In times of great need, there are some people who waste no time with their generosity.
This week, a deadly tornado touched down in city of Moore, Oklahoma killing over 20 people and destroying most of the town. Well in less than 24 hours after the devastation, Oklahoma City Thunder power player Kevin Durant made a huge donation to the city of Moore. Durant’s $1 million donation was given to the Red Cross in efforts to assist those affected by the EF-4 tornado. This incident is especially close to Durant in that the city of Moore is where he calls home. The entire area is feeling much grief for which an elementary school, entire neighborhoods, and families were destroyed.
Other donations are steady coming in from individuals and corporations. Lowe’s stores, for instance, announced that they will donate $1 million to go towards recovery and rebuilding efforts. Their donation will help communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and other affected areas throughout the Midwest.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to all the families who’ve lost loved ones and experienced the devastation of the recent tornadoes, including members of our Lowe’s family,” said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “We’ll be there every step of the way to help these communities and families recover, from the search and rescue efforts until these neighborhoods are rebuilt.”
If you would like to donate, Lowe’s will be accepting donations at stores across the U.S. and via www.Lowes.com. Through their partnership with Red Cross, your donations will help provide food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance to those impacted by the tornadoes.
While fans packed the Atlanta streets for the annual NCAA Championship games, one NBA player took time out to give back to the kids of Atlanta.
As part of the Hampton Hotels’ “Hands-On Hamptonality” Community Service Program, the kids of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America-Metro Atlanta (BGCMA) were in for a treat this past weekend. The girls and boys all participated in the “Hampton Hoops Classic” tournament which help raises funds for the renovation of the John H. Harland Boys & Girls Club gymnasium. In addition, donations also helped 24 Clubs in the Atlanta area in receiving new gym equipment.
One hundred kids were surprised when Atlanta Hawks player Al Horford arrived. Horford was on hand to annouce the starting line-ups, spend time with the kids, take photos with the kids and sign autograph basketballs. Hampton Hotel, too, used the opportunity to unveil a huge donation to BGCMA of $125,000. The monies will be used to help start the renovations, lay down a new rubberized playing surface, lighting, and to upgrade their locker rooms.
Here’s a few photos from the event:
For more information about “Hands-On Hamptonality” or to see more photos, go to www.facebook.com/hampton.
Depsite the turmoil of her public relationship with singer Usher and the untimely death of her child, Tameka Raymond is moving on with her life and has plans to keep her son’s spirit alive. This Friday (Good Friday), Tamkea Raymond will have the official launch event for the new Kile’s World Foundation. The foundation, named after her son Kile Glover, will honor his life through providing Fine and Performing Arts enrichment to kids ages 10 to 17. The foundation will give children access to programs including, fine arts, theatre, dance, music, production, and digital media. These programs are all reflections of and things Kile were passionate about.
It is currently unknown if the event is open to the public or not.
Kile Glover passed away in 2012, at age 11, after a tragic jet ski accident at Lake Lanier in Georgia. The incident led to the indictment of family friend Jeffrey Simon Hubbard, earlier this month.
Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys continues to be a ‘Girl on Fire’ not only with just her careers but also when it comes to the lives and well-being of others especially when it comes to women.
Teaming up with the Greater Than Aids organization, Keys has launched a new information campaign called EMPOWERED. The campaign will focus on to increasing the women in United States’ awareness and education about HIV/AIDS.
“When I became aware that women accounted for one in five new HIV infections occurring in the U.S. each year, it shook me to the core and I realized this is an issue we ALL need to pay attention to. Whether HIV positive or negative, we all have the opportunity to educate ourselves and make a difference,” said Keys about her motivation behind launching the campaign.
Check out Alicia Keys’ touching PSA for the EMPOWERED campaign below. For more information about the campaign, visit GreaterThan.org.
Some stories you come across can truly pull your heart strings…
A western Ohio woman, Reba Williams, will finally be awarded her highschool diploma after all these years. After hearing about her story, a retired teacher at Mt Vernon High School (where Reba attended) decided to contact the school board. Reba hadn’t received her diploma because she refused to read a final book her teacher assigned. She said she read the book once and didn’t want to read it again.
Well, the Mt Vernon Board of Education has granted everyones wishes. Reba Williams will be receiving her diploma sometime this month.
Ms. Williams spent her years working as a cook at the Malabar Farm State Park. She currently lives with her daughter in Columbus, Ohio.
