All Articles Tagged "philanthropy"
We all know that celebrity relationships and marriages just don’t seem to go the distance. I mean, we have another one “biting the dust” on an almost weekly basis. But there are a few – just a chosen few – relationships that we’d be really upset to hear about if they called it quits. A couple of these may surprise you but trust me, there’s a reason behind everything! Check it out!
As the founder and CEO of Dallas-based Warrior Group, Gail Warrior spearheads construction projects in 30 states. Founded in 1997, the company is the largest general contractor construction firm owned by a minority woman in the US. And, it’s at the forefront of advancements in the industry, like Permanent Modular Construction (PMC), a method to build quality, sustainable buildings in less time. Committed to serving the community, Gail founded and serves as board chair of the Heart of a Warrior Foundation, which provides educational enrichment programs for underserved children. To mentor other entrepreneurs in the construction industry, Gail hosts the annual Warrior Small Business Academy.
Madame Noire: Is it true that you planned to open a Russian accounting firm after you graduated from college? What caused the shift from accounting to construction?
Gail Warrior: I did study Russian in high school and then for two years in college with the plan of visiting Russia after I completed by undergrad degree. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to do that. At one time, I did speak Russian fluently and I can still read it a little, but I don’t know it nearly as well as I used to. My degree from Clark Atlanta University was in accounting because I have always been interested in business and entrepreneurship.
MN: Are you the first person in your family to manage a business?
GW: My inspiration for starting a business was my father. He was a successful entrepreneur and businessman who was one of the first African-American independent insurance agents in Dallas. I grew up watching him work strategically and grow the Warrior Insurance Agency. After working for a big corporation for eight years after college I knew I couldn’t stay in that world for my entire career. So I was ready to go out on my own and build a business.
MN: What resources did you use to finance your business and how much did you initially invest in Warrior Group Construction?
GW: In the beginning, Warrior Group was launched on a shoestring budget by calling on friends and family to help build the company’s infrastructure. Fortunately, we had a mentor who was also a friend that owned a modular manufacturing plant. He and his wife basically gave us credit and office space inside their plant because we couldn’t afford our own at the time. The main thing we had at the start was a vision for building quality, modular buildings in the federal arena, and we wanted to be known as a trusted source with a superior product, a quality process and good, smart people.
Black Girls Rock! (BGR) in partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and P&G’s My Black is Beautiful campaign has launched the Imagine a Future Project, a program that, according to BGR founder Beverly Bond, will “empower and touch the lives of one million girls over the course of three years.” Through this program, there will be a national and regional (and perhaps worldwide) push to continue BGR’s philanthropic work with and on behalf of African-American girls.
As you probably know, Black Girls Rock! is the nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring and uplifting black girls while also tackling issues associated with media depictions of black women and girls. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the organization per se, you likely recognize the name from the BET awards show that airs annually. No doubt, you’ve heard of the United Negro College Fund (“A mind is a terrible thing to waste”), which has been around for more than 40 years. And perhaps you know My Black is Beautiful because you’re friends with it on Facebook. The campaign has 761,000 Facebook likes, a website and tons of exposure through P&G’s promotion. The partnership was facilitated by PR and marketing firms Egami Consulting Group and MSLGroup. If you’re unfamiliar with Egami, click here to watch our She’s The Boss video with CEO Teneshia Jackson Warner.
Bring them together and you have a program that targets and supports black women and girls in their personal lives and public portrayals.
A Partnership Focused on African-American Women and Girls
P&G’s My Black is Beautiful sponsored BGR Queens’ Camp for Leadership and Excellence, a two-week program that took place this month and hosted 50 girls between the ages of 13 and 17. On August 1, those 50 girls made a trip to Egami and MSLGroup, who hosted an event offering a “day in the life” of a multicultural PR agency like Egami.
“There’s an expectation for brands to have a presence in the communities in which they live,” Warner told us. “As we build campaigns, we’ll find synergies to bring in community partners.” Moreover, Egami wants to include staff members, which is why the firm participated in the event. And the young participants learned that the information they collect every day — what’s in, what’s new, what’s exciting — is just the stuff that’s critical to a career in PR.
According to Bond, she was approached with the idea for these sorts of partnered initiatives, something that happens quite often because of the unique, high-profile nature of her organization.
