Monday, September 30, 2013

Thurgood Marshall College Fund to Host 25th Annual Gala, “Developing Minds…Delivering Dreams”

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Among the guests at the 2011 gala included Cuba Gooding, Jr. (left) and honoree Russell Simmons (2nd from right) with TMCF President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. (far right)

Event moves to nation’s capital with host Bill Cosby

WASHINGTON, DC – This Veteran’s Day on Monday, November 11th will have special meaning for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).  The organization will gather congressional members, international dignitaries, corporate and educational leaders and celebrity “A-Listers” at the Hilton Washington for its 25th annual gala to celebrate the achievements of visionaries who have used their status to positively impact the lives of students attending public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The black-tie gala will be hosted by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor, Dr. Bill Cosby and feature a performance by Tony and Grammy Award-winning entertainer, Jennifer Holliday.

The gala will begin at 6pm with a cocktail reception and silent auction/raffle followed by a dinner program at 7:15pm.  For the first time ever, Congressional members will serve as the Gala’s bi-partisan honorary host committee; and the gala will honor three award recipients: Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The ACT•1 Group with the CEO of the Year Award; Johnson & Johnson will be presented with the Corporate Leadership Award; Larry Waters, Senior Director of Community Commerce and Partnerships at Miller Coors will be presented with the Community Leader of the Year Award; and Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D., President, Chicago State University will receive the Educational Leadership Award.

The gala is being held at a critical time as thousands of HBCU students have had to leave school in recent years due to financial challenges.  “This year’s 25th Gala is perhaps our most important ever because of the unprecedented challenges facing students attending HBCUs.  The college access battle is no longer a legal one; it is a purely financial one,” stated TMCF’s President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

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TMCF students attend the 2011 gala in NYC

To shed more light on the issue, Taylor spoke with BlackGivesBack and shared the importance of supporting the gala:  “I’m calling on individuals, churches, local businesses, fraternities, sororities and social groups to purchase tickets, or buy a table that will provide a scholarship for a student.  The average cost per year for an HBCU student is $6,200.  Buying a table can provide a student with a year of tuition.  Last year 14,616 HBCU students were affected by eligibility changes in the Parent PLUS loan program and were forced to leave school – many of them were seniors.”  He stated that enrollment is down at many HBCUs largely due to affordability. Proceeds from the event will enable TMCF to continue its work as a critical link between students getting the most from their education and the opportunity to become part of a new generation of global leaders.  Taylor also would like the annual event to be among the top go-to galas in Washington, DC. “Buy a table, save a scholar – you’ll have a great time!”

Visit the gala website for more information, to purchase tickets or buy a table.

About TMCF

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice.  Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools.  The Gala is also the culminating event of TMCF’s 13th Annual Leadership Institute being held November 8–11, 2013 where over 60 Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, as well as 500 selected HBCU students will be in attendance.

TMCF has proudly made Washington, DC its new flagship home, moving the corporate office from New York City.  Moving the office and the largest fundraising event of the year to DC will better position TMCF as the place WHERE EDUCATION PAYS OFF®. ThurgoodMarshallCollegeFund.org



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fellows Program Preps Graduate Students of Color for Success in the Social Sector

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Corey Blay, a Management Leadership for Tomorrow Fellow

Corey Blay is a future leader in the social sector. In 2014, the former teacher will graduate from a pilot MBA/MPA degree program at NYU with the goal of opening a middle school for boys of color in Harlem. He is just one of the many success stories of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a nonprofit focused on equipping high-potential minorities with the critical skills, coaching and mentoring and access to opportunities to help them unlock their potential as leaders.

The organization cites that although 30% of the nation’s population is comprised of African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, they only make up 3% of senior leadership in corporations, nonprofits and entrepreneurial ventures – resulting in a leadership pipeline crisis.  John Rice, MLT’s founder and CEO stated, “As I began to explore this problem, I came to understand that there were a number of significant gaps in the way minorities were navigating their career paths.  I started MLT to help ambitious young people of color who wanted to go out and accomplish big things. I wanted to give them a very clear understanding of the bar of excellence at the best organizations, as well as a road map for how to succeed once they were there. I wanted to help them understand how they needed to approach their careers, based on how people at the top got there. MLT formalizes the instruction and delivery of the ingredients every senior leader says are key: coaching, mentoring, door-opening relationships and the hard and soft skills not necessarily taught in graduate school.”

To date MLT has benefited more than 3,000 participants, known as MLT Fellows.  Its alumni are the leading source of minority students for the nation’s premier MBA programs (40% of the minority students at Harvard Business School, Kellogg, and Wharton are MLT alumni) and are the #1 source of minority talent for many of the nation’s leading blue-chip employers.  In addition, MLT has been featured on the cover of Fortune; on CNN’s “Black in America 2: Tomorrow’s Leaders;”and Forbes recently named John Rice as one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs in the world.

In 2011, MLT created the Social Sector Talent Initiative in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and Stern School of Business, designed to expand the diverse leadership pipeline for the social sector (non-profits, foundations, social entrepreneurship organizations and government). Rafael López, associate director of talent and leadership development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation shared about the partnership, “We went to MLT specifically because they are leveraging their private sector success in growing the social sector pipeline. They are testing their ideas about how to expand the pipeline, just as we are testing ours. This partnership was meant to be.”