It’s holiday season and families are exchanging gifts and enjoying the moment. But for many people the holidays are not so joyous. Therefore it is always a good thing to see local citizens, and even celebrities, give back to the less fortunate within their communities. For instance, Young Jeezy, 2 Chainz, and Meek Mill all recorded footage of their day of giving back. Peep the videos below to see how each fella were a blessing to so many…
The King of the South seems to be on a consistent grind when it comes to moving past his legal troubles and showing his family and fans that he’s a changed man and this time truly on the road to redemption.
While the talk of T.I. as of late has primarily revolved around his reality show, ‘Family Hustle’, and the release of his highly anticipated album Troubleman, it seems as if the Grammy-Award winning rapper had another biggie brewing in the background.
T.I. recently held a press conference in which he announced the launch of his global humanitarian campaign, Give Like A King. Through the campaign, T.I will support various causes in an effort to “raise awareness and crucial funds to address leading issues around the world.”
The first initiative of the Give Like A King campaign will tackle the issues surrounding veteran homelessness in which T.I will support the Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia (VEO). Through their partnership he hopes to help the organization increase the availability of affordable housing and other assistance such as healthcare and jobs. In addition to the campaign’s various initiatives that will be implemented, T.I. will also conduct other projects under the campaign such as Keys from the King in which he’ll hand over keys to a car, home, etc. to a deserving recipient.
The King himself said “We have to have someone else’s back…not just our own,” and it looks like that’s exactly what he’s doing. Well done Tip!
Giving Back: Basketball Wives LA’s Gloria & Laura Govan, Matt Barnes, & Chris Paul Spread Love To LA Homeless
Despite the drama going on VH1′s Basketball Wives LA, two castmembers found the time to spread some joy this holiday season.
Sisters Gloria and Laura Govan, along with Matt Barnes and Chris & Jada Paul, hosted a toy drive this past weekend in Los Angeles. The toy drive benefited the women and children of The Good Shepherd Center for the Homeless. The event was a huge success garnering lots of toys for the kids. The Govan sisters and Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, hand delivered the items the very next day.
When asked why homelessness was the cause they chose to support, the sisters had this to say…
“It’s really a great institute and to be able to give back to the community especially right here in our own backyard is such an important cause to us. We would love to see every child go home this Christmas with a gift.” – Gloria Govan
“I try to touch so many bases but this time my biggest thing was single mothers and homelessness. Sometimes, I feel like a single mother. I have 4 kids and sometimes I’m by myself. I have a lot to deal with and it’s hard. People may think I have all of the resources in the world but no a lot of things I do on my own. So, I tough it out. I understand. It’s hard.” – Laura Govan
It’s always good to see celebrities use their fortunes to give back to the community. Kudos to you ladies!
With the holiday season in full effect, many celebs are in the “give back” mood. From passing out turkeys on Thanksgiving to hosting charitable events to raise money for the underprivileged, for many entertainers it is more to life than fast cars and bling.
Detroit’s Big Sean is now spreading his fortune in a positive way. At a recent concert in his hometown, he made a major announcement that he’s officially launched the Sean Anderson Foundation. Based out of his home state of Michigan, the non-profit organization will focus on key areas that are vital to the youth and Detroit’s upward growth.
“The mission of the Sean Anderson Foundation is to assist in the education, health, safety and well-being of Detroit area school-aged youth,” says Big Sean. “I want to use my awareness to improve the situations in our school systems in particular. Many schools in Detroit have been closing or are in danger of closing. My school played an integral part of making me the man I am today and without that education and extra care, I don’t know where I would be today. So, I just want to help support the well being of young people in anyway that I can.”
Sean’s mom, Myra Anderson, will serve as President and work alongside an appointed group of board members. To learn more about the foundation, check out www.seanandersonfoundation.org.
Photo Credit: GQ
Young Jizzle continued his philanthropic gestures this Thanksgiving. Always thinking of those less fortunate, the platinum rapper surprised citizens of Atlanta’s Decatur and 4th Ward neighborhoods with free turkeys. Check out the video coverage below:
It’s great to see celebrities pass on their blessings to others. Way to go Jeezy!
In other Jeezy news, the visuals behind the first single off of his upcoming album hit the net today. “Get Right” video features Jeezy and his squad parlaying in Macon, Georiga streets. It’s definitely a hard track that compliments his grimy flow. Hopefully, this is a sign of great music to come on the next album.