“We make sure people just aren’t supporting the TV show and the glam, but the work we do,” Bond says. Still, she says, she is the “majority owner” of BGR, the beating heart of the organization. “That’s probably the biggest misconception. BET doesn’t support our nonprofit,” she continues. “It’s tough getting people to recognize that we need the help. We’re doing everything that nonprofits should be doing, but it’s still tough.”
During a time when many might doubt the motivation and engagement of young people in philanthropy, Kezia M. Williams of Washington D.C. based non-profit organization Capital Cause is putting that stereotype to the test. As a part of the upward and well-mobilized millennial generation herself, Williams is changing the landscape of how young adults give back, meeting them where they are through popular social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
Williams’ commitment and dedication to summoning a whole generation of future philanthropists to use their resources as a way to give back is revamping the landscape and stereotypes of service to the community. Williams and her team at Capital Cause are making philanthropy young and popular again for a whole new generation looking to find a fresh way to change the world.
Madame Noire: Capital Cause will be hosting their premier event, The Young Philanthropists Industry Brunch, in Washington D.C. June 30th. How did the event do last year, and what is your overall goal for the brunch this year, themed after poverty to raise awareness and money for the national and global issue?
Kezia M. Williams: Capital Cause is elated to be able to host the 2nd Annual Young Philanthropists Industry Brunch this year. Last year’s event attracted 250 young philanthropists, trailblazers and changemakers who were interested in connecting with senior level leaders in their industry over brunch. Guests at the 2011 brunch included industry representatives from Booz | Allen | Hamilton, the White House, Politico, and the Washingtonian to name a few. Attendees at the brunch selected two nonprofits doing work to reduce the educational disparity gap as beneficiaries of two grants. This year we plan to follow the same format; however we will increase the giving component and award three grants instead of two.
Annually, we ask our Young Philanthropist members to choose the cause that Capital Cause will donate its gifts of time and money to for the duration of the fiscal year. Last year, our members choose education and collectively worked to award five grants and donate 400 hours to local nonprofits. This fiscal year, in under six months, our Young Philanthropists members have donated $25,000, awarded five grants and contributed 3300 service hours to help end poverty, hunger and homelessness in the Nation’s Capital.
MN: What misconceptions have you received from others by working with millennials (for example, they are lazy, not motivated, do not care about the community, etc.), and how do you combat that as an organization?
KW: Capital Cause has witnessed our members deconstruct the myth that young people don’t care about philanthropy or giving back. They have proven this by demonstrating the power of small gifts by coordinating low-dollar, high-grossing giving campaigns, deconstructing the myth that only large donations and large donors count. They have demanded that Capital Cause plan more service events that show high and measurable impact in communities, deconstructing the myth that young people want less and give less time. Though we’ve only supported the DC Metropolitan Area, we believe their desires are representative of a larger millennial group that has been misrepresented and ill-defined when it comes to philanthropy. Young people aren’t disinterested in service; they are disinterested in participating in outdated service-based activities that don’t consider millennial interests.
As a teacher in the Portland public school system, Rebekah Livingston has been dedicated to making small differences in the lives of her students, but she’s always wondered how she could have a bigger impact.
She noticed that most of the students that fell behind or received lower marks in school were African American or Latino. She spent a lot of time thinking about how she could funnel resources to assist them and uplift the community in the process, but it would take a life-changing journey for one of her ideas to finally click.
While abroad on a trip to Ethiopia,Livingston decided to launch a clothing line with a philanthropic twist. And when she returned, Change the Definition, LLC was formed.
In the few months since the launch of Change the Definition, Livingston has donated 50 percent of the proceeds to area charities and has provided more than 5,000 books to at-risk youth with below-average reading levels. Her company has also been able to build a library in Ethiopia so that the schoolchildren there could have easier access to books. Madame Noire recently caught up with Livingston to talk about how she launched her company.
MN: What is Change the Definition, LLC?
RL: Change The Definition is a Portland, Ore. apparel company thats purpose is to change the path of at-risk youth. We invest our profits & time in funding and supporting programs that help give a successful foundation for education. Our particular area of focus is on literacy.
MN: When did you launch the company?
RL: I launched the company in January 2012 (our line launched in mid-February). Because of the great idea behind our company, we have gained a lot of momentum in a short time.