Corey was the first Fellow to enroll in the Initiative’s dual degree MBA/MPA program at NYU to help him prepare for a career in the social sector.  Prior to enrolling, he was declined from two top MBA programs and wasn’t sure what to do next.  Today, Corey credits MLT with his career path: “Now I have a deep leadership team for my project, a network of support and this new school really has legs… I could still be a teacher somewhere, struggling with entrenched problems, but instead I’m on the cusp of building something new that could become an institution in Harlem and even in other parts of the country.”

Read on to learn more about Corey’s goal of opening a middle school for boys and his experience in the MLT Social Sector Talent Initiative.

Please share about your vision of creating Brotherhood Prep, a new middle school for boys in Harlem. What’s your progress to date?

Black and Latino males have the lowest graduation rates in New York City and are more likely than their white peers to be suspended or expelled from school, underemployed, and incarcerated.  Brotherhood Prep intends to partner with families and organizations throughout Northern Manhattan and change the life trajectory of boys of color by focusing on their individual academic needs, developing their socio-emotional skills, cultivating meaningful and supportive ties with other young men, and preparing them for immediate success in New York City’s top private high schools.  Over the past year, we’ve completed the business plan, reached the semifinalist round in the Yale Social Venture Competition, and recruited our first board members.  Now, we are in the early stages of incorporating the nonprofit and hope to find incubator space to help get the school off the ground.

You are the first MLT fellow to enroll in the pilot MBA/MPA dual degree program at NYU. What has been your experience thus far?

My time at NYU has been nothing short of life affirming and transformational.  My classmates are brilliant and passionate individuals who inspire me every day, and all my classroom and extracurricular experiences have accelerated my growth as a future leader in the social sector.  I’ve had the privilege to sit in on meetings with White House economic advisers organized by Dean Ellen Schall at Wagner, partner with Stern’s Dean, Peter Henry, on issues such as college affordability and income inequality, and advise NYU President, John Sexton, on NYU’s campus expansion and university governance. There isn’t a single day I’m not thankful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying to MLT’s Social Sector Talent Initiative?

I believe the most effective social sector leaders are persistent, creative, and resourceful.  Fortunately these are values that MLT instills in all of its fellows.  Whenever I speak with potential applicants about the dual degree program, I also share the importance of knowing who you are.  It’s so easy to get distracted by all the different and exciting career paths graduate students are exposed to.  Navigating graduate school successfully requires having a clear vision of what you wish to accomplish in the world and the courage to realize your dreams.  MLT prepares its fellows to do exactly that.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I can’t stress enough how important MLT and NYU’s partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation is, and I hope other organizations take notice of our work and follow suit.  We need to actively develop leaders of color across the private, public, and social sectors if we hope to achieve sustainable change for communities of color.  I can only speak for myself when I say that my experiences as an MLT Fellow and NYU student have prepared me with the skills and network needed to make Brotherhood Prep a reality and positively impact the lives of students and families throughout Harlem.

Learn more about MLT by visiting ml4t.org, and for a case study on MLT’s Social Sector Talent Initiative, visit here.


Postal Service Inducts Ray Charles into Music Icons Stamp Series

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Ashanti performed at the first-day-of-issue stamp dedication ceremony in Atlanta.

On September 24th, the Ray Charles Forever Stamp was announced as the latest inductee into the Postal Service’s Music Icons Forever Stamp Series.  Two first-day-of-issue dedication ceremonies were held in Los Angeles and Atlanta on what would have been the 83rd birthday for the “father of soul.” In Atlanta, songstress Ashanti and the Morehouse College Glee Club paid tribute to Charles by performing a medley of his songs, and in Los Angeles at The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE, GRAMMY award winner, singer, songwriter, actor and activist Chaka Khan performed “I'll Be Good to You.”

“Ray Charles taught us the value of hard work and determination, how to overcome challenges and how to tap the genius inherent in each person,” said Valerie Ervin, President of The Ray Charles Foundation, who spoke at the Los Angeles event.  “We are extremely grateful that the Postal Service is celebrating this legacy with the release of a stamp in Ray Charles’ honor.”

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Chaka Khan

The limited-edition Ray Charles Forever Stamp as well as Ray Charles Forever, a deluxe CD collection featuring the unreleased recording of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” (listen HERE) and the exclusive bonus track, “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was,” is now available at major Post Office locations across the country, as well as online at usps.com/stamps and ebay.com/stamps.

Source: Press release


Monday, September 23, 2013

New Project Aims to Diversify Ballet: An Exclusive Interview with Misty Copeland

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Project Plié launches in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Misty Copeland has overcome many obstacles to become the third African American soloist and the first in two decades for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), recognized as one of the greatest dance companies in the world.  However, Copeland’s story is rare.  The scarcity of black ballerinas in ballet companies has been a topic of op-eds, articles and discussions in recent years. In March, Copeland along with Virginia Johnson, artistic director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, participated on the panel “Black Swans: Black Women in Classical Ballet,” that discussed the lack of black dancers in the classical ballet world.  The barriers range from economic to cultural, but a new initiative aims to change this.  ABT has recently announced the launch of Project Plié, an initiative to increase racial and ethnic representation in ballet and diversify America’s ballet companies. According to ABT’s website, the project seeks to“combine training and support of ballet students from communities previously underrepresented in American ballet companies with the creation of a nationwide network of partner professional ballet companies who are committed to diversity.”

