St. Jude Returned to CBC to Thank The Divine Nine

By Ebonie Johnson Cooper, St. Jude Blogger

Presidents of the National PanHellenic Council Organizations stand proudly with their awards from St. Jude.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is truly a magical place. When I visited in the spring of 2014, my mind and my heart were opened to the life-changing work of the men and women there. So when I left I committed to being a life-long supporter of their work. My commitment was renewed last year when I walked in the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk, interviewed the founders of Black Girls Run! for their unique fundraiser for the research hospital, and undoubtedly when I attended the St. Jude NPHC reception during Congressional Black Caucus Week. Well, just last week I attended the CBC reception again and I was reminded why I love St. Jude.

The face of childhood cancer holds no bias and no prejudice. But thanks to the spirit of St. Jude founder, Danny Thomas there is hope for those children who do experience a cancer diagnosis. Thomas believed that “No child should die in the dawn of life,” and to this day St. Jude operates under those words. About 11,630 children age 14 and younger are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year. One in 300 boys and one in 333 girls will develop cancer before their 20th birthday. For African Americans in particular, approximately one in 375 African-Americans is born with sickle cell disease each year. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has one of the largest and most active Sickle Cell Disease Programs in the nation. St. Jude treats approximately 800 children per year with sickle cell disease. Bone marrow (or stem cell) transplantation is the only cure for sickle cell disease. The cure was first performed successfully in 1983 when St. Jude patient, Kimberlin George received a life-saving blood transfusion to cure her Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She became the first person to be cured of sick-cell anemia. St. Jude rarely performs this procedure because a perfect bone marrow match is so rare and the complications are risky. However, progress St. Jude makes in helping patients live with sickle cell, pain-free, is phenomenal! This work could not be done without the generous support of individual donors, corporations and community organizations like the Divine Nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

To date, the NPHC organizations have collectively donated nearly $2 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They have done so through various individual programs including, St. Jude Sunday of Hope, the faith-based program where churches are recruited to collect one love offering for St. Jude; St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk. that took place in nearly 70 communities across the country; Girls Night In, a peer-to-peer fundraising event where members host individual social gatherings; and St. Jude Game Day. Give Back., a peer-to-peer fundraising event where members host Super Bowl parties to benefit the hospital. Last month, members of the Divine Nine joined the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer across 58 cities. Delta Sigma Theta served as a Gold Sponsor, and Iota Phi Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho,  and Alpha Phi Alpha served as Bronze Sponsors.

At the CBC reception, St. Jude recognized and thanked the leadership of the Divine Nine. We heard patient stories and were no doubt blessed by the voice of Vivian Green. Just like last year, I left the reception renewed and enthused to advocate for the work of St. Jude. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I could not be prouder to know my sorority is committed to the work of such a life-changing place.

Dare to make a difference! Stand with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help make a difference in the lives of children living with a devastating diagnosis. “Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.” Learn more about how you can partner with St. Jude and help fulfill founder Danny Thomas’ dream of a day when no child dies in the dawn of life.

Hey #DC! Brunch For A Cause Is Back!


Hey DC! We’re a proud sponsor of A Diva State of Mind’s Brunch for a Cause!

This DC brunch series returns in June to benefit Safe Shores & Shepherd’s Table. Lifestyle blogger & stylist Keri Henderson of A Diva State of Mind, combined her love of brunch with friends and passion for giving back to the community, to create her brunch series A Diva State of Mind Presents: Brunch for a Cause in 2014. Last year she hosted two brunches that attracted over 80 attendees and raised funds for DC area non-profit organizations. This highly anticipated brunch series returns this summer!

The brunch will benefit Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center and Shepherd’s Table. Safe Shores is celebrating 20 years of serving child victims of abuse and is a direct service nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and working directly with child victims of sexual and physical abuse in the District of Columbia. Shepherd’s Table provides help to people who are homeless or in need by providing basic services including meals, social services, medical support, clothing and other assistance in an effective and compassionate manner.

All attendees will enjoy an afternoon of networking, a three course meal, unlimited mimosas and more! Along with purchasing a ticket, all guests will be asked to bring ONE inkind donation for EACH organization or make a monetary donation at the door.

When: Sunday, June 14, 2015

Where: M Street Bar & Grill 2033 M Street NW Washington, DC

Time: 12:30pm

Tickets: $38 |

It is Keri’s hope that each Brunch for a Cause event will become more successful than the last and collectively, individuals can raise money or collect a significant amount of in-kind donations for great organizations serving the DC community.

