Thursday, January 31, 2013

Apollo Theater to Host 3rd Annual “Dining With The Divas”

Debra Shriver, Yolanda Ferrell-Brown and Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation, attend the 2012 Dining With The Divas event. Photo credit: Shahar Azran (c) Shahar Azran Photography, LLC

NEW YORK, NY - On Thursday, February 14, 2013, the Apollo Theater will host its 3rd Annual “Dining With The Divas” luncheon at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The event is a fundraiser to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of women in the arts and in business, and benefits the Theater’s Education and Community programs serving New York City students and families.

This year's event will be hosted by Star Jones, with notable women serving on the host committee. The 2013 Diva Host Working committee members are Michelle Adkins, Judith Byrd, Alicia Riley Bythewood, Joannie Danielides, Keisha Dixon, Yolanda Ferrell-Brown, Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Rita Jammet, Carolyn Minick-Mason, Jacqueline Nickelberry, Esq., and Debra Shriver.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Detroit Journalists Group Pilots Fitness and Wellness Program, Raises Scholarship Funds

Vickie Thomas, President of the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (DC-NABJ) presents participation award to DC NABJ member Darci McDonnell with Chrysler’s Valerie Oehmke and Michael Palese. Photo Credit: William Foster

More than 5 million steps logged raising $5,000 in scholarship funds

DETROIT - The Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (DC-NABJ) was selected by Chrysler Group LLC to pilot the 30 Day Step into Fitness and Wellness Program.  The program encouraged chapter members to walk for fitness, and participate in other wellness activities, in order to raise awareness of health and wellness especially in underserved communities.  It also provided the chapter a means to earn funds for the DC-NABJ scholarship program for aspiring journalists.

“It has been an eye opening experience to be a participant in the Chrysler 30 Day Step into Fitness and Wellness program with an amazing TEAM!! Access to better health is one of the greatest gifts one can give and that's why I consider this challenge to be one of my all-time favorites” said Vickie Thomas, President, Detroit Chapter-NABJ and City Beat Reporter, WWJ/CBS Radio-Detroit. “Not only have members of the Detroit Chapter of NABJ raised needed scholarship dollars, but many of us have taken an active role in walking our way to better health and fitness. These are lessons that will impact not only participants, but our families and communities as well.”

DC-NABJ kicked off the 30 day initiative on Saturday, December 1, 2012 with a walk along Detroit’s River Walk.  Chapter members were also able to select walking buddies to encourage them during the program.  More than 50 chapter members, family and friends participated.   The total goal of 5 million steps was reached a week prior to the end of the program.  Chapter members were challenged to actively walk their way to better health over the 30 day period while raising funds for scholarships.  DC-NABJ awards scholarships annually to deserving students interested in pursuing careers in journalism.

“Chrysler Group has been very pleased to team up with the Detroit Chapter-NABJ to present this unique fitness and wellness program,” said Kathleen Neal, Director of Integrated Health & Disability, Chrysler Group LLC. “As a company, we are very committed to supporting programs that nurture a culture of health and a healthy, engaged and sustainable workforce.  Our NABJ partnership provided an outstanding opportunity to bring these important ideas to the broader community, beginning with journalists who can use their first-hand experiences to reach others to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles and communities.”

Participating chapter members noted that the program was fun and educational.   Debbie Kenyon of CBS Radio stated, “Although I work out most days this program made me realize what I could do in everyday life outside of the gym.  Being conscious of the number of steps each day encouraged me to park further away, walk around the office building before attending a meeting, are a few examples. I plan to use this program at my company.”

Other participants logged onto the dedicated website to encourage others to participate; to cheer people on when they reached certain goals; and to promote friendly competition.   Said one participant, “This opportunity to get healthier while helping raise funds for our scholarship program was a no-brainer. It’s always a great feeling to put out a helping hand to others.”

For more information about the chapter, please log onto

Source: Press release

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baltimore Philanthropists Fund Purchase of Major Works by African American Artists

Permanent collection at Walters Art Museum now includes painting by 19th-century artist Robert Seldon Duncanson

BALTIMORE, MD – The Walters Art Museum has announced the acquisition of major works by African American artists, made possible by prominent philanthropists Eddie and C. Sylvia Brown.   The Browns have supported many institutions in Baltimore, contributing more than 22 million to various charitable causes.

The couple created The Brown Challenge Grant in 2002, donating $500,000 to the Walters Art Museum, to be matched by the museum, creating a $1 million dollar fund to purchase works of art by 18th-, 19th- and early 20th-century African American artists. Those artists include Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828-1901), Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) and Richard Seldon Duncanson’s (1821-1872) River Scene, the final major work with this grant.   Duncanson's work is now on view in the Walters’ 19th Century Galleries.

More from the museum:

“The Brown Challenge Grant has allowed the Walters to continue its commitment to increase diversity within its permanent collection,” said Walters Executive Director Gary Vikan. “Works by these renowned, historical African American artists strengthens the Walters’ collection and furthers the institution’s commitment to inclusivity.”

“We want the entire community to feel connected to the art in our permanent collection as well as to enjoy our programming and special exhibitions,” said Walters Deputy Director for Audience Engagement Jacqueline Copeland. “During our annual free African American Family Festival on February 23, visitors will have the opportunity to see the new Duncanson painting as well as Edmonia Lewis’ Bust of Dr. Diocletian Lewis (1868) and Bannister’s Boston Street Scene (Boston Common) (1898-9).”

