxton Peterson, Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. The New York Amsterdam News is the event’s community partner. Non-registered New Yorkers will be able to register to vote on-site. Those interested in attending can RSVP in advance at

About Apollo Uptown Hall: As one of upper Manhattan’s most active performance venues and working theaters, the Apollo preserves and promotes the cultural heritage of Harlem, showcasing a diverse array of performers and performance genres, and presents a series of education and community programs. The Apollo is also deeply committed to serving and enhancing the life of its community, serving as a cultural and economic anchor and providing a forum for meaningful discussion. The Apollo Uptown Hall series will feature innovative activities linking performing arts presentations activities and events that respond to critical global issues that have relevance to the Harlem community and that speak to a broader audience. The Theater plans to host additional 2012 election year related events under Uptown Hall that will be announced at a later date.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Emmy® Award-Winning Casting Director and Talent Executive Robi Reed Launches Reed For Hope Foundation

Robi Reed (center) with Kimberly Steward of The Kess Agency, event hosts Terrence J and Selita Ebanks, and C.O. Brown, Reed For Hope Foundation board member.

Annual end-of-summer celebration marked its 10th year with the launch of newly formed foundation

LOS ANGELES - Emmy®Award-winning casting director and talent executive Robi Reed held her legendary Labor Day weekend end-of-summer event, “Robi Reed’s 10th annual Sunshine Beyond Summer Celebration” - The Day Party With A Purpose, on Saturday, September 1, 2012 in the gardens of The Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles. As one of the most highly-coveted invites in the entertainment industry, Reed brought together a select, diverse group of about 400 influencers, ranging from Hollywood insiders and business executives to community leaders, close friends and associates for a fundraiser unlike any other.

The event was co-hosted by model Selita Ebanks, actor/host Terrence J (“Think Like A Man”) and actress/comedienne Kym Whitley (NBC’s “Animal Practice”). This year, Reed launched her non-profit organization, the Reed For Hope Foundation (RFHF), which aims to raise awareness, gather resources, and build alliances with other charities and organizations in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Actress/singer Keke Palmer and singer Sean Kingston were announced as the 2012-2013 RFHF Teen Awareness Initiative Ambassadors. Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice President for Walgreens and author of “A Chance In the World,” shared his new book with guests and announced a commitment to future support of RFHF and its programs.

In keeping with RFHF’s mission, Debra Fraser-Howze, Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs at OraSure Technologies, introduced their new product, OraQuick, the first FDA-approved, in-home rapid HIV test to an enthusiastic response from the attendees. Ms. Fraser-Howze also presented Reed with a limited-edition commemorative crystal as a special gift to acknowledge her ten years of raising funds and awareness for the HIV/AIDS cause with her annual event.

Robi Reed, Kym Whitley, Debra Fraser-Howze of OraSure Technologies, Donald Lancaster, Esq. (RFHF Board Member), and Phill Wilson

Musical performances were provided by Grammy® Award-nominated singer Ledisi, NBC’s “The Voice” contestant Jamar Rogers, and the band, The Phat Cat Players. Guests danced to the sounds of DJ Vince Adams. Celebrities and notables in attendance included Sherri Shepherd, Kimberly Elise, Affion Crockett, Niecy Nash, Yvette Nicole Brown, Vanessa Bell Calloway, John Singleton, Keisha Whitaker, Rahsaan Patterson, Thomas Jones, Datari Turner, Vanessa Williams, Wesley Jonathan, Keith Robinson, Rochelle Aytes, Eva Marcille, Sheldon Candis, Tanya Wright, Christian Keyes, Kita Williams, Rolonda Watts, Freda Payne, Jennifer Williams, Aaron D. Spears, Quinton Aaron, Bresha Webb, Norwood Young, Tanya Young Williams, and Destinee Hooker, among others.

Ledisi performs at the event.

Robi Reed, Ledisi, Vanessa Williams and Norwood Young

The charitable beneficiary of the 2012 Sunshine Beyond Summer (SBS) Celebration was the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), which was presented with a special donation check at the event. BAI has partnered with the South African Coin Exchange, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the Nobel Prize Foundation to raise funds to fight HIV/AIDS in the United States. Robi Reed was presented with a rare silver-plated Mandela coin and guests at the event were gifted with souvenir Mandela coins.

Ms. Reed honored the following individuals with the first-ever Sunshine Award for being a Beacon of Light in the Community: Phill Wilson (Black AIDS Institute), Debra Fraser-Howze (OraSure Technologies), Sonya Lockett (BET’s Rap-It-Up campaign), Jennifer Hopson (American Heart Association), Cynthia Carey-Grant (Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Disease), and the Honorable Judge Greg Mathis, an ardent supporter of Reed's annual event.

