All Articles Tagged "philanthropy"
When it comes to the issues where do you stand? Are you always looking for ways to alleviate hunger? Do most of your efforts go towards helping underprivileged children? Or are you burning your bra for women’s rights?
Many companies have also jumped on the philanthropic bandwagon, lending their considerable wealth and manpower to benefit causes that are tied to the brand or near and dear to business leaders.
Here are 10 companies with a social mission.
When it comes to funding, African-American museums can use all the help they can get. So the recent $1 million grant the General Motors Foundation awarded to the upcoming Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture was most welcomed.
Because of the size of the gift, the GM Foundation has become a founding donor to the museum. The museum is still under construction and will be located on five acres adjacent to the Washington Monument. It is expected to open in late 2015.
“Through this grant we continue our commitment by helping to bring to life the story of African Americans who have changed our nation in so many ways,” said the foundation’s president, Vivian Pickard, in a statement.
GM’s donation will help pay for the design and installation of the museum’s permanent exhibition. It will also allow the construction remain on schedule.
Previously Oprah Winfrey also donated $13 million. Her name will go on a 350-seat theater as a thank you for her enormous gift. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and American Express have also donated to the highly-anticipated museum.
Lonnie G. Bunch, founding director, told the newspaper, every donation helps. “I jump up and down every time we get a donation, whether it’s $5 or $5 million. What I realize is, every donation is a step closer to making dreams of our ancestors real. That excites me every moment,” he said.
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Verneda White saw that thousands in a place she once called home struggled to rebuild a life torn apart by the devastating storm. Just five months later, her family was forced to deal with another devastating loss — her 22-year-old cousin James succumbed to AIDS.
From this tragedy comes Human Intonation, a for-profit business that White started with the underlying expressed purpose of benefiting charity partners, most notably, organizations that address the need for HIV prevention, education, and treatment. White donates 20 percent of each sale to philanthropic groups.
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, a time to join in the fight against this killer of millions. The World AIDS Day organization estimates that there are 34 million people around the globe living with AIDS. Despite the fact that it has risen to the level of epidemic, AIDS remains mired in stigma, and teaching people about the disease is an ongoing goal around the world.
But there is some good news. A recent UN report shows that the number of new cases of HIV infection has dropped 30 percent in recent years. The group credits better treatment and education with the decline. The UN says the former is made possible by a dramatic drop in the cost of drugs, down to $140 per year from $10,000 at one point.
Even with this progress, diligence is necessary, particularly among the black community. According to Voice of America, though African Americans make up 12 percent of the US population, they make up 50 percent of new HIV cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, says homophobia in the black community puts young, gay black men at high risk. And HIV is the leading cause of death among African-American women between the ages of 25 and 34, with the rate of infection 20 times higher than that of white women.
“Despite the apparent urgency of this issue, especially in the black community, funding for AIDS prevention has stagnated in the last half decade,” The Atlantic writes.
That sense of urgency, in some ways, has diminished because of the advancements made since the 1980s. White says it “makes her cringe” when she hears statements like that.
“I remember when he told me he was HIV positive and thinking nothing of it,” White told MadameNoire Business, referring to the day she got the news from her cousin, a family member she loved immensely. “I expected him to live another 30 or 50 years. He died in five months.” Her message, and the message of others, is to get tested and, if you’re infected, to get treatment quickly.
To that end, White gives generously to organizations that benefit this cause. Continued recovery from Hurricane Katrina, education in Darfur, and help for the poor in Haiti are some of the other causes that she has become involved with. To give this much, White says she has to be aggressive about making money. “Fairly early on, I saw that I have to be a profitable business. It couldn’t only be the philanthropic part,” she said.
When someone becomes a pillar of their industry, others want to learn how they got there. Whether they seek it out or not, these successful professionals — athletes, business people, entertainers, or academics — are in demand for speaking engagements and appearances. Their advice and counsel is sought after. And the decisions they make influence the direction of the entire industry. When someone like Russell Simmons or Oprah Winfrey does something, everyone else watches to see what happens.
