In the midst of all the February/Black History Month activity, there was a cutthroat competition that might give the Olympics a run for its money — the AT&T 28 Days Challenge. Three teams face each other to win — not a gold medal or a trophy — but $20,000 for their non-profit organizations.
You might be familiar with the leaders of each team: hip-hop artist MC Lyte, Wayne Sutton, a popular tech entrepreneur, and Sanya Richards-Ross, a 10-time Olympic gold medalist. Each of them, with their own philanthropic causes, were thrown into four challenges to win the cash prize.
Who won? Guess! Read to the end to find out.
MC Lyte, whose music we’ve been bumpin’ to since the late 80’s, has morphed into an entrepreneur and inspirational speaker today. She’s got her eye on the prize on behalf of Write Girl, a non-profit that empowers young female writers to use their pens as a powerful tool for success.
“I simply wanted to use my voice to inspire and motivate others. I have dedicated my career to being true to myself, humbled by my fans, and creating a positive impact in my community. That’s what making history is all about,” MC Lyte wrote for AT&T’s blog.
Sutton is suttin’ else with a stellar background in digital media and technology. As the founder and co-founder of PitchTo and Student Ventures, respectively, he’s an exemplary mentor for kids jumping into the STEM field. So naturally, Sutton’s competing for the Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center — a non-profit that thrusts inner-city students into tech success.
“I wanted to become a team coach for the AT&T 28 Days to encourage African Americans to get involved in their communities while supporting positive programs that help impact our culture in a positive way,” Sutton told MadameNoire. “Black History Month is always a time reflect on what so many have paved a way for us but it’s now a time for African-Americans to step up and continue to make history happen.”
Mrs. Richards-Ross is siding with the National Urban League of Young Professionals (Austin chapter). This non-profit is committed to “improving and impacting underserved communities and minority business,” according to the AT&T 28 Challenge site.
Of course, these three heavyweights weren’t competing alone; the trio had a team of 12 to help them. Each week in Black History Month, the three teams were presented with a challenge:
Week One: Create a new business plan that would help each non-profit meet short term and long term business goals. This included a new communications plan and identifying people who could help their organization to grow.
Week Two: Each team was asked to make a 5-minute video to report their findings, discuss challenges and share what they learned from their various interactions.
Week Three: Team members were asked to develop their own creative writing/design project in conjunction with the mission of the organization that would demonstrate the talent and ambition of the organization’s members.
Week Four: Teams were asked to coordinate and attend an event being conducted by their non-profit based on the plan, insights and connections they made in the previous challenges.
Whomever gets the most points with all four challenges wins — say it with me à la Family Feud — “twenty-thousand dollars!” This means each team member gets $5,000! And it was Wayne Sutton, the San Fran-based tech guru, won the AT&T 28 Day Challenge!
But technically — everyone wins! Second (Mc Lyte’s team) and third place (Richards-Ross’ team) will receive $5,000 and $4,000 respectively. Plus, in using social media and other digital platforms for the challenge, each team heightens the awareness of their respective non-profit organization.
“AT&T 28 Days was truly a challenge because it encouraged people to go beyond a few quotes and facts on Twitter and to work to become the leaders who make history happen and impact the community,” Richards-Ross told MadameNoire.