Miami, FL – Ten inspiring black men will receive $10,000 a piece for their community programs after being named Miami’s first “BMe Leaders.” This prestigious honor is presented by BMe Community, a social network for people of all races and genders who care about making communities stronger. BMe Leaders are black men chosen for their community service and their ability to inspire.
BMe Community was incubated by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation until it’s 2013 spinoff. Today BMe has 165 BMe Leaders in 6 cities providing education, public safety, and economic services to over 500,000 people every year.
“Our mission is to build more caring and prosperous communities inspired by black men,” said BMe Community founding CEO, Trabian Shorters. “BMe Leaders do that, and they represent millions of unsung black men who lead the nation in service, enterprise and generosity every day. BMe shows this is who we are, and builds upon it.”
BMe’s strong position on black men as positive community catalysts has powerful backers as well.
“I share that belief,” said Knight Foundation President, Alberto Ibarguen. “From the beginning, the basic BMe premise has been that black men and boys are community assets. At Knight, our ideal is an informed and inclusive community where all citizens can engage in deciding their true interests. We couldn’t be prouder of the Miami BMe Leaders who are living that ideal.”
“Caring communities are a basic human need,” said William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust Executive Director, Douglas Zinn. “These BMe Leaders also provide inspiration, role models and hope. That is why we are proud partners in this important community-building work.”
BMe posits black men are assets but the social network is open to all people and has over 22,000 members of all races and genders.
On June 30th BMe and its partners are hosting “Better Together Awards” to celebrate Miami’s diverse men and women “Community-builders.”
“That’s because BMe isn’t about black men,” said BMe-Miami Community Manager, Benjamin Evans III. “We’re about better communities. We’re the social network for people who believe we can make things Better Together.”
BMe is backed by donations and leading philanthropies including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, The Heinz Endowments and The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.
Congratulations to the 2016 BMe Leaders:
Daniel Agnew - Founder of the Roots Collective
Daniel believes in community building through collective economics, and he wants to better connect people to entrepreneurial resources. Daniel will use his BMe Leader Award to train and employ South Florida youth. He will offer tangible outlets for youth to learn skills like graphic design, business management, and event planning.
Webber Charles - Senior Site Director, Breakthrough Miami at Ransom Everglades School
Webber understands that being exposed to new cultures early in life can totally change the way people see their future. So he is extending opportunities to young people who wouldn’t normally have them. Webber is using his BMe Leader award to support his international mentoring program to help youth gain exposure to diverse experiences by traveling abroad.
Kelvin Deleveaux - COO & Co-founder of Daddy Knows Too LLC
Kelvin knows all too well the struggle of being a single father. After his divorce he had no idea how he would take care of his daughters. After searching in vain for information online he decided to create an app, “Daddy Knows Too.” Kelvin will use his BMe Leader Award to put the answers fathers need in the palm of their hands and to connect them to a network of support and resources.
Marlon A. Hill, Esq. – Partner of Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP
Marlon is truly a mentor to mentors and works to make sure immigrants have a seamless transition into American culture. Marlon will use his BMe Leader Award to support the acclimation, assimilation and integration of young Black men, especially of immigrant heritage, into the Miami community.
Brandon Okpalobi - Founder of DIBIA Dream, Inc. CEO of DIBIA Athletic Development
Brandon works very hard to teach his students a unique way of making every life experience transform into a story that can be used as a learning lesson. Brandon will use his BMe Leader Award to develop STEM programs through his DREAM Academy (Development through Recreational Education for Athletic Minds).
Derick Pearson - Co-Founder and President of Code Fever & Black Tech week
Derick has dedicated his life to inspiring a new generation of leaders through his conversational talks on business, technology and Pan African empowerment. He is the co-owner of a Miami-based Gourmet Popsicle company, Feverish Ice Cream, and a youth tech entrepreneurship foundation called Code Fever. He will use his BMe Leader Award to hep teach 10-21-year-olds entrepreneurial skills through tech workshops and summer camps.
Justin Pinn - Program Coordinator and StarBot Academy Director Breakthrough Miami
Justin believes that Black men are remarkable in every way and that we lead in much more than sports and entertainment. Justin will use his BMe Leader Award to expand Breakthrough Miami’s paid teaching fellowship to include 30 low-income high school students of color. Upon completion, these students will have access to professional development, SAT/ACT prep, college trips, and an on-staff mentor at Breakthrough Miami.
Loubert Senatus - President of Forward Thought, Inc.
Loubert has a strong passion for bringing post-secondary educational resources to students and parents. He will use his BMe Leader award to build a mobile college & career resources truck. The concept is similar to a food truck; however, college planning, FAFSA completion, college application, and vocational assistance will be the main dish.
Jonathan Spikes – President of Affirming Youth
Jonathan is a proud cancer survivor and author who has dedicated his life to providing relevant conflict resolution programs (Let's Talk It Out) to help Black communities deal with trauma. He will use his BMe Leader award to provide quality social services to schools in Miami-Dade County.
Marvin Wilmoth - Vice President – Development of KCG Development
Marvin works every day to help all local black-owned businesses to thrive, grow and become sustainable to further help Miami’s Black economy. Marvin will use his BMe Leader Award to support an eco-friendly workspace for Miami’s social entrepreneurs.