Art + Jazz at The Met, Wed., June 8th

I had an opportunity to work with Jazz at Lincoln Center and help to found Swing! A Summer Cocktail Party which is now in its third year.  Our aim was to bring a young, diverse crowd together to celebrate and promote the eclectic, American art form that is jazz.

I’m so happy to reconnect with the organization for this fabulous event – Art + Jazz.  The Met and Jazz at Lincoln Center will explore the connection between Art + Jazz through live music, art, dance and conversation followed by complimentary cocktails in the Temple of Dendur.  I’m so happy to be planning this event. Read The Rest

Diversity Affluence Hamptons Brunch 2014 (PICS)

Diversity Affluence made magic happen again in the Hamptons during the 5th Annual Diversity Affluence Brunch. Founder and CEO, Andrea Hoffman curated an elite group of Royaltons™, multicultural affluent consumers, business influencers & innovators, at Harlow East in Sag Harbor, NY (formerly B. Smith’s).  The brunch celebrated 5 individuals who are examples of what’s possible for current and future generations. “This year’s theme, Unsung Leaders in Technology, Innovation and Social Impact is among my firms new efforts to bring awareness to these accomplished but under the radar high impact leaders” explains Hoffman.

5th Diversity Affluence Pic 50

This year’s honorees reflected the changing face from board seats to the C-Suite. They included: Professor James I. Cash Ph.D.–James E. Robison Professor & Sr. Associate Dean, Emeritus Harvard Business School (board member of GE, Walmart, Chubb and former Microsoft board member), Marian Croak PhDSVP of AT&T (holds 180 technology patents), Chinedu Echeruo–Inventor of HopStop (sold to Apple), well as Freada Kapor Klein PhD of Level Playing Field Institute, and Mitch Kapor of Kapor Capital (Creator of Lotus 1-2-3).

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Black Philanthropy Month 2014

Entering its fourth year of observance, Black Philanthropy Month 2014 (BPM 2014) stands as an unprecedented coordinated initiative to strengthen African-­American and African-descent giving in all its forms. High-­impact events, media stories, service projects and giving opportunities characterize the month‐long campaign.

“Each year August gives our diverse communities an opportunity to celebrate and renew their rich, shared traditions of giving, self-­help and innovation throughout the U.S. and the world,” says Dr. Jackie Copeland-­ Carson, founder of Black Philanthropy Month.

Self-­organized events, community conversations, charitable drives and fundraising in recognition of the occasion are examples of how the public can participate. With a base of activities in place, primary goals of the campaign are to inspire people to improve their communities locally and globally, give back in smarter and more strategic ways and transform people’s lives for the better.

All people of African ancestry and their allied brothers and sisters are encouraged to take August and beyond to promote the power of giving to transform lives.

In the United States, special gatherings and initiatives are taking place. In Dallas, Texas Southern University National Alumni Conference opened on August 1 with a panel, convened and facilitated by Tom Joyner Foundation, that calls for a new philanthropy paradigm at HBCUs.

In Charlotte, Dr. Emmett Carson, a luminary in the field of philanthropy, will deliver a talk at the Forum For Civic Leadership, hosted by New Generation of African American Philanthropists. From Martha’s Vineyard to Denver to Pittsburgh, plans are underway to observe the month.

“We witnessed first hand,with last year’s BPM celebrations, the power of print, broadcast and digital media in
strengthening Black philanthropy’s voice and intensifying its impact for new times,” states Tracey Webb, founder of, BPM’s media hub.

BPM also aims to expand the ways that people give. Fund-­raising efforts and community drives to be mounted and publicized in August include Black Gives Back to School (school supplies, clothes and service) and the Community Investment Network 2014 National Conference (giving circles and collective giving).

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New York Urban League Names Music Executive, Mike Muse as their First “Mr. Classic”


Mike Muse, an accomplished political fundraiser, music executive, radio host on SiriusXM Shade 45, and CEO of Muse Recordings, has been named as The New York Urban League’s first-ever, “Mr. Classic.” Muse will work to further advance the mission of the NYUL as the organization prepares for its 42nd Annual Football Classic between Howard University (HU) and Morgan State University (MSU) taking place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at MetLife Stadium.