Peep the video:
You can now purchase “Get Right” on iTunes !
The queen of gossip news, Wendy Williams, has spent years building her empire dishing out teas of our favorite celebrities. This method has made her one of radio and television’s most notable personalities, whether some like it or not. Despite her tall stature, Wendy has been infamously known for her luxurious long manes and wigs. So, what better way to support a cause that’s only fitting for her.
For the month of October, also known as Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Wendy Williams Show are giving viewers the chance to donate their own locks. If you are willing to go short in effort to help millions of women living with breast cancer, here’s a great opportunity to do so. Until the end of the month, the show will air live footage of women cutting it all off. If you live in the New York area, send an email to the producers of the show for consideration here.
In case you live outside of the NY area and just want to donate hair, find out more information at http://www.pantene.com/en-US/PanteneBeautifulLengths/Details/beautiful-lengths-make-the-cut.aspx
When the recession hit, millions of Americans found themselves rationing everyday household purchases. From home foreclosures to loss jobs, the average middle-class family received a harsh-but-quick dose of reality. Without funds, things such as trips to the grocery store have become less and less.
Recently CNNMoney listed a few statistics on their website that proves that this increasing epidemic has caused greater economical impacts on millions of people.
More than 50 million Americans couldn’t afford to buy food at some point in 2011, according to federal data.
Children in some 3.9 million households suffered from food insecurity last year, with their families unable to provide them with adequate, nutritious food at times.
Nearly 17 million Americans suffered from “very low food security,” meaning they had to reduce the amount they ate, saying the food they bought did not last and they didn’t have the funds to buy more. They typically found themselves in this situation a few days a month for seven months of the year.
The number of people in this category shot up by more than 800,000 from 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. Women living alone, black households and the poor and near-poor were affected the most.
Overcoming this issue of lack of food may take some time. But in the meanwhile, the U.S. government need to do more to solidify employment for those who are not working. We’re sure their are plenty of jobs still being outsourced. So, if the government can mandate corporations to open up more jobs in America, household finances could escape from red. Therefore, allowing life necessesities such as food to become more abundant for the everyday family.
What do you think? Are there other ways in which the “lack of food” can be no longer an social issue?
The city of Atlanta got its shine on recently in honor of NFL hall of famer, Deion Sanders. The ’Red & Black Gala’ is the birthchild of Sanders who made a visit into town to introduce his TRUTH foundation. A plethra of celebrities shared in the moment and partied the night away. In tow and decked out in their fancy red and black drobes were the Trina Braxton, Terri Vaughn, Nicci Gilbert-Daniels, Chanita Foster, Neyo and his fiance Monyetta Shaw, Mimi Faust, and many more.
In case you were wondering ways to rock red and black, check out a few style options below:
Photo credit: FreddyO
The 4th Annual Mentoring weekend kicked off this week in Dallas, Texas. The four-day program is the brainchild of the Steve Harvey Foundation.
Each year, the foundation hosts 100 young men (without fathers) in different cities throughout the country. The selected participants are given the opportunity to be mentored and educated on what it means to be a man and fulfilling their dreams. Various workshops are scheduled which covers an array of topics: You Can Be Me (careers), Do-It-Yourself, Tied to Greatness and Suit challange, Dream Hall, proper grooming, and even a town hall meeting with Steve Harvey discussing the Roles and Responsibilities of Men.
To find out more about the mentoring program, go to www.steveharveymentoring.com.
Rashan Ali spent many years entertaining us via the radio. As a former radio personality, on both V-103 FM and Hot 107.9, it has been her love of sports that has fueled most things the Atlanta native participates in.
Growing up as a swimmer, she decided to start a non-profit organization that empowered African-American girls through various sports fields. Her organization is called Sporty Girls, Inc.
Recently, I caught up with Rashan at the Pretty Girls Rock event to find out little more about Sporty Girls. We chatted about their overall mission and 2012 calendar of events. She also expressed her feelings on women in the industry and the importance of coming together.
Sporty Girls Incorporated is my non-profit, in which we encourage African-American girls to swim, play golf, tennis and soccer. Coming up June 3-7, we have our tennis and golf camp. June 5-11, we have our swimming and soccer camp. We have 40 girls and we’re really excited about that. Throughout the rest of the year, we put out free clinics for girls who are interested in these sports as well. Our goal is to get these girls at a level so that they can go to college and receive collegiate scholarships, whether in sports or academics. I went to college on a swimming scholarship. So, that’s why I am so passionate about swimming and other sports and that when we do them we do them well. We just don’t do them a lot.
