NBA Champion Stephen Curry Helps Donate 20,000 Shoes to Children in Africa

NBA star Stephen Curry (photo via vibe.com)

article by Desire Thompson via vibe.com

Stephen Curry has used his star power to help Liberty University collect over 20,000 shoes for children in Africa. CBS Sports reports Curry paid a visit to LU on Wednesday (March 1) for the drive and the school’s convocation.

Curry teamed up with Kick’n It for a Cause founder and LU alum Chris “COSeezy” Strachan for the “Kick’n It for A Cause Shoe Drive.” Started by Strachan, the organization is an extension of the lifestyle sneaker brand Kick’N It.

The shoes donated will be sent to children in the Republic of Congo, in hopes of reducing illnesses contacted through bare feet. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites the top causes of death in the DRC include diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory infections, and malaria.

Kick’n It will continue accepting donations for the cause until March 5.

Find out how you can help here.

To read full article, go to: Steph Curry Helps Donate 20,000 Shoes To Children In Africa

Rihanna Named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year 

Rihanna (photo via news.harvard.edu)

article via Harvard Gazette

Rihanna has been named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year, and is accepting the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award at a ceremony today. “Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” said S. Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation’s director.

“In 2012, she founded the nonprofit the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program [named for her grandparents] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls, and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today. ”

An international musical phenomenon, the Barbados-born singer, actress, and songwriter — whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty — has sold more than 200 million records. The Harvard Foundation recognizes prominent public-spirited leaders each year in honor of the late Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes.

Past honorees include physician-statistician Hans Rosling; actor James Earl Jones; Nobel Peace Prize Committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland; U.N. Secretaries General Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar; gender rights advocate Malala Yousafzai; anti-child-labor spokesman Kailash Satyarthi; tennis player and activist Arthur Ashe; former Health and Human Services Director Louis W. Sullivan; and farmworker rights advocate Dolores Huerta.

To read more: Rihanna named Humanitarian of Year | Harvard Gazette

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios’ Inaugural Oscars Gala Raises $1 million for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Byron Allen (photo via thegrio.com)

article by thegrio.com

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios helped raise more than $1 million for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Sunday night during a star-studded gala at The Montage in Beverly Hills.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do for many, many years,” Allen said. “We can’t do enough for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.”

The event featured stirring live performances by Toni Braxton and Babyface. Attendees were able to bid on auction items such as 12 hours of flight time on a private jet and an exclusive dinner party and movie screening experience on a $250 million estate.

The fundraiser is the first of what will become an annual gala on Oscars night. Celebrities in attendance said they appreciated the opportunity to make such a positive impact.  “It’s not just a party,” said Sherri Shepherd, who was also in attendance. “[Byron Allen] is doing it with a purpose. He’s partying with a purpose.”

To read full article, go to: Entertainment Studios’ inaugural Oscars Gala raises $1 million for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles | theGrio

Google Pledges $11.5M to Organizations that Fight Racial Bias in Criminal Justice System

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Dr. Phil Goff, co-founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity. (photo via usatoday.com)

article by  via usatoday.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Google is handing out $11.5 million in grants to organizations combating racial disparities in the criminal justice system, double what it has given so far. And, in keeping with a company built on information, the latest wave of grants target organizations that crunch data to pinpoint problems and propose solutions.

“There is significant ambiguity regarding the extent of racial bias in policing and criminal sentencing,” says Justin Steele, principal with Google.org, the Internet giant’s philanthropic arm. “We must find ways to improve the accessibility and usefulness of information.”  Among the organizations receiving funds from Google.org is the Center for Policing Equity, a national research center that collaborates with police departments and the communities they serve to track statistics on law enforcement actions, from police stops to the use of force.

In addition to the grant of $5 million, Google engineers will put their time and skills to work on improving the center’s national database.”It’s hard to measure justice,” says Phillip Atiba Goff, the center’s co-founder and president. “In policing, data are so sparse and they are not shared broadly. The National Justice Database is an attempt to measure justice so that people who want to do the right thing can use that metric to lay out a GPS for getting where we are trying to go. That’s really what we see Google as being a key partner in helping us do.”