Jennifer Williams, Olympic volleyball player Destinee Hooker, Niecy Nash and Kita Williams

Datari Turner, Robi Reed and Wesley Jonathan

Tanya Young Williams, Rolonda Watts, Robi Reed and Vanessa Bell Calloway

John Singleton, Kimberly Elise, Destinee Hooker and C.O. Brown

“The Black AIDS Institute has been the charitable beneficiary of my annual end-of-summer event since the very beginning. Through the Reed For Hope Foundation, we are extending our fundraising campaign through September 15th and asking everyone to partner with us in charity, by donating at least one dollar to the campaign for the Black AIDS Institute. Together, we can make a difference,” said Reed.

The 2012 SBS Celebration was sponsored in part by The Kess Agency, OraSure Technologies (Donor of Distinction), and Nike. Honorary Host Committee members included Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Hosea Chanchez, Rushion McDonald, Chris Rock, Mara and Salim Akil, James DuBose, Tony and Vanessa Calloway, Pastor Toure Roberts, Bishop Noel Jones, Ben Crump, Dr. Jasper Brewster, and Bernard Bronner. Event ground transportation was provided by Wings Limousine Service.

For more information about the SBS Celebration, visit

About Robi Reed

Robi Reed is an Emmy Award-winning casting director and producer, and has been a leader amongst casting directors in the motion picture and television industry for over twenty years. With more than 50 films to her credit, her rise to success as a casting director began with the film School Daze, written and directed by Spike Lee. She went on to work with the writer-director on subsequent projects, including Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, and Clockers. She cast Denzel Washington's directorial debut, Antwone Fisher, and Oprah Winfrey’s acclaimed ABC television movie, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Her most recent successes in film include Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls and I Can Do Bad All By Myself. She is currently Vice President of Talent and Casting for Original Programming at BET Networks, where she oversees all scripted and reality shows for the network.

About The Reed For Hope Foundation

The Reed For Hope Foundation (RFHF) aims to raise awareness, gather resources, and build alliances with other charities and organizations in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. RFHF will also support women’s and children’s health initiatives. For more information, to get involved or make a donation to RFHF, visit

Photo Credit: Arnold Turner/The Reed For Hope Foundation

Essence Magazine’s Editor-At-Large Mikki Taylor to Host Charity Gala Benefiting Ugandan Orphaned Youth

DALLAS, TX— Mikki Taylor, Essence Magazine’s Editor-at-Large, will host the Humanitarian Hands Charities “What if…?” gala event October 13, 2012, at the Hotel Intercontinental Dallas, 15201 Dallas Parkway in Addison. The gala is the premier fundraising and awareness event for the organization, which sheds light on the issues surrounding Ugandan orphaned youth.

The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a V.I.P. reception and cocktail hour, followed by a dinner and silent auction featuring art work from Africa. Entertainment will be provided by Fort Worth’s award winning jazz artist Tatiana Mayfield & Band.

Proceeds from the fundraising gala event will benefit the Ray of Hope Children’s Home, which will be located in Fort Portal, Uganda. The Home will house a dormitory, library, clinic, school, recreational grounds, and career center for orphaned youth and the community.

Before the evening is over, two Ugandan students will be honored with scholarships for outstanding academic achievement.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online at or you can mail a check to the Humanitarian Hands Charities office, 9304 Forest Lane Suite South 125, Dallas, Texas 75243. Questions can be directed to (972) 331-6098. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

To learn more about the Ray of Hope Children’s Home, visit

About Humanitarian Hands Charities
Humanitarian Hands Charities is a 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 2006 by Ray and Mary Christopher in response to the growing number of orphans in Uganda. Based in Dallas, Texas, the organization empowers African youth to create a hopeful, sustainable future for themselves and their communities by providing housing, healthcare, quality education, and job skills training.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Foundation Veteran Tapped to Lead Northern Virginia Urban League

Promoting science and technology education tops the new CEO’s program priorities

ALEXANDRIA, VIA - The Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) has chosen Cynthia Dinkins to serve as its new President and CEO, effective September 4, 2012. Prior to this role, Dinkins served as a principal consultant with InnovationWorks, Inc., a technology and management firm. Dinkins led the company’s growth and infrastructure development in Washington, D.C., brokering key partnerships with high profile businesses, such as the Smithsonian Channel.

Prior to her position at InnovationWorks, Dinkins sat at the helm of several leading foundations, including the Sheila C. Johnson Foundation and the Washington Mystics Foundation, where she established multi-million dollar grant relationships with high-impact non-profits like CARE, VH1 Save the Music, the United Negro College Fund and the Christopher Reeves Foundation.