What type of benefit does this type of event gives women in this industry?
I think the main part about it is, that the growth that has happen from Pretty Girls Rock 1 to this year, has just been phenomenal. It shows you that women want to come together for a worthy cause. They want to come together to network. And want to come together just to have fun. You know what people say about women, we can’t do anything together. But, this shows otherwise. I’m just happy to see so many gorgeous women out here tonight just to see fashion, to see artists and see performances, and just to be amongst each other.
Since her departure from radio, all of her supporters wondered what it is that she’s doing now. Here’s what Rashan had to say about her current career moves:
Well, I am the social media correspondent for NBA TV. So check me out on NBA TV during the playoffs. And I’m really enjoying the television life.
Here’s a do-gooder who is known for doing good. They say if there was an Oscar for humanitarian awareness and action Sean Penn would have one. Well, now he does. The equivalent Peace Summit Award was recently awarded to Penn. The Oscar winner was given the award in large part due to his strong crusading for Haiti during the aftermath of the earthquake (2010).
“It’s an overused phrase, I know, but I trust you know its genuine today, I am humbled. I’m trembling and I like it,” Penn said while sharing the stage with the Dalai Lama and former Polish President Lech Walesa.
An emotional Penn used this time to urge more aid for Haiti.
“It would take a poet laureate to describe for you the courage and the dignity of (Haiti’s) people,” he said. “There are no people on earth more willing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. But as Dr. Martin Luther King said, it’s fine to tell a man to pull himself up by his own bootstraps, but evil to tell a man to do so without boots.”
Just think what the world would be like if more of us had this kind of humanitarian spirit.
While many around the world continue to show their love and support in addition to their anguish, anger and downright disgust concerning the details surrounding the ultimate demise of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was gunned down by a “neighborhood watchman”, the realm of support keeps on growing. This time by way of legendary singer Chaka Khan comes a celebrity filled PSA entitled “Super Life – Fear Kills, Love Heal”.
During the PSA Chaka Khan sings, “A mama’s cryin’ ’cause another young man has gone and died. He’s not some statistic. He’s another awesome destiny denied” while rocking a hoodie in honor of the fallen one. During the PSA she enlists the help of celebrity friends such as Kelly Price, Eric Benet, Eva Pigford, Kenny Latimore, Terry Crews, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Kimberly Elise who all don hoodies and at the end take turns declaring “I am Trayvon”. Check it out…
STACKS Magazine continues to pray for his family, friends and all who were affected by this tragedy! R.I.P. Trayvon Martin
So…as I was riding on Spring St in downtown Atlanta, I noticed that there were church vans and kids everywhere. I couldn’t help but pay attention to the congestion for I was already running late for work. Well, apparently thousands of kids were in Atlanta for a Christian conference.
Per CNN…recently over 40,000 kids gathered together in Atlanta to raise awareness about human sex trafficking. As part of the 4-day Passion 2012 Conference, a candlelight ceremony engaged the 18 to 25 year olds in song and chants. The conference, sponsored by the Passion City Church, ended the event with all the kids donating $2.6 million to go towards eliminating human trafficking.
One of the participants shared her heartfelt story of her own personal experience. Below is her story:
Melissa was raised in the Atlanta area, but had a bad life at home and says she moved out when she was 18. She and another friend found an apartment that became unaffordable when they both lost their jobs. They were approached by a man who offered quick cash if they would go out with men. $300, no sex, he promised. It was a lie.
He plied the teenagers with drugs and kept them trapped in a town home. They had no car, no way of getting away. They were high all the time so Melissa’s family disowned their druggie daughter. Melissa was beaten. After a year in hell, Melissa asked a random man she met to take her to a hospital. She thought she was going to die.
The hospital released her and told her to go home. At 3 a.m., Melissa called her mom for the first time in many months. Thinking her mom wouldn’t come, she also called the man who ruled her life. Her mom showed up first. Eventually she ended up the first woman in Wellspring Living, a program for former sex slaves.
Today, Melissa is a stay-at-home married mom with a 2-year-old child. She stays active with Wellspring, which she says saved her life physically and emotionally.
She came to Passion to tell young people her story and thank them for supporting Wellspring, the group that helped her rebuild her life. She was overwhelmed by the tens of thousands shows of support.
