Friday, December 28, 2012

Philanthropists and Luminaries Celebrate New York City Mission Society’s 200th Birthday

b. Michael, honorees Cicely Tyson and Kathryn Chenault; Kenneth Chenault, Mark Anthony and Cole Rumbaugh attend the NY Mission Society's Bicentennial Gala.   Photo by Margot Jordan

NEW YORK, NY – On December 12, 2012, New York society gathered at The Pierre to celebrate the New York City Mission Society with 200 years of uninterrupted service with a Bicentennial Gala.   The organization was founded in 1812, and is one of the oldest social service agencies in the city.  The New York City Mission Society helps children, youth and families in New York City’s poorest communities transcend the ills of poverty and create a cycle of success for generations to come.

The gala’s 2012 honorees were Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq., who received the public service award and legendary actress Cicely Tyson receiving the alumnus award.   Co-bicentennial honorees were Citibank, N.A. and City Hall.   The Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III and Dina Merrill Hartley served as honorary chairs.  Gala vice-chairs were The Honorable David N. Dinkins and Alexis E. Thomas, and gala chairs were Lloyd W. Brown, II, Alicia Bythewood, Stanley H. Rumbough and Jean Shafiroff.

Jonelle Procope, Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts and Yolanda Brown

Hon. David N. Dinkins and honoree Cicely Tyson

Alicia Bythewood, Lim Riley and Brie Bythewood

Star Jones, Charles and Karen Phillips and Carol Sutton Lewis (standing)

Alexis Thomas, Cicely Tyson, Hon. David N. Dinkins & Joyce Dinkins

The proceeds from the Bicentennial Gala will help to fund a $20 million capital campaign, a significant portion of which will go towards the renovation of Minisink Townhouse, New York City Mission Society’s flagship community center in Central Harlem.  These funds will also enable New York City Mission Society to continue to provide essential services in New York City’s impoverished communities. www.nycmissionsociety.org

Photo credit: Margot Jordan | International Photojournalist |646 226 6652

Thursday, December 27, 2012

6th Annual Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2012



The list is finally here!  The Top Ten Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2012.  These celebrities have harnessed their star power for good the past 365 days and beyond.   Once again, we've partnered with the Admiral Center, an initiative of Living Cities that helps celebrities use their resources and influence to develop sustainable and impactful solutions, to help us with the list.  Although it was a great year for celebrity philanthropy as you'll see below, there were some who experienced controversy that made the news.  As a result, we've incorporated new criteria and judges.  And, there's no ranking. All ten are gaining recognition for their giving alongside philanthropic veterans such as Oprah Winfrey.  They serve on boards, are major donors for their cause, and invest strategically, for long-term systemic change.  Let's get started with an introduction from the Admiral Center:

By Sherrie Deans, Executive Director
The Admiral Center

I can’t believe that it’s that time again- time to acknowledge our favorite celebrities for the amazing work they do in our communities. However, as recent events weigh heavy on all of our minds, I am sure that some of you may be wondering: “Why does this matter?”

“Is this really important?”

The answer lies in something that Paul Robeson said, “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth.” They are the ones that so eloquently express our deepest beliefs, fears, and hopes. They awaken our consciousness to injustice and inequity and when they are at their best they prompt us to take action.

I can’t help but think that we need these “gatekeepers” now more than ever. Whether its gun control, increased access to mental health services, dropout prevention, AIDS awareness, or homelessness, our world needs to hear the truth spoken more loudly and more often. Many of us are turning to our elected officials for the answers and that makes sense, but I am also looking to the leaders in Hollywood, on the gridiron and on the hardwood, as well. They have an important role to play, lifting up truth and ensuring that we don’t forget about our world’s most pressing issues and the real people that have fallen victim to our global apathy.

It is with that that we present you with this year’s Top Ten. Not because they are perfect, but because they are trying. Because they have and we hope will continue to lead in areas where leadership has been lacking.