These days, by virtue of popularity and sway as well as some tangible measure of success, one can seek out and become a person of influence. There are three major elements that you should be aware of in order to become an influencer within your community and industry of career choice.
Number one, think about how you can improve the lives of others rather than only thinking of yourself. Life is rich when you find out what your passions are, but it can be richer when you use your passion to help others in need. For instance, when Oprah’s talk show first aired in the early 80s, the topics discussed were more tabloid in nature. It was not long before Oprah redefined her purpose to focus more on social issues that every person could relate to. Her fondness for bringing the human condition to light separated her from the pack and made her into the Oprah we all know today — an influential media mogul. People latch onto her “Oprah’s Book Club” picks, her latest on-screen interviews with pop culture figures, and anything that she touches as a film and TV producer. But more important, we are influenced by her many philanthropic efforts and her generosity, with an estimated $400 million given to others in need during her career thus far. Thinking “we” instead of “me” leads to a happier, more fulfilled life and paves the path to having a voice that others will respect and feel inspired by.
Second, cultivate your tastes. Before you can be a guiding light to others, you must be comfortable with who you are, which is achieved through exploration. A leader is consistent in their brand, their image, what they care about most, and in their curiosity about others. This type of self-realization does not happen in a day, however. Travel, try new things and meet new people. You do not have to have your life figured out by the age of 25; the process could take many years to become a reality. The current richest Black woman in the world, Folorunsho Alakija, was a bank secretary in the mid-1970s, studied fashion in London, and had her own fashion label in Nigeria before becoming an oil tycoon.
Finally, focus and engage. We like to be listened to and feel as if we are the only person in the room. Put down your iPhone and headphones and strike up a conversation with your colleagues during your lunch hour or with the barista who knows exactly how you like your coffee every morning. Get involved with a local or national cause that is important to you and volunteer your knowledge, time, and voice. You don’t need to spend money to be a leader. If you focus on your strengths and what you are most passionate about you can help to set the bar for other generations. Just remember that an influencer achieves through action, not inaction. Harry Belafonte said it best when he declared how vital it is for African Americans to welcome “radical thoughts” in order to help solve the world’s biggest predicaments.
“What really concerns me is the ingredients of discourse. The African-American community… where is that community? Where is that voice? I think that the black community, the black leadership need to stir it up.” If you would like to be a leader, an influence to others, use your voice and participate within society to affect positive, long-lasting change.
The government shutdown has defunded Head Start programs, which educate 7,000 poor toddlers in preparation for kindergarten. But a $10 million donation by billionaire couple John and Laura Arnold has got Head Start programs operating despite the standstill at Congress, The Root reports.
“We believe that it is especially unfair that young children from underprivileged communities and working families pay the price for the legislature’s collective failures,” the Arnolds said in a statement.
The billionaire couple’s generous donation will benefit thousands of children in poverty who use these programs to “learn the skills needed for their early school years and whose parents rely on the program to have a safe, affordable place to take their children while they work,” The Root added. And what makes the Arnolds particularly extraordinary are their qualms about passing on their wealth to their three children: “Because of our backgrounds and because of our own experiences, we just don’t believe in dynastic wealth,” they said.
Instead, they hope to pass on their fortunes to government programs — something many wealthy Americans refuse to do because of their distrust of the government’s judgment. According to The Root, the Arnold’s find it more prudent to invest in today’s deprived children than tomorrow’s prisons or homeless shelters.
“[W]hat makes the Arnolds’ act particularly significant is that, unlike some wealthy people who bought into Mitt Romney’s 47 percent argument that some Americans earn money and deserve it and others simply take it, the Arnolds are wealthy people who earned their money but who understand that America’s future will be brighter if they share it with children who are not born into the same opportunities as their children.”
