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
When Nicolaus Gelin started middle school at Young Men’s Preparatory Academy in Wynwood, he dreamed of being in the school’s music program.
“I saw them play at the pep rallies and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Nicolaus, 14.
The opportunity came in 2013, when the school’s former band director told Nicolaus there was going to be free guitar lessons after school twice a week.
“I went home immediately, asked my mom and I signed up the next day,” Nicolaus said.
The free guitar lessons were sponsored by Young Musicians Unite, a nonprofit organization that provides free music education to more than 70 students in areas of Miami such as Overtown and Wynwood. They are funded through grants from Citizens Interested in the Arts and Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs’ The Youth Arts Enrichment Program, and through partnerships with bands such as Arrowhead, Avalanche and Ripcord.
Young Musicians Unite was founded in 2013 and is led by Sammy Gonzalez, 31, a Miami Beach professional musician who learned to play guitar in the public school system.
“If the free music education I received while in school didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be a musician right now. Which is crazy because I work sometimes 80-plus hours a week doing what I love,” Gonzalez said. “It’s all possible thanks to the great mentors I had that were constants in my life while growing up.”
Gonzalez wanted to give back to public schools that lack financial support in the arts.
YMU started in partnership with the band Reckless Youth, whose members Gonzalez gave private lessons to. The funds collected at performances went directly to buying guitars for Young Men’s Prep Academy and to fund the after-school program.
“The parents of the band members had already a vision for me,” Gonzalez said. “The first shows Reckless Youth played, we donated the money to other foundations. Then the parents and I decided to keep the funds within what we are doing. We said, ‘Why don’t we go into a neighborhood that doesn’t have a great music program?’ ”
Almost four years later, YMU has expanded to provide music education to any student interested in learning from Young Men’s Prep Academy, Jose de Diego Middle School, Booker T. Washington High School and the Overtown Youth Center.
Students who participate in YMU become members of a classical guitar ensemble, a jazz ensemble or a student rock band.
Gonzalez joined forces with Allan Valladares and Juan Camilo Pelaez to mentor the students. All three are New World School of the Arts alumni.
“Sammy is very passionate about this cause,” Pelaez said. “Helping him and spending time with the kids teaching them music brings me great satisfaction because I feel I’m making a difference in their lives.”
After a year of learning guitar under Gonzalez, Nicolaus found his passion in playing the trumpet. Gonzalez helped him score a private lesson with New World Symphony fellow Aaron Norlund.
“I was shocked how good Nicolaus was. He was like a dry sponge ready to absorb as much knowledge as he possibly could in the time we spent together,” Norlund said. “Not only musically was I impressed, but in his ability to communicate. It’s really remarkable to see the support he receives from his parents.”
Nicolaus’ mother, Maryline Gelin, is a physical therapist and his father, Sonder Gelin, is self employed in the transportation field.
Nicolaus auditioned and got accepted to New World School of the Arts High School’s class of 2020.
“Because of Sammy, Nicolaus was able to get help,” Maryline Gelin said. “Sammy is doing wonderful work. The kids flourish through his program, it’s very effective. I appreciate the doors that have been open to Nicolaus.”
YMU students each get eight to 10 lessons a month. All students receive their own instruments, sheet music and other related materials.
Gonzalez hopes to bring YMU to every school in Miami-Dade.
“My vision is to impact as many kids as I can, change their lives, give them music,” Gonzalez said. “Some are just gonna play during our lessons and maybe never play again, but some are gonna make a career out of it and go on to better places.”
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.
By Arri & Byler Henry, Generation Next
Over 400 high school students from across Miami-Dade County, filled the seats of the Lou Rauls Auditorium at Florida Memorial University on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to kick off Zo’s Winter Groove Weekend! Miami Heat Legend and NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning and an esteem group of panelists engaged with these students about the effects of social media, the current state of hip hop music and other pertinent issues affecting their generation during this Third Annual Youth Groove Summit. Facilitated by motivational speaker and author, Terri Crook, students were allowed to use the mic to expose their thoughts and truths openly.
“The lyrics in today’s popular songs change our subconscious mind,” admits Starr Alfonso, a junior at Hialeah High School.
The panel focused on steering kids away from the negative perceptions that today’s music can bring. One question aimed at the panelists addressed who is responsible for what is being played on the airwaves? The radio stations are in a tough spot because they have to play what the masses want to hear to keep a job. The panelists described the situation perfectly, adding that the record labels are partially responsible. “They don’t pay their rappers to put out A level messages.”
Many of the students confessed that they pay more attention to the beat of the music versus the lyrical content allowing Zo and his team to acknowledge the important of separating entertainment from reality for those who do allow the music to sway their thoughts or actions.
