Here’s a List of Ways to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

(photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Lee Moran, Hilary Hanson, Nick Robins-Early via huffingtonpost.com

The devastation from Hurricane Harvey continues to be felt throughout Texas, as heavy rains and catastrophic flooding are expecting to continue for days.Although the extent of the damage and death toll is not yet clear, the National Weather Service is already calling the storm “unprecedented.” Major highways are submerged in floodwaters, emergency services have received thousands of calls and authorities are urging residents to stay in place.

Recovering from the disaster could take years, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There are an untold number of homes and people affected, and the additional flooding and rainfall is set to make the situation even worse.As emergency services, charities and aid groups gear up to address the massive need from Harvey, here are some ways that you can help.

1. Donate Or Volunteer

A plethora of organizations are appealing for donations to help them as they send volunteers and supplies to the hardest-hit areas.These include the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Save The Children, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and Heart to Heart International. Food banks throughout Texas are also accepting donations for people affected by the storm. You can donate money to Feeding Texas, a network of the state’s food banks, here. Additionally, the Elgin Courier has compiled a list of food bank locations throughout the region that may need donations of food or supplies. The local Texas Diaper Bank is putting together disaster relief kits for families with young children. You can donate here. There is also the Coalition For The Homeless, which helps coordinate shelters and outreach for the city’s vulnerable homeless population. Portlight is a local organization that offers relief to the disabled and older adults.

The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is raising funds to assist in recovery efforts in those two communities, which were especially hard hit when the hurricane first made landfall. You can donate here. Crowdfunding site GlobalGiving has launched a hurricane relief fund aimed at gathering funds for local nonprofits in the storm-stricken region.Animal shelters and rescue groups are taking in numerous pets displaced by the storm ― ones that got lost in the chaos, were left behind, or simply need temporary housing while their owners stay in evacuation shelters. Those groups include the SPCA of Texas, Austin Pets Alive!, Dallas Animal Services and the San Antonio Humane Society. A number of online fundraising sites have also been set up through GoFundMe, with donations benefiting everything from hurricane and disaster relief groups to animals and families in need. The full list of fundraisers can be viewed on GoFundMe’s Hurricane Harvey Relief page.

2. Donate Blood

Blood centers expect a supply shortage because of the closure of some blood banks along the Texas coast and the likely demand stemming from injuries sustained in the storm. Centers have put out calls for extra donors to help deal with the aftermath. You can find donation centers or blood drives for the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center here, or for Texas organization Carter BloodCare here. And even if you’re not in Texas, you can search online for blood drives local to you or book an appointment via the Red Cross website.

3. Provide Accommodation For Evacuees

Airbnb has launched a portal so that the people who have been displaced by the hurricane can find a place to stay. It’s also waiving fees for people affected by the disaster. More details are available on the Airbnb website here.

Source: Here’s How To Help The Victims Of Hurricane Harvey | HuffPost

Confederate Statues Come Down at University Of Texas at Austin

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is removed from the University of Texas campus early Monday morning in Austin. (Eric Gay/AP)

The president of the University of Texas at Austin has ordered the immediate removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and three other Confederate-era figures — Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg — from a main area of campus.

President Greg Fenves announced the statues’ fate Sunday night, and the removals should be complete by mid-morning Monday. A university spokesman says the area has been blocked off. Lee and Johnston were Confederate generals, Reagan was a Confederate postmaster and Hogg was the first native-born governor of Texas and the son of a Confederate general.

In a letter to the university community, Fenves connected the events with the decision to remove the statues now: “[T]he horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation. These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.” …”The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history. But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.”

“We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus.”The statues of Lee, Johnston and Reagan will be added to the collection at the university’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History for “scholarly study,” Fenves wrote. The Hogg statue will be considered for relocation elsewhere on campus. In 2015, the university removed a statue of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis.

On Saturday, Duke University announced that it had removed a statue of Gen. Lee that was in the entry to the large chapel on its campus.