Visit the Walters Art Museum website at To learn more about Eddie and C. Sylvia Brown and their philanthropy, read a post from our archives here.

Source:  Press release/Walters Art Museum

Multicultural Marketing and Relations Trailblazer Joins Pioneering Consultancy

Co Founder of Thurgood Marshall College Fund Joins Diversity Affluence

NEW YORK – Andrea Hoffman, founder and chief executive officer of Diversity Affluence, has announced that Noel Hankin, nationally known expert in multicultural marketing and relations to some of the world’s most successful brands as well as former counsel to President William J. Clinton, has joined Diversity Affluence.  Diversity Affluence is a diversity research, marketing communications and business development consultancy that uniquely helps businesses market to affluent, aspirational and influential ethnic consumers. Also known as Royaltons™.

“Noel brings extensive experiences to Diversity Affluence,” Hoffman says. “As a powerhouse of ideas and energy, Noel will help to guide the domestic and global growth agendas for my company and for our clients’ businesses.” Beyond multicultural marketing, Noel brings extensive experience in the areas of diversity/multicultural coaching for management and as a diversity growth confidant for CEO’s.

Hankin is a marketing professional with more than 35 years experience at major advertising agencies and beverage companies managing a number of the world’s best-known brands. He currently is a consultant to Moët Hennessy USA where he previously served as senior vice president of Multicultural Relations. In this role his leadership continues to help brands such as Hennessy and Moët & Chandon enjoy above average usage among multicultural consumers.

At Miller Brewing Company, Hankin led the Miller Lite brand with a marketing budget of more than $150 million to three consecutive years of record sales.

As well known in the philanthropic world, as in business, Hankin co-founded the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in 1987, which has raised more than $80 million and provided scholarships for over 10,000 students. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Hankin to his Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where the marketing executive and philanthropist provided counsel to the President for seven years. Hankin is the Immediate Past Chair of the New York Urban League and a lifetime member of the NAACP.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Hankin received a Bachelor’s degree from Queens College and a Marketing Certificate from the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife Gwendolyn, to whom he has been married for 38 years.

About Diversity Affluence:

As the only company of its kind, Diversity Affluence is a New York-based diversity research, marketing communications and business development consultancy that helps brands and businesses understand and market to affluent, aspirational and influential ethnic consumers-a group coined as "Royaltons™." For more than 25 years, Andrea Hoffman, Diversity Affluence's founder and chief executive officer, has been a marketing strategist and trend forecaster.

Hoffman examines the $87.3 billion market exclusive to Affluent African Americans in Black is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans, the book she co-wrote with urban media pioneer Len Burnett.

For more information about Hoffman, Diversity Affluence or Black Is The New Green:  Marketing to Affluent African Americans, visit

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Friday, January 25, 2013

UNCF Hosts An Evening of Stars® Presented by Target & Announces Inaugural Masked Ball in the Nation's Capital

Special Presentation by Multi-Grammy Award Winner Usher

Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson, co-star of NBC's Guys With Kids, hosts the 34th annual UNCF An Evening of Stars® Educating our Future presented by Target.  The show premieres nationwide on Saturday, January 26 (check local listings for stations and times) and airs on BET Networks on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm EST.  The nationally televised variety show focuses public attention on America's need for more African American college graduates and UNCF's work getting students to and through college.

The show features Grammy-Award winner and founder of the New Look Foundation, Usher Raymond, presenting a four-year college scholarship to Milwaukee, Wisconsin high school senior, Ammon Lyle.  Additionally, superstars Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart and Chaka Khan will present scholarships to deserving college and college-bound students.

Performances and appearances will be made by some of the hottest names in entertainment including Yolanda Adams, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Tyrese Gibson, Melanie Fiona, Eric Benet, Tracee Ellis Ross, Keenan Ivory Wayans and many more.

"I hope everybody tunes in and donates from the bottom of their hearts and the bottom of their pockets," said Anderson.  "Unfortunately, over 60,000 students apply for scholarships and financial aid every year and UNCF is able to award scholarships to just 15,000 who need help going to college.  That's why I'm a part of what UNCF is doing and I'm here for the long run."

UNCF, the country's largest and most effective minority education organization, supports the education of more than 60,000 students each year.  A recent study by UNCF's Patterson Research Institute showed that UNCF's 38 member HBCUs out-perform many non-HBCUs at enrolling and graduating low-income students.  UNCF's largeset scholarship program, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, has a 90 percent graduation rate among its 13,000 low-income minority students, a rate significantly higher than the national college graduation rate.

This year's show is made possible by Target, Presenting Sponsor; National Sponsor McDonald's; Official and Major Sponsors American Airlines, Wells Fargo, Buick, AT&T, the U.S. Army and Anheuser-Busch.

UNCF Unveils Masked Ball in Nation's Capital

WASHINGTON, DC - UNCF has announced its inaugural Washington, DC UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball to be held on February 12, 2013 at the JW Marriott.  Proceeds from the event will support the education of the almost 4,000 students from the Washington metropolitan area who attend UNCF's 38 member HBCU institutions.

The Ball will open with a VIP reception for sponsors, general reception and silent auction followed by the signature Parade of Dignitaries, an elegant dinner, and the Parade of Masks.  Dancing will follow with musical entertainment provided by Jeffrey Osborne.