BlackGivesBack recently caught up with Misty, the project’s ambassador while visiting Washington, DC with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a partner organization with Project Plié to learn more about the initiative.

This is an exciting initiative. Please share more about Project Plié and its partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Boys & Girls Clubs – where I found ballet and ballet found me – and the American Ballet Theater are the two dearest things to my heart.  By bringing them together, it’s something that classical ballet has always needed.  It’s a way to get top notch training to inner cities.  There are Boys & Girls Clubs all over the country and to bring classical ballet to all of them is exactly what is needed to diversify the field. We have to start from the ground up – providing training to young kids to give them all equal opportunity to then audition with ballet companies. To see my brown face on the stage is not enough, we have to start from the bottom.

What obstacles have contributed to this disparity?

Ballet has always been something that’s for an elite class, and you have to have a lot of money to get the proper training, to then make it to the level to even be thought of getting into a company as elite as the American Ballet Theater.  So there’s many odds working against someone who comes from an under privileged community and who is minority.  I’m here to serve as an example to show that I can conquer these obstacles to make it to a top ballet company - a black woman from the Boys & Girls Clubs from a single parent home.  It will take years that I may not see in my lifetime that I see a change.


Misty Copeland performs during Prince's "Welcome 2 America" tour at Madison Square Garden in 2011. The musician donated $250,000 to ABT to increase scholarships for children of color, a donation made possible in part by Copeland. (Photo: Getty Images)

What’s next for you?

On March 4, 2014, Simon & Shuster Touchstone will release my memoir Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina that will share my story starting out at age 13 to last season when I premiered the part of “The Firebird” at the Metropolitan Opera House which was a huge accomplishment for me as an individual and for African American female dancers.  Hopefully this book will push other youngsters to follow in my footsteps.  It’s very exciting; I never thought this was in my future.

Learn more about Project Plié at abt.org/education/projectplie/ and visit Misty’s website at mistycopeland.com.


Photo credit: Buzzology


Actress Sheds Light on Children of Incarcerated Parents in One-Woman Play

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Ciera Payton sets out to give a voice to these often under-represented youth

In 2010, a report from Pew Charitable Trusts found that of the nation’s 2.3 million inmates, more than half were parents of children under 18. Of these inmates, nearly 1 million are African American. Research has shown that these children are at a higher risk of dropping out of school, engaging in delinquent behaviors and becoming incarcerated themselves.

One story of a daughter’s experience with her father’s incarceration is the subject of the one-woman play, “Michael’s Daughter,” created by actress Ciera Payton.  Best known for her roles on “Days of Our Lives” and “The Closer,” Payton tells her story of what it was like growing up in the 3rd Ward of New Orleans in a 2 bedroom shot-gun house that was home to her drug addicted father, grandmother and alcoholic aunts. Acknowledging the positive benefits of the arts in her upbringing, Payton created and now performs “Michael’s Daughter” to captivated audiences around the country, sharing her wounds and healing, while artfully portraying those who affected her childhood the most.  Her performance gives a universal appeal and impact, transcending race, gender, and economic class, touching people of all backgrounds and moving many to search out how they might be able to help children of incarcerated parents.  The goal for “Michael’s Daughter” is to enable it as a tool of healing for youths and communities around the country.

Payton’s ultimate goal? To provide creative outlets for inner city children through a variety of youth oriented programs.  She has learned many valuable lessons through performing and has found it is therapeutic and more notably, a way to confront the continuous cycle of poverty, violence, and addiction, as well as the effects of incarceration that plague minority youth.

On Saturday, November 23, 2013, Payton will perform “Michael’s Daughter” in the 2013 United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC.  In order to make the presentation a success, an IndieGoGo campaign is currently running to raise funds for the production.  Perks for donating range from social media shout-outs by the actress to a one-on-one meet and greet with Payton.  A portion of donations received through the campaign will benefit Step Up Women’s Network and Girls For A Change.  In Payton’s own words, “Michael’s Daughter is not just a play, it’s a movement!”

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Payton performs Michael's Daughter at the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival. Photo: Scott Mitchell

Find out more about the IndieGoGo campaign and view the promo video by visiting www.indiegogo.com/projects/michael-s-daughter-in-nyc.  Tickets for the NY show may be purchased at http://unitedsolo.org/us/tickets-are-on-sale-4/. 



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Names Exceptional Kansas Teen National Youth Ambassador


Jim Clark, president and CEO, BGCA and Kiana Knolland

Kiana Knolland receives top honor including $60,000 scholarship after year-long competition

Since 1860, youth have walked into the hallowed doorways of what is now the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and nurtured the leadership skills needed to successfully navigate life and reach their fullest potential. The organization has been a staple and consistent community presence, providing programs that cater to the creativity, educational enhancement, fitness needs, social development and career aspirations of an estimated 4 million young people annually in the United States and on military installations around the globe.

On Wednesday, September 18 during a Congressional breakfast in Washington, DC hosted by Luke Russert, the organization announced its 2013-2014 “National Youth of the Year,” an honor bestowed on a BGCA youth who demonstrates exceptional character and accomplishments and is recognized for service to their Club, academic performance and contributions to their family.