Keri is a lifestyle blogger and personal stylist in the DC area. She’s an advocate for community service and seeks to host events in the DC area that are fashionable, fun and focused on giving back to the community. Visit for more information.

Say it Loud! I’m Young, Black & Giving Back!

Say it loud...

Last week we kicked off of our digital campaign: “I AM Young, Black and Giving Back” We could not be more excited! If you have been sleeping on this dope campaign now is the time to wake up and check out #IAMYBGB on social media.

I AM_ShowMeShoes (2)The I AM Young, Black & Giving Back is a digital campaign focused on young, black givers and the cause work they care the most about. Our goal is to recognize and applaud the work these individuals do to impact their communities. Through our platforms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we will engage with some of the best and the brightest young, black givers-  that includes YOU! That’s right,  the best part of this campaign is that it involves YOU! We want to know what motivates you to give, why you give, how you give!

Often times we recognize those doing good but we fail to truly celebrate them and that is what this campaign is all about. It is not about simply taking notice that young, black philanthropists, leaders, and activists exist but we also want to honor their contributions. We know that by elevating the work you do, we not only will be inspired but other young, black givers will be inspired to give more and better than ever! So how are we going both celebrate and inspire?

So glad you asked!

We will host an information-packed twitter chat on April 14 and two young, black giver features each week through April 30!

When it comes to being young, black and giving back we never want to lose sight of the inspiration behind the phrase. We take your work and our work very seriously and want to ensure you always have a place to shine! Here’s to you!

We look forward to celebrating with you guys! Say it loud, “I am Young, Black, Giving Back …& I am proud!”


By Maya Ollie, Social Media Intern

Me in Village 235


As a Bonner Service Scholar at my soon to be alma mater Christopher Newport University (roughly 100 days left but who’s counting?), I have amazing experiences in service. One of which was our service trip abroad. It took place in Quito, Ecuador at a nonprofit known as Casa Victoria. The Casa Victoria mission is simple: shape and enhance the lives of the impoverished youth of Quito. The entire staff carries out this mission with such a spirit of service, humility and passion—it inspired me more than words can adequately express.

Taking the 20-min walk to the Village
Taking the 20-min walk to the Village

While in Ecuador I had the opportunity to visit in an Afro-Ecuadorian village known as Village 235. All we were told about the village, as it was a three hour drive outside of Quito, followed by a 20 minute walk into the Andes Mountains. I will admit I was slightly skeptical about walking the Ecuadorian countryside to a village that I knew absolutely nothing about. I was not sure what to expect. However, when we arrived to the village we were greeted with undeniable warmth, genuine hugs and smiles that lit my heart up. From the youngest and most adorable toddlers, to the respected elders of the village, everyone we met was so kind to us was nearly inconceivable. We received a tour of the village that consisted of a schoolhouse, a recreation hall, a concrete soccer field, and a string of small homes for the population of roughly 200 villagers.

After our tour we were able to speak with the teenagers and one of the first questions we asked was, “What would change about your village if you could”? The overwhelming response we received was fixing the soccer field. Fixing the soccer field is what a room full of teenagers wanted to change about their village. They did not want Wi-Fi or cable television, and the idea of a paved road was not even mentioned, just a better soccer field. From my perspective the village needed so many amenities and upgrades but the villagers did not seem to notice or care about their materialistic poverty. Finally, we asked what was their favorite part of the village and answers poured out from all over the room. But the that answer stood out and was universally agreed upon was, “The peace in the village. I love the peace”. In that moment I was convicted with the epiphany that the people of Village 235 were not living an impoverished life. Their life contained more wealth than I could have ever imagined. It hit me everyone can create their own Village 235, a place of peace and love. Peace exists in the village because of the people who inhabit it are humble, grateful, and love all those they meet incredibly well.

My hope is to be more grateful, humble, and love better so my life contains wealth and I owe that to the 200 villagers of Village 235.