Like other major technology companies, Google is trying to address the racial imbalance in the demographics of its workforce. Hispanics make up 3% of Google employees and African Americans 2%. In 2015, Google gave $2.35 million to community organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area tackling systemic racism in America’s criminal justice, prison and educational systems.

Four more grants totaling $3 million followed in 2016, including $1 million to Bryan Stevenson and his nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative to push America to confront its violent racial history including lynchings. The latest round of grants again put Google in the thick of a national conversation on race prompted by the police shooting deaths and mass incarceration of African Americans.

To read full article, go to: Google pledges $11.5M to fight racial bias in policing, sentencing

Jahkil Jackson, 9, Gives “Blessing Bags” With Essentials to Homeless

9 Year-Old Philanthropist Jahkil Jackson (photo via usatoday.com)

CHICAGO — At 9 years old, Jahkil Jackson is helping his community take care of those in need.  It all started the day his aunt took him to feed the homeless. Jackson was saddened when he saw how the homeless lived.  “They didn’t have items to start or end their day,” say Jackson.

So he and his mother took action, creating the non-profit, iAMNaeem.

Jackson puts together “Blessing Bags” which he hands out to the homeless community.  The bags are filled with toothbrushes, socks, soap, deodorant — everyday items a person needs.

He disburses the bags from the back of his godfather’s pickup truck. He’s on the ground, meeting the homeless community face-to-face while handing out bags. Jackson’s mother says he always takes charge during these trips, proving to be a strong leader at such a young age.

“In a perfect world, I would buy every homeless person a house,” Jackson says. “But since I can’t do that, I will try to help as much as I can.”

Since starting his non-profit, he’s distributed almost 2,000 Blessing Bags. Jackson’s goal for the end of 2017 is to distribute 5,000 bags.

To read more: Boy saw how homeless lived and did something about it

‘Moonlight’ Partners With Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Mentoring Initiative 

“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins (photo via Variety.com)

article by  via Variety.com

In celebration of Black History Month, Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-nominated film “Moonlight” is partnering with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a mentoring program initiated by President Barack Obama’s Administration. The organization focuses on empowering young men of color with the resources and support they need in order to achieve their full potential, regardless of circumstance.

The series kicked off Monday night with a screening in Los Angeles, attended by dozens of young men from local schools. Following the screening, Mike Muse of My Brother’s Keeper moderated a talk-back session with the students and the film’s Oscar-nominated talent: Jenkins, stars Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. Another screening is set for New York next week.

To read more, go to: ‘Moonlight’ Partners With Barack Obama’s Mentoring Initiative | Variety

Starbucks to Hire 10,000 Refugees Worldwide in Latest Expression of ‘Conscious Capitalism’

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

article by Barbara Thau via forbes.com

For Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, caramel macchiatos and pumpkin spice lattes are as integral to the coffee-chain’s brand as its college tuition reimbursement and veterans hiring programs.

Now Schultz is once again flexing Starbucks’ “conscious capitalism” muscles with a plan to hire 10,000 refugees at its restaurants worldwide, he said in a letter to employees on Jan. 29 that’s posted on Starbucks’s website.

The move is a swift, direct response to Donald Trump’s executive order to effectively ban people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. (including Somalia and Sudan), including refugees fleeing wars.  As Schultz sees it, Starbucks’ new pledge is designed to ring an alarm bell with a vigor that the moment calls for.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” he said in the letter. “These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past.”

Starbucks is hashing together a plan to hire 10,000 of the world’s 65 million refugees over the next five years in the 75 countries where it operates stores, starting with the U.S. market.

Under Schultz’s direction, Starbucks has long viewed business and what’s been called ethical retailing, or conscious capitalism, as related paths. And Schultz has carved a distinct niche as a social-activist CEO, of sorts.  He has repeatedly pointed to his upbringing in a low-income family in the Bayview Housing projects in Brooklyn New York as informing his philanthropic outlook.

It’s one that’s reflected in Starbucks’ policies, such as its pioneering move in 1988 to offer health insurance for part time workers, to backing causes from high unemployment to countering racism.

To read more, go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/barbarathau/2017/01/30/starbucks-to-hire-10000-refugees-in-latest-expression-of-conscious-capitalism/#5610d9cb622c