“Mike Muse has carved out a modern intersection of politics and pop culture connecting youth and millennials through his work with President Obama, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor De Blasio among others,” says Arva R. Rice, NYUL President & CEO. “He is the perfect person to represent Mr. Classic and communicate the heritage, traditions and importance of the Classic between generations.”

Mike Muse developed Civil Rights 2.0 as a platform to engage young people in the political process. He will lead the NYUL’s fresh take on youth activism, further confirming its relevance as a much needed and modern civil rights organization. Read The Rest


On Saturday, July 26th, Russell Simmons, Danny Simmons and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation hosted the 15th Annual Art for Life benefit raising more than $1.3 million to date. Held at Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton, NY, Soledad O’Brien emceed the evening that honored Michael R. Bloomberg, Valentino D. Carlotti, Jason Flom, Kimora Lee Simmons and Featured Artist Carrie Mae Weems for their career achievements and philanthropic work.  Guests included Gayle King, Star Jones, Rick Ross, Angela Simmons, Nicky Hilton, DJ Kiss, Kim Porter, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bevy Smith.

The evening was full of big moments one of which included the announcement of a gift from Kimora Lee Simmons.  In addition to the $1.3 million raised, a $1 million gift from Kimora will help provide scholarships for Rush students going to college.

15th Annual Art For Life Gala Hosted by Russell and Danny Simmons - ArrivalsThe inaugural class of recipients were recognized at the benefit.  Kimora’s children – Ming Lee Simmons, Aoki Lee Simmons and Kenzo Lee Hounsou – welcomed the scholarship recipients at the event and accepted the honor on their mother’s behalf. More information about the scholarship will be announced later this year.

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Ailey Announces 2014-15 Five-Week Holiday Season with Series of Premieres

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized as a vital “American Cultural Ambassador” to the world and New York City Center’s Principal Dance Company, will return to the New York City Center stage for the 43rd consecutive year from December 3, 2014 – January 4, 2015.  The Company will present 39 performances during an exciting annual season that has become a joyous holiday tradition.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Akua Noni Parker, Sarah Daley and Jacqueline Green. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Akua Noni Parker, Sarah Daley and Jacqueline Green. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Artistic Director Robert Battle continues the expansion of the Company’s diverse repertory with premieres from a variety of choreographers and performances of over two dozen ballets that give Ailey’s extraordinary dancers many opportunities to inspire audiences. Read The Rest

5th Annual Smaltz Foundation Summer Fundraiser (PICS)

KASSRF-2434On Saturday, July 29th, the 5th Annual Smaltz Foundation Summer Fundraiser was held in Long Island, NY.  Better known as Ken’s Backyard BBQ Bash, the annual event was held to raise funds in support for people with dementia.  As is customary for this event, folks came dressed in their “backyard best” to dance to the sounds of PhearNone (Violin/DJ) and take advantage of fabulous live and silent auction items.  Leonard E. Burnett Jr. of Uptown magazine served as the co-chair for the event that was hosted by Toni Belafonte.

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Young Black Philanthropists Gather for Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit

More than thirty African American millennials convened for the Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit at the United Way of the National Capital Area.  Presented by Wells Fargo Advisors and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the event is hosted by Friends of Ebonie, LLC, the social impact organization dedicated to young black philanthropy.  The Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit, socially known as #CFP14, brought together young black professionals between 25 – 40 years old to strengthen giving behaviors and develop strategic action plans for civic leadership.

Today’s Nelson Mandela International Day

NMF-MandelaDay-Logo-SA-Slogan-ColourToday, July 18th, is Nelson Mandela International Day. Nelson Mandela International Day (Mandela Day) was launched in 2009 on Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July as a core initiative of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It was inspired by a call that the late Nelson Mandela made year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said “it is in your hands now”. During 2009, the UN General Assembly unanimously declared 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day”. No matter how small the action, the aim is to change the world for the better, just as Mr. Mandela did every day.

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