We must admit we made some mistakes last year. But while some of our Top Ten fell short others went on to do even bigger things. To make sure we captured the best of the best this year, we opened nominations to the public and we called on an amazing group of judges: Akira Barclay, NY contributor, BlackGivesBack.com; Daphne Doyle Benbow, Director of Marketing and Special Events, Usher's New Look Foundation; Jodie Blum, Executive Director of GRAMMY U of the Grammy's/Recording Academy; Evelyn Burnett, Associate Director of Program Strategies, Admiral Center; Tracey Webb, founder, BlackGivesBack.com; and Jenny Goldstock-Wright, Principal, Wishbone Consulting Group. Together we looked at seven core principles to evaluate each celebrity’s philanthropy and its impact:

  • Philanthropy: How much has the celebrity donated from his/her own funds or hosted an event to raise funds?
  • Awareness: Has the celebrity brought significant awareness to an important cause?
  • Honors/Awards: Has the celebrity been honored recently for his/her philanthropic efforts?
  • Leverage: Has the celebrity leveraged sponsorships with a company or created a significant partnership to support his/her charity or to raise awareness of a cause? Have they integrated their philanthropic work into their brand?
  • Communications: Is the website up to date? Do they talk/advocate for their issue?
  • Social Media: Does the celebrity use their social media platform to affect change?
  • Knowledge: Does the celebrity demonstrate a deep understanding of the issue? Do they understand policy, support effective programs, participate and encourage partnership and collaboration in the field? Has the celebrity hired or consulted with a philanthropy expert to aid them in their giving?
Our holiday wish is that next year their feats will be even bigger and that it will be even harder to cut the list to 10, but let’s see who made the cut in 2012.

ALICIA KEYS
Grammy Award Winning Artist and Co-Founder, Keep A Child Alive



This singer/songwriter makes our list for the 5th time, for her efforts to provide treatment, love and support to those affected by HIV/AIDS through Keep A Child Alive.   On December 6, 2012 at the Apollo Theater in New York, Keys hosted her organization's annual Black Ball, raising 1.3 million and honored Oprah Winfrey for her humanitarian work.

She has shown through her philanthropic efforts a deep understanding of HIV/AIDS and ensures that her organization is led by a CEO who has an extensive background in public health.   This year, Keys was honored by Black Girls Rock and received a recognition from UN Social Innovation.

ALONZO AND TRACY MOURNING
Founders, Mourning Family Foundation


Alonzo and Tracy Mourning discuss diversity and personal experiences in philanthropy at the Council on Foundations' Family Philanthropy Conference, February 2012 in Miami.

This philanthropic couple makes our list for the third time, having raised $7 million for programs serving youth and families, most notably in Miami-Dade county.   Both are grantmakers and approach their giving with a thoughtful strategy, a clear mission and vision. Alonzo is the primary funder for Overtown Youth Center, a local afterschool center that provides education, enrichment and recreation activities, and Tracy is founder of Honey Shine Mentoring Program, which offers support and mentoring to Miami area girls.  Photo: COF

CHRIS PAUL
NBA Star and Founder, CP3 Afterschool Zone presented by Chase



NBA star Chris Paul has pledged a long-term personal and financial commitment to an area deep in need - New Orleans. As a former player with the New Orleans Hornets, he wanted to give back to a city that embraced him as a NBA rookie.  In a recent blog post, Paul shared, "Growing up, my parents made sure that my brother CJ and I were exposed to all kinds of activities that introduced us to new experiences, people, and skills. I wanted to be able to provide similar opportunities for the children of New Orleans."

As a result, he founded CP3 Afterschool Zone in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, who matched every $1 he donated and together invested $1 million for the program that provides learning, play and discovery during after school hours. This unique public-private partnership involves two local nonprofit organizations and is now in its third year. Paul also has a vision to support the expansion of this program for all kids.

JOHN LEGEND
Grammy Award Winning Artist and Founder, Show Me Campaign



Legend makes our list for the second time, as his board participation, usage of social media to support his causes, and systems change work in education makes him a standout in celebrity philanthropy.  Founder of the Show Me Campaign, the organization's mission is to break the cycle of poverty using solutions that have been proven to improve people’s lives.  He serves on the boards of Teach for America and Harlem Village Academies, and partners with a group of education reform organizations to fulfill his mission.

This month, the organization is sponsoring a holiday book give away to teachers nationwide, and this summer announced their 2012 Show Me Campaign Fellowship winners - students who have unpaid summer internships in the areas of international development and improving education in the United States.  Photo: Ralph Lauren

LEBRON JAMES
NBA Star and Founder, Lebron James Family Foundation



Lebron James is a donor of many organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Akron, Ohio, and leverages corporate partners to support his philanthropic focus areas, most notably with education and the drop out crisis.  James has also launched "I Promise," a network to inspire students, teams, and individuals across the country to commit to making a difference.   Learn more about the "I Promise" network and current projects of his foundation at www.lebronjamesfamilyfoundation.org.

