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August 2014

July 2014

Spelman College Exceeds Fundraising Goal; Prepares for Next Era of Leadership


- $157.8 million—highest ever—raised for scholarships, academic initiatives and facilities -

(BLACK PR WIRE)/Atlanta __Spelman College announced that it has exceeded its comprehensive fundraising campaign goal, generating $157.8 million. This is the largest amount raised in the history of the institution. The campaign attracted support for scholarships, academic initiatives, and campus renewal. A record-breaking 12,000, representing 71% of alumnae, made a gift to the campaign. 

“When we launched the campaign, we were focused on strengthening the institution’s healthy foundation through increased scholarship support for students, strategic investment in our faculty and academic programs, and capital improvements on our campus. It is very gratifying to have met all of these objectives while exceeding our campaign goal,” says President Beverly Daniel Tatum. 

Over the course of the 10-year campaign, scholarship support for Spelman students has tripled, and opportunities for faculty research and development have expanded significantly. The Gordon-Zeto Center for International Education was created with a gift of $17 million, increasing opportunities for student and faculty travel, and providing financial aid for international students. Other highlights include the creation of a signature social justice fellows program, and funding to build a state-of-the-art wellness facility. “From campus expansion and significantly increased housing capacity to dramatic growth in annual alumnae support and a campus-wide focus on wellness, Dr. Tatum has provided exemplary leadership,” says Rosalind Brewer, Chair of the Spelman College Board of Trustees. 

With the campaign now at an end, President Tatum has announced her intention to retire on June 30, 2015. “As the campaign closes and I prepare to enter a new decade in my life, it presents a natural time for transition. It is a great time to pass the baton to a new leader, and I am ready to return to my writing,” explains Dr. Tatum, a well-known author, who will turn age 60 this year. 

Board Chair Brewer acknowledges this bittersweet moment. “Dr. Tatum has been a true visionary. She and the entire campus community have demonstrated tremendous leadership and stewardship of the institution over the last 12 years. The entire board truly appreciates the significant strides made under this administration. Now it is time not to rest on our laurels, but to build on these accomplishments. As we look ahead, we take pride in the history of strong leadership that has distinguished Spelman College, and we intend to continue that tradition moving forward. It’s an exciting time.”

Almost 600,000 attend ESSENCE Festival



NEW YORK/PRNewswire/ -- The 20th annual ESSENCE Festival attracted a record-breaking 550,000 attendees from around the world to New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend, earning the distinction of being the largest gathering in the event's history.

Touted as one of the country's biggest live events, the ESSENCE Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary July 3-6 with 20 stages of programming. The annual 4-day event features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world's best performers each night.  More than 80 performing artists--including some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as Prince, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie--performed at the event's nighttime concerts and over 150 speakers–including Robin Roberts, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton—participated as part of the Festival's daytime experience.

"Through a unique combination of entertainment and empowerment programming, the ESSENCE Festival has become the place where we come together to revel in culture and connect to our community," said ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks. "In recognition of our 20 year milestone, we are tremendously proud to have offered more curated content than ever before---live in New Orleans for our more than 550,000 festival-goers and available digitally on multiple screens for our ESSENCE community of 11.5 million."

The Festival grabbed headlines with its 2nd annual Mayors' Panel, featuring Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, Aja Brown of Compton, Kasim Reed of Atlanta and Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, which was presented during the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience.  In addition, during the ESSENCE Festival's 2nd annual Family Day in Woldenberg Park, the brand announced a yearlong partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, to promote early vocabulary development among African-American children.

"It's incredible to witness the overwhelming response from hundreds of thousands as they engage with our programming in-person, online and via social," said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa K. Bush. "Over the next 20 years, we will continue our tradition of bringing the ESSENCE brand to life at the Festival --- and providing our audience critical information, inspiration and practical solutions for the day-to-day challenges of their lives."

This year, the ESSENCE Festival proved to be the most expansive to date. Fans who were not able to travel to New Orleans for the festivities were still able to take part via livestreams from the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience and select live performances from the Superdome.  The ESSENCE Festival streamed more than a dozen hours of content, garnered nearly 60,000 tweets using the hashtag #ESSENCEFest, and generated well over 20,000 downloads of the Festival's customized App.   For a 2nd year in a row, leading cable news network MSNBC hosted live coverage from the convention center floor.