UNCF has assembled an impressive list of business and civic leaders who will serve as the Inaugural Co-chairs including Washington couples Debbie and Ernie Jarvis and Dr. Dallas and DeDe Lea.  "The mission of UNCF is more important than ever," states Ernie Jarvis.  "This is truly a party with a purpose."  The Jarvises are well known figures in Washington business and social circles with Debbi Jarvis serving as the Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility at PEPCO Holdings, Inc. and Ernie Jarvis as Senior Vice President of First Potomac Realty. 

The Leas are committed to making higher education an attainable goal for Washington area students.  As one of the highest ranking women in corporate America, DeDe serves as Executive Vice President for Viacom and Dallas is Director of the Outpatient Spinal Cord Injury Medicine Program at National Rehabilitation Hospital.

Individual tickets are $500 and sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For information, contact Meta Williams at 202.810.0332 or via email at Meta.Williams @

Source: Press Release/Photo:  Getty Images

Oakland Resident Margaret Dixon Named Allstate Give Back Day Hero

Community hero and actress Keshia Knight Pulliam kicked off Allstate’s National “Give Back Day” in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Tokiwa Smith, San Francisco/Oakland Contributor

For the fifth consecutive year, Allstate Insurance Company is honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through Allstate Give Back Day, a national program that encourages individuals across the country to volunteer.  Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Margaret Dixon, one of the 2013 Allstate Give Back Day Heroes from Oakland, CA.  Dixon, along with Jackie Lomax from Chicago, Joseph Cole from Nashville and Freedom Wright from Atlanta are remarkable heroes that help to create positive, sustainable change in their communities.  As part of their recognition, the heroes attended The King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Awards in Atlanta on January 19, 2013, and participated in a volunteer activity in their hometown over the MLK holiday weekend.  In addition, Allstate will be making a $2,500 donation on behalf of Ms. Dixon to the charity of her choice.

Ms. Dixon, the first recipient from California, is a retired Oakland police officer who served 25 years in the city where she was born and raised. She is currently an instructor of the Administration of Justice Program at Merritt College, and serves as the board president of the Oakland Police Activities League (PAL), a nonprofit that serves at-risk boys and girls in Oakland by providing afterschool activities and sports opportunities.  Dixon spends countless hours volunteering to create positive and safe programs for Oakland’s youth.  She has served as head coach of the Oakland PAL track team, which she also founded.  The PAL track team has allowed hundreds of Oakland youth to travel beyond the city limits, a first-time experience for many kids in her program. She has guided several of her athletes to receive college athletic scholarships.

“Margaret Dixon is an outstanding individual who keeps Dr. King’s legacy alive through her unwavering devotion to bettering the greater Oakland community,” said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate. “Each of our heroes has truly made a commitment to community service, and we hope that their dedication will serve as motivation for others to give back on MLK Day and every day.”

Read on to learn what inspires Margaret to give back in her community and who her local heroes are:

How does it feel to be honored as one of the Allstate Give Back Day Heroes? I am honored to be named as a hero for my commitment to volunteer in my community.  I do so much from the heart, so it is an honor to receive this award.  I try to make every day meaningful by making a positive impact. I love inspiring people to do positive things.  I am also thankful that this award comes with a monetary donation that I will use to support our organization’s programs and upcoming events.

Who inspires you to do the work that you do for the community?  My mother, who was a single mother, taught my sisters and me to always do the right thing and give to others in spite of how little or much we had.  I had great middle and high school teachers that inspired me.  I had great co-workers as a police officer that supported and worked alongside me with my work in the community.

In photo: Keshia Knight Pulliam (the Allstate Give Back Day celebrity ambassador) and Freedom Wright, the Allstate Give Back Day Hero from Atlanta, participating in home repairs for a senior citizen in need in Atlanta. This Allstate Give Back Day activity was in partnership with HouseProud in Atlanta.

Who are some of your heroes in the Oakland area?  The Warriors Foundation does so much to support Oakland youth by giving tickets for them to attend games, and adopting over 100 families during the holidays.  The Lucky’s Foundation always gives us food for families during the holidays. Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, how in spite of his extremely busy schedule, makes time to speak to youth to encourage them and provides me with the support I need to continue to do my work in the community.  Mr. Larry Reid, Oakland City Councilman for District 7, who volunteers his time and other resources to support my work.  Also, the local Bingo Halls support our work with youth as well.

What is one of your most memorable experiences with your work at PAL?  A young man who has now graduated from Portland State, who I have known since he was four years old and was being raised by his grandmother.   When I met him, he was afraid of the police based on the negative experiences his family had.  The proudest moment was being there with him, his family and his football coach when he signed his football scholarship papers.  His story and the stories of other youth I work with is how I know that volunteering works.  All it took for me was to be in his life and give him guidance. This young man is giving back in Portland and is encouraging others to give back as well.

Are there any words of wisdom that you want to share with our readers? On the Martin Luther King Holiday as well as throughout the year, find somewhere to volunteer to give back to your community.

Visit the website to find volunteer opportunities in your area.