The winner, Kiana Knolland of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas in Wichita, KS, brings an impressive record of overcoming obstacles such as coming from a single-parent home and giving back to her local BGCA and community.  She will serve as the official BGCA teen spokesperson, advocating for Boys & Girls Club youth and all of America’s young people during her year of service.  Kiana will receive an $11,000 college scholarship from program sponsor Tupperware Brands and $50,000 towards her education from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation.

A BGCA member since the age of 5, Knolland exuded poise and enthusiasm as she shared with BlackGivesBack (BGB) her course to becoming the National Youth of the Year and how BGCA helped her develop her path to success. The teen ambassador’s winning platform took her from local, state and regional competitions, and focused on two issues: ensuring all have access to a quality education (during her sophomore year, she landed a full scholarship to a local private school through her own initiative) and girl empowerment (she credits the BGCA’s “Smart Girls” program for helping to build her confidence).

She also shared with BGB that BGCA has provided her with the skills to interact and not to be afraid to network, the importance of giving back and serving the community, and that academic success is a number one priority.

A Howard University freshman majoring in public relations with a minor in political science, Kiana has aspirations on becoming a federal prosecutor, and is very involved in volunteering with organizations such as Pure & Simple Lifestyle Project, Kansas African American Museum, NAACP and the Government & Legislative Affairs Committee of the Wichita Mayor’s Youth Council.

“I’m so excited to be National Youth of the Year. I look forward to being the voice of Boys & Girls Club kids across the country, sharing my story and representing an organization that has had such a tremendous impact on who I am,” shared Kiana.

The remaining 2013 Youth of the Year finalists are: Martaluz Olang from Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford (Conn.); Jesse Friedman from Boys & Girls Clubs of South Oakland County (Mich.); Yossymar Rojas from Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley (Calif.); Meeri Shin from Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland (Tenn.); and RaShaan Allen, Military Youth of the Year from Devers Youth Center on Ft. Knox (Ky.).

Celebrity ambassadors and BGCA alumni in attendance at the breakfast included Misty Copeland, the graceful African American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre (an upcoming feature on BlackGivesBack) and BGCA national Youth of the Year ambassador, snowboarder Shaun White, and 2012-2013 BGCA National Youth of the Year Trei Dudley.  Later in the day, Kiana and her fellow finalists joined Misty Copeland and Shaun White for an exclusive meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

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National Youth of the Year Ambassador Misty Copeland (center) with BGCA Youth of the Year finalists Jesse Friedman, Martaluz "Martha" Olang, Yossymar Rojas, RaShaan Allen, Kiana Knolland and Meeri Shin


About the Boys & Girls Club Program’s Youth of the Year Program
Founded in 1947, the Youth of the Year program sponsored by Tupperware Brands, recognizes outstanding young people for service to their Club and community, academic performance and contributions to their family.  The highest honor a Boys & Girls Club youth can achieve, the National Youth of the Year receives $11,000 in college scholarships from program sponsor Tupperware Brands, plus a $50,000 scholarship from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation, the personal foundation of Tupperware Brands CEO Rick Goings, who has been an active supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs for more 20 years, and his wife, Susan.  The National Youth of the Year also received a new car from BGCA national partner Toyota.  In addition, all six finalists received the first annual Shaun White Supply Co. (SWSC) Teen Leadership Award for their demonstrated achievement in academic performance, leadership and service. The award consisted of a $1,000 scholarship and a personalized Supply Co. package, including a skateboard, bike and scooter.

To learn more about the National Youth of the Year program and the finalists, visit www.greatfutures.org/YOY.

Story and photos by Stacey Trammel, BlackGivesBack contributor



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Truth Be Told: Story in Award-Winning Book ‘Giving Back’ Comes to Life





If you’ve read the award-winning book Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists, then you’re familiar with the story of giving titled “Truth be Told” that is featured in the book’s introduction.  Valaida Fullwood, author of Giving Back and BlackGivesBack contributor brings the story to life in the following video.

If you’re in the North Carolina area, join Fullwood at the upcoming N.C. Center for Nonprofits Statewide Conference this week in Concord, NC from September 19-20, where she will provide the keynote address, “Philanthropy For and By The People” followed by a book signing.  Registration will be available onsite.  Follow the conference on Twitter at @ncnonprofits and #CNCN.




Chicago’s Black Arts Community ‘Gives Honor to Those Who Give’


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Honoree Dee Robinson (center) with Shirley Jaco, mother of entertainer Lupe Fiasco and Nancy McKeever, chairman of the board, eta Creative Arts Foundation

Double digit dollars raised at annual arts benefit gala

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago’s black arts community gathered on September 7th for eta Creative Arts Foundation’s gala to ‘Give honor to those who Give,’ the theme of the annual fundraiser. The organization was founded in 1971 and serves as one of Chicago’s leading African American cultural performing arts institutions.

Nancy McKeever, eta board chairman, Les Bond, Jr., event co-chair and CEO, Attucks Asset Management and Phillip Thomas, president of eta, greeted over 200 guests.  Among them were Dr. Carol Adams, eta board member and president of the DuSable Museum; Henry English, president, Black United Fund of Illinois and Lester McKeever of Washington, Pittman & McKeever.