To read full article, go to: Confederate Statues Come Down At The University Of Texas : The Two-Way : NPR

British Racer Lewis Hamilton Cruises to Victory at United States Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton (photo via rye-house.co.uk)

article by Samuel Reiman via foxsports.com

Formula One racer and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton cruised to his seventh win of the season on Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX. He now sits 26 points back of his teammate Nico Rosberg. This is his fourth win in five starts at CoTA and the 50th of his career.

The Brit started from pole position and beat Rosberg into the first corner. He never looked back.  Rosberg, meanwhile, had a more eventful race, as he lost second spot to Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo in Turn 1.  Rosberg wasn’t able to get the spot back until the middle of the race under a Virtual Safety Car period.

The Virtual Safety Car had been deployed after Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen had parked his car with a mechanical issue on track. This hurt Ricciardo as he had already pit ahead of the Virtual Safety Car period, while both Mercedes drivers had yet to make their second stop and so were able to pit without losing too much time.

Verstappen had already been having a race to forget, as he had came into the pits not too long before his retirement, mistakenly thinking the team had called him in. They hadn’t, and so were not prepared for his stop, costing the Dutch racing driver a lot of time.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen also hit trouble in the pits. The Finn was trying to make a three-stop strategy work, and it was going well. He was running fourth when he came into the pits for his final stop of the day, but was released when the right-rear wheel gun was still attached. His wheel was not bolted on correctly, and Raikkonen was forced to park the car on pit exit. Ferrari is being investigated for releasing Raikkonen’s car in an unsafe condition.

While Hamilton led Rosberg and Ricciardo over the line, it was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel placing in fourth behind them. Behind him was the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, who muscled his way by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Williams driver Felipe Massa, in which there was contact involved, in the closing laps of the race. Sainz placed sixth while Massa placed seventh. Sergio Perez placed eighth for Force India ahead of Jenson Button in ninth, meaning both McLarens scored points. Romain Grosjean rounded out the points in 10th, scoring a point in the team’s first race on home soil and in his 100th start. The collision between Alonso and Massa will be investigated after the race.

To read more, go to: http://www.foxsports.com/motor/story/f1-us-gp-race-results-recap-austin-texas-lewis-hamilton-mercedes-wins-102316

Business Titan Robert F. Smith Named Carnegie Hall’s 1st African-American Chairman

Robert F. Smith, 53, elected chairman of the Carnegie Hall Board of Directors on Thursday. (Credit: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times)

article by Michael Cooper and David Gelles via nytimes.com

Robert F. Smith, the private equity titan who was named the richest African-American man by Forbes last year after making a fortune in software, also has a quirky musical side.

He owns one of Elton John’s old pianos. He hired John Legend and Seal — and a youth orchestra — to perform at his wedding last summer on the Amalfi Coast. His youngest sons, Hendrix and Legend, are named after Jimi Hendrix and Mr. Legend. And he bought and refurbished a retreat in the Rocky Mountains that was beloved by jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington.

On Thursday, Mr. Smith’s intersecting worlds of money, philanthropy and music came together when he was named the chairman of Carnegie Hall, the nation’s most prestigious concert stage. He became the first African-American to hold the post at a time when diversity at leading cultural organizations lags — a recent survey of New York’s cultural institutions found that nearly 78 percent of their board members were white.

“Carnegie Hall is perfectly placed to champion not only artistic excellence, but also access and exposure to the best music in the world,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.

The election of Mr. Smith, 53, who played an old upright piano while growing up in Denver and was told that with enough practice he might make it to Carnegie one day, brings to an end a low moment at the hall. The billionaire Ronald O. Perelman served as its chairman for less than a year before stepping down last fall after he alienated the board by clashing with the hall’s executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson.

After shunning the spotlight for years, Mr. Smith, who is based in Austin, Tex., where the private equity firm he founded, Vista Equity Partners, has its headquarters, has recently taken a more public role — starting a foundation, the Fund II Foundation; giving commencement addresses; and donating money. His alma mater, Cornell University, renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for him earlier this year after he announced a $50 million gift.