Photo credit:  Allstate

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

IMPACT Hosts Successful Inauguration Events for Young Professionals of Color

IMPACT Co-Founder and Director Joe Briggs, IMPACT Communications Director Sarah Misailidis, IMPACT Community Champion of Change Honoree and 2011 Nation's Best Advocate of the Year Andrea H. Evans, IMPACT Co-founder and Director Angela Rye, and IMPACT Director David Johns.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - From Friday, January 18, 2013 through Sunday, January 20, 2013, IMPACT, a nonprofit network of young professionals of color, hosted several events during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

The Inauguration of President Barack Obama was an opportunity for the nation to not only celebrate four years of progress, but also look forward to the President’s second term.  For young professionals, the second term of President Obama offers another opportunity to further invest in programs and strategies designed to improve the lives of individuals and communities that have been historically neglected.

With that in mind, IMPACT hosted a suite of events to ensure that young professionals stay politically involved, engaged, and economically empowered.

IMPACT's 2013 Inauguration events included:

A community service event on Saturday, January 19th honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall.   Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined IMPACT in greeting more than one hundred volunteers at the MLK Memorial who gathered to beautify the area surrounding the memorial.

Hosting the 2013 Politicos & Influencers: An IMPACT Jazz Brunch on Sunday, January 20th that honored “Champions of Change,” individuals who give their time and talent to improve their communities.   Distinguished guests included Congressman Andre Carson (IL), Civil Rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, Louisiana State Representative Ted James, and Florida State Representative Alan Williams.

Later that evening from 9 pm - 2 am, IMPACT co-hosted the Hip Hop Ball II, along with Russell Simmons’s Hip-Hop Summit Action Network at the the Harman Center.   Celebrity guests included Angela Simmons, Lala, 2 Chainz, Tyson Beckford, Terrence J, Swizz Beats, John Legend, and Kevin Liles among others.

IMPACT volunteers on the national mall for a day of service.

Champions of Change honorees at the IMPACT Jazz Brunch

Events allowed for friends and supporters of IMPACT to network and celebrate with other young professionals as well as elected officials, community leaders, and entrepreneurs.  For highlights, check out the #IMPACTInauguration hashtag on Twitter.

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

Source:  Press release/Photos:  IMPACT 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Phillips Charitable Organization Awards Scholarship to Howard University Student

Karen and Charles Phillips, founders of Phillips Charitable Organization

NEW YORK, NY – Phillips Charitable Organization, founded by philanthropists Karen and Charles Phillips, have announced recent grants supporting single parents and a Howard University engineering student.

Howard University student Solomon Jones first met Phillips Charitable Organization (PCO) board member Eric Garvin when Mr. Garvin received a Community Service Award at the 2011 Black Engineers Award Gala.  Solomon was in the audience and remembered Mr. Garvin and followed his career.  With two semesters left before he graduates, Solomon has maintained an impressive GPA. The head of the computer science department strongly endorsed Solomon.

Solomon contacted Mr. Garvin about a possible scholarship and to continue on his quest to become an engineer, as the Phillips Charitable Organization has focused on disadvantaged students in engineering for several years.  The shortage of qualified engineers is a major challenge for economic growth in the United States as more products and services depend on technical innovation.  This shift is transforming the job market and the economy and PCO aims to do its part to help the transformation.

Mr. Garvin quickly contacted the appropriate university administrators and arranged for a grant to be wired to Howard University so Solomon could remain in school and continue his education.  Mr. Garvin will continue to mentor Solomon on his way to graduation. Solomon was raised and is supported by his 77-year-old grandmother who would like nothing more than to see her grandson graduate with an engineering degree.

Other recent grants benefited a single mother of four with lupus to help pay for rent and other necessities, and support for a single mother of two battling cancer to help with nursing school costs.

Karen and Charles Phillips shared with BlackGivesBack about the importance of supporting individuals as a foundation focus:

“Phillips Charitable was founded with the expressed goal of getting financial aid directly to individuals quickly.   Our grantees are mostly single mothers and wounded veterans and have limited options for help and can’t wait for a long or complex application process. Our direct approach ensures that 100% of the foundation’s assets are disbursed to people in need while the board covers all administrative expenses.   We’ve provided over 150 grants the last three years and formed a lot of friendships with the grantees who have names and personal stories we know.”

About the Organization: Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable Organization is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit foundation providing financial help for single parents, students interested in engineering, and wounded veterans.  100% of the foundation's assets are disbursed directly to grantees.  Their charter: urgent cases where a timely bootstrap grant can initiate meaningful change toward a planned recovery.  Founded by Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor, and wife Karen Phillips, the foundation has expanded staff to multiple states and awarded over 150 grants.

Director of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture Elected to Board of Barnes Foundation

Philadelphia, PA­-The Barnes Foundation has announced the election of Khalil Gibran Muhammad, PhD, Director of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, as a new member to its Board of Trustees. The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.”

Dr. Muhammad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics in 1993. After working at Deloitte & Touche LLP, he received his Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University in 2004, specializing in 20th-century U.S. and African-American history.  He spent two years as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit criminal justice reform agency in New York City, before joining the faculty of Indiana University.  He is the award-winning author of, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America.  He has been an Associate Editor of the Journal of American History, and is on the Editorial Board of Transition Magazine.   A great-grandson of Elijah Muhammad, he has deep roots in Black history.  His father is the noted Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Ozier Muhammad.  Dr. Muhammad is married to Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, and they have three children.

In addition to Dr. Muhammad, fashion designer Tory Burch and Mr. Thomas K. Whitford, vice chairman of The PNC Financial Services Group, were elected as new members of the Board.

