Business & Finance

Live Life Financially Confident with Tips from State Farm Agent Kitsia Gaines on the Steve Harvey Morning Show

Kitsia Gaines and State Farm Team
State Farm Agent Kitsia Gaines (seated) and her team. Gaines will deliver financial education tips on the Steve Harvey Morning Show


Kitsia Gaines has been tapped again to deliver State Farm “Financial Education Minutes” to the more than seven million listeners on the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Listen live online on Thursdays at 9:05 a.m. ET on iHeart Radio; you can also access previous recordings.

Gaines shares tips on a range of financial topics including budgeting, saving, and buying a car and/or house. She will be featured until December 24.

Her professional experience and accomplishments include more than twenty years with State Farm; Million Dollar Round Table Qualifier; and National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors. She’s also a graduate of Florida A&M University; member of the Rotary Club of South Miami; Miami-Biscayne Bay (FL) Chapter of The Links and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Contact Kitsia Gaines, State Farm Agent, at 6704 SW 80th St, Miami, Florida, (305) 661-4213,


Photo: Instagram - Gaines Financial



Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Disparity Study Flawed and Reveals Unequal Playing Field for Black Contractors, says Committee


Organizations to discuss dismal spending history of MDCPS and other local governmental organizations


Independent study reveals that less than 8% of MDCPS
construction and design contracts awarded to black-owned firms

The Committee for Fair and Equitable Distribution of Public Contracts has released a report examining and challenging the accuracy of the vast majority of the findings in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Disparity study. The in-depth study, Leveling the Playing Field: A Response to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Disparity Study Report, was sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Miami, the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP, and BAC Funding Corporation. The findings will be publicly released to the business community during a press conference and community meeting on Wednesday, September 10th from 6PM – 7:30PM at Freedom Hall of the Urban League offices located at 8400 NW 25th Ave, Miami.

The findings along with 15 recommendations were presented to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho who agreed with 13 of the 15 recommendations and gave a commitment to provide a letter of agreement to implement the recommendations. However, the Superintendent he has not kept on his word, and the Committee is urging the Superintendent and MDCPS that promises made should be promises kept. The Committee also urges the Office of the Inspector General to review the report.

The response provides substantiating evidence that the disparity study commissioned by MDCPS is flawed, unreliable, and troubling based on errors and omissions found and a review of the District’s dismantled Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program. As the fourth largest school district touted as a “truly global multi-cultural and multi-ethnic school system” with black students accounting for nearly 23.5% (82,939) of the district’s 353,152 students, MDCPS has established a pattern and practice of denying African-Americans fair and equitable contracting and sub-contracting opportunities in its procurement and construction contracts. An investigation of the District’s procurement practices revealed that of the $7.5 billion in total procurement expenditures from 1986 to 2009, African-American firms received less than two percent of those contracts ($107.7 million). Black firms also received less than eight percent of the $7 billion spent in construction and design contracts ($546 million) well behind Hispanic firms that received 27% and non-minority firms that received 60%.

“Promises made should be promises kept,” says T. Willard Fair, President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami. “This is not isolated to being just a black issue; this is a fairness issue and anyone who is in support of fairness whether white, black, women, Hispanic or any other group should be concerned and outraged.”

Superintendent Carvalho embarked on an aggressive campaign visiting black churches, speaking with black media, and meeting with various groups to garner the black vote all in an effort to convince voters to approve a $1.2 billion bond referendum. He committed that the bond initiative would provide economic development and employment opportunities to the tune of 9,200 jobs during the first three years, would promote greater public/private partnership ventures, and would provide citizen advisory and oversight committees to ensure timely and equitable distribution of projects. Instead, MDCPS and the Superintendent has moved in the opposite direction of making good on those promises of inclusion and diversity in contracting, and there has been little to no participation by African-American subcontractors to date.

“We will not stand to see our community continue to be left out of opportunities that have the potential to create sustainable economic development in our community,” shares Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP. “We will hold the Superintendent and the school board up to their commitment so that black-owned firms have equitable contracting opportunities.”

The Bond Construction Program is a prime opportunity for MDCPS to invest in the growth and development of its local M/WBEs, and it would be irresponsible and destructive not to do so. The Committee, comprised of small business owners, financial investors, developers, and community leaders, recommends that MDCPS reject its Disparity Study and place an immediate moratorium on the Bond and Capital Construction Program. As the largest government unit and job creator in the County overseeing a massive budget of over $5.6 billion dollars in public funds, MDCPS and the Superintendent is urged to step up and demonstrate its commitment to fairness and equality.

William DC Clark, president of ICARE, cautions that when reading the MDCPS disparity study, be aware that the study was originally slated to cover the 2005-2011 fiscal year but the District realized that by moving the study up a year, to 2006-2012, would reflect black contractors receiving more contracts. Clark also asserts that "the District also tried to hide almost a billion dollars in Maintenance contracts under the heading of Procurement because they knew that Black Contractors didn't receive one penny of those Maintenance contracts. Also, there are no Blacks on the Emergency contract list, which amounts to millions of dollars. This does not only adversely affect black contractors but the Black Community as well."

