philanthropy

The Village: The Be Gr8 Foundation

The Village: The Be Gr8 Foundation

The Village

Be Gr8 Foundation, the philanthropic concept was put together by Board Members Andre Fields and Abdul Karim Abdullah in the winter of 2011. They sought to get an organization together for the sole purpose of affecting change. Mr. Fields a Brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and Mr. Abdullah a Brother of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated felt the community needed role models. There was a need from individual leaders within the community to commit to effecting change within the community. We felt the community needed an organization interested in investing time and effort into creating a network that will work to bridge efforts of getting urban kids into higher education and future careers of purpose. As members of their respective Greek lettered organizations, they sought the help of their fellow peers in the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC) (initiated in fall 2008). The idea was if all members could use the knowledge learned within their respective organizations, we could have leverage for influencing combined positivity in the community.

begreat

Who are we?

 

Be Gr8 Foundation is a nonprofit made up of young professionals dedicated to enriching, empowering and supporting Public school educational systems in New York City and Long Island. Our purpose is to foster excellence in education by motivating students to pursue higher education and further their career goals through: youth development, providing outreach opportunities, scholarship and influencing community development.  Our mission and obligation is to enrich the lives of students across New York by making a positive difference. Our experiences will maximize the learning potential of every student and prepare them to succeed in the 21st century as leaders.

Visit The Be Gr8 Foundation Now!!

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TheBlackManCan Institute Tour Pop-Up Fundraiser Brunch

TheBlackManCan Institute Tour Pop-Up Fundraiser Brunch

His Story

brunchflyerOn November 3rd come and have Brunch to support TheBlackManCan Institute Tour and the finale for TheBlackManCan Institute tour New York City. This brunch is hosted by Justice Sweets and  The Be Gr8 Foundation. $25 (Includes a Full Brunch Menu and Three Mimosas.) Please join us for fellowship to uplift young kings! Tickets for brunch can be purchased by clicking here! To learn more about TheBlackManCan Institute click here.

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Positive Black Male News: Seahawks Safety Kam Chancellor Provides ‘Golden’ Opportunity for Seattle Youth!

Positive Black Male News: Seahawks Safety Kam Chancellor Provides ‘Golden’ Opportunity for Seattle Youth!

Positive Black Male News

DSC_0251-1024x685Kam Chancellor capped off his recent backpack donation project with a special meet and greet for five student recipients affiliated with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. Through his foundation Kam Cares, Chancellor partnered with the Mission in late August to provide backpacks and supplies to nearly 600 children facing economic hardships. In addition to school supplies, five students received a “Willy Wonka”-style golden ticket – entitling them to a tour of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC), home of the Seahawks training facility. The lucky ticket holders redeemed their prize this morning.

“This has been a phenomenal experience for our children, and we really appreciate Kam and the Seahawks staff for providing them with such a great opportunity,” said Jeff Lilley, President of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

Chancellor led the children and their parents on a tour of the weight room, administrative and coaching personnel offices, team meeting rooms and auditorium, and specialized training areas. The children, adorned in their Seahawks gear, were also able to visit the indoor and outdoor training fields, while catching a quick glimpse of practice before tomorrow’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I really wanted the kids to tour our training facility to show them the hard work and preparation we put in before stepping out on the field,” said Chancellor. “I hope this experience encourages them to apply that same work ethic as students, in both education and sports.”

As the children and their parents walked wide-eyed through the facility, they paused for photos against several backdrops of players and action shots of the most memorable game highlights. The tour ended with a surprise meet and greet with other Seahawks – including Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Robert Turbin, Jameson Konz, and Walter Thurmond. After a few hugs, autographs, and additional photos, the golden ticket holders said their goodbyes to Chancellor – wishing him and the team well on Sunday’s game.

Kam Cares Foundation will partner with the Mission again in December for its annual Holiday Toy Drive.

Source: Black Celebrity Giving

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Positive Black Male News: NBA Star Demarcus Cousins to Donate $1 Million to Families in Sacramento!

Positive Black Male News: NBA Star Demarcus Cousins to Donate $1 Million to Families in Sacramento!