Chairman Dr. Bernard C. Watson said, ““We are delighted that Tory, Khalil and Tom have agreed to serve on the Barnes Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  These outstanding individuals are already deeply involved in many important civic causes and they understand the importance of cultural institutions like the Barnes.  I look forward to working closely with them in the coming years to strengthen the positive impact of the Foundation in the community and I am confident they will help provide the leadership for our continued growth and success.””

To learn more about the Barnes Foundation, current exhibitions, and its Art and Aesthetics programs that engages a diverse array of audiences, visit

Source: Barnes Foundation/Photo: Tumblr

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Newlywed Couple Launches National Effort to Register 1,000 African Americans as Bone Marrow Donors

PALO ALTO, CA. – A San Francisco Bay Area newlywed couple, Kevin Weston and Lateefah Simon, has started a national effort to register 1,000 African Americans as possible bone marrow donors and find a match for Kevin, who needs to undergo a transplant in less than two months for an extremely rare form of leukemia.

“My story is just one of many,” said Kevin. “There are thousands of African-­Americans and people of color around the country who desperately need a bone marrow transplant but can’t find a match.  My wife and I started this campaign to do what we can to raise awareness about this urgent issue and to register as many people as possible.”

Kevin, a 44-­year-old award-­winning new media journalist and a long-time mentor to aspiring journalists of color, is father to Lelah, 1, stepfather to Aminah, 16, and husband to Lateefah, a civil rights leader and MacArthur Genius grant award recipient.  He had just been admitted to the prestigious John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University when in August 2012, Kevin was diagnosed with T-­cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia (T-­PLL), which primarily affects adults over the age of 30. The cancer is very rare and aggressive, with only 10 cases per year in the United States.  Since being diagnosed, he has endured a month‐long stay in the ICU, five emergency surgeries and multiple hospitalizations.

Every year, more than 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-­threatening diseases for which a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope of a cure.  About 70 percent of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family and depend on an international registry to find a match.  Patients are more likely to match someone from their own ancestry.  Only about 7 percent of the nation's 10 million registered potential bone-­marrow donors are African-­American.

“Everyday, I ask for forever with Kevin,” said Lateefah.  “I know there is a match out there, and I want to do everything in my power to find that person who will save the love of my life and Lelah’s daddy.”

Kevin and Lateefah are working with local organizations and volunteers to organize a series of drives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Among the drives currently scheduled include:

January 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the African American Museum and Library, Oakland
January 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Third Baptist Church, San Francisco
February 11, from 1 to 5 p.m., at San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco
February 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the The Quad, 525 4th Street, Oakland

The couple urges African Americans to find and attend a local drive in their communities and to join the Be the Match bone marrow registry.  Registering takes just a few minutes, and involves a pre-­screening and swab sample of the inside of the cheek.  People can also go online to to order a kit to be sent to their homes.  For more information on Kevin and Lateefah’s moving story and their important effort, please visit:

Submitted by Tokiwa Smith, San Francisco/Oakland Contributor

National Mentoring Month: SisterMentors - Supporting Girls and Women of Color in Washington, DC

DC Councilmember Recognizes Organization for 15 Years of Service to the District of Columbia and Beyond

WASHINGTON, DC - In 1997, a group of highly motivated women of different races, ethnicities and backgrounds came together to help each other complete their dissertations and earn their doctoral degrees.   SisterMentors, founded by Dr. Shireen Lewis, aims to increase the number of women of color who earn Ph.Ds., and to date have helped 42 women obtain their doctorate degrees in many disciplines, including in math, science and economics. Some of the women are now tenured faculty at universities and most are the first generation in their families to obtain an advanced degree.

SisterMentors cites that 50% of all people who begin a doctorate drop out at the dissertation writing stage, and the numbers are higher for women of color.  Statistics also show that the number of women of color Ph.Ds in the last 25 years has been extremely low.  

In 2011, the program expanded its efforts by mentoring young girls in elementary, middle, and high school to help reduce the high drop-out rate in the Washington, D.C. area.  Since then, SisterMentors has helped 19 young women of color get accepted to and attend college including Duke University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

On January 8, 2013, SisterMentors received a Ceremonial Resolution from the Council of the District of Columbia to honor the organization’s 15 years of service, and dedication to expanding access to educational opportunities for women and girls of color in the community.  The resolution, cited as “SisterMentors Recognition Resolution of 2013,” took effect in the District of Columbia Register.

“It is no secret that an educational achievement gap exists in this country, and programs like SisterMentors are essential in the fight to erase it,” said Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3). “By supporting and mentoring young women as they matriculate through college and graduate school, SisterMentors is providing an invaluable service to our community, and the city is grateful to them for all of their work.”

Dr. Lewis (pictured above in pink shirt and glasses) has received national recognition for her work as well – named as a woman making a powerful difference by Pine Sol, with an accompanying feature in Essence Magazine.  She shared,“We are appreciative of the support of the Council of the District of Columbia and Councilmember Cheh and we are honored to receive this recognition from the city we love and are committed to serving.  Higher education for women of color is our passion and we are looking forward to guiding more young women to achieve their highest potential.”

SisterMentors is a project of EduSeed, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. that promotes education among historically disadvantaged and underserved communities, particularly women and people of color. Visit the website at

Monday, January 14, 2013

National Trust for Historic Preservation Calls for Nominations of African American Endangered Sites for the 2013 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places® List

Landmark where a sports legend trained: Joe Frazier's gym in Philadelphia was designated as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2012.