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Dorian Sylvain, visual artist and Phillip Thomas, president, eta Creative Arts Foundation

Catered by Fanfares Catering, Inc., the evening began with butlered hors d’oeuvres that included catfish on a stick, plum tomato bruschetta and mouth-watering turkey meatloaf served in petite cast iron skillets with mashed potatoes and sweet corn kernels drizzled with Grandma’s gravy.

ABC Meteorologist Steve Baskerville hosted the gala program that honored esteemed businessman Edward Gardner accompanied by his wife, Bettiann; Spencer Leak, Sr. and Dee Robinson Reid graciously accepted their awards along with WVON Radio, represented by popular on-air personalities Cliff Kelley, Matt McGill and Perri Small; and Shirley Jaco, mother of entertainer Lupe Fiasco accepted on her son’s behalf.

Following dinner and the program, guests moved freely between the auction table bidding on an array of high tech, high fashion and fun items; the Gallery, where the Jazz-Latin-inspired group Crosswind performed; and the tent, which was transformed into a cabaret-style showcase for singers, comedy and a dynamic performance by drummer Taylor Moore.

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eta Board member Raullo Eanes and CBS2 Meteorologist Steve Baskerville

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Lana Cromwell, WVON radio personality Cliff Kelly, honoree Spencer Leak, Sr. and wife Henrietta 

To date, eta has produced over 180 mainstage productions of new works by Black writers and has been honored with over 120 prestigious awards in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the arts.  In addition, eta is the first African American cultural and performing arts institution in the nation to establish an endowment - a fund for the future.  Proceeds from the gala supported eta’s general operating expenses.  For more information, call 773-752-3955 and visit the website at www.etacreativearts.org.

Submitted by Sandra C. Davis
Sandra is a Purpose-Driven Marketing Communications/Branding Strategist and Writer, who connects people, events, nonprofits, and companies with complementary brands and social causes that share their missions and target markets in order to amplify each entities social impact. Ms. Davis is the Creative Director of Lioness Communications and a member of the Chicago Ideas Week Cooperative. Follow Sandra on Twitter at @Sandraloves.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Female Physicians of Color Join Disney Channel for “Doc McStuffins” Multi-City Health Tour


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Artemis Medical Society promotes health and wellness for Washington, DC area youth during upcoming Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 43rd Annual Legislative Conference

UPDATE (9.16.13):  This event has been canceled due to the ongoing police investigation in the Navy Yard area.  

The Artemis Medical Society, a nonprofit group of nearly 3000 physician women of color, have partnered with Disney/Disney Junior on a free health-focused multi-city tour for the cable network’s popular television show “Doc McStuffins.”  The show features six-year old Dottie McStuffins who wants to become a doctor like her mother by “fixing” toys with help from her stuffed animal friends.  The founders of Artemis Medical Society formed their group after seeing a reflection of themselves in “Doc McStuffins,” and today the group is comprised of members representing 39 states and more than 6 countries who serve, nurture and celebrate a global sisterhood of women physicians of color.  Through mentoring, networking and advocacy, the Society provides the foundation necessary to create a diverse physician workforce vital to our society.

On Tuesday, September 17th, the “Doc McStuffins” tour will stop in Washington, DC at The Yards Park where they will be greeted by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.  The community event will feature The Doc Mobile, a FREE event that invites kids ages 2-7 to perform a “check-up” on their own toys plus participate in other activities and health and wellness lessons that include five interactive stations located inside Doc’s Mobile Clinic.  Kids can play in “Stuffy’s Imagination Playground,” get active in “Doc’s Stretch & Flex” area, learn about the importance of drinking water at “Lenny’s Hydration Station” and understand how to create a healthy balanced plate at “Doc’s Picnic Time.”

These female physicians are using their goodwill to show that “Doc McStuffins” looks like us, and she lives in our communities.

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EVENT DETAILS

WHEN: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
WHERE: The Yards Park (Event Located on the East Side of the Park)
355 Water Street SE, Washington DC 20003
WHO: Artemis Medical Society founding members Dr. Myiesha Taylor, Dr. Deonza Thymes, Dr. Aletha Maybank and Dr. Vikisha Fripp-Vincent along with over 25 of their colleagues from Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas; Doc McStuffins and President Barack Obama’s Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett

Upcoming tour cities are Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ.


About Artemis Medical Society

The purpose of Artemis Medical Society, Inc. is to nurture women physicians of color and increase their visibility in society to serve as healthcare providers, care-givers, community leaders, mentors and role-models thereby increasing physician workforce diversity and diminishing healthcare disparities. Programs include raising social awareness about healthcare and preventative medicine in minority communities and internationally, an annual conference for women physicians of color to gather and discuss solutions for important issues in the field, and an academy for women of color who wish to become physicians to partner with members to learn the tools of leadership and success in the field. http://www.artemismedicalsociety.org

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nation’s Largest African American Philanthropic Program to Host 2013 Kickoff Event


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Maurice and Brenda Newberry, 2012-13 Charmaine Chapman Society co-chairs with Orvin Kimbrough, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis/Photo:  St. Louis American

ST. LOUIS, MO – On September 17, 2013, the St. Louis Zoo will play host to the 2013 kickoff event for the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ African American Leadership/Charmaine Chapman Society, a philanthropic program for African Americans in the St. Louis metropolitan region.