John, whose wealth is valued at $2.8 billion, and his wife have previously made headlines for their support of the Obama administration. The Arnolds are heads of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which strives to impact society in a way that “maximizes opportunity and minimizes injustice.”
The Arnolds are crossing their fingers that the government eventually open because the Head Start programs can only last so long on philanthropists’ cash: “We sincerely hope that our government gets back to work in short order, as private dollars cannot in the long term replace government commitments,” The Arnolds told the Daily Mail.
With curves for days and a true appreciation for the (full) female figure, Domonique Revere-Lincoln and Colleen Stovall have dedicated their life’s work to the celebration of plus-sized women and fashion. At first they were going it alone; Domonique is CEO of Empress Lingerie and Colleen blogs at ShortCurvyFierce.com and both are aspiring plus-sized models. But a chance meeting ultimately led to the 2012 launch of Curvy Closets, a Philadelphia-based fashion show for women sized 12-and-up.
But Curvy Closets isn’t just about showing that big girls can rock a runway, too. The show provides a platform for independent – and even student – designers while also giving local vendors an opportunity to connect with a like-minded customer base. Perhaps more importantly though, Curvy Closets highlights deserving charities in the tri-state area and donates a portion of proceeds to participating nonprofits. The 2013 show will be held October 12.
Here, we talk with Domonique about building the Curvy Closets brand, juggling multiple business ventures and what it really takes to make a partnership work.
MadameNoire: What made you decide to partner for the Curvy Closets show?
Domonique & Colleen: Colleen and I met through a modeling troop of sorts in Philadelphia. We were there looking to meet like-minded models while growing in our craft, and we hit it off from there. Approximately a year later we decided to take on this joint venture due to the lack of opportunities and quality fashion shows/events for plus size models in and throughout the Philadelphia area.
MN: Do you each have clearly defined roles, and what happens when you guys have a difference of opinion? How do you work through those challenges?
D&C: We do have clearly defined roles, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t assist one another when the other may have questions and/or need assistance. Colleen, because of her social media background, tends to take the lead on all things media-related, while I am the visionary and handle the logistics.
MN: What advice do you have for other women who are considering going into business with a friend?
D&C: Our advice would be to go into the business with an open mind, similar visions of outcome and clear expectations. We’ve learned that everything is give and take, but most of all we’ve learned to not take things personally.
MN: How has building the Curvy Closets brand helped establish and build your personal brands?
D&C: Building the Curvy Closets brand has assisted greatly in the visibility of our personal brands, ShortCurvyFierce.com [for Colleen] and Empress Lingerie [for Dominique]. During this second year of planning, larger brands and curvy elitist have embraced and supported Curvy Closets, which is fantastic. But more that anything else, it does mean a lot to us that others believe in what we are doing and anticipating another great show this year.
MN: How do you and Colleen balance working on the show and working on your personal business ventures?
D&C: You said it: Prioritizing is key! We start the planning process for Curvy Closets well in advance – approximately nine months prior to show time – which enables us to balance both our personal endeavors, and Curvy Closets, without becoming overwhelmed by all that goes into producing a show of this magnitude.
MN: The plus-size market has been growing exponentially, but it’s still not completely mainstream. Has that (or anything else) presented a challenge as you work to build the brand?
D&C: It’s very exciting and refreshing to be a part of this ever-growing plus-size fashion industry and to make our little mark. In addition, it’s been and will continue to be our mission to utilize the Curvy Closets platform to give a voice and exposure to those smaller brands, while giving back to the community.
Our challenges (we like to call them opportunities) have centered around growing our sponsorship support, and much of that is because of the timing of the show and the fact that many brands have already allocated those funds to go elsewhere. So it’s an opportunity for us at the present time, and it’s one that we are slowly overcoming and will continue to do so.