“Our President [Barack Obama] is a fan of hip hop music but it’s all about balance,” Mourning calmly tells his attentive young audience in his iconic raspy tone. “If you educate yourself enough, you’ll understand that [trap] music doesn’t reflect your life. Your education will create other options for you and overpower any lyrics that tell you to do/sell drugs, steal or disrespect women.”
During a dialogue about social media being a ‘weapon of mass distraction’, Tracy Mourning, Zo’s astute and ravishing wife reveals, “the worst mistakes you can make happen when you are led by ego.” She recognizes that this current generation lacks love and respect for each other when it comes to bullying and exploiting others via social media. The panel and the audience agreed that not every situation is worth ‘likes’ or sharing online.
Wild N’ Out comedian Darren Brand with his interactive improvisational skits was a hit at the youth summit, giving the students an opportunity to have some much needed fun aside from the serious conversations. The panel ended in prayer, led by Koryn Hawthorn, Season 8 finalist of the Voice, hoping to inspire participants to move forward in love. Students then enjoyed a catered lunch at the University’s Ballroom with 99 Jamz.
On Saturday, the Mournings hosted their Family Health and Wellness Groove, a fun day/5k event offering free health screenings, athletic activities and fun for the whole family.
Comedian and actor Gary Owen flabbergasted and amused attendees Sunday at the Comedic Groove with jokes ranging from President-elect Donald Trump to his experiences being married to a Black woman. Saxophonist extraordinaire Mike Phillips brought down the house at the comedy show hosted by DJ Irie at the beautiful JW Marriott Marquis in Miami. This VIP event aids with raising funds for Mourning’s philanthropic efforts. Mayor Wayne Messam, of Miramar, was in attendance and remarked, “Supplying the resources to empower our youth is the best thing we can do.”
The Mourning Family Foundation’s programs (Overtown Youth Center and Honey Shine, Inc.) served over 700 students residing in South Florida ranging from ages 8 to 25. The Groove provides monetary support to both the Overtown Youth Center and Honey Shine, Inc.
For more information on how to contribute to their cause, please visit www.mourningfamilyfoundation.org/
MIAMI – Last week, the Talent4Change Foundation launched its ‘Buzz It Forward’ campaign by debuting its signature initiative, The Buzz Boxx, during Art Basel week.
The Buzz Boxx is a container-based barbershop designed to be placed at various locations that offers grooming and mentoring to young men ages 7-17 who live in poverty-stricken areas.
The mission of the foundation is to inspire, unite and empower children in underserved communities. Its founder, Michael Caraballo, introduced the initiative to the gathered crowd.
“The purpose of Buzz It Forward is to help kids look better so they can feel better (and) in turn do better,” Caraballo said. “It’s an incentive- based reward system that we’ve created to encourage kids to keep doing better, whether that be doing better in school and/or participating in community service.”
The launch included a ribbon cutting ceremony and an official presentation by special guests including Tina Brown, executive director of the Overtown Youth Center.
Brown shared her enthusiasm about the Buzz It Forward campaign’s potential to inspire youth to entrepreneurship.
“The Buzz Boxx concept is truly an attractive and innovative concept for positive youth engagement. Self-confidence starts with the way individuals look and feel about themselves,” Brown said. “I am hopeful that (the) Buzz Boxx will spark entrepreneurial energy within young people as this may be an opportunity for them to meaningfully engage in the process of learning how to run a business. It’s the coolest idea I’ve seen all year.”
‘Buzz it Forward’ is a component of the ‘Do Better Project’ created by Amir Youssef, program director for Talent4Change and owner of the Chop Shop Barbershop. The project is designed to encourage youth to do better at home, in school and in their communities.
“If you look good, you feel good. Buzz it Forward helps kids earn the right to choose whatever type of haircut they like. Whether it’s getting good grades, volunteering or helping others, we want them to do better,” Youssef said.
Youssef also heralded his belief that mentoring, instilling self-confidence and teaching youth to have a positive body image will encourage young men to be their best selves.
“The barber-client relationship has always been long-term and we want a specific barber to mentor, educate and service the kids for at least one year,” Youssef said. “There’s a need for grooming kids long-term. I believe in order to inspire them to do better, they need consistent role models.”
Currently located at 2250 NW 2 Avenue in Miami, near the grounds of Mana Wynwood, the inaugural Buzz Boxx is a uniquely customized 8’ by 20’ shipping container converted into a fully functional, portable barbershop complete with lighting and electricity.
The prototype will eventually be dropped off at the Overtown Youth Center, which has been provided vouchers to reward deserving young men with free haircuts. The Chop Shop, in conjunction with The Mavericks Barbershop and Red Carpet Barbershop will staff the Buzz Boxx and facilitate the first wave of free haircuts.
The long-term plan is to place a Buzz Boxx in underserved communities nationwide, where it will remain for one year at a time. Organizations, foundations, schools and community centers are encouraged to get involved with the campaign.
Free haircuts are funded through donations that can be made by visiting www.buzzitforward.com.