The Charmaine Chapman Society was founded in 1994 by Dr. Donald Suggs, publisher of the St. Louis American and is named after the first African American and the first woman to lead the regional United Way. The Society is known as “the #1 philanthropic program for African Americans in the St. Louis region and throughout the country” as it has the distinction of being number one in the nation for the highest number of philanthropic donations by African Americans to an annual United Way campaign.

In 2012 the Society raised a record 2.2 million and has raised $22 million dollars since its inception, with over 850 individuals who support the program annually.

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Steven and Arica Harris, Charmaine Chapman Society cabinet members.  The St. Louis American recently profiled the couple and their involvement with the Society. 

Event Details
When: Tuesday, September 17, 2013; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: St. Louis Zoo, Lakeside Café, One Government Drive, St. Louis

Learn more about the Society by visiting its website and to RSVP for the kickoff event, visit here.


NBA Champion Dwyane Wade Celebrates 10 Years of Community Service


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Dwyane Wade with mother Pastor Jolinda Wade and sister Tragil Wade at the Wade's World Foundation's 10th Anniversary Celebration Gala.

Wade’s World Foundation Weekend hosts events benefiting Chicago organizations

CHICAGO, IL —Miami HEAT Champion and Chicago-native Dwyane Wade returned to his hometown for a weekend of events in support of his Wade’s World Foundation and the Chicago community. This year marks 10 years of service that the Wade’s World Foundation has provided to communities across the country.

In celebration of their anniversary, the foundation partnered with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago to host a weekend of events.“Making our kids safer and their futures brighter is something we are all responsible for, and providing safe, fun places where they can learn and explore,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I am proud that the City of Chicago has partnered with the Wade’s World Foundation which continues to make a defining difference in the lives of so many children.”

The weekend’s festivities began on Friday, September 6 with the foundation’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Gala at the Peninsula Hotel hosted by award-winning journalist and former CNN correspondent TJ Holmes along with Chicago’s own Robin Robinson, award-winning anchor of WFLD’s evening newscast.  The evening featured live performances from violinist Lee England, Grammy Award winning gospel artist Vashawn Mitchell, singers Kristen Lowe and MaeYa Ryan and comedian Damon Williams.  Media personality Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie, and Laura Ricketts, chair of the Chicago Cubs Charities, were honored with the 2013 Excellence in Philanthropy Award for their profound commitment to youth and positively altering the life of many disadvantaged young people across the country.

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Dwyane Wade and Tragil Wade with 2013 Excellence in Philanthropy Award recipients Marjorie and Steve Harvey

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Laura Ricketts is presented with the 2013 Excellence in Philanthropy Award

On Saturday, September 7, Wade hosted the “Live to Dream” Festival at Douglas Park, a free community event that featured entertainment, free dental and health screenings, employment opportunities for young adults and opportunities to sign up for City approved after school programs.  “My foundation and I want to stress the importance of after school programs that help keep children focused and safe,” stated Wade.

All net proceeds benefited the Wade’s World Foundation and local Chicago community organizations.

About Wade’s World Foundation:
The mission of Wade’s World Foundation is to help inspire and provide support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for youth in at-risk situations so they have the necessary tools needed to leave a positive footprint within their community and succeed in their life experiences.  Since the foundation launched in 2003, Wade and his family have been committed to giving back in Chicago, South Florida and throughout the country. www.wadesworldfoundation.org 



Monday, September 9, 2013

The Insider: Margaret Gordon, A Leader in Environmental Justice


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In 2010 our latest Insider, Margaret Gordon, was honored with a Purpose Award that honors individuals over the age of 60 who are changing the world.  As co-founder and co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), a resident led, community-based environmental justice organization, Gordon has significantly contributed to improving the health and quality of life for residents in West Oakland, CA.

Her story begins as a young single mother who worked her way off of welfare to become a lifetime community activist. Encore.org, the website for the Purpose Prize, highlights Gordon’s inspiring story:
“Years ago, Margaret Gordon didn’t know about how grave the situation was in her Oakland neighborhood. All she knew was that she was sick. So were three of her grandchildren and one of her sons. Over time, she began to make the connection between the industrial nature of her surroundings – living next to the massive Port of Oakland – and the asthma that afflicted her and her family.

In 1992 she moved to West Oakland, where toxic fumes from ever-present diesel trucks and from a factory just blocks from her family home motivated her to get involved. In a big way. Since then, Gordon has gone from housekeeper to activist to mayor-appointed commissioner of the country’s fourth busiest container port.

Once an unseen, unheard resident of a poor, black neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area, Gordon has become a visible insider, someone who wields influence in the quest to improve the area’s environmental health and, ultimately, the health of its residents.”
In addition to the Purpose Award, she has also been selected as a White House Champion of Change and was featured in O Magazine for her work.

Our San Francisco Contributor Tokiwa Smith recently talked with Margaret to learn more about WOEIP and its impact in the community.

How did you get your start in environmental justice?

In 1999, reconstruction of a local freeway began. During the reconstruction process, workers hit the vinyl chloride plume and passed out immediately from the fumes. The community became concerned about the toxins in their community when they began to see the workers get sick. However, in spite of this and community concerns, reconstruction continued and the possible release of toxins was not addressed.