Positive Black Male News

demarcus-cousins-kentucky-university-gestures-after-being-selected-the-sacramento-kings-the-fifth-overall-pick-the-2010-nba-draft-new-yorkBy Drenna Amrstrong

Sacramento Kings star Demarcus Cousins has had his share of troubles since joining the team since 2010. But that hasn’t stopped them from compensating him and he, in turn, is giving back to the community.
The Kings organization and point guard recently agreed to a four year contract extension and reportedly, the deal is worth about $62 million.

But what was even more impressive was what Cousins said he’d be doing for the city of Sacramento. At the end of the press conference announcing the deal, a seemingly nervous Cousins announced he’d be donating $1 million to families and communities in the city. He wasn’t exactly clear what families he was talking about, but one can only assume he meant families who were experiencing some serious financial troubles.
He also announced he would be donating to St. HOPE, a non-profit organization founded by former basketball player and current mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson. St. HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Excellence) is broken down into three divisions: St. Hope Academy (a charter school in Harlem), St. HOPE Public Schools (a charter school system that educates 2,000 students in seven school) and St. HOPE Development (which restores historic Sacramento buildings and homes).

Cousins said regarding resigning with the Kings when he could have gone with a more competitive team that he values loyalty. It looks like the same could be said about his loyalty to the city in the way he’s giving back. Oh and yes, he is pretty easy on the eyes.

Source: Black Celebrity Giving

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His Story: Building Dream Infrastructure for Young Men of Color

His Story: Building Dream Infrastructure for Young Men of Color

His Story

 

nadia2I have two younger brothers. One is a senior in college, majoring in business. The other is taking some time off after high school and working more than 50 hours a week at a pizza restaurant while he saves for school, weighing a degree in music (he plays a mean accordion, among many other instruments) or something more ‘stable’. They are both good, smart ‘kids’ who were taught, as I was, that if they worked hard, opportunities would be available to them. The world was their oyster. They still believe that. Mostly.

Unfortunately, they know the statistics about young men of color, young men like them, all too well. 47% will not graduate high school on time. One in three will go to prison in their lifetime. 57% are being raised without fathers. These factors are all serious barriers in terms of being gainfully employed with sufficient income and assets to thrive in America. While my brothers aren’t always viewed through these lenses, I have witnessed occasions when others’ low expectations of them have chipped away at their belief that the world was theirs for the taking. And, for many others—young men who do not have the multitude of supports and shields that my brothers have–it is less a chipping away and more a full-scale demolition.

 

Recently, Living Cities signed on to a philanthropic alliance dedicated to addressing problems facing boys and men of color. As the alliance gets its legs, I attended a ‘Gathering of Leaders’– foundation staff, educators, youth, policymakers, non-profit leaders, grassroots organizers, and others focused on moving the needle on these issues. Together this diverse group of stakeholders met for three days in Detroit to share knowledge, work towards developing collective strategies, and to prepare the group to mobilize and act. For many in attendance, these issues are not just what they work on every day, but are also deeply personal. The conversation was urgent. Here are three things I heard:

 

1: To achieve our dreams, we must first build ‘dream infrastructure’
While there is no doubt that we need to do better in terms of physical access to quality education and quality jobs for all young people, particularly low-income people and people of color; we also have to do better in terms of helping them to believe that those things are for them in the first place. For communities who have often been excluded from many mainstream opportunities, it is not enough to invest in physical infrastructure, we must also invest in what I’m calling ‘dream infrastructure’. This might include building social capital in communities to better connect youth (physically and virtually) to support networks, fostering positive images in the media, and ensuring that there are role models who look like them in classrooms and mentoring programs.