STEVE HARVEY
Author, Radio/TV Host and Founder, Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation



Making our list for the second year, author, radio personality and talk-show host Steve Harvey continues his strong advocacy for mentoring through his Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. Every year, the foundation hosts mentoring weekends for young men in cities across the country, and recently partnered with the Open Society Foundation's Campaign for Black Male Achievement and Big Brothers Big Sisters to host mentor recruitment drives.The foundation also mentors young girls through the Girls Who Rule the World Weekend in Atlanta, led by his wife Marjorie Harvey.

Harvey also continues his support of youth through the Disney Dreamer's Academy in partnership with Essence magazine.

SUSAN L. TAYLOR
Founder and CEO, National Cares Mentoring Movement and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazine


In February 2012, Susan Taylor talks to staff at USDA to explain how existing federal programs and administration priorities can be leveraged with her organization, especially as it relates to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy, education and rural youth. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

In 2005, Taylor founded ESSENCE Cares, now known as National CARES Mentoring Movement to recruit caring adult mentors for youth.   Its goals are to increase high school graduation rates among African American students, end violence in Black communities, and the over-incarceration of our young.  National CARES has formed mentoring affiliate chapters throughout the country in cities such as Baltimore, Harlem, Oakland, Los Angeles, Newark, NJ and Atlanta.   Taylor is an arts patron also, supporting organizations such as Evidence, A Dance Company.

TUTAN REYES
Retired NFL Player and Founder, Beyond the Boroughs



In past years, Tutan Reyes has raised $500,000 for scholarships as the founder of Beyond the Boroughs, a national scholarship fund. Tutan partners with businesses, athletes and wealthy individuals, such as fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, to offer named scholarships sponsored through the foundation.  He often speaks at financial conferences, scholarship organization convenings, at colleges and on the radio about the need for scholarships for students with a college acceptance letter demonstrating an unmet financial need.  New to our list this year, Tutan's philanthropic investment has lasted well past his active career and has helped numerous students complete their education.  

Wil.i.am
Grammy Award Winning Artist and Founder, I.am.angel Foundation



Best known as a lead singer of the group Black Eyed Peas, Wil.i.am is lending his celebrity in support of increasing interest in STEM among youth as the founder of the I.am.angel Foundation, created to "transform communities by addressing modern-day challenges including; housing foreclosures, unemployment, lack of funding and access to quality education, and an increasingly competitive marketplace."

In October, the foundation announced the opening of the Chase Homeownership Center in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, Wil.i.am's hometown, in partnership with JP Morgan Chase.  And in August, the singer celebrated a milestone as the first artist to have their song broadcast back to earth from Mars. At the song's premiere event, Wil.i.am announced his foundation's partnership with Discovery Education to bring science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to K-12 classrooms around the country.

WILL AND JADA PINKETT SMITH
Actors and Founders, Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation



This grantmaking couple has a long history of philanthropic giving, donating thousands to the Lupus Foundation, Make A Wish Foundation, supporting clean water efforts in Ethiopia, and donating $1 million to Jada's alma mater, the Baltimore School for the Arts.  As grantmakers, they established a fund at Associated Black Charities of Maryland, supporting local initiatives in Baltimore.   This year, the couple and their children spoke out against human trafficking by testifying before the Senate. Jada stated, "Fighting slavery doesn't cost a lot of money. The costs of allowing it to exist in our nation and abroad are much higher. It robs us of the thing we value most, our freedom."


HONORABLE MENTIONS
ONES TO WATCH

SERENA WILLIAMS
Co Founder, Driving Force Giving Circle



Serena is co-founder of Driving Force Giving Circle that helps up the ante of how celebrities give. The organization was created with hip hop artist/actor Common and James Anderson of the Carolina Panthers.   Serena is also an initial donor to Huddle Up, a new initiative for minority male achievement and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Asia.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Founder, Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation



Soledad O'Brien (center) with scholarship recipients at the inaugural "New Orleans in the Hamptons" fundraiser hosted by the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation on August 12, 2011 in Bridgehampton, New York.  Photo:  Michael Barclay

In addition to her career as an award-winning television journalist, O'Brien and husband Brad Raymond quietly put girls through college for years after Hurricane Katrina before publicly launching their foundation in 2011. O’Brien serves as a speaker and host for numerous fundraising events, uses her social media platform to promote her philanthropic activities, and calls on celebrity friends to support her foundation.

