The “Sharks” had a tough choice among the four social ventures. Would they choose Master Honey that empowers low-income women to start their own micro-beekeeping businesses? Or perhaps prefer Miami is Kind’s concept to create jobs for young people on the autism spectrum baking cookies for schools? Would they pick Mind&Melody, which crafts music engagement experiences for Alzheimer’s patients? Or do they like Buzzbox’s pop-up barbershops that dispense life advice with the haircut? All were competing for a $10,000 prize.
The Shark Tank, part of the Philanthropy Miami conference on Thursday, was much like the TV version — but with a do-good twist. Gil Bonwitt of Gazelles Social Initiatives, Teresa Valdes-Fauli Weintraub of Merrill Lynch, Seth Werner of Harbour Real Estate Investments and Mary Wong of Office Depot Foundation fired questions at the presenters about how each would use the funding, their marketing strategies and whether their revenue models were solid.
And the winner was … Buzzbox, presented by the Overtown Youth Center. The Buzzbox team builds and runs barbershops made out of shipping containers. These pop-up shops empower youth in low-income neighborhoods with the increased self-esteem that comes with a great cut, served up with mentoring talks. The team has already tested the concept at community events.
The Shark Tank-style event concluded Philanthropy Miami, a daylong conference showcasing philanthropic and nonprofit trends. “Passion Meets Purpose” was the theme when more than 275 people gathered at Jungle Island to explore fundraising tools and strategies for increasing donations, expanding boards and growing volunteer bases.
The Shark Tank event has been held at the conference since 2014, but this year the $10,000 award was accompanied with a venture partner. A new group of venture philanthropy funders will take the winner under its wing, offering mentoring, strategy advice and connections, as well as the funding.
The organization, Social Venture Partners Miami (www.svpmiami.org), which launched on Thursday, is part of a global network of 3,500 venture philanthropists in 43 cities in nine countries who have collectively invested more than $63 million in about 840 social ventures since 1997. SVP partners are professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and community leaders; together they select social ventures in the community to back, and they contribute their time, talent, capital and connections to help the ventures grow, using a venture capitalist model to reap social returns.
The idea is that SVP will be an on-ramp, helping promising concepts that already have traction to grow and become “venture ready” for social impact funders, said Lauren Harper, founder of SVP Miami. Over time, SVP Miami will mentor and fund a number of ventures and for each venture it will be a multi-year commitment, she said.
Harper also co-founded the Center for Social Change, a Miami co-working and education center for nonprofit and for-profit social ventures.
“The center does an incredible job bringing people together … but more is needed,” said Harper, who already has 11 founding partners. “The SVP model provides the right combination of resources and capital to support social ventures that can scale. And this is the right time to do this in Miami.”
Paul Shoemaker, the founder of the global Social Venture Partners and author of “Can’t Not Do,” told the conference crowd that becoming a successful changemaker requires three qualities: active listening, humility and connecting.
Attendees were also reminded of the nonprofit sector’s economic importance, thanks to a report released this week by the Florida Nonprofit Alliance. In the Sunshine State, 83,000 nonprofits employ more than 530,000 people — 6 percent of the state workforce. The state’s nonprofit sector provides an annual payroll of $26 billion, receives nearly $90 billion in annual revenue and holds assets of $205.7 billion.
In the southeast region that includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, more than 175,000 people work in nonprofits, accounting for an annual payroll of more than $9.3 billion. That involves a total of 27,039 nonprofits that produce nearly $28.2 billion in revenues, the report found.
“The contributions that the nonprofit sector makes are vital to the state economy,” the Alliance’s Executive Director Sabeen Perwaiz said when releasing the report. “The public and private sectors of the economy receive considerable attention, but this report demonstrates why the nonprofit sector cannot be overlooked.”
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article137616523.html#storylink=cpy
Proceeds from the March 11 event will benefit the Overtown Youth Center, a nonprofit that “seeks to inspire and empower the lives of at-risk youth and families by connecting them to positive role models, enhancing their educational experience and exposing them to life-changing opportunities.”