 

2: If we don’t tell our own stories, we become characters in someone else’s
This idea, raised in one of the sessions I attended, generated a lot of conversation. It became increasingly clear that in order to achieve better outcomes, we must change the narrative. For example, though celebrating successes in minority communities is important, the stereotypical story of Asian-Americans as a ‘model minority’ means that this racial community is often overlooked in policy conversations around key challenges such as access to quality education and poverty alleviation—challenges that many Asian Americans struggle with. And, negative stereotypes of young African-American men manifest in the very policies that seek to address the stereotypes. Rather than removing barriers to opportunity, some of these programs are perpetuating falsehoods (e.g. that African-American men are ‘dangerous’). Boys and men of color are not one- size- fits- all characters, but rather have a richness of experience and voice that if harnessed can help individuals and organizations working towards systems change to better understand realities and design interventions.

 

3: Collaboration is key
The challenges facing men and boys of color are huge, and have their roots in 400 years of disenfranchisement. If we are going to move the needle on these issues, we will need a critical mass of individuals and organizations to come together to develop a shared vision, set ambitious goals, and identify outcomes that we will track and hold ourselves accountable for. With the coming together of cross-sector leaders across the country, there are signs that a vibrant movement is growing, and we must seize the moment to drive concrete action.

 

Every kid should grow up believing that they can be an accordion player, a business owner, or whatever else they dream of. Even more important is ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to turn those dreams into reality.

Originally Posted on: Living Cities.org

nadiaAbout the Author: As a Senior Knowledge & Organizational Development Associate, Nadia works closely with the CEO and Chief of Staff on organizational development, strategic planning, and special projects. She also manages and supports a variety of activities to advance Living Cities’ knowledge and communications strategy focused on fostering the spread of experimentation and adoption of promising approaches to move the needle for low income people in US cities.

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The Village: Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals

The Village: Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals

The Village

logo colorThe Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals (ULGH-YP) organization was designed to provide young professionals (ages 21-40) in the Greater Hartford area, with a forum that fosters professional development, community service, social awareness, equal access to opportunities and self-reliance. This new developing force is composed of key local talent and young professionals committed to supporting and promoting the mission of the Urban League of Greater Hartford through social and civic engagement. The ULGH-YP Chapter is one of 65 chapters of the National Urban League Young Professional (NULYP), which serves as the umbrella organization under the National Urban League to support the League’s three pronged agenda: financial literacy, real world education, and political education.

We earnestly believe in our members and strive to develop programs that encourage individual members’ personal, professional, and civic growth. We work to strengthen our members by encouraging them to achieve balance in their lives even as they work to strengthen their communities. We pride ourselves in having a diversity of professional backgrounds and we aim to share our experiences, learn from each other, and unite our community through active involvement.

Learn more about the ULGH-YP by visiting www.ulghyp.org.

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Exquisite Women: Karyn Brianne Watkins

Exquisite Women: Karyn Brianne Watkins

Exquisite Women

TheBlackManCan heads to Chitown to interview Karyn Brianne of The Fabulous Giver and The Red Pump Project.  Check out her story as she shares her passion to raise awareness.

TheBlackManCan: Karyn, when did you become passionate about better health outcomes in the Black community?

 

KBW: Improving health outcomes has always been important to me even as a child. My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before I was born so I always knew about doctors appointments, medicine, and preventative treatment options. My life was a living example of how a health situation could affect social and economic standing. In my mother’s case, her multiple sclerosis couldn’t have been prevented but there are so many diseases and conditions that we as a community can prevent. The prevention space is where I found my calling.

 

TheBlackManCan: You are focused on using media to promote positive social and health behaviors. What role can technology play in how process health information and make decisions?

 

KBW: Technology has completely changed the game when it comes to how we acquire, absorb, and process information. Everything that we need to know is right at our fingertips, if we know where to find it. Technology gives us the ability to reach people where they are at. Now that the tools are available, we have to make sure that everyone can access them and that the right information is being provided.

 

TheBlackManCan: You created a blog titled “The Fabulous Giver.” Why the name “The Fabulous Giver?” What kind of content can be found on your blog?

 

KBW: I knew that I wanted to create a blog where I could talk about fun ways to support causes and volunteering. I was on a flight and started just writing words on a napkin and   that blog name just popped into my head. On the site, I may talk about fashion items that support a cause or my experience giving back. It really depends on what mood I’m in. No matter what though, the content is always either inspirational or philanthropic in nature.