VENUS WILLIAMS
Spokesperson for CARE



On a trip to Nigeria and South Africa this year, Venus along with her sister Serena raised $160,000 and were honored as women who broke the glass ceiling for Breaking the Mould, a new campaign to catalyze, acknowledge and reward South African women who have risen above challenges and adversities. Venus has also served as a spokesperson in Kenya partnering with CARE and Proctor and Gamble, pictured above.

Congratulations to all the celebrities! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

“A Celebration of Black Philanthropy” in Washington, D.C.


Judy Ford, Sunrise Consulting; Tracey Webb, founder, The Black Benefactors and BlackGivesBack.com; Edward Jones, Council on Foundations and Black Philanthropic Alliance (BPA) Board Chair; Miyesha Chappell, Cafritz Foundation; and Thelma Jones, BPA and Black Benefactors Founding Member at the "Celebration of Black Philanthropy" holiday happy hour and anniversary event on Thursday, December 6, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Event Commemorated 5th Anniversary of The Black Benefactors and 10th Anniversary of the Black Philanthropic Alliance

WASHINGTON, DC - On Thursday, December 6th, guests gathered to celebrate the anniversaries of two groups that promote and strengthen black philanthropy in the nation’s capital –The Black Benefactors and the Black Philanthropic Alliance. The event was held at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center, the former home of the first full service YMCA for African Americans in the nation.

The Black Philanthropic Alliance is a network of professionals in philanthropy and nonprofits who identify, manage and influence investments and resources to strengthen and connect the Black community in the Washington, DC region; and hosts The Black Benefactors, a local giving circle that provides grants and in-kind support to organizations serving the African American community. 


BPA Members: Edward Jones, Miyesha Chappell, Kensei Phillips, Natasha Kearns, Thelma Jones and Glen O’Gilvie, BPA Vice-Chair 

Thelma Jones and Ebonie Johnson Cooper, FriendsofEbonie.com  

Among the guests included local foundation and nonprofit executives, community leaders and members of both organizations, who enjoyed appetizers, wine and live festive songs provided by musician Saleem Waters.   During the program portion, grantees and members who received support from both organizations spoke about the importance of their work.   Michael Bobbitt, artistic director of Adventure Theater, spoke about the grant received from The Black Benefactors in support of their African American Adventures series – productions based on popular black children’s books.   Dwight Deneal, board chair of African Continuum Theatre shared about his involvement with BPA’s board match program, which prepared him for board service in the community.   Speakers also included Darryl Lester, founder of Community Investment Network (CIN) and Hindsight Consulting, and Kenny Ashe, board member for CIN.

Darryl Lester speaks to guests about his groundbreaking work with giving circles.


The Black Benefactors

Sponsors for the event were Thurgood Marshall Center, Imagine Photography and NWA Events. Employees from the World Bank Group-IMF African American Association served as volunteers.  Photos from the event can be viewed here.

For more information on the Black Philanthropic Alliance, visit www.blackphilanthropicalliance.org and The Black Benefactors, visit www.blackbenefactors.org.  

Photo credit: Kea Taylor/Imagine Photography

Monday, December 17, 2012

Museum of Modern Art Hosts 2012 Jazz Interlude Honoring Spike Lee and Mera & Donald Rubell

Tonya Lewis Lee, Honorary Co-Chair; Sherry Bronfman, Event Chair; Honoree Spike Lee and his children, Satchel and Jackson Lee

Biennial Benefit Event Presented by MoMA’s Friends of Education

New York, NY — The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) 2012 Jazz Interlude, a benefit gala dinner and live music performance, honored artist and filmmaker Spike Lee, and philanthropists Mera & Donald Rubell on December 12, 2012.  The black-tie benefit included an elegant cocktail reception in the Museum, followed by a seated dinner and live performance by jazz musician Terence Blanchard, whose work has been featured in Spike Lee films such as 25th Hour (2002), When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006), and Miracle at St. Anna (2008).  The event concluded with an after-party and performance by jazz artist Jason Moran and the Bandwagon featuring Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits, with special guest Ravi Coltrane.  The evening’s music was produced by George Wein and Jason Moran.