Dear White People: Black Millennials Give Too

by Ebonie Johnson Cooper, Chief Millennial Officer, Friends of Ebonie
Chasity Cooper, Digital Media Strategist, Millennial on A Mission
Jalisa Whitley, Principal Consultant, The Nonprofit Help, LLC

Are these the only millennials who give? (source)
Are these the only millennials who give? (source)

The 2014 satirical film, Dear White People, follows four black students at a fictitious Ivy League university illustrating overt and covert racial biases that exist at the university. Based on true events, the film helps to shed light on the diversity challenges faced by black students at traditionally all-white institutions. How does this relate to philanthropy? Philanthropy, conventionally speaking anyway, is associated with the “old, white and wealthy.” The inclusion of communities of color into the philanthropic narrative, while not new, is not yet fully realized. Further, the introduction of a new, younger generation within the African – American community seems almost impossible. Like the students highlighted in the film Dear White People, African – American or black millennials are fighting to have their voices heard within a space many would consider out of their league.

Millennials are the most talked about generation of our time. There’s not a day that goes by when the spending habits, living situations and bank accounts of this nation’s largest generation aren’t discussed in the media. And while there are millions of millennials with thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loan debt, there are a large percentage giving back to their favorite nonprofit organizations and charitable causes. The 2014 Millennial Impact Report released by Achieve and the Case Foundation, reports 87% of millennials–those aged 20 to 35–gave a financial gift to nonprofits in 2013. Fantastic. But do all of millennials give alike? What we don’t see reflected in mainstream reports like these is a racial breakdown that offers insight into the giving of the most “ethnically, economically, and socially diverse generation of all time,” according to a report by Edelman Public Relations. If this is true, then why don’t we see a more accurate reflection in millennial giving reporting?

Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported on the philanthropic efforts of the millennial generation. While the article focused on the good work of our generation and it used the widely sourced Millennial Impact Report, WSJ, like many media and non-profit based outlets, failed to recognize the diversity that exists within our generation- starting with the article’s image. Are white millennials the only millennials who give? Where are the black and brown faces that make up most of the generation?

Continually, while the article provides some knowledge on how to advise millennials to give, it again fails to acknowledge how millennials of color choose to show support to their favorite philanthropies. Connected to Give, a collaborative project that brings together a variety of independent, family and community foundations, provided this insight on the giving habits of millennials of color:

More than one in five African American donors (21%) have participated in giving circles, as have higher proportions of Asian/ Pacific Islander donors (16%), and Hispanic/Latino donors (15%). These are higher rates than among both Jewish donors (14%) and white non-Jewish donors (10%). A particularly striking finding was the age of giving circle participants. Unlike other aspects of charitable giving, giving circle participation is much more strongly related to age than to income: nearly half of all participants are under 40.”

Additionally in April 2013, Friends of Ebonie surveyed 274 African American millennials on their giving habits, yielding the following data:

  • 41% of black millennials prefer to give back more in time. 40% prefer to give back both in time and money
  • Top three charitable causes : education, women and girls, and mentoring
  • 92% said that the biggest influence to donate time to an organization was projects where they feel they can make a difference
  • The #1 way black millennials prefer to give their time is through leadership (board leadership, committees work, etc.)

There was even variance within this particular testing group, with 55% of the younger cohort of millennials (aged 20-24) saying that their largest financial gift was $100 or less, and 45% of the older cohort of millennials (30-34) saying that they gave $250 at one single time.

Black and brown millennials are as much engaged in community work as non-black millennials, as evidenced in the aforementioned research. So if black and brown millennials are such active givers, how come they aren’t being portrayed as such throughout mainstream sector media? Would it have been too unbelievable for the Wall Street Journal to use an image of all black young people?

Diversity is a term that many organizations are utilizing these days from board leadership to donors to volunteers. However, diversity can’t be embraced if it isn’t celebrated across all mediums. “Black millennials are a part of a rising tide of talent of color in the US that are important for positive social change,” shares Dr. Rahsaan Harris, Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy in the Friends of Ebonie report.

Further, Black millennials are the key to long-term sustainability for organizations and cause work that focus particularly on the black community. “Black millennials connected to their less well-off family& community members can provide much needed insight to philanthropic efforts aimed at communities of color,” said Harris, Leading philanthropy consultant and author, Christal Jackson adds, “by being engaged around creating solutions to problems plaguing their communities, then connecting with the broader community for resources, black millennials can shift the frame of philanthropy.” (source)

The shift in philanthropy begins with what we hear and what we see about next gen individuals who give. Seeing millennial faces of color in imagery and learning how to engage with them through research reports is key for long-term growth within the sector. The longer we leave millennials of color out of the conversation, the longer we impede change.