Media, business leaders, and concerned community members are invited to attend the press conference and community meeting. Links to the summary findings of the study are included below.

Final Executive Summary of Disparity Study Findings

Call to Action and 15 Recommendations






Miami, FL - After careful research of Church Chambers of Commerce in the United States and abroad, there are only four (4) in the nation.  It is incumbent that Florida be among the ranks and more apparent that Miami join the ranks of distinct and rare Church Chambers of Commerce across the country.  The New Black Church Chamber of Commerce has arrived in Miami and Florida.

Temporarily housed at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church of South Miami, Inc., The New Black Church Chamber of Commerce (NBCCC), referred to as “The Chamber” is an organization of distinct individuals in their prospective field of expertise that advances the commercial, financial, non-profit and industrial interests of all.  The essence of The Chamber is economic empowerment, net working, collaboration and linkage for the business community of Miami-Dade County. 

While The Chamber continues to maintain an unwavering commitment to its mission [a conglomerate of ministries, businesses, individuals, emerging leaders and community leaders who have come together to create an enterprise that focuses on success, viability and stability; implementation and maintenance of programs that promote youth entrepreneurship, training and community economic development; collaboration with and building of coalitions with other organizations throughout the city and state; and to establish global, strategic relationships and/or partnerships across the public and private sectors] a new Chamber is in town!

In its growing stage, the NBCCC will be a source of financial empowerment, a source of entitlement for home ownership, education and a host of other entrepreneurial services.  Membership is open to all regardless of race, creed, color or religion.  It will act as a marketing and resource liaison for its members by encouraging and assisting the grassroots section of the community to participate and become involved.  It will also develop and implement programs, partnerships and strategic alliances. 

Under the direction of Dr. C. P. Preston of Peaceful Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, The Chamber intends to instill values and business sense to enhance entrepreneurship.  “We are absolutely thrilled about having a new Chamber in town of a different but relative venture, we will embrace entrepreneurship with positivity on another level”, states Dr. Preston.  “We have spent a year and a half building a brand that will be a catalyst for change.  The Chamber will position the change as a dynamic, bold leadership organization and as a progressive, forward thinking entity in the community”, states the Executive Director, Sharon Johnson.


For more information, contact:

Sharon Kendrick-Johnson, CEO
(305) 772-7001


Lesson for the Masses: Why I Hate The Hook-Up

Alfred Editor-in-Chief Alfred A. Edmond, Jr. delivers hard-hitting commentary on the practice of many blacks who want black businesses and professionals to provide free goods and services in Why I Hate The Hook-Up. Please read it in its entirety. Here's an excerpt:

"...No, they can't wash your car, pull your teeth, do your hair, fix your computer, edit your manuscript, paint your house, build your web site, etc. for free! Discount? Maybe. Complimentary services for referring new—paying—customers? Okay. An occasional freebie for long-time, loyal customers who always pay? Sure. Barter my goods or services for yours? We might be able to work something out. But, FREE? NO!"

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10 Holiday Shopping Tips by Lisa Rogers-Cherry


1. Make a list for who and what you're buying and set a budget for each.
2. Be sure to take the advertisement to the store with you for the items that you want to purchase.
3. Pay close attention to your purse and/or wallet. Pickpockets are extra busy during this season.
4. Keep all of your receipts in an envelope and ask for gift receipts when making purchases for others.
5. Give gifts that you can make.
6. If you have to mail gifts, don't wait to the last minute. Send them early, if possible.
7. Avoid the crowds and shop online. Be sure to google online promotion codes and coupons for the stores that you are purchasing from.
8. Use cash only to make purchases.  Do not use your credit cards!
9. Steer clear of buying extended warranties.  Usually the manufacturers warranty covers the first year anyway.
10. If you have a large family, pull names and purchase one gift instead of purchasing for each family member.
Lisa'spic_pdf[1] Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95). Lisa writes monthly financial tips for and can be heard on  on the Let's Talk Money Show.  If you have a question or for more information go to, e-mail her at, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.

It's back! "Let's Talk Money" on WMBM with Lisa Rogers-Cherry

Our financial expert, Lisa Rogers-Cherry, is back with the rebirth of the popular radio show "Let's Talk Money" with Bishop Victor T. Curry, Senior Pastor of New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International and St Ruth Missionary Baptist Church. 
Lisa and Bishop Curry start tomorrow, October 5, 2009 from 9:00am-10:00am on 1490am WMBM.  Once a month Bishop Victor T. Curry and Lisa Rogers-Cherry will discuss financial issues affecting the urban communities in South Florida. Be sure to check the radio show at and Lisa's monthly financial tips on Blogging Black Miami.
Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95).  If you have a question or for more information go to, e-mail her at, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196 , Dania Beach , FL 33004 .

Overtown youth get school supplies from CompUSA

The Overtown Youth Center (OYC) is making sure all their students go back to school this year with a brand new backpack filled with all the necessary supplies. In addition to pencils, pens, notebooks, folders, highlighters and a calculator, each student will receive a 2GB flash drive thanks to a donation from CompUSA.