Check out the video coverage of the event:
In recent 50 Cent news, the frustration has built up in the Queens rapper/entreprenuer. All year, Fif has stated his disgust with his label, Interscope Records and the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Jimmy Iovine.
Contractually, 50 Cent’s record deal is non-existence. But, apparently, Interscope has yet to bring a new record deal to the table and this has pissed-off the multi-platinum rapper. So in true 50 style, he let the world now how he really feels (“tell’em why you mad son!”) via Twitter.
“Ok I need a record deal jimmy iovine, call me early tomorrow or I’m putting out another mix tape.”
While many speculate if 50 can still sell records, his recent mixtape The Big 10′s first video “Put Your Hands Up” garnered over 3 million views in three days. The Big 10 mixtape has also received various accolades from several creditable news sources. So, 50 still got the “it” factor and talent to make hits.
Hopefully, Interscope and 50 Cent can come to an agreement soon. It is rumored that 50 already has his next album completed and ready for shelves. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that he’s able to release an album in 2012.
In more positive 50 Cent news, the uber-entreprenuer announced on Twitter that his new Street King energy shot drink will now be distributed by the Pepsi Company.
I did a deal with Pepsi to distribute streetking its gonna be every where buy a bottle feed some one in need,” 50 Cent tweeted.
As we reported a while back, 50 Cent Launches “One Like = One Meal” Campaign, the goal is to have his products promote philanthropy. In 5 years, he wishes to have fed over 5 billion people in Africa. Great cause 50!
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson talks to Lee Hawkins, over at the Wallstreet Journal, to discuss his new SMS audio headsets and what separates his product from others like Beats by Dre. In addition, 50 let us in on his philanthropic efforts alongside Feed America, his upcoming mixtape (“Big 10″) and the evolution of his image.
Check out the 10 minute video below:
We all have pretty much given up on the possibility of the NBA playing this season…and so have the players. But while some players twindle their thumbs thinking about their next move, four of the NBA’s most recognizable players have come together to do something good.
Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul will be giving back to their hometowns with an offical four-game homecoming tour. The proceeds from each game will assist local organizations with food drives, education outreach programs, and health clinics.
It’ll be very neat,” Wade told The Associated Press. “First of all, this is something we talked about doing a long time ago as players. To have an opportunity to go to these different cities that we’re from, to bring basketball to them at a high level and also have a charitable component in each city and to be with the guys, it’ll be cool. It’s something we’re looking forward to.”
The tour will start in Lebron’s hometown of Akron, Ohio on December 1. Then the tour will continue on to New Orleans on Dec. 4, Chicago on Dec. 7, and finally East Rutherford, N.J. on Dec. 10.
Along with the melee of NBA players and fans that were out in L.A. for the NBA All Star weekend, a few folks took the time out to give back to the community. In conjuction with Sprite, Lebron James teamed up with the beverage company to promote their Sprite Spark Parks project. The fundraising project will use $2 million to help build and refurbished parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, and basketball courts.
According to Sprite, the company expects to the program to help more than 150 basketball courts, community spaces, playgrounds and athletic fields in at least 40 U.S. cities this year. “The Sprite Spark Parks Project is a multi-year commitment to build and restore play environments where teens, families and neighbors can get outside and be active,” said Caren Pasquale Seckler, vice president, Flavor Brands Portfolio, Coca-Cola North America. “Our goal is to improve communities in inspired ways and we’re relying on people around the country to help us identify the places where we can make the biggest impact. As more people get involved, the project will become more powerful.”
To nominate a basketball court for renovation, people can log onto www.Facebook.com/Sprite through April 8 to designate a court for consideration. Participants can also post pictures and short message describing why the court deserves a makeover. The nominees will be narrowed down to approximately 70 finalists — based on support generated during the nomination process — which will be put to a nationwide vote. As part of the program, at last 21 courts will receive funding in 2011 for items such as new rims, backboards, blacktop surfaces and art installations created by local artists to inspire play, according to a Sprite press release.
To show support for his friend, Jay-Z and Beyonce came out to the L.A. event and showed some love.
Peep the video footage from the event:
Kicking off a nationwide food program for the holiday season, the NBA Players Association has teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club of America and the Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta. For the remainder of this month and throughout December, 8,000 families in NBA cities will receive USDA Grade A turkeys. One thousand of those families will be right here in the ATL. Several of the leagues’ players will assist with the distribution of the turkeys.
Tis the season to give!!!