Is there a threatened historic African American treasure in your community? Help to raise national awareness for a one-of-a-kind place in your area – and generate local support for protecting it – by nominating it for the 2013 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Washington, DC – The National Trust for Historic Preservation is recognizing the importance of preserving black history by calling for nominations of endangered African American sites for its 26th annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places®.  For over a quarter century, this list has highlighted important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk for destruction or irreparable damage.  Nominations are due on March 1, 2013.  The 2013 list will be announced in June.

“Historic places are a tangible reminder of who we are as a nation,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “For over 25 years, the National Trust’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has helped shine a spotlight on threatened historic places throughout the nation, helping not only to preserve these places, but also galvanizing local support for the preservation of other unique, irreplaceable treasures that make our nation and local communities special.”  

More than 240 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures have been identified on the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places since 1988.  Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights diverse historic places across America that are facing a range of threats including insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.  The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country.

African American sites selected to the list have included the home of jazz musician John Coltrane, the Rosenwald Schools, Gullah/Geechee Coast in South Carolina and the workstation and home of Philip Simmons, a renowned African American blacksmith (read more about Simmons and his foundation here).

The places on the list need not be famous, but they must be significant within their own cultural context, illustrate important issues in preservation and have a need for immediate action to stop or reverse serious threats.   All nominations are subject to an extensive, rigorous vetting process.

For additional information, e-mail or call 202.588.6141.  To learn more about the program and to submit a nomination, visit:

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately-funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future.

Source:  Press Release; Photo:  Flickr/warpafx

Q & A with BlackGivesBack Contributor Akira Barclay on Black Giving Circles and Community Philanthropy

Our New York contributor, Akira Barclay, is featured on the Community Investment Network's blog where she talks black giving circles, community philanthropy and more.

As a recent Fellow at The Center of Philanthropy and Civil Society, she shares why she chose black giving circles as her fellowship focus:

“I chose to explore the value of Black giving circles in the evolution of community philanthropy. The connection between Black donors and community foundations has been a great research interest of mine over the past two years. As institutions, community foundations are at a crossroads where they can either evolve or risk losing their relevance entirely in the wake of competition from commercial banks, financial services firms and universities that offer donor advised funds at lower costs.   At the same time, a lot of community foundations are also failing to connect with donors of color and finding individuals with wealth in their communities bypassing their institutions to start private foundations of their own.”

Read the full feature here.

The Community Investment Network (CIN) is a national network of giving circles and everyday philanthropists, founded in North Carolina. CIN inspires, connects and strengthens African Americans and communities of color to leverage their collective resources and create the change THEY wish to see. For more information, visit the website at and see highlights from their 2012 conference here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Black Male Youth In Los Angeles Subject Of New Online Community, IamBLOOM

California Community Foundation launches to improve job and education prospects for Black males 14-18 years old with probation experience

LOS ANGELES, CA -- California Community Foundation (CCF) has launched IamBLOOM (, a new website and online community about and for young Black men in Los Angeles, as part of a strategic initiative to create a viable pathway to better educational and job opportunities for Black male youth who have been involved with the probation system.

IamBLOOM features the profiles of the Black males 14-18 years of age in Los Angeles who are turning their lives around, as well as opportunities for companies, government agencies, charitable foundations, service organizations and concerned individuals to provide much-needed support.

The visually impactful, user-friendly website allows visitors to:
  • view and read the personal bios of the young men being helped through BLOOM
  • engage in dialogue within forums with other members of the online community
  • access and post events or opportunities like job fairs, career workshops, etc.
  • share content related to or about BLOOM
  • volunteer, pledge jobs or educational opportunities, and donate easily to the initiative

“IamBLOOM humanizes one of the most pressing issues in the Los Angeles community: what to do for young Black men with great potential but enormous odds against them,” said Robert Lewis, BLOOM Initiative Director. “We want to counter stereotypes and facilitate a way for community, business and educational institutions to start working together to significantly reduce, if not eliminate those odds.”

IamBLOOM is part of the Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM) Initiative of CCF, the only philanthropic effort that focuses on redirecting Black males previously involved with the L.A. County probation system to a brighter future. Started in May of 2012, BLOOM seeks to create jobs and educational opportunities for at least 2,000 young Black men ages 14-18 by 2017.

California Community Foundation (CCF) has been serving Los Angeles communities since 1915. It encourages philanthropy by individuals, families, companies and organizations, and serves as a steward of their charitable funds and legacies. It partners with local nonprofits and other foundations to address needs in their communities and provides grants, loans, scholarships, fellowships, and other support. It convenes private, public, nonprofit and foundation leaders in community problem solving and advocacy work. For more information, visit

Source: California Community Foundation

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Western Union Names Patrick Gaston President of The Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a global leader in financial services, has announced the appointment of Patrick Gaston as President of The Western Union Foundation.   Gaston will lead Western Union’s global philanthropic strategy, including employee engagement, grant making and strategic initiatives that support education as a pathway to economic opportunity.

“Patrick is a visionary Corporate Social Responsibility executive with extensive Fortune 500 global experience and strong knowledge in building strategic alliances,” said John Dye, Western Union Foundation Board of Directors Chair. “Under Patrick’s leadership, The Western Union Foundation will continue to focus on its mission and commitment to drive economic opportunity for families around the world.”