MN: What was your inspiration for launching the company?
RL: I have a deep connection with kids, and have been a volunteer teacher for 5 years now. I realize that there is a HUGE need for funding education for kids who need extra help. Because our school systems are failing and lack funding, I wanted to find a way to help these kids so that they wont become a negative statistic. I want to set an example for them, that its cool to be intelligent and it’s cool to help people. I just took action and moved forward finding an appropriate name and aligning the company with different non-profits that share the same passion for education and literacy.
MN: What industry did you work in prior to launch? What was your position at your company?
RL: I have worked for myself since I was 22. I opened a small skincare salon in Portland. I have always loved pursuing creative ideas and going after what I want. I cant remember ever wanting to work for a corporation or having a boss.
MN: Do you have a co-founder?
RL: No, I do not have a co-founder however I brought my younger brother, Reuben Gabriel, on to do design work and to work with me as a partner. He’s got a lot of great ideas and he’s young, hip and eclectic.
MN: How many people are on your team?
RL: Since we are new business, we hire people on contract. My brother and I are the only permanent team members. Our family and close friends help out a quite a bit. My hope is that we grow fast and have a need to hire more people and stimulate the economy.
MN: How long did you plan and strategize before launching the company?
RL: I spent 1 1/2 years before actually officially launching in January 2012. I just wanted to make sure my vision was on point and that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It brings me so much joy to tell people what kind of an impact we are making on the lives of thousands of kids. These kids will grow up to be great members of our society and hopefully pass education on to their children. Breaking a cycle that continues to plague underserved communities. We need to break this cycle immediately!
by Tyrus Townsend
As the late, great civil rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune once said, “As I give, I get.” We must remember that it is always better to give than to receive. Charity begins at home and by home I mean the black community. Don’t feel as though you must give a large amount of money; your time is just as valuable. This featured group of entertainers, business moguls and innovators know just that. So let’s take inspiration from the following notable figures and their philanthropy.
Whether in the United States or abroad, Winfrey has donated millions of dollars, including $40 million towards the creation of a leadership academy in South Africa and ensuring that deserving students attend institutions of higher learning. Her Angel’s Network has raised more than $80 million in which 100% goes to fund charitable projects and grants globally. Her namesake foundation aids to empower women, children and families and on December 20, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the national “Oprah Bill” aka National Child Protection Law which created a database to help track child abusers.
(Huffington Post) — Jean Edmonson still remembers how Herman Cain came to the rescue of her quadriplegic husband and the inner-city youth center he founded in Omaha, Neb. It was the late 1980s and the then-CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and self-made multimillionaire brokered a deal with the YMCA of Greater Omaha to merge with the struggling Edmonson Youth Outreach Center so that its founder could get health insurance. Joe Edmonson was a beloved wrestling coach in the community who, despite being a quadriplegic, inspired a generation of underprivileged black youth. Cain had joined the board of the sports and after-school program in predominantly-black north Omaha after a young wrestler whose mother worked as a janitor at Godfather’s headquarters approached him to help sponsor a team trip to a national tournament. So when the local YMCA approached Cain, one of Omaha’s most prominent African American business leaders, for help to raise funds for a new neighborhood branch, he agreed. But only if the Y merged with the Edmonson Center.
(AJC) — Cascade United Methodist Church gave Morris Brown College $22,000 Sunday to help the historically black college raise $500,000 to settle a debt with the U.S. Department of Education.
(USA Today) — First there was Panera’s non-profit concept store “Panera Cares Cafe” where all profits go to charity; then high-end retailer Nordstrom announced it would test out a charity-driven business model this fall in New York City’s Soho district. And now? Rapper Jay-Z is wading into the charity space with a similar business model. Indeed, the mogul has announced plans for a new restaurant and nightclub in London in partnership with soccer star Ashley Cole (ex-husband of former X-Factor judge Cheryl Cole) with a percentage of profits going to different charities each month, according to U.K. newspaper, The Sun.
(Associated Press)–The Black Eyed Peas are opening a school where local teenagers will learn video and music production using professional-quality equipment. The six-time Grammy Award winners announced Tuesday that their Peapod Foundation together with the Adobe Foundation will open a Peapod Adobe Youth Voices music and multimedia academy in lower Manhattan.