As a result, we (the residents) held a series of meetings about air quality, soil issues and other things that were making people ill.  In 2002, the Pacific Institute came to our community to educate residents about organizing and educating ourselves as well as the power of using indicators for campaigns. We prioritized 17 indicators (high priority items) for employment and environmental issues in West Oakland.

Please share a favorite success story from WOEIP.

WOEIP is the first long term environmental organization in West Oakland that uses research and data to impact change in our community. Among our successes are: the launch of the West Oakland Toxic Reduction Collaborative (WOTRC) in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce residents’ exposure to toxins from diesel truck pollution, land use, brown field hazardous waste sites and ports; getting a local ordinance passed that prevented trucks from driving through and parking in West Oakland to reduce toxic fumes; partnering with Intel and Common Sense Science to allow residents to collect air quality data using handheld devices; and being appointed to the Port of Oakland Commission in 2007. I was able to make incremental changes as a result of being on the commission and travel the world to learn more about air quality.

Why is it important for organizations like West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to exist versus individuals like you working alone in environmental justice?

It is important to have an organization like WOEIP because you need a team in order to make it a more powerful process.  Having an organization like this allows you to collaborate and have more of a power base to interact with government agencies and bring other people to the table.  Here is the Environmental Justice Resource Guide for Communities and Decision Makers for those interested in doing environmental justice work: http://www.arb.ca.gov/ch/programs/ej-resource-guide.pdf.

Share more about the importance of having scientific data as part of a successful environmental justice campaign.

Many times when residents attend meetings to impact change in their communities, they go with an emotional plea.  Having scientific data puts you on a level playing field with city officials. You become equal to their staff because you have the same and sometimes more information. Officials have to change their deliverance to the community on issues in which the community has scientific data. It is also important to learn the same language as government agencies and business owners, so we have the same knowledge base.

What is your greatest career lesson?

Always be able to humble yourself.  Being humble and supportive, understanding when to hold up the banner and when to step back.  Don’t be so over analytical in your thinking and presentation.  Be true to the people and be fair and open.  Also no matter how busy you are with the work you are doing, be sure to make time in your schedule to spend with your family and friends.

To learn more about West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, visit www.woeip.org.

Photo credit: Civic Ventures/Flickr


Chicago State University Circle of Friends Presents “An Evening with Smokey Robinson”



Annual fundraiser on September 19th to feature “America’s Greatest Living Poet” while raising funds to support CSU scholars

The Chicago State University Foundation (CSUF) Board of Directors has announced their 19th Annual Circle of Friends event - “Circle of Friends presents An Evening with Smokey Robinson.” This Scholarship Fundraising Concert will take place on Thursday, September 19, from 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. beginning with a Strolling Supper at the CSU Academic Library followed by the Smokey Robinson Concert at the Jones Convocation Center (JCC) beginning at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7:00). This event is the CSU Foundation’s major fundraiser and proceeds will provide scholarships, technology enhancements and general support for Chicago State University students.

The CSU Circle of Friends Gala is pleased to host Robinson, who was once pronounced by Bob Dylan to be America’s “greatest living poet.” Smokey Robinson’s career spans over four decades of hits. He has received numerous awards including the Grammy Living Legend Award, NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award, Honorary Doctorate (Howard University), Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts Award from the President of the United States. He has also been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

“We are extremely excited to host this icon of the entertainment industry,” said Dr. Wayne Watson, president of Chicago State University. “This marks another milestone in the work that the Foundation is doing in support of our students.

Concert tickets range from $50 for general admission seating to $200 for VIP seating that also includes an open bar and appetizers. Sponsorship packages are available that include the “strolling supper reception.” Those interested in sponsorships may reach the Foundation at 773.995.3839. Visit the CSU website to purchase tickets http://www.csu.edu/foundation/.

About the Chicago State University Foundation
The Chicago State University Foundation was chartered in 1967 and incorporated in 1968 as an independent, charitable organization with the sole purpose of soliciting, receiving, and administering private gifts to the Chicago State University. The CSU Foundation is committed to “helping one student at a time” by raising funds to support CSU students and programs. Visit the CSU Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoStateUniversityFoundation for updates on the concert.

To learn of more events nationwide, visit the BlackGivesBack event calendar here.

Submitted by Sandra Davis, Chicago contributor

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Insider: Robin Emmons, Sowing Goodness While Gardening for Life


Robin Emmons presenting at a TEDxTalk

An interview with the founder of Sow Much Good in Charlotte, NC

By Valaida Fullwood

We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond. That slice of a Gwendolyn Brooks poem comes to mind when I think of Robin Emmons. Emmons and I first met earlier this year when we both presented at TEDxCharlotte. In her TEDx Talk, she weaves a fascinating account of her quick exit from corporate America, efforts to ease her brother’s struggle for mental health and her unexpected foray into farming full time. The founder of Sow Much Good is doing good and doing well and has been nominated for the prestigious 2013 CNN Heroes: Everyday People Changing The World.

In this Insider interview, Emmons shares what drives her to bring garden-fresh foods to underserved neighborhoods in Charlotte. Her organization, Sow Much Good, is committed to growing healthy communities by providing direct access to fresh, affordable food, educating and engaging residents to adopt healthy eating habits, and advocating for the right of every person to have real food security.