The NBA Hall-of-Famer’s good-cause tournament will consist of 20 teams, each made up of attorneys and legal staff. Firms can register multiple teams to vie for the title and “earn bragging rights as the reigning Zo’s Hoop-Law Champions.”
“Bringing the South Florida legal community together under one roof will show our young men and women from Overtown that legal professionals believe in them,” Mourning said in a release. “So many times we find our youth on the other side of the law; however, this is an exciting opportunity for lawyers to get engaged in supporting the life-changing work that happens at the Overtown Youth Center.”
Registration begins 7 a.m. March 11 and the first-round of games starts at 9 a.m. in OYC’s gymnasium, 450 NW 14th St. in Miami. A charitable donation of $1,250 is requested from each law firm that participates.
“We can count on the legal community to assist us in providing our kids the opportunity to have a bright future,” said Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin attorney Stephen A. Marino Jr., chairman of the board of the Overtown Youth Center, in a release. “South Florida law firms have shown time and time again their spirit of generosity when it comes to inspiring, empowering and enriching the lives of those in need in our community.”
Some of the firms participating this year include: the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office; Stroock, Bilzin Sumberg; Shutts & Bowen LLP; Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin; Shook Hardy Bacon; Pathman Lewis; Akerman; Eaton & Wolk PL; Harke Clasby/ Vasallo Law; and Rasco Klock.
The youth center focuses on providing comprehensive development services to students in elementary through post-secondary schools. In addition to academics, every student can join the enrichment classes of culinary, dance, music, STEM, art and more.
Since it started in 2003, all of the Overtown Youth Center seniors have graduated from high school and pursued college, vocational programs or employment.
Watch the video and get more on sponsorships, registration and the tournament’s rules and regulations at https://overtownyouth.org/annual-events/zos-hoop-law, or call 305-349-1204 ext. 228.
The Overtown Youth Center was co-founded by Mourning and real-estate developer Martin Z. Marguiles. Year round activities also include a parent enrichment program and post-high school support to over 400 youth and families in the Overtown neighborhood and surrounding areas.
The American Dream was just a fairy tale to Pethrona Sims.
Every day, she and her four children would come home to their apartment in the heart of Liberty City and come face-to-face with shootings, gang violence and sometimes death.
“I didn’t want my boys to grow up in that area where they weren’t able to go outside and just — play,” Sims said.
At the time, Sims had three sons and a daughter to care for. Buying a home on the fair market wasn’t an option for her. She was hopeful, but stuck.
“I just wanted more of a safe haven for my kids,” Sims said.
In 2007, with the help of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami and Bank of America, Sims got her shot at the American Dream.
The two organizations helped transform the James E. Scott and Carver homes, a long-standing public housing project in Liberty City, into Northpark at Scott Carver.
“My former aunt lived in the Scott and I was on her lease,” Sims said. “Since my aunt had first priority to move into the new apartments, I was able to move with my children.”
Sims upgraded to a new home with three bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, and paying roughly $1,072 for everything — mortgage included.
She has also had an addition to her family: a month-old boy.
“I would like to thank Bank of America for helping Habitat to do things like this,” Sims said. “This is excellent for me and my family.”
Since 2004, Bank of America has supported organizations like Habitat for Humanity through its Neighborhood Builders program, which gives a $200,000 grant, over a two-year period, and leadership development to nonprofits.
“The program has allowed us to help nonprofits create greater impact in pressing community needs by providing tools and resources, like strategic plans, succession planning, and enhanced funding opportunities,” said Maria Alonso, senior vice president and Miami market manager.
In November, two organizations were honored at the Adrienne Arsht Center as the 2016 Neighborhood Builders recipients: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami and The Overtown Youth Center.
During the ceremony, both organizations received the first installment of their grant. Now, the groups’ executive directors are gearing up for leadership training which runs February through October 2017.