 

TheBlackManCan: Can you share some of your favorite charities to give to and volunteer at?

 

KBW: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has always (and will always) have my heart. My mother regularly volunteered and attending support groups in Chicago. I keep up that tradition by going into the office a few days a year and volunteering at special events. I also love the work that Bright Pink is doing. It’s a phenomenal breast and ovarian cancer organization led by a young woman named Lindsay Avner. She’s incredible and incredibly inspiring. Then, there’s my own nonprofit, The Red Pump Project, which focuses on raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

 

TheBlackManCan: What ignited the spark to start The Red Pump Project?

 

KBW: My co-founder, Luvvie, and I wanted to do something to recognize National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day so we tossed around an idea to do a simple social media outreach campaign. With both of us being bloggers, we were very familiar with the power of the Internet and we wanted to motivate women across the country to exercise that power for a very important cause.

 

TheBlackManCan: Tell us more about The Red Pump Project. What is the meaning behind the name along with the mission and vision? How can someone get involved?

 

KBW: Luvvie had previously mentioned that she always wanted to do an event that connected red shoes with HIV/AIDS. So, as we brainstormed names for our social media campaign, I suggested that we title it “The Red Pump Project.” At the time, that’s what it really was – a project. We didn’t know what the results would be. In 2009, we set a goal to have 100 women bloggers participate and within 8 days, we were able to get over 130 sites to join in. The rest has been history.

 

Many people often ask us, “Why red pumps?” First, red is the color associated with the fight against AIDS. Then, red pumps are what we gals like to call “power shoes.” They catch your eye. They are bold, sexy, and conversation-starters. That same power and confidence is what we wanted to bring to this epidemic. We rock the red pump to unite women and show our sisters who are infected and affected that we stand with them – in a fabulous way (of course).

 

 

TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for more initiatives to be created around HIV/AIDS that focus on education and awareness?

 

KBW: HIV/AIDS is disproportionately affecting people of color to the point Black America is in the middle of an epidemic. The CDC estimates that 1 in 16 Black men and 1 in 32 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. To me, that’s beyond absurd. It’s heard to understand why this is happening to our community until you remember that stigma is a huge barrier to disease education, care, and treatment. We have to normalize the conversation around smart sex practices and HIV/AIDS. We don’t have a choice.

 

TheBlackManCan: You are raising the awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Why is raising the awareness so important domestically and globally?

 

KBW: It’s important because we can’t end this epidemic without a focus on women. Globally, we’re at a disadvantage when it comes to advocating for safe sex, accessing HIV preventions services, and information on how to protect ourselves. Fighting HIV/AIDS in women and girls requires that we take a look at larger issues including domestic violence, education, economic development, and self-esteem. Awareness is the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a very important start.

 

TheBlackManCan: You have successfully used social media to create change. What advice would you give to others that would like to do the same thing?

 

KBW: Be authentic. Tell a story. Create a unifying theme. And, be consistent.

 

TheBlackManCan: Where do you see yourself and The Red Pump Project in the next five years?

 

KBW: I see myself doing more of what I’m already doing – promoting positive health and social change. I’m finishing my graduate degree in Health Communication next year, and I’m looking forward into parlaying that into more opportunities to discuss health both through Red Pump and other community efforts.

 

TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black Women to see positive images of Black men and boys?

 

KBW: Black men and boys are the backbone of our community. You are our leaders and our hearts. Society tells us everything that our brothers are doing wrong, so it’s important to remember everything that you guys do right. We love y’all.

 

TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black girls?

 

KBW: The same words that my mother once told me: Don’t be common. When she told me that, she wasn’t talking about money or material items. She was talking mindset. As black women, we can do anything that we put our mind to but it’s up to us to believe that we can do the incredible…that we can accomplish the impossible. To my young sisters, protect your dreams, guard your heart, and never stop learning. It’ll take you farther than you ever imagined.

 

 

Exquisite Women is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Women who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society.  Nominate a Black Woman today on the contact page or e-mail team@theblackmancan.org, subject line: Exquisite Woman!

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