Hometown: Boston, MA

Education: BA, Political Science with a minor in Cultural Anthropology

Previous Positions: Personal Banker at Bank of America; Treasury Assistant at Goodrich Corporation (now United Technologies)

How do you describe your nonprofit, Sow Much Good?

I describe Sow Much Good (SMG) as a socially entrepreneurial endeavor that is structured under a tax-exempt code allowed by the IRS.  I am not a non-profit Executive Director.  I am a Social Entrepreneur operating within the parameters of a non-profit entity.

What led you to this cause and why were you inspired to found an organization?

I was led to this cause by my understanding that food is a shared and fundamental need that none of us can live without. Therefore, it is a basic human right that many people living in low-income communities were and are systematically being denied. I find this shameful and painfully embarrassing anywhere, but particularly in a country that has long held itself as the land of plenty. That said, I chose to address the need at the most basic level. Clean, healthy, life-giving food is something everyone deserves, so I grow it and provide it to communities in need.

Tell me what still surprises you about your work?

I am consistently surprised, each season at the miraculous simplicity of our human ability to nurture and beckon the earth to bring forth her bounty to sustain us at the most fundamental levels. And, despite our collective and consistent abuse, she continues to yield abundantly to meet our need.

What remains a challenge for you?

Capacity. That is, the time and resources required to measurably address the need in the community while also consistently doing the necessary work to eliminate intentional policies and practices engendered in long-standing systems that foster conditions for these and many other disparities and social injustices.

Now, here are some questions in observance of our extended Black Philanthropy Month 2013 campaign. Please fill in the blank: Black philanthropy is . . .

Black philanthropy is strategic investment of our collective human and capital resources for the purpose of transforming communities, reforming, and where necessary dismantling systems that are inherently unjust with a goal of creating a more equitable and inclusive social construct for all.

When it comes to society or our community, what is your “dream” or aspiration?

That marginalized communities that suffer disparities will be transformed into well-served communities with the ability to enjoy the full scope of public and social accommodations and amenities currently enjoyed by the mainstream.

Name a book that has shaped your philanthropy.

Several books have informed and shaped my philanthropy as well as my activism. Most notably are The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) and Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde (1984).

Read more about Emmons’ newest developments at Sow Much Good.

Contributed by Valaida Fullwood

Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer 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.” For more, follow valaida.com, @ValaidaF and @BlkGivesBackCLT.

Photo credit: Deborah Triplett


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Report Finds Success for Program Serving LA's Young Black Males



First year evaluation report cites positive outcomes and recommendations for future programming

Across the nation, the disproportionate representation of Black male youth on probation and in prison is staggering.   In Los Angeles County for example, Black youth make up 10% of the youth population, yet they comprise 30% of youth under probation supervision.   In an effort to support this population and prevent deeper involvement in the justice system, the California Community Foundation (CCF), a public, charitable organization serving Los Angeles County, launched Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM) in May 2012, a five-year initiative with the goal of redirecting Black male youth involved with the Los Angeles County probation system, toward improved educational and employment opportunities and outcomes.

Here’s how it works: Youth participants must be Black males between the ages of 14-18, a South L.A. resident, and currently or have been previously on probation.   Five community partner organizations provide youth with culturally appropriate services of academic support and career exploration in an environment that promotes accountability and personal responsibility.  The desired outcomes are high school completion and/or pursuit of post-secondary education, and development of job readiness skills.   The BLOOM Initiative aims to help 1,200 youth complete high school and 1,000 youth earn meaningful employment by 2017.

So how did the first year of the program fare?  In an evaluation report issued in June 2012, of the 174 youth enrolled (exceeding the projected number of 130 youth), there was a 45% reduction in the number of school suspensions and 93% of youth had not violated their probation terms or did not re-enter the probation system.  Considering recidivism rates for probation-involved youth in Los Angeles range from 50 to 70 percent, BLOOM considers these outcomes phenomenal achievements.  In addition, the evaluation found that nearly 60% of BLOOM youth were enrolled in, or had completed the 10th, 11th or 12th grade.

Of important to note, BLOOM youth identified mentorship, experiential learning opportunities and exposure, and supportive environments as being most significant to not reoffending.

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Actor and BLOOM spokesperson Larenz Tate with BLOOM youth Anthony Smith/Photo: Malcolm Ali

Over the five-year initiative, BLOOM and its evaluators will explore the following:
  • Are there increased philanthropic, government and business investments specifically geared toward this population in this specific issue area? What lessons can be learned and applied for other funders interested in making similar investments?
  • What larger external factors, events or trends have impacted this population in Los Angeles County? What are the implications for the BLOOM initiative and other investors in the field?
  • Has public perception of system-involved Black male youth started to shift? Are there increased educational and employment options available for this population?

More evaluation findings from the first year can be found in the executive summary, the full evaluation report and a BLOOM infographic/impact report.

BLOOM is currently in need of community partners willing to donate, volunteer, and provide educational and employment opportunities for the young men.   To explore opportunities, please contact BLOOM Initiative Director Robert Lewis at RLewis@calfund.org or call 213-413-4130. Visit the website at http://iambloom.com/.