“OYC and Habitat stood out among their peers in a few ways, but high among them was the role that each play in serving our community’s most vulnerable residents in our poorest neighborhoods in Miami-Dade,” Alonso said.
For the youth center, students like Telkevia Mackey, 17, will continue to have a safe place to go that offers education-enrichment programs.
“OYC has given me assistance with my homework and has motivated me to do my best, even when I feel like doing otherwise,” Telkevia said.
Through the program, she toured colleges both in- and out-of-state, attended SAT and ACT preparation workshops, and has started researching colleges with the help of Mary Wallace, a career development coordinator.
“I have been looking at schools that are accredited in physical therapy, like University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Emory University, Duke University, and the University of Southern California,” Telkevia said.
MIAMI (WSVN) – Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning was on hand to give out Thanksgiving turkeys to 500 families, Tuesday morning.
Mourning and volunteers began Tuesday morning at a Southwest Miami-Dade Publix where they loaded up Thanksgiving meals, and then traveled to the Overtown Youth Center to pass them out to hundreds of families.
“There’s a lot of under-served families here in South Florida,” Mourning said. Many of us kind of get caught up in our own busy daily lives and not realize that about a quarter of our population here in South Florida live below the poverty level.”
This is the 16th Thanksgiving Mourning and his partners, Publix and FedEx, have distributed holiday meals to families in Overtown and Little Haiti.
“He’s taking his time to provide a meal for every family that is enrolled in the Overtown Youth Center, and I’m thankful,” said Overtown resident Libiada Modesto.
The meals include a full turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables and desert.
“Those that can’t pick the meals up, we deliver the meals to their homes,” Mourning said.
On Thanksgiving day, Mourning will surprise 10 pre-selected families at their homes and deliver fully-cooked meals.
“We tend to forget there’s a lot of people, a lot of people out there that are a lot less fortunate than we are.” Mourning said.
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Special to South Florida Times
MIAMI – During her visit to the Overtown Youth Center on Oct. 11, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke to the assembled students about the importance of a college education. She shared her intention, if elected, to provide free college at public institutions and emphasized that HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) would be a priority for her administration.
“We were talking about college preparation and ideas for what they want to do, what they want to study and the cost of college came up. That’s a big deal for our young people,” said Tracy Wilson Mourning, wife of Overtown Youth Center co-founder, Alonzo Mourning; both of whom greeted Clinton and joined her in addressing the students.
In response to the issue of college affordability, Cliton said, “It’s absolutely important that we get the cost of college down so every one of you can afford to go to college.”
She then went on to explain her plan for students to attend public colleges and university free of charge. “You don’t have borrow money, you don’t have to worry about money, you can get your college education. And that’s exactly what we’re going to try to do because too many young people get stopped from going to college because they can’t afford it.”
Clinton’s opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s education plan includes an intention to “Work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars,” according to his website. Trump’s plan will also, “Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.”
When Clinton asked the group if they’d heard of HBCUs, several hands went up.
Her plan for free college also extends to public HBCUs. Clinton’s education plan, The New College Compact, “will support, encourage, and reward the HBCUs that help our students succeed so students can complete college, without costs being a barrier or debt holding them back,” according to her website.
She said she’ll pay special attention to HBCUs “because they’ve done a great job of educating generations and I want to make sure they have the facilities and equipment and teachers they need.”
Essentially signed into existence in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, the White House Initiative on HBCUs has been tweaked over the years by presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush. Earlier this year, President Obama signed an executive order renewing the program. Critics say the program has not done enough to help HBCUs, several of which have closed over the past several years.
Perhaps as a nod to the Democratic party’s support of HBCUs, Obama is campaigning for Clinton today at Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only HBCU.
Wilson Mourning, a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., announced on her Facebook page that she would be traveling there this week to present a scholarship to a Howard student who is a graduate of Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School.