Unlike Carnegie’s most recent chairmen, Mr. Perelman and Sanford I. Weill, the former Citigroup chairman, Mr. Smith does not come from the world of New York finance, and he has not been a major fixture on the city’s social scene — he is more known for flying in to attend events in the city and then flying out. But his work outside the city with investors and tech firms could provide entree to new potential donors in the coming years.

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UNCF Teams with Fund II Foundation to Offer New $48 Million Scholarship Program for African Americans in STEM Fields

Now the Fund II Foundation has teamed up with the United Negro College Fund to establish a new scholarship program to help African American students seeking careers in STEM fields. Over the next five years, The Fund II Foundation UNCF STEM Scholars Program will identify 500 African American high school students who are determined to pursue careers in STEM fields. These students will receive scholarships, internships, mentoring, and other tools to help them reach their goals. The Fund II Foundation is contributing $48 million for the STEM Scholars Program. Continue reading

John Legend Launches “Free America” Campaign To End Mass Incarceration

John Legend at Atlanta's Chastain Park Amphitheatre in 2014. (Photo by Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP)

John Legend at Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheatre in 2014. (Photo by Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP)

Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer John Legend has launched a campaign to end mass incarceration by announcing today the multiyear initiative, FREE AMERICA.  He will visit and perform at a correctional facility on Thursday in Austin, Texas, where he also will be part of a press conference with state legislators to discuss Texas’ criminal justice system.

“We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country,” Legend said in an interview. “It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration.”

Legend, 36, will also visit a California state prison and co-host a criminal justice event with Politico in Washington, D.C., later this month. The campaign will include help from other artists — to be announced — and organizations committed to ending mass incarceration.

“I’m just trying to create some more awareness to this issue and trying to make some real change legislatively,” he said. “And we’re not the only ones. There are senators that are looking at this, like Rand Paul and Cory Booker, there are other nonprofits that are looking at this, and I just wanted to add my voice to that.”

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10 Year-Old Mikaila Ulmer Gets $60,000 Investment on ABC’s “Shark Tank” for BeeSweet Lemonade

(Image: Facebook)

Mikaila Ulmer (Image: Facebook)

If you’re a fan of the show Shark Tank, then you know convincing the “sharks” to invest in your business is not an easy challenge.

One little girl, however, managed to impress the sharks with her southern sweetened lemonade. 10-year-old Austin, Texas native Mikaila Ulmer is the founder of BeeSweet Lemonade. When she was only four years old, Ulmer was brainstorming what she would contribute to the Action Children’s Business Fair and Austin Lemonade Day.

After two bee stings, her parents encouraged her to research why honeybees were critical to our ecosystem. The young mind grew fascinated. Not long after, Great Granny Helen mailed Mikaila a 1940s cookbook containing Granny’s flaxseed lemonade recipe. The light bulb went off and little Miss Ulmer was inspired to make something that would help honeybees and use Great Granny Helen’s delicous recipe. BeeSweet Lemonade was born.

Mikaila’s recipe is unique from other lemonade recipes because instead of using lots of sugars, she sweetens each batch with honey from local bees. Today, she travels selling BeeSweet Lemonade at youth entrepreneurial events, and a portion of the profits is donated to organizations fighting to preserve honeybees.

Shark Tank investor and FUBU CEO Daymond John was sold on the BeeSweet story, and the mogul invested $60,000 for a 25% stake in the beverage company. John is working closely with Ulmer as her mentor and helping to push her brand through his professional network. “Partnering with Mikaila made perfect sense,” he said in a statement. “She’s a great kid with a head for business and branding. She’s got a great idea and I’m happy to help take BeeSweet to the next level.”

The investment will allow the company to make larger batches of the lemonade and meet customer demands. “I’m so excited to have someone with as much experience as Daymond on my team,” the young business girl said. “This is a great opportunity to have more people try my lemonade and save even more bees.”

Order Mikaila’s BeeSweet Lemonade and try all of the flavors here. BeeSweet Lemonade is also available at multiple Whole Foods and other grocers.

article by Essence Gant via blackenterprise.com