The 2012 Jazz Interlude event chair was Sherry B. Bronfman, who was joined by co-chairs Eboni S. Gates and Noel Hankin.  Honorary co-chairs were Agnes Gund, Tonya Lewis Lee, and David Rockefeller, Jr.  Among the guests were Rosie Perez, Adrian Grenier, Roland & Lois Betts, Ben Bronfman, Hannah Bronfman, Thelma Golden, Kalup Linzy, Ariana Rockefeller, Mickalene Thomas and Michael D. Woodson.  Past honorees of the benefit have included Elizabeth Catlett, Roland and Lois Betts, Agnes Gund, David Rockefeller Jr., George Wein, Dorothy Cullman, and Camille Cosby.

Eboni S. Gates, Eric Barkley, The Friends of Education Co-Chair, Sherry Bronfman, Noel Hankin

Thelma Golden, Kim Hastreiter, Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, MoMA

The event was organized by The Friends of Education, a MoMA affiliate group dedicated to raising public awareness of African American artists, supporting the Museum’s education initiatives, and encouraging the participation of African Americans at MoMA.  All proceeds from Jazz Interlude benefited The Friends of Education Fund, which enables the Museum to acquire important works by African American artists, to increase its outreach to the African American community, and to support the Museum’s extensive educational programming.

Spike Lee is among the best known and most honored African American feature and documentary filmmakers of the past 30 years.  Lee's work covers a broad range, from the socially relevant to biographical and from comedy to crime-drama.  Lee’s most recent documentary Bad 25 celebrates the success of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album, and he is currently in production on a remake of the popular Korean film Oldboy.  A number of his films are included within MoMA’s vast film collection: School Daze (1988), Do the Right Thing (1989), and Get on the Bus (1996).  Lee’s student film, Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, was also included in New Directors/News Films in 1982, the annual film festival co-organized by MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Mera and Don Rubell are well-known as longstanding champions of young artists.  The Rubell Family Collection, which first opened to the public in 1993, contains over 6,000 works of art by prominent contemporary artists including, Robert Colescott, Damien Hirst, Paul McCarthy, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Takashi Murakami, Cindy Sherman, and Kara Walker.  The artwork is displayed in thematic exhibitions that often travel to museums worldwide.  Most notably, the Rubells demonstrated their commitment to African American artists through 30 Americans (2008–13), a traveling exhibition that highlights their collection of 30 significant African American artists who have been working over the last three decades.  

Honorees Mera & Donald Rubell; Lois & Roland Betts

Michael D. Woodson, Spike Lee and Guest

Adrian Grenier, Rosie Perez, Spencer Means

Sherry Bronfman, Spike Lee and Eric Barkley

For more information on MoMA and The Friends of Education, visit www.moma.org

Source: Press release/Photos: MoMA

BlackGivesBack Featured on The Root Live: "The Dividends of Generosity"



Thank you to TheRoot.com for featuring BlackGivesBack.com on its premiere episode of The Root Live, a new weekly livestream that brings advice by successful achievers via a moderated Q&A session, hosted by life stylist and author Harriette Cole.   Produced in a Google hangout-style format, the series offers advice and time-tested tricks to overcome financial hardship and strengthen fiscal strength.

The premiere episode, "The Dividends of Generosity," aired on Monday, December 10th that featured BlackGivesBack's Tracey Webb and Morgan Stanley's Michael Braithwaite, who hosts the radio show Money Talks, to talk about black philanthropy and the ins and outs of charitable giving.

View the episode here.

Future episodes will feature well-known experts who will answer questions and guide viewers on a variety of financial topics, including entrepreneurship, college savings, career changes, investments and more. Viewers can also interact with one another and participate with The Root Live guests through a live chat and on Twitter (#therootlive).

Tune in to TheRoot.com each Monday at noon for a new episode. Webcasts will then be archived and posted on The Root, sponsored by Prudential.