Instead of looking at these celebrities as role models, we all need to model ourselves after this young man in Miami, Fl. 9 year old, Joshua Williams, is the president of Joshua’s Heart Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to feed the homeless and elderly citizens of Miami. Since the foundation’s inception three years ago, Joshua has received grants and funding that has feed over 7,000 people.
To get a glimpse into the greast work this kid is doing, peep his recent feature on NBC’s Nightly News:
After hearing about the unfortunate incident of a South Florida woman’s home being accidentally burned down by her nephew a few weeks before Christmas, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade jumped at the chance to lend Dawn Smith and her family a helping hand.
Actually, he handed her keys to a new home with furnishings, clothing and gifts. His foundation, Wade’s World, will also make payments on the home while Smith and her family recover from their loss.
About his act of kindness Wade said, “It’s not about what you’re going to receive — it’s what you can give to others from what you’ve received.”
Wade and his foundation also spread holiday joy this season by hosting several charity events, mostly for needy children. He also donated $10,000 each to three children’s organizations.
Atlanta’s own, Young Jeezy, is gearing up for the holidays in a HUGE philanthropic manner.
Jeezy reportedly handed out Christmas gifts to children this past weekend. He joined forces with The National Lighthouse Foundation to present the gifts during the annual Christmas program at Narvie J. Harris Theme School. The is part of the rapper’s ongoing community outreach tour, which included a “Back 2 School” giveaway for children who needed clothes and school supplies, organization of a voter registration drive, and participation in food drives throughout the U.S.
Good look Jeezy! During these hard times, this is truly a blessing to everyone who’s dealing with hardships due to the economic fallout.
The city of Atlanta has transformed from a historical epicenter of the civil-rights era to a place where residents successfully move to their own beat and uphold the integrity and true concept of the word “movement”. One major player in this city stays true to this movement by spearheading philanthropic initiatives and projects that revitalize the city and the kids in it. A DJ who speaks to thousands every morning from 6 to 10am as one half of “Frank & Wanda in the Morning”, Atlanta’s top-rated morning show on V-103FM, Frank Ski practices what he preaches and uses his influence for the benefit of others and not himself.
Frank Ski, noted founder of the Frank Ski Kids Foundation, has encompassed all of his successes and for the past 8 years given a lot of his time to helping others. From the start, the foundation has maintained its integrity and stuck with the goal to build intellectual, creative and confident young kids. With his celebrity, Frank has provided a global platform for the foundation that has in turn helped in its funding. This funding has provided access to several huge initiatives like the annual Youth Bowl and Kids Week, and the international all-expense paid youth trips to the Amazon and Ecuador to explore the Galapagos Islands and the Charles Darwin Research center.
Frank is a man with various talents and interests, also sharing his expertise to the entertainment industry as a producer, actor, journalist, and motivational speaker. He has dug into the minds of many celebrities and politicians such as Terrance Howard, Michael Jordan, the late Coretta Scott King, presidential-elect Barack Obama, and rappers T.I. and Young Jeezy. With the accolades he’s received, his greatest achievement has been the life-changing experiences the foundation has provided to the low-income youth of Atlanta.
Frank Ski, with his wife Tanya and four sons Jarrett, Franklin, Blake and Harrison in tow, has stretched the career of a DJ by putting his “generosity of spirit” in the forefront and taking the Frank Ski Kids Foundation and its movement to new heights.
To gain insight on the man and the foundation, STACKS Magazine chatted with Frank Ski about the foundation, his outlook on starting a foundation, and his foresight on helping the community and educating others on the meaning of giving back.
First, give our readers just a brief background of the foundation and what inspired you to start it.
Frank: The foundation was started out, I guess, as a way to become more effective and to be able to raise money in order to give money back to the communities and organizations that need it. And you know, for the longest time my wife and I had been donating to various charities and supporting different groups or organizations that have supported kids for a long time. But, we realized that there were a lot of people in the community that probably wanted to do more, such as your athletes and the entertainers, but they didn’t really have an avenue or know which way to go. Like for example, if it was an athlete, where would he put $10,000 or something if he wanted to give to an organization. So we tried to be kinda like the grassroots in between organizations to help people who want to donate to causes – being able to donate to our organization as a trustworthy 501C3 that they you know they can feel confident to know that when they put their money in the Frank Ski Kids Foundation we’ll make sure it gets to the places of need.