Andrea Williams is a writer/journalist based in Nashville. Follow her @AndreaWillWrite
Drake and The Game were touched after hearing Anna Angel’s tragic story: After returning home from a shift at Burger King, a deadly fire consumed her home killing her five kids and boyfriend. No one survived the blazing Ohio home, TMZ reports.
After hearing about the disaster, both rappers agreed to contribute $10,000 each for Angel’s funeral expenses, totaling a $20K contribution. According to TMZ, both rappers made their generous decision over a phone call.
“I can deal with a lot of things but people losing their children is something that kills me everytime,” The Game said on his Instagram. In response, Drake said, “What [The Game] is doing will never be forgotten. Honored to be able to help people along side my brother.”
The producers of The Game’s reality show, Marrying the Game, also touched by Angel’s story, are also donating $2,500 for the burial costs.
“Myself and @thedocumentary (The Game) are donating a total of $22,500 to Ana Angel,” Drake continued on his Instagram, “who lost her boyfriend & their 5 children in a house fire on behalf of @therobinhoodproject #therobinhoodproject”
The hashtags you see embedded in Drake’s instagram post refers to The Game’s new philanthropic organization called “The Robin Hood Project,” an effort to give $1 million dollars of his own money to people in need all around the world.
The Trayvon Martin Foundation received a $50,000 donation from four Florida community businesses and organizations.
Donors to the foundation include Boyland Auto Group, LLC, Invictus Law Group, P.L., Boyz-4-Lyfe, and the Delta Xi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The four organizations are offering up the funds in the form of a scholarship in memory of Trayvon Martin and hope that it can help provide students of color with educational opportunities.
The scholarship will be granted to four graduating seniors at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School in Miami, Florida.
“The purpose of this scholarship is to bridge the socio-economic gap among young people of color in the U.S., through educational opportunities for disadvantaged students who cannot afford a college education,” said CEO of Boyland Auto Group, Dorian S. Boyland.
You can check out Essence.com for the rest of the story.
That is amazing and these organizations should be celebrated for their contribution to the Trayvon Martin Foundation. It is so good to see and hear that although the death of Trayvon was a tragedy, people are finding ways to bring positive changes in the community.
Money, money, money, money! Yes, we know sports stars get paid the big bucks. Their extreme talents pay off, whether hooping, golfing, boxing or cycling. But how awesome is it when we see these sports celebs give back to their community? It lets us know that they haven’t forgotten their roots – from where they used to play b-ball to the day-to-day struggle growing up in a household where making ends meet was a constant challenge. Whatever the case, these athletes desire to help others, and because they are in a position to help others, they feel the need to do so. Kudos to these sports stars for lending a helping hand.
Dwyane Wade said when he was 7 years old, if he ever became famous, the first thing he’d do is use his celebrity to give back to his old neighborhood in Chicago. In 2003, the same year he was drafted, he started the Wade’s World Foundation, which serves at-risk communities in Milwaukee, South Florida, and Chicago. Wade’s World promotes literacy, health and fatherhood through youth summer camps, academic scholarships, and community service programs. Wade was the winner of the 2013 BET Humanitarian Award, of which he was totally deserving.
Some celebrities are known for their philanthropic work, whether it be giving back to the community or volunteering their time for a specific cause. Here’s a list of celebrities who dug deep in their hearts and wallets to donate big when a natural disaster struck:
When a catastrophic earthquake rocked the tiny Caribbean country of Haiti, it killed more than 230,000 and left millions more without a home. Former Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean was one of the first people who made their way down to his home country to help search for survivors. In addition to helping out physically, the rapper/producer used the power of social media to ask for help, raising more than $1 million for Yele Haiti with a single tweet. All of Jean’s hard work would be overshadowed a year later when his charity came under fire for allegedly squandering millions of dollars in donations. Jean has since released a statement acknowledging the organization’s mistakes and vowed to continue on. “The new and good news is that Yele, under new leadership, despite efforts to undermine its credibility and effectiveness, continues its mission to serve people in need.”