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Charmaine Chapman Society Celebrates Record $2.2M for United Way of Greater St. Louis

Deborah Patterson of Monsanto Fund, Orvin Kimbrough of United Way and Maxine Birdsong of Ladue School District celebrate at a thank you event for the 2012 African American–Charmaine Chapman Society Cabinet for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS, MO - Via The St. Louis American:  On December 5th, more than 200 United Way members celebrated the Charmaine Chapman Society’s record breaking 2.2 million raised for the United Way of Greater St. Louis.   The Society is number one in the nation for the highest number of philanthropic donations by African Americans to an annual United Way campaign.   Among the companies and its employees that donated included World Wide Technology, Inc., Edward Jones, Wells Fargo and UPS.  

The Charmaine Chapman Society was founded by Donald M. Suggs, publisher and executive editor of The St. Louis American in 1994, and is named after the first African American and the first woman to lead the regional United Way.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Metro-Manhattan (NY) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated Honors JP Morgan Chase at Ninth Biennial Gala



NEW YORK, NY - On Sunday, December 9th, distinguished guests from New York City’s arts and entertainment, financial and political sectors attended the Metro-Manhattan (NY) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated's ninth biennial gala, Realizing the Dream: Celebrating Excellence in Education and Leadership at Cipriani 42nd Street.  The biennial gala honored JP Morgan Chase with the 2012 Corporate Award for its commitment to making a positive difference in the communities where it operates.  In the photo, Kim Jasmin accepts an award on behalf of JP Morgan Chase from LaShann Dearcy Hall (right), Gala Dinner Chair.

The gala supported the chapter’s hands-on programs and initiatives to prepare students for college-readiness, reduce health disparities, advance arts education and build leadership in the Greater Harlem community.

“The Metro-Manhattan (NY) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated Chapter is pleased to honor JP Morgan Chase with the 2012 Corporate Award for their philanthropic efforts," said Inez N. Richardson, president of the chapter.  “The firm’s philanthropic investments are directed toward three centers of excellence: community development, education and arts and culture.  These investments are closely aligned with the mission of our parent organization The Links, Incorporated and our chapter’s programs in serving the Harlem community.  We salute JP Morgan Chase for their efforts to make a lasting impact in underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world.”

Inez N. Richardson served as the Gala Honorary Chair and LeShann DeArcy Hall served as Gala Dinner Chair.  The Honorary Committee included Monica Azare Davenport, Kimberly Davis, Hazel N. Dukes, Caroline Taylor Ellerson, Toni Fay, Carla Harris, Brenda Neal, Chrystie B. Price and Danyale Price. Guests bid on silent auction items ranging from Broadway tickets, museum memberships to in-home gourmet catering.

Gala attendees included Rep. Charles Rangel; Rev. Al Sharpton, activist and MSNBC contributor; Darryl C. Towns, CEO, NYS Homes and Community Renewal; Rosalyn Brock, NAACP Chairman of the Board; Earl Graves, Sr., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine; George Faison, Tony Award winning choreographer and former Alvin Ailey dancer; Kathleen Battle, world-renown opera singer; Brenda Blackmon, anchor of WWOR-TV; B. Smith, restaurateur and lifestyle expert; b Michael, fashion designer; and Rev. Franklyn Richardson, Sr. Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, among other guests.

ABOUT THE LINKS, INCORPORATED: The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946.  The membership consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 276 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.  Working closely with partners, sponsors and supporters, The Links, Incorporated is focused on creating transformational programming and impacting lives in communities of color.  It is actively engaged throughout the country, providing both guidance and hands-on service to critically deserving individuals.

ABOUT THE METRO-MANHATTAN (NY) CHAPTER OF THE LINKS, INCORPORATED: The Metro-Manhattan (NY) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated continues the great mission of its parent organization through a variety of unique initiatives, programs and grants that focus on five areas: Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services and Health and Human Services.

Hazel Dukes and Inez Richardson; Candice Cook, Len Burnett, Cheryl Joyner

Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Charles Rangel, and Rev. Franklyn Richardson

For more information, please visit http://www.metromanhattanlinksinc.org.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Dance Institute of Washington Celebrates 25 Years

Honorees Reginald Van Lee and Arthur Mitchell with Fabian Barnes, founder and artistic director of Dance Institute of Washington at the 25th Anniversary Gala in Washington, DC.