"CompUSA and other responsible local businesses have really come through for local youth and families and we are truly touched by their generosity. CompUSA not only contributed hundreds of flash drives for students, but actually sent representatives to our Center, where they assisted us in packing hundreds of backpacks with the drives and other donated school supplies," said Overtown Youth Center Executive Director Carla Penn.

 Yendi Valdes from CompUSA showed students at the Overtown Youth Center how to make their own movies with a Flip video camera.

Yendi Valdes from CompUSA showed students at the Overtown Youth Center how to make their own movies with a Flip video camera.



Back to School Saving Tips by Lisa Rogers-Cherry

  1. Don't wait until right before school starts to go back-to-school shopping. 
  2. Call your child's school and get a list of required school supplies. 
  3. If you haven't gone shopping already, start comparing prices and sales ads and start picking up items now. 
  4. Be sure to take inventory of what you already have. 
  5. Set a budget for clothes. 
  6. Check your local thrift store for reasonably priced gently worn clothes.
  7. If your child is required to wear a uniform, call the school to see if they have received previously worn uniforms that have been donated back to the school. 
  8. Don't forget to find out when the tax free holidays occur, because every penny counts!
  9. If you don't have children, buy school supplies for children who are in need.
10. Find out which local organizations are donating free school supplies.

PROTECT THE AFRICAN HERITAGE CULTURAL ARTS CENTER (This is long, but its shorter than the budget document!)

by H. Leigh Toney
Miami Dade County Proposed 2009-10 Budget (as proposed by Mayor Carlos Alvarez):

If you've been watching the news today, Thursday, July 16, 2009, then you heard the highlights of Mayor Alvarez's proposed 2009-10 budget. While there are no doubt many causes for concern in the Mayor's proposed budget, and there are many hearings and public meetings ahead of us in the coming months, I want to call your attention to the proposed budget implications for the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. Mayor Alvarez took umbrage to media questions about the use of county funds to support the Marlins stadium in the wake of these drastic budget proposals, so let me attempt to compare "apples to apples."

The following are excerpts of language taken directly from the Miami Dade County web portal and the 2009-10 budget document which can be found at, This language taken from the "Proposed Message" and "Volume 2" discuss budget plans for the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and the South Miami Cultural Arts Center. The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center has a track record of successful programming to its credit having trained performers and artists whose works and talents have reached the heights of Broadway and cultural venues throughout the country; the latter has yet to open. The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center serves our children and helps them to realize their dreams and actualize their talents. I hope you'll find this is something worth taking action to address the potential harm that a reduction in services at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center will portend. If you agree, let Mayor Alvarez, the County Commissioners and the editorial pages of local newspapers hear your vocal and clear support for this cultural treasure in our community.

The Arts and Culture Division oversees the day-to-day operations of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, Raices Hispanic Heritage Cultural Arts Center, the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, the Women’s Park, and the Joseph Caleb Auditorium.
• Provides auditorium rental opportunities for professional and community arts organizations offering performing arts presentations
• Provides a variety of cultural arts programs such as instrumental and choral music, dance, drama, visual arts and puppetry for youth seeking to explore and discover their own interests and talents and gain a deeper appreciation of
artistic forms

AFRICAN HERITAGE CULTURAL ARTS CENTER: As a result of the economic downturn, the Department’s FY 2009-10 Proposed Resource Allocation Plan in the Arts and Culture Division.... and closes the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center will operate as a break even fees and charges basis or grant subsidized ($449,000, four full-time positions); the center will staff only one custodial worker and one Recreation Specialist 1 to handle inquires to use/rent facility for programs and day-to-day oversight in the Arts and Culture Division.

SOUTH MIAMI DADE CULTURAL ARTS CENTER: In FY 2009-10, the Department will continue to manage the construction and development of the 70,000 square-foot South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (Center) ($51.156 million); prepare an operational pro forma and financing plan, complete operating staff build-out and develop governance and management systems for the new Center; improve existing and develop new cultural facilities in neighborhoods throughout Miami-Dade County
• The FY 2009-10 Proposed Resource Allocation Plan includes full staffing for the Center (eight positions, $605,000); the Center construction is expected to be completed during FY 2009-10 and the Department continues the strategy of incorporating the interest earnings accruing in specific cultural facilities projects under the Department's purview
and prioritizing those revenues for allocation toward the construction and operational requirements of the Center; in addition, per Ordinance 97-210, $770,000 in Convention Development Tax has been allocated to the Center for

The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Division will operate and manage a 966-seat multidisciplinary center for the performing arts including the Theater, multi-purpose rehearsal and educational space, and an Activities Center.
• Develops and directs operational plans for the Center
• Prepares performance and utilization schedule of the facility
• Monitors and adheres to financial management policies and procedures of the Center

July's Financial Tip: How is your credit?

 by Lisa Rogers Cherry  

You should review your credit report at least twice a year to be sure that it's accurate and to check for identity fraud. Go to for one free report per year.

Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95).  If you have a question or would like more information about the book go to, e-mail her at, or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P.O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.