“In searching for a new CEO, we sought someone who can take our programming to the next level of impact and sustainability,” says Angela Moody, chair of NOVAUL’s board of directors. “Ms. Dinkins’ proven ability to build partnerships with the business and civic communities coupled with her day-to-day management experience and visionary leadership is what made her the right choice for this position, and we are thrilled to welcome her.”

Now in its 22nd year, NOVAUL provides education, youth development, economic empowerment, and health care services to African Americans and other underserved communities in Northern Virginia. As the new President and CEO, Dinkins will oversee the direction of NOVAUL’s programming and work extensively with partners in the corporate and civic sectors.

“I am both honored and humbled to be selected to serve as the next President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League,” says Dinkins. “I look forward to building upon and expanding the great work that NOVAUL already provides the Northern Virginia community.”

Atop Dinkins’ program priorities is raising NOVAUL’s profile as a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for African American and other minority youth. Over the past two years, NOVAUL has ramped up its STEM programming, which includes its after-school math and science academy.

“Succeeding in the 21st century economy requires knowing how to navigate the fast-changing world of technology and communications,” Dinkins says. “It is my goal to help NOVAUL become the leading voice to promote STEM learning among African Americans and other communities of color to ensure that our children are prepared to excel at the highest levels.”

For more information on NOVAUL, visit

Related postStudent Excellence Takes Center Stage at NOVAUL's Annual Scholarship Awards Dinner

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunset Party in the Hamptons Raises Funds to End Childhood Hunger

Christal M. Jackson, Melissa Otto, Fiona Wong, Mark Streeter, Nana Adae, Celeste Smith and Monique Hayward attend “Sunset Party in The Hamptons” last month benefiting the organization, Share Our Strength.

By Stacey Trammel
BlackGivesBack Contributor

WATER MILL, NY – Under gorgeous evening skies on Saturday, August 25th, “The Sunset Party in The Hamptons” fundraiser was held to support the nonprofit organization Share Our Strength.

The host committee, Nana Adae, Melissa Otto, Monique Hayward, Celeste Smith and Fiona Wong greeted guests into the night as they arrived to host committee member Melissa Otto's secluded lakefront residence. An estimated eighty attendees dined on hors d'oeuvres, drinks and dinner, and took in the breathtaking atmosphere and view.

Sponsors included CLSA, PartySWANK and musician Tomas Doncker, Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Pepsi, Rent the Runway, which provided the hosts designer gear from Halston Heritage, Calvin Klein and others to wear during the event, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Kwadwo Adae, a New Haven, CT based emerging artist whose pieces can be found in collections from Washington, DC to Miami, donated three vibrantly colored oil paintings from his “Kwadrilaterals”series for bidding.

Artist Kwadwo Adae (right) with his sister Nana Adae, who served on the host committee.

Host Melissa Otto and Christal M. Jackson of Share Our Strength addressed and thanked the crowd for helping to raise funds to end childhood hunger and ensuring that every child receives the nutrition needed to lead healthy, happy lives. The silent auction included original artwork by Artist Kwadwo Adae, Nirmala Narine cook book sets, a Marc Jacobs handbag from Saks Fifth Avenue, Molton Brown gift set, Therapie New York body care set, and a Tory Burch handbag. One lucky winner took home a $2000 gift card from Saks Fifth Avenue from a grand raffle drawing. A total of $5,000 was raised for the organization.  To view more photos from the event, visit here.

To learn more about Share Our Strength and the “No Kid Hungry Pledge,” visit

Photos by Stacey Trammel/Buzzology

JCPenney Supports Program Serving Black Males in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, CA - On August 26th, youth participating in Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM), an initiative in South Los Angeles created by the California Community Foundation (CCF), enjoyed back-to-school shopping with the support of JCPenney. The retailer donated $50 gift cards to 30 BLOOM youth to ensure they are dressed for success this school year.

BLOOM is a partnership between CCF, community-based organizations in South L.A., and a growing network of other supporters such as JCPenney that provide hope, education and employment opportunities for Black males between 14 to 18 years of age in Los Angeles who are or have been involved in the county probation system.

With gift cards in hand, the BLOOM youth excitedly searched through racks of clothes, shoes and accessories in the aisles of the JCPenney store at the Westfield Culver City mall.

“I feel good because tomorrow I’m going back to school with new clothes,“ said Sergio, a senior from South Los Angeles. “Where I’m from, we don’t have a lot of money for school clothes, so I am grateful for this opportunity” he continued.

For more information on BLOOM visit and “like” the BLOOM social media page at