Because I know that one of the concerns that a lot of people who do donate to foundations and non-profit organizations is knowing exactly if their money is being used properly. So that’s good that you’re definitely somewhat of a broker…in a brokerage situation.
Frank: Right! Absolutely
When did the foundation start exactly?
Frank: About 8 years ago
Do you think it’s important for celebrities such as yourself to start non-profits?
Frank: Actually, I’m a little bit partial to that.
Frank: Actually if I had to give somebody some advice, I would tell them not to do their own and probably to team up with an organization they feel good about, knowing that they are doing a certain job in the community. For instance, if you wanted to deal with young kids or young boys, I would tell somebody there’s a bunch of organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and what not…that do an actual good job at what they do. Because what a lot of us fail to realize is the difficulty about actually starting our own foundation and it is a business so it has to be run as a business. I mean we spend so much time fundraising and we got great ideas. Everybody has great ideas on how to give back and spend the money, but the process of going out there and raising the money to give is a difficult one and it takes a lot of time.
That’s actually a segway into another question that I have. For individuals who wish [whether their celebrities or non-celebrities] to start a foundation, what would be some of the key items that individual would have to do or put in place prior to starting one?
Frank: Well, I would first talk to their financial advisor to find out the validity of what it is they want to do. Because the difficulty which some people don’t understand is that as an individual you know, we’re a public health 501C3, so as a public health 501C3 we have certain benefits that go to us. But if you have one donor that gives you most of the money that you make all year long then you’ve changed from becoming a public foundation to becoming a private foundation. For instance, many family foundations are private foundations because the person who… like the Bill Gates is a private foundation, Arthur Blank is a private foundation and their private because so much of their funding comes from the individual whose name is on the foundation and what happens is that’s something really to think about. I mean if you’re just a person that’s sitting on millions and millions of dollars that you want to give away then you can create a private foundation and basically give to who you want and how you want and that’s not a typical thing to do, but as a publicly health foundation there are certain rules that you have to go by in order to be a publicly health 501C3.
The other thing I would tell people is that basically the most difficult thing is who’s going to run it and 9 times out of 10 unless it’s somebody’s momma like Ludacris’ foundation you know unless it’s your momma…you can forget it. It ain’t cool to have your sister or to have your auntie or cousin or best friend or whatever because at the end of the day those people who are working in your foundation are working all kinds of hours of the day for you, for your money and what happens is if they don’t have a great business sense you know like any other business…you gone be out of business. So you really don’t want to put yourself in that position and then there’s so much liability I mean if somebody makes a mistake or if somebody you know misappropriates money or even God forbid steals money…whose name is on it? Your name is on it and was it really worth all that when you could’ve just given the money to an organization that would have done the same thing you’re doing. I mean, put it this way, it’s not too much that’s being done out there that hasn’t been done before in some way, shape or form, you know. Everything that we do in some way, shape or form other people have done similar things; maybe not to the extent, maybe not traveled to the places we’ve been to or done the games that we’ve done, but to an extent it’s easy to go to somebody and say hey I’m going to give you a million dollars, but I want you to do a youth bowl. I’m going to give you a million dollars, but I want you to take 10 kids to the Glacial Islands. I mean once you become a large donor to an organization you can tell them how you want them to spend your money.
Okay and that’s why most foundations usually have a board, am I correct?
Frank: Yes, yes they have a board and you know the thing is it’s like getting the people who are going to be on your board and then realizing that a foundation is a really long term thing. I mean we’re doing some great things in our foundation, but you know we’re almost 9 years in so I mean, it takes time. It takes a lot of time to get to that point.
As far as upcoming initiatives and activities, I know you have the Youth Bowl that’s coming up on Dec. 14th.
Do you have any other initiatives that are coming up soon?
Frank: Well our big fundraiser is…that weekend is our fundraising weekend. So our big fundraiser is the wine tasting and that’s when we bring celebrities together, we charge people a lot of money to come to a wine tasting and we auction off some great items. We make a good amount of the money that we spend you know all year long at the wine tasting and the Youth Bowl. So that’s kinda like our way to raise money for this Youth Bowl event.
We’re also in the planning stages now for what we’re going to be doing for our summer initiative because before you know it, we’ll be in June again. It takes about that long to get everything planned out. Of course we’ll have another team of kids going to space camp. We’ll have a team of kids doing an art program in Europe and then we’ll have another team of kids going on our summer Science excursion which I’m not allowed to tell anybody where that’s going to be.
Frank: That’s kinda like a big surprise!