Gala at French Embassy Celebrates "25 Years, 25 Lives"

WASHINGTON, DC - In celebration of The Dance Institute of Washington's (DIW) 25th Anniversary, community leaders, sponsors and students gathered to celebrate "25 Years, 25 Lives" at the Embassy of France on November 29, 2012.  For 25 years, DIW has provided performing arts education to underserved communities with the mission to give every child and teen the opportunity for a brighter future, enriched by dance.  DIW was founded in 1987 by Fabian Barnes, a former soloist dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Hosted by WUSA9 Anchor JC Hayward, the gala celebrated Arthur Mitchell, Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, The Dance Theatre of Harlem with the Visionary Artist of Honor Award, and Reginald Van Lee, Executive Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton with the Philanthropic Leader of Honor Award.   Also in attendance were DIW alumni, dance students and the Positive Directions Through Dance Program Youth.   In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama honored the Positive Directions Through Dance Program with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

Virginia Johnson, artistic director, Dance Theatre of Harlem (center) with event guests.



For more information on the Dance Institute of Washington, visit www.danceinstitute.org.

TheRoot.com Launches “The Root Live,” A New Webcast Series


BlackGivesBack featured on premiere episode, "The Dividends of Generosity"

TheRoot.com is launching a new 10-week lunchtime live webcast that brings advice by successful achievers via a moderated Q&A session called The Root Live. Hosted by life stylist and author Harriette Cole, and produced in a Google hangout-style format, the series offers advice and time-tested tricks to overcome financial hardship and strengthen fiscal strength.

Themed "Your New Beginning," the series will feature well-known experts who will be on hand to answer questions and guide viewers on a variety of financial topics, including entrepreneurship, college savings, career changes, investments and more. Viewers can also interact with one another and participate with The Root Live guests through a live chat and on Twitter.

Tune in to The Root Live today at noon for the first episode in the series, "The Dividends of Generosity," featuring BlackGivesBack! Discover helpful tips on how to give wisely this holiday season. And stay tuned to The Root Live each Monday for a new episode. Webcasts will then be archived and posted on The Root, sponsored by Prudential.

Learn more at TheRoot.com here and view the video here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Classical Concert Pianist Jade Simmons to Headline Children's Fundraiser


Jade Simmons is one of the world’s few and most accomplished African American female concert pianists.   As first runner up in the 2000 Miss America pageant, she performed Chopin’s Etude in C-sharp minor, Op. 10, No. 4, before a live television audience of millions. Jade has toured the U.S. extensively, appearing as a concerto soloist with the Dallas Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta at Chicago’s Symphony Hall, and ended 2011 with a performance at the White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Obama.  In light of these accomplishments, Ebony magazine named Jade as one of their Top 30 Leaders under 30, and Essence magazine recently featured her in its October 2012 issue as part of their first annual Style & Substance Awards, which highlights women who have expanded the definition of beauty and achievement.

Jade will bring her talents to inspire and amaze a sold-out audience on Monday, February 25, 2013 at The 22nd Annual Jo Covelli Fashion Show and Luncheon in Stuart, Florida to benefit the Hibiscus Children’s Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency located on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  In addition to the support provided by Mr. & Mrs. Albert and Jo Covelli as Grand Benefactors, this lovely February afternoon affair has received leadership support from Mr. David L. Smythe, Mr. & Mrs. Frank and Maureen Zappala, and an anonymous friend of the center.  Thanks to the caring members of their global community, abused, abandoned and neglected children will benefit from the life-changing services provided by Hibiscus Children’s Center.

An artist with a social conscience that moves her to action, Ms. Simmons serves as an advocate for America’s youth who are in crisis.  “I applaud and support Hibiscus Children’s Center.  In partnership with its caring and generous community members, the needs of abused, abandoned, and neglected children from across the state of Florida are not only met . . . children are given an opportunity to soar,” states Ms. Simmons.

Ms. Simmons’ partnership with Hibiscus Children’s Center is a testament to her dedication and concern for children who have experienced the trauma of abuse in their young lives.  She will share her passion and love for music with the esteemed guests gathered at the prestigious Sailfish Point Country Club where this major fundraiser is held each year.

Hibiscus Children’s Center is deeply grateful to Ms. Simmons for being a part of this important and impactful event.  She has been praised for her innovative, enthusiastic and energetic musical talents, but there is no doubt, she deserves accolades for her commitment to helping the youth in our local and national communities.

For more information about Ms. Simmons, please visit http://www.jademedia.org/.  To learn more about how you can help abused, abandoned and neglected children have a brighter future, please visit http://www.hibiscuschildrenscenter.org/.