Gaston most recently served as president and CEO of Gastal Networks LLC, a management consulting firm assisting organizations in building results driven Corporate Social Responsibility and philanthropic strategies.  Prior to this, he served as a senior advisor to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Gaston previously served as president of the Verizon Foundation, one of the 15 largest corporate foundations in America.

Gaston also serves on a number of national non-profit boards including the NAACP Board of Trustees, and he is a member of the board of directors of Bed Bath and Beyond, Inc.  Gaston is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and was Vice Chair of the Business Committee for The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2009, Gaston was named one of the top 100 most influential African-Americans in corporate America by Savoy Professional magazine.  He was also named Corporate Responsibility Magazine Foundation CEO of the year in 2010.

Gaston was raised in Haiti, Canada and the United States.  He holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University.

About The Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all. With the support of the Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, the Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, the Western Union Foundation has awarded more than $81.7 million in grants to more than 2,551 nongovernmental organizations in more than 124 countries and territories. To learn more, visit

Source: Press release/Photo: Business Wire

NBA All-Star Chris Paul Hosts 5th Annual Chris Paul PBA All-Stars Invitational Benefiting the CP3 Foundation

LOS ANGELES, CA - On January 7th, LA Clippers star point guard and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul hosted the Fifth Annual Chris Paul PBA All-Stars Invitational to benefit his CP3 Foundation. Established in 2005, the foundation provides funding for activities ranging from a scholarship program to food drives to recreational support programs for children in under served communities.

Celebrities and PBA Tour stars joined Paul for the event at Lucky Strike LA Live to compete in doubles elimination competition.   Participants included actors Jesse Williams, Kevin Hart and Quinton Aaron, athletes Blake Griffin, LaMarr Woodley, Terrell Owens, Jalen Rose, and Chris Hardwick, along with PBA stars Norm Duke, Chris Barnes, Missy Parkin and more.

The All-Stars Invitational began five years ago in Paul’s native Winston-Salem, N.C. This marked the second year it was held in Los Angeles, with the previous two events held in New Orleans. 

ESPN will air the event on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3) at 4 p.m. EST just prior to the Super Bowl telecast.

About The CP3 Foundation

In 2005, Paul established the CP3 Foundation in honor of his late grandfather to provide scholarships for youth to attend Wake Forest University.  The foundation strives to impact the communities it serves by using its resources and passion for philanthropy to enhance and promote education, health, sports and social responsibility for youth and families.  Paul's emphasis on community involvement has won the CP3 Foundation the NBA's Community Assist Award three times.  The foundation's initiatives include partnerships with Feed The Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and LA’s Best.  The foundation also sponsors and supports literacy initiatives, youth basketball clinics and court refurbishments.  In 2010 Chris partnered with Chase Bank to launch the CP3 Afterschool Zone in New Orleans, to provide an enriching afterschool environment for youth. To learn more about the CP3 Foundation, visit

Photo:  WireImage/Jesse Grant

Monday, January 7, 2013

National Mentoring Month: A Look Back at Popular Stories

Mentees participate in a tie-tying ceremony at Chill's Barbershop in New Orleans, the subject of the award winning documentary film "Close Ties: Tying on a New Tradition."

Mentoring can no longer be looked at as something nice. It is necessary! -- David McGhee, former program director, Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Flint

Every January the nation observes National Mentoring Month, and over the years we've profiled many organizations and individuals leading the mentoring movement.   Mentoring has been shown to encourage positive choices, promote high self-esteem and support academic achievement.  It is also used as a proven delinquency prevention strategy.   However, despite these benefits many organizations across the country are struggling to recruit black men to serve as mentors to black boys.   For insight on this, we spoke to Stephen Powell, executive director of Mentoring USA and David McGhee, a former program director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Flint to get their thoughts on this challenge.

Celebrities are also lending their support to mentoring.  Author and talk/radio show host Steve Harvey launched mentor recruitment drives in partnership with the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Susan L. Taylor has connected over 125,000 mentors with more than 130,000 children through the National Cares Mentoring Movement.

And we can't forget about our young girls, as negative portrayals of women in the media and the increasing number of black girls in the juvenile justice population tells us where renewed focus should be.

You'll find below our most popular posts on mentoring.   To learn more about National Mentoring Month, visit and to find a mentoring program near you, visit

New York Urban League's First Annual Men's Empowerment Day provided 120 high school males the first chance to get an inside view of some of New York City's most renowned companies.

Unlikely Brothers:  The Blind Side meets Push in this poignant memoir about two lives forever altered by the bonds of friendship. This book beautifully showcases the benefits of a mentor/mentee relationship.

Close Ties: Tying on a New Tradition: A documentary that highlights Black males and mentoring in New Orleans.

Mentoring to Manhood:  A mentoring program founded by black males in Prince George's County, Maryland is featured.

Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation presents 3rd Annual Girls Who Rule the World Mentoring Weekend: The event gathered over 100 young women ages 13-18 from Atlanta and surrounding areas for an impactful, empowerment-filled weekend that addressed vital issues and life experiences to spark dialogue, bolster their dreams, self-confidence and success for the future.

Life Pieces to Masterpieces Transforms Lives Through the Arts: An innovative Washington, DC based arts-based organization that engages African American boys and young men (called apprentices) to channel their life experiences using the creation of acrylic collage paintings, original poetry, prose, oratory, movement/dance and music.