The ESSENCE community embraced innovative new ESSENCE Festival programs, including Empower U, a new series of free workshops covering every aspect of life from Love & Relationships to Healthy Living to personal finance; and the first-ever #YesWeCode Hack-A-Thon in partnership with Prince and the Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund's Van Jones building new technologies for local businesses in New Orleans.  The Festival also featured Career Connections workshops which were held in partnership with the National Urban League. Plus, the return of the Love, Loss, & Life: Mother's Prayer Vigil in partnership with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's NOLA for Life drew crowds as a lead-in to the hugely popular All-Star Gospel Tribute to Yolanda Adams, hosted by Donnie McClurkin. In addition, the ESSENCE Marketplace expanded its footprint, hosting local and international artisans and cuisine.



Tales from the Hood: Another death due to senseless gun violence in the community. Do we really care? [VIDEO] *Parental Advisory


The senseless violence in the community hit a little close to home with the murder of Pastor Kenneth Johnson in Liberty City on Thursday afternoon. I met Pastor Ken in November 2012 through one of my sorority sisters. He was one of my table guests at my sorority’s soiree. I remember his pleasant attitude and sense of humor. He was a really nice guy. 

One would think the death of a child because of senseless gun violence would be enough to stop the violence, but it hasn't. Sherdavia Jenkins...Tequila Forshee are just two names that come to mind. As we talk amongst ourselves about the violence in the community. One has to wonder when will it all end? We have to acknowledge the senseless violence being perpetrated all over this nation.

I wonder if the folks participating in this violence have ever seen the movie Tales from the Hood. One of the vignettes, entitled, Hard core convert addresses the de-programming of a gang-member. The movie itself is very interesting and worthy of viewing, be advised of the language and violence. 






Miller Lite Tap the Future in Miami

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Derrius Quarles and Ras Asan (center) from Million Dollar Scholar celebrating victory with Daymond John (left), Steve Canal, MillerCoors manager of community commerce and partnerships, and Kenny Burns, Miller Lite Tap the Future host (right)

On Tuesday, July 8, Miami witnessed four teams of entrepreneurs pitch their business in an effort to win $20,000 at the Miller Lite Tap the Future live pitch event. Teams took the stage of Nikki Beach to impress the audience and a panel of renowned judges, including Daymond John from ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Three teams from Illinois and one team from Alabama presented their ideas, but at the end it was Derrius Quarles and Ras Asan, Morehouse College alums, who swept away the judges with Million Dollar Scholar. Their business, headquartered in Chicago, IL, created technology that delivers financial-aid education and resources to assist high school and college students from disadvantaged areas to gain scholarships. Quarles and Asan are tapped to receive $20,000 for their business and advance to the final round of Miller Lite Tap the Future to compete for the grand prize of $200,000.

The other teams that competed were:

- CANDID Cup (Chicago, IL)
- e-Electricity (Tuscaloosa, AL)
- Bacon Sports (Chicago, IL)

In addition, local Miami entrepreneur Dawn Dickson won $500 after pitching her business FLAT OUT OF HEELS, rollable emergency flats to ease consumers' soles after hours in heels. J and K Wood Products was unable to attend to the Live Pitch Event.

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Dawn Dickson, owner of Flat Out of Heels won $500 on the spot!


The judges included Wifredo Fernandez, CEO of The LAB Miami, and Neal Gottlieb and Sadie Ash Boggs, co-owners of Three Twins Ice Cream. After hosting events in Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the Miller Lite Tap the Future will present their idea to the national panel of judges on August 16 at MillerCoors HQ. The winner will walk away with a $200,000 grand prize.


The Decision Pt. 2: Lebron James is Going Home


Thank God Lebron James finally made the announcement. Yesterday, via an essay published in Sports Illustrated, officially notified the world that he's going back to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Are Miami HEAT fans disappointed? Heck yeah, but you have to respect the man’s decision, even if you don’t like it. Lebron obviously came to terms with the reaction to his departure from the Cavs back in 2010, I don't understand how he did that but the decision is his, not mine or any other fan or Pat Riley and Micky Arison for that matter. Miami might be a second home for them but it’s not home and any reasonable person should understand that.

The Domino Effect of Lebron’s decision included the re-signing of Chris Bosh and rumors of Chicago’s interest in Dwyane Wade, although that seems questionable. What’s most fascinating in this situation is that just as in the Decision Pt. 1, Pt. 2 reiterates Lebron’s control over his career. It also illustrated just how much influence he has in the NBA ond worldwide media. Waiting for the Decision Pt. 2 dominated the news to the point that I’d really had enough of the emotional manipulation. 