(Laughs) and speaking of raising funds you mentioned that you, a lot of times, charge certain amounts of money like for the wine tasting and other activities you have going on. As far as raising money for a foundation, what is the better route to go? Just having fundraising activities and drawing in money that way or applying for some government assistance?
Frank: Yes, applying for the grants is a business within itself. There are people who are grant writers…that’s what they do. They go out and write grants for your foundation and they basically charge you a percentage of the money that they bring in. That’s one route. You could hire a grant writer, but a good grant writer is going to cost you $50,000-$100,000 a year. You know, that’s a person’s salary. Then the other way is…to give you an example, even for us, I mean we’re 8 years in but we really didn’t start getting big grant checks until a couple years ago. You know what I mean, it was 5 years of you know our first year we were operating off $40,000 a year then it became $80,000 a year then we made $90,000. That’s not a lot of money and especially you know luckily for me I worked for the radio station so I got free advertising and free promotions and marketing and our events were a lot bigger than the money we were able to pay for them. Somebody else coming in saying okay I want to put together and do the Youth Bowl, they’re going to pay twice as much as we pay to get what we get. They won’t be able to get half of the amount of people because I’m on the radio.
And plus you’ve already established that foundation…
Frank: Right and it takes time and what happens is, going back to what I said in the beginning. If you got people on your foundation somebody’s going to want to get paid. Luckily for me we didn’t really have anybody paid on our foundation until like last year. Even now up until last year most of everybody on the foundation was 100% volunteer and it’s difficult to get people who are busy and who are good to volunteer to give that kind of work. So it’s a very difficult road to go by unless you have some sort of help and it’s not impossible because a lot of foundations start very small, within churches or within homes. If it’s a great idea and people go out and they fundraise and they get a good cause and they get the backing and create a reputation, but it takes time. That’s really all I’m saying today, you got to be willing to put the time in.
Well I definitely commend you for everything you’re doing for the community. As far as people wanting to learn more about your foundation, can they go to the website, the frankskikids.org site?
Frank: Yes, yes absolutely!
…you also have a link there for people to donate as well?
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the foundation?
Frank: Well basically for us, we really believe and we’ve seen this even recently with Barack Obama being elected President…it is amazing how one person’s picture on a particular job can change the face of what a kid wants to be in the future. You know, because Barack Obama became President, there are a lot of kids now saying “I can be the president”, “I can aspire to be the president” and our foundation is based upon the same premise of showing kids that they can be scientists, they can be archaeologists or they can be artists on a grand scale and design buildings or space crafts or whatever they want to do because we show them first hand, put them in those situations that give them that background to say “you know what… there’s nothing that I can’t do”. That’s basically what our foundation is. We want to expose kids to those opportunities to be great.
Game 1 start at 12pm: North Henry Tigers VS. North Clayton Eagles
Game 2 start at 3pm: Hapeville Hornets Vs Central Dekalb Jaguars
Then next Saturday on December 13, it’s the Youth Bowl Championship. Teams will be determined after the playoff games.
For more information about the Youth Bowl or any other Frank Ski Foundation initiatives, please visit http://frankskikids.org!
Photo Credit: Ben Rose Photography
Special guests came out to Russell Simmon’s “Empowerment for Africa” dinner gala on Monday. The event was held in recognition of World AIDS Day and to raise money to support education initiatives that develop and empower economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. And on World AIDS Day for a continent ravaged by the disease, education is the critical tool to help stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The Diamond Empowerment Fund’s first beneficiary is the Community and Individual Development Association (CIDA City Campus), South Africa’s only free college.
Photo Credit: Photographer Mike Ficeto, Hearst Magazines
Special thanks to Janice Torres of JLM PR, Inc. for the info!
50 Cent and Bette Midler recently connected for a community garden project in Queens, New York. The garden, donated and named after 50 Cent , was unveiled on Monday.
The Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden came about due to Midler’s reaching out to 50, “”His G-Unity Foundation gives a million dollars away every year in grants to non profits all over the city … They’re just brilliant.”
“I wish I had this to come to when I was growing up around here,” 50 said. “The opportunity to create this garden for the youth and the community is a great one.”
Besides, he noted, “When Bette calls you don’t say ‘no.’ Not if you want your reputation to stay the way it is.”
This is one of many endeavors in store through Midler’s New York Restoration Project. The garden will serve as a living classroom where neighborhood school children can come and learn about how food grows. (Source)