Concerned Black Men National Partners with Urban Retailer DTLR on Mentoring Initiative:  CBM CARES® and DTLR employees mentor a group of young men at a Washington, DC public charter school in this year-round mentoring effort.

Visible Men Hosts "Golf & Giving" in Support of Black Males:  Highlights of an event hosted by Visible Men, a national success network for black boys and men.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Museum of the African Diaspora Names Philanthropist Deborah Santana as Board of Directors Vice Chair

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Board of Directors of the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) has recently named Deborah Santana, current board member and longtime museum supporter as MoAD's Vice Chair.

Santana is an author, peace activist and philanthropist.  She is founder of Do A Little, a non-profit that serves women and girls in the areas of health, education and happiness.  Her memoir, Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart, was published in 2005.

Santana notes, “MoAD is an important cultural and educational destination in Northern California.  The rich exhibits and extensive educational programs add a global diversity to the Bay Area arts community.”

Santana, a mentor of girls and young women, also serves as a board member for ANSA (Artists for a New South Africa), and is a supporter of Marian Wright Edelman's Freedom Schools in New Orleans.  She has produced two documentary films with Emmy-award winning director Barbara Rick: Road to Ingwavuma, and Girls of Daraja, each film depicting the collaborative work of non-profit partners in South Africa and Kenya.

Santana has received numerous awards, including the Women of Distinction Award Founder Region Soroptimist International of the Americas, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award in Marin County, and Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy Catalyst Award.  She was named to Marin County Women's Hall of Fame in 2007 and this year was named as one of Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.

MoAD also elected L. Wade Rose, Vice President of External and Government Relations for Dignity Health, as its next Board Chair.  Rose joined the museum board in 2008.  He brings a wealth of experience, having been director in a number of non-profit organizations, and is currently Chair of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Boards of SPUR and the San Francisco State University Foundation.

“I'm delighted to have the opportunity to work with Wade in partnership with Deborah because of their deep commitment to MoAD and to realizing our shared goals and vision for the future,” said Grace C. Stanislaus, MoAD's Executive Director. “Their leadership of our dynamic Board of Directors is coming just at the right time as MoAD is poised at its seventh anniversary to launch into an ambitious and exciting new phase of its development.”

Related postBay Area Young Professionals Host Holiday Party to Support MoAD (December 2010)

About the Museum of the African Diaspora

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) showcases the history, art and the cultural richness that resulted from the dispersal of Africans throughout the world with innovative and engaging exhibitions, education and public programs.  Incorporated in 2002 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, MoAD opened its doors in 2005 in space contiguous with the St. Regis Hotel and Residences and in the historic Williams Building at 685 Mission Street at Third Street.  MoAD was conceived as a cornerstone of the revitalization of downtown San Francisco, and has become an anchor with its neighbors San Francisco MoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Children's Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum) and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in making this dynamic cultural corridor a premier destination.

Source and photo: MoAD

U.S. Postal Service Honors 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation with Limited-Edition Stamp

Civil Rights Stamp Series Commemorates Historic Acts of Freedom, Courage, Equality

WASHINGTON— With this 2013 stamp, the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln signed on Jan. 1, 1863.  To commemorate this milestone, the Postal Service introduced a limited-edition Forever Stamp on January 1st at The National Archives in Washington, D.C., which houses the historic document.

The Emancipation Proclamation Forever Stamp goes on sale January 2nd at Post Offices nationwide, and can be purchased online at or by phone at 800-Stamp24 (800-782-6724).

The Emancipation Proclamation Forever Stamp represents freedom and is the first in a series of three Civil Rights stamps to be released in 2013.  The remaining stamps in the series, to be issued later this year, mark enduring moments of courage and equality in the civil rights movement by featuring Rosa Parks and the March on Washington.

“Stamps often tap into our culture and help us remember the events and people who have had an impact on American history,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman.  “The Emancipation Proclamation was a powerful symbol of President Lincoln’s determination to end the war, to end slavery, and to reconstruct the economy of the country without slave labor.”

The Emancipation Proclamation stamp is the latest stamp to be issued by the Postal Service in tribute to civil rights events or leaders.  In 2009, the organization released stamps featuring 12 civil rights pioneers including Mary Church Terrell and Mary White Ovington, and every year it commemorates notable leaders and cultural milestones through other stamp collections such as the Black Heritage series and the American Treasures series.

On August 16, 1963, the Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The stamp was designed by George Olden, who was the first African American to design a U.S. postage stamp.

Following the stamp dedication by Stroman, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, musician, song talker and scholar, performed a dramatic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The original document was on display at The National Archives for a limited viewing.

About the Emancipation Proclamation Stamp Design

Renowned graphic designer Gail Anderson partnered with art director Antonio Alcalá to design the stamp.  It prominently features the phrase, “Henceforward Shall Be Free,” which is taken from the historic document.  It also notes Abraham Lincoln’s name and the year the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Anderson, known for her term as senior art director at Rolling Stone magazine and design of Broadway play posters, revels in making typography from old forms.  To evoke the look of posters from the Civil War era, she tapped Hatch Show Print of Nashville, TN, to produce the Emancipation Proclamation stamp.   Established in 1879, Hatch is one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America and employs the motto, “preservation through production.”

Source:  Press release