I have to admit I would have lost money had I bet on Lebron returning to the Cavs. After such vitriol from the fans and team owner, Dan Gilbert, when Lebron announced his move to the Miami HEAT back in 2010. Rest assured there will be no burning of Lebron James Miami HEAT jerseys this time --- not unless someone is just seeking attention. This is Miami, someone might try to sell you a Lebron James Miami HEAT jersey and tell you it’s now a ‘collector’s item,’ but burning? I don’t think so. Speaking of losing money, Lebron’s James move back to the Cavaliers will reportedly cost the Miami area $100 million.

Now Miami HEAT fans must wait while Miami HEAT president Pat Riley works his magic in putting together a team for the upcoming season. Here is Riley's official statement on the departure of Lebron James. A class act, no nasty letter like Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.  

Riley statement


 All the best to Lebron. LET'S GO HEAT!


- VB





Coral Gables, FL (July 8, 2014) – “All Aboard Florida remains on schedule to start construction and deliver passenger service between Miami and West Palm Beach with a stop in Fort Lauderdale by the end of 2016. Construction on Phase 2, which will connect Central Florida with the major South Florida markets, will commence immediately following the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement. This phase will deliver passenger service to Orlando by early 2017 and will coincide directly with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s plans to build the Intermodal Station and Automated People Mover.” – Michael Reininger, President and Chief Development Officer, All Aboard Florida

"When completed, this private sector initiative will be a great asset to the infrastructure of our state and county, particularly as we are working to create an integrated transportation network in Central Florida. We continue to work closely with the All Aboard Florida team and support their efforts to deliver this greatly anticipated transportation alternative." –Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs

"The City of Orlando remains committed to connecting our residents to jobs and opportunity throughout our region and state with increased transportation options like All Aboard Florida’s proposed passenger rail service. The implementation of Phase 1 (Miami to West Palm Beach) gets us one step closer to connecting Orlando and Miami with a new and better way to travel around the state. We applaud their efforts to make this significant investment in our state’s transportation future." – City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

“The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority continues to coordinate closely with All Aboard Florida as they pursue their environmental approvals and break ground on their stations in South Florida. We are currently involved in the planning stages for the intermodal transportation facility which will accommodate All Aboard Florida's intent to bring intercity passenger rail service to Orlando International Airport,” says Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

Career Opportunities

Research & Evaluation Analyst

The Children's Trust has an opening for a research and evaluation analyst. This critical member of both cross- and inter-departmental teams will engage in proactive problem-solving and critical thinking/analysis related to particular child, youth and family program areas and populations. Primary responsibilities include: identification and critical review of evidence-based/best practices in specified program areas; assistance for funded service providers and Trust staff on development of program performance measures; oversight of reporting methods for capturing program performance; among others. For a complete job description and to apply, visit


Executive Director

The Miami-Dade Community-Based Alliance, the community's voice in child welfare, seeks an executive director to oversee day-to-day operations among other responsibilities. The director serves as the Alliance's liaison to a host of entities that include DCF, Our Kids of Miami-Dade County, the media, and others. Minimum requirements include a B.A. degree in the field of law or social science; at least three years experience in the child welfare system of Florida; and supervisory experience, among others. Qualified candidates should email a resume with two references to Herlinda Viera-Sanchez at [email protected] with copy to [email protected].


Director of Regulatory Services

The Miami Beach Community Health Center (MBCHC), a federally qualified community health center serving Miami Dade County, seeks a qualified individual for the position of director of Regulatory Services. Director's responsibilities include development and coordination of staff training for regulatory compliance and Joint Commission accreditation; management and oversight of various organizational programs/projects. For details, contact Gianna DeMercado at (305) 538-8835 Ext. 1403 or email [email protected].


Child Psychiatrist, Medical Assistant, Therapists and Case Managers

The Institute for Child & Family Health, Inc. has positions available for a licensed child psychiatrist, medical assistant, therapists and case managers. Contact Sylvia Mitchell at (305) 685-4231.Visit for position details. Fax resumes to (305) 685-4208 or email to the recruiter at [email protected].


Registered Nurse (part-time)

FSU's Young Parents Project seeks a health educator (master's degree or ARNP preferred) to join the home visiting team serving teen mothers in delinquency. Bachelor's degree or MSN with experience in maternal or pediatric primary health required. The Nurse provides education and guidance to the young family. Requires reliable transportation and flexible scheduling. Contact Tara Thomas at (850) 922-1305 or email [email protected].



