Monday, January 12, 2015

#SelmaForStudents: Black Business Leaders Join Forces for NYC and NJ Youth

 photo selmaharris_zpsadbd8c3f.png
Tamara Harris Robinson, right, one of  the many business leaders supporting the NYC and NJ
"Selma" fund for students.

An unprecedented effort has brought together 27 African-American business leaders to create a fund for 7th, 8th and 9th grade NYC students to see the Golden Globe-nominated film “SELMA” for free in participating theaters. The response has been overwhelming. NYC has completely sold out and new cities are joining the initiative.

Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor and Viacom Director stated, “The response to our program in New York is better than we could have anticipated and we are truly moved by the generosity and outpouring of support. The story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s heroic efforts in Alabama during the civil rights movement is an important chapter in our country’s history – and one that still resonates deeply today. Due to the many generous donors, tens of thousands of students around the country will have the opportunity to experience this extraordinary film.”

Inspired by NYC’s efforts, 26 African-American leaders in New Jersey have joined forces to fund 10,000 local students to see the film for free. “New Jersey is honored to join its friends in New York in bringing ‘SELMA’ to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO, CastleOak Securities, L.P., who is spearheading the effort along with Anré Williams and Carla Harris in Northern New Jersey. “We are grateful to the leaders in New York, whose generosity and vision led to this movement.”

BlackGivesBack talked to Tamara Harris Robinson, CEO of Haramat Advisory Services who donated to both the NY and NJ funds, to learn more about this inspiring effort and how she became involved:

“During New Year’s weekend, Charles Phillips reached out to me and shared that a group of business leaders were trying to create a fund for NYC students to see the film Selma. The minute he told me about it, I was in. I didn’t need to know much else. There were more calls and lots of conversation back and forth via email on what this effort would look like, how we would spread the word and find others who were interested. The effort got up to speed pretty quickly and out of this, 27 business leaders put up $10,000 each.

Our biggest concern was that we wouldn’t find enough kids to get them to take advantage, but New York is completely sold out. We funded 27,000 tickets and the demand was well over 100% of that. That’s a testimony to the donors engaging their financial and social capital, as well as tapping their networks to get the word out.
This effort parallels the historical events of Selma in that it’s a collective process. It’s about connecting people, feeling part of a community and people giving back. What’s so incredible are the prestigious executives in this group who were willing to do the work. Sending emails, posting on social media, marshalling resources – it’s amazing to be a part of. It’s humbling. This is what a movement looks like.”

Other cities who have joined this effort include Boston, MA; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Sarasota, FL; and Westchester, NY. More cities will be announced soon. Visit for more information.

Donors contributing to the NYC fund:

Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, Owners of The Amsale Group
Gerald Adolph, Senior Partner, Booz & Company and Gwen Adolph
Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox and Lloyd Bean
Valentino D. Carlotti, Partner, Goldman Sachs Group
Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express and Kathryn Chenault
Tony Coles, former CEO, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Robyn Coles
Edith Cooper, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs Group and Roger Taylor
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and CEO, TIAA-CREF and Annette L. Nazareth
Bruce Gordon, Chairman, ADT, former CEO NAACP and Tawana Tibbs
Charles J. Hamilton, Jr., Senior Counsel, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP and Pamela G. Carlton, President, Springboard
Vernon Jordan, Senior Managing Director at Lazard and Ann Dibble Jordan
Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks
Bill Lewis, Co-Chairman of Investment Banking, Lazard and Carol Sutton Lewis
Ed Lewis, founder of Essence Magazine and Carolyn Lewis
Tracy Maitland, CEO and Founder, Advent Capital Management and Kimberly Hatchett
Ray McGuire, Head of Global Banking, Citigroup and Crystal McCrary
Scott Mills, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Administration, Viacom and Iva Mills
Adebayo Ogunlesi, CEO, Global Infrastructure Partners, Lead Director, Goldman Sachs and Dr. Amelia Quist-Ogunlesi
Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners and Laura Parsons
Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor, Viacom Director and Karen Phillips
Jonelle Procope, President, Apollo Theater and Fred Terrell, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, Credit Suisse
Tamara Harris Robinson, CEO, Haramat Advisory Services
Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President, Global Inclusion Strategy, Viacom
Frank Thomas, The Study Group
John Utendahl, Vice Chairman, Deustche Bank Americas
Reginald Van Lee, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen
Ted Wells, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Nina Wells

Northern New Jersey donors:

Daniel L. Black
Alicia R. Carter, MD, Integrative Spine & Orthopedic Rehabilitation LLC
Michael Carter, Co‐Head of Technology Investment Banking RBC Capital Markets and Bonnie Carter
David Crichlow, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Rhonda Crichlow
Charles E. Corpening, Chairman, Joshua Partners
Ken Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co. Inc. and Andrea Frazier
Gregg Gonsalves, Chairman, The Jackie Robinson Foundation and Charmaine Gonsalves
Carla A. Harris, Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley
David R. Jones, President and CEO, CastleOak Securities, L.P. and Tammye Jones
Kim Y. Lew, Co-Chief Investment Officer, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Virgil Jackson
Kevin Liles, Founder KWL/Partner 300 Entertainment and Erika Liles
Mark Mason, CFO, Citi Institutional Client Group and Carolyn Mason
Derek Medina, SVP, Business Affairs, ABC News and Rhonda Adams Medina, SVP & Deputy General Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, Nickelodeon Networks
Glenda McNeal, EVP/GM Global Client Group, American Express
Marc Morial, President, National Urban League
Colbert Narcisse, Managing Director, Global Head of Alternative Investments, Morgan Stanley and Deirdre Narcisse
Tamara Harris Robinson, CEO, Haramat Advisory Services
Charles E. Simpson, Partner, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP
David B. Stith, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Lois Stith
Errol Taylor, Partner, Millbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Paula Taylor
Sharon C. Taylor, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Prudential Financial
Reggie and Al Tindall
Elnardo Webster, Partner, Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor
Ted Wells, Partner, Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Nina Mitchell Wells, President, Vonn Real Estate Group
Anré Williams, President, Global Merchant Services, American Express and Paula Williams
Terry and Rita Woodard

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