Want to continue the conversation? Join ABFE, along with Friends of Ebonie, on Thursday, January 15, 2015 for Dear Philanthropy: A Necessary Conversation on Millennial Diversity within the Sector. Register for the webinar

Our 2014 #GivingTuesday Top Charity Picks!



We haven’t done a Giving Tuesday Top Picks List since 2012. It seemed fitting that we make an old thing new again and help you find an organization to support today on #GivingTuesday.

What IS Giving Tuesday, you ask? We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Started in 2012 by the 92st Y and the United Nations Foundation, we now have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Who are we to deny you this opportunity to give back?!

That being said, here are a few of our faves. Go a head make it rain on ’em.


Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture: The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.

Black Benefactors:  A Washington, D.C – based giving circle comprised of individuals, businesses and organizations dedicated to addressing the societal ills facing the African American community in the DC region.

St. Jude Children’s Research Center: St. Jude is unlike any other pediatric treatment and research facility. Discoveries made here have completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. With research and patient care under one roof, St. Jude is where some of today’s most gifted researchers are able to do science more quickly.

Dance Theatre of Harlem: Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a performing Ensemble, a leading arts education center and Dancing Through Barriers®, a national and international education and community outreach program. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts.

First Book DC – provides new books to children in need. The DC chapter is helping to increase literacy rates in areas where poverty levels are at an all time high. Donate $10 and that equals 4 books!

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance. The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents — as well as millions more through television broadcasts.

H.O.P.E. Scholarship InitiativeThe H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Education) Scholarship Initiative was founded in 2010 by two Howard University alumni committed to serving their communities. The organization’s philanthropic efforts are geared toward rewarding deserving students with scholarships through the assistance of grassroots level fundraising and corporate sponsorships.

Epitome of Soul: Epitome of Soul, Inc. strives to partner with community organizations to equip, empower, and encourage performing arts high school and college students to strive for academic excellence and cultural growth.

African American Board Leadership Institute: The mission of the African American Board Leadership Institute is to strengthen nonprofit, public and private organizations through recruiting, preparing and placing African Americans on a broad range of governing boards.

Add your organization and a link to its donation page in the comment section below! Sharing is caring!!!!

Walking with Thanks & St. Jude

Tammy & I at the finish line!


My weekend unintentionally ended up being a weekend of giving. One of those giving activities included the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk. I walked the 5K route on The National Mall in Washington, DC with one of my best friends and sorority sisters, Tammy. Walking with Tammy was significant because we both support the work of St. Jude and we’re both members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a Gold level national partner for the event. D.C. was one of more than 65 communities nationwide that raised funds and awareness for children battling cancer and other deadly diseases. As a community, D.C. raised over $187,000 for St. Jude! Go us!

Kayla! One of my favorite St. Jude patients. I’ve never met her but every time I see her in a video her spirit fills me up!

I was thrilled to be participating in the Give Thanks Walk with many supporters, donors and friends of St. Jude. The pre-walk zone was filled with enthusiastic volunteers and banners with the happy smiling faces of the children at St. Jude. As National Partner teams and individuals gathered together, runners, and tourists on The Mall looked on showing their support with smiles and cheers. Although Tammy and I never found our team, lol, we started the walk fancy-free, footloose and cold- VERY cold. Walking along the Potomac made it feel about ten degrees colder than it probably was but we kept our spirits high and strides swift. Lol. The St. Jude volunteers along the way helped to keep our energy up with cheers, chants and – more smiles. I even joined in on a cheer- ok, maybe two. 🙂

Between our talking and very fast walking, Tammy and I finished the walk in just under one hour. We took a few obligatory photos along the way and of course, at the finish line. I completed the walk feeling better than when I started. I thought about the kids who will be saved because of the treatment St. Jude provides. Knowing that my friend and I have had a small part in such a magnificent impact was enough to make my day. (Special shout out to my travel buddy Tameka who donated to my walk campaign!)

Here’s to HOPE! I can’t wait to do the walk again next year! Below are a few photos from the big day!

Stand with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and help make a difference in the lives of children living with a devastating diagnosis. “Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the freedom to focus on what matters most—saving kids regardless of their financial situation.” Learn more about how you can partner with St. Jude and help fulfill founder Danny Thomas’ dream of a day when no child dies in the dawn of life.