RJW the Academy of Arts & Sciences, a private Christian school in NW Miami, has immediate openings for teachers with B.A. or M.A degrees. Pay rate is based on experience. Contact Louise Baker at (305) 316-2416 or email [email protected].


Assistant Grant Professional

The Snay Group, a well-established consulting group, seeks a sharp assistant for prospective grant maker, research, grant writing and grant reporting to specialize in the development of award-winning grant proposals for a diverse group of nonprofit organizations. Excellent written & verbal communication skills, detail-orientation and ability to meet deadlines are essential. Email [email protected].


Early Care and Education Curriculum Specialist

The Miami Children's Initiative seeks an early childcare and education curriculum specialist who will report to the Early Child Care Education manager and be responsible for the overall planning, designing, and development of course content and assessments for Liberty City's Early Care and Education Providers. This individual is responsible for curriculum innovation, design, and research. For more information, contact (305) 636-2230 or email [email protected].


Executive Assistant to CEO

The Miami Children's Initiative seeks an executive assistant who will work under the supervision of the CEO and serve as a liaison to internal and external contacts and vendors. The position is one which has high public exposure as regards to interfacing with VIP visitors, sponsors, board members, along with leading citizens such as elected and appointed. For details, contact (305) 636-2230 or email [email protected].


Program Monitor (part-time summer)

The Village Youth Services is seeking a part-time summer program monitor. Candidates should have a flexible schedule, prior food service experience, cell phone, dependable vehicle and valid driver's license/registration/insurance. The monitor will travel to sites to conduct visits and reviews, and help to ensure that site personnel maintain records; in addition to other assigned duties. Email resume to [email protected].


Care Coordinator

The North Dade Youth & Family Coalition has an opening for a care coordinator whose responsibilities include conducting diagnostic assessments, form family teams of stakeholders concerned with client care, develop care plans, refer clients to service providers and provide follow up. Bachelor's Degree and minimum three years experience are required. Email resume to [email protected].


Teachers VPK-8th Grade

Thumbelina Learning Center/Masters Preparatory School has openings for teachers for VPK- 8th grade. Included are positions for music, reading specialist, and general education for all grade levels. Contact (305) 887-4233. Please email resume/cover letter to [email protected].


Early Childhood Development Intervention Specialist

Citrus Health Network, Inc. seeks an early childhood intervention specialist to work with children birth-5, teacher and parents onsite at childcare centers countywide. Candidates must have a bachelor's in education, social work, psychology or related field minimum and two years experience, strong knowledge. Email resume/cover letter to [email protected].


Manager/Mentoring Coordinator

GIRL POWER, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower young girls and their families to succeed, has both part-time and full-time openings for position. Applicants must be self-starters with bachelor's degree in education, social work, or related field and/or a minimum of three years experience counseling high-risk youth. For questions, call (305) 756-5502. Send cover letter and resume to [email protected].


Teacher Aides/Kendall

The Arc of South Florida Children's Program in Kendall seeks full and part-time paraprofessional/teacher aides. FCCP or 55 DCF hours are required. EOE. Please fax resume to "Attn: Irma" at (305) 279-7801 or email to [email protected].


Preschool Curriculum Coordinator/Kendall area

The Arc of South Florida also has an opening for a preschool curriculum coordinator in the Kendall Area. Requirements for this full-time position include experience, FCCP/A.A. or a B.A. in special education or related field. The school is an accredited preschool Quality Counts center. Excellent Benefits. EOE. Fax resume to "Attn: Irma" at (305) 279-7801 or email [email protected].


Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

MIAMI – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) issued this statement today as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

"Today, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark piece of legislation, outlawing racial discrimination and segregation, broke down barriers and opened doors of opportunity for all Americans.

"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it possible for me to walk the halls of Skyway Elementary as a school principal, the state capitol of Florida as a State Senator and serve as a United States Congresswoman alongside the first African-American President of the United States of America.

"While we have come a long way since the days of segregation and Jim Crow, the vestiges of injustice still linger – young minority men are being disproportionately incarcerated, income inequality continues to grow, and hard fought voting rights are under attack.

"As we celebrate and reflect on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, let us also recommitment ourselves to fulfilling its promise of equality. I will continue to advance the cause of civil rights in America by fighting for jobs, a world class education system, and a strengthened Voting Rights Act.