Posts tagged with "non-profit"

Toys for Tots illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Toys for Tots × Good360

Toys for Tots teams up with Good360 (again!), to Distribute One Million Toys, Games and Books to Families-in-Need

Toys for Tots announces the expansion of their year-round efforts to support those less fortunate by distributing one million toys, books, and games to families in need NOW.  While Toys for Tots is primarily known as a Christmastime charity, the organization recognizes there is still great need to provide emotional support and doesn’t want to wait until the holiday season to deliver hope to children in need.

As a Nation we’ve all been hopeful that the Coronavirus pandemic would be in our rearview mirrors by now, but the sad reality is that COVID-19 has had a long-term impact on just about every sector of our society.  Less fortunate children likely suffered the greatest learning loss by not being able to attend in-person classroom instruction, and in order to help combat that Toys for Tots has decided to distribute one million toys this spring and summer with a focus on toys that teach providing STEM-related toys.

We realize the importance of reminding children that there is still joy to be found in simple gifts every day, no matter how difficult things may be right now. That is why we are once again partnering with Good360, the global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving, and providing them with one million toys to distribute via their network of nonprofit organizations across the United States to DoGoodNOW.

“Toys for Tots is more than a Christmas charity—that is why we want to DoGoodNOW and expand our partnership with Good360,” said Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.  “Without the assistance of Good360 and their vast network of non-profits throughout the country, Toys for Tots would not be able to distribute the one million toys we’re providing to families who are struggling outside of the holiday season.”

“With so many families struggling during the pandemic, Good360 is proud to continue the great work of our Marine Toys for Tots partnership,” said Matt Connelly, CEO of Good360.  “We’ve seen firsthand how toys, books and games bring joy to children and their loved ones served by our nonprofit partners and expanding our efforts will significantly increase the impact of our program.”

Toys for Tots and Good360 have complementary strengths, and this partnership will generate greater impact. Together we are more than just the sum of our parts—together we can DoGoodNOW.  The two organizations launched their collaboration in April of 2020 and since that time have distributed 1.8 million toys, games, and books.

If you’d like, you can donate to Marine Toys for Tots here

Kia Damon illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Chef Kia Damon: Culinary Compassion In The Kitchen

By: Emily Bunn

This Women’s History Month, 360 Magazine sat down with Chef Kia Damon. Kia is the founder of Kia Feeds The People (KFTTP) and is a cofounder of Auxilio, both of which are non-profits aimed at combating food apartheid. We dished with Kia on how she discovered her passion for cooking, pathways towards increased Black and QTPOC representation in the culinary industry, and her upcoming video release with EFFEN Vodka and Queer Foods, which can be viewed here.

When did you first begin cooking? When did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?

“I started cooking in my early preteens. I have younger brothers as well, so once we were too old for day care, I had to step up as the older sibling to make sure we ate, especially more so during the summertime because I have working parents. But, it wasn’t until some years later when I started cooking independently for my own health reasons that I truly saw my strengths in cooking and realized that cooking professionally wasn’t a world that was so far away for me, that it was actually extremely attainable and extremely real. So I took the plunge, and to this day some of my family’s still very surprised, because I was definitely burning pots of rice, and they were like ‘this girl has no talents for the kitchen.’ Now I’m cooking and they still can’t believe it.”

We all know foods brings communities together. Are there any experiences you’ve had with community members through Kia Feeds The People that have stuck with you?

Yes! Honestly, the most connective part was before I even started cooking with KFTTP people when I was looking for guidance from a lot of my friends in the cooking community. Because KFTTP was birthed in a really tumultuous time, I felt like I couldn’t quite gather my thoughts and my feelings. I just felt so emotionally charged and stunted that I felt like I couldn’t even work or think or move because I felt so emotional about everything. But being able to lean into my friends and my chosen family who see me for who I am, who know me intimately and know my heart, they were able to guide me to where I am now and toward my mission for KFTTP. I’m super grateful. These are people that I’ve been able to cook with before, these are people that I’ve literally eaten with before–we’ve shared food out of deli containers at 3am–I’m very grateful for them. And I definitely could not have got to this place without them.”

Are you looking to expand KFTPP outside of Brooklyn, or just focus on this specific community?

“Because I am a Sagittarius, I definitely am looking to expand and looking to grow. I definitely have to make sure I build and flesh KFTTP out as much as possible in Brooklyn before I start thinking about moving other places. But I do have visions, not necessarily to just expand Kia Feeds The People, but to collaborate with other mutual aid organizations and non-profits that already exist in other cities, so that I can support them and [they] have more coverage where they are. I’m not the only one who’s doing this kind of work and it is definitely a collaborative, lifelong mission, so I want to lend hands to the people who are already in this game.”

What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing overcoming food apartheid?

Personally I think the biggest obstacle is still convincing people that it exists, because we live in such a individualistic world. If something doesn’t affect the next person, then they’re more likely to ignore it, you know. That’s why I think COVID really shook things up, because a lot of us were collectively put on our butts. you know. We’re like “whoa, wait a minute, is this one thing that is really proactively affecting us.” But regarding food apartheid, a lot of people are still familiar with it in terms of a “food desert.” Food desert is a word that’s been used for many years to describe this situation, and a “desert” implies that it is natural, because the world naturally created deserts. When you apply “food desert” to that idea, it implies that this place without food, this place without access to meals, is natural and that’s just the way that it’s supposed to be. But it’s completely unnatural, it’s completely systematic, and [after recognizing that] then we can start looking at it as something that is created by is created by systems. Then, we can put some realness to it and find how all of us are truly affected by them. So I think right now, it’s making sure people know what food apartheid is, and that it actually exists.”

Do you have a favorite meal or cocktail to prepare when you’re bringing family or friends together?

“My favorite meal is red beans and rice. I love a good pot of Louisiana-style red beans and rice, because honestly that–with some corn bread on top and so hot sauce– that really is the whole meal. You think you would need something else on the side but that’s really it. It’s so fulfilling, it’s so delicious, and I definitely try to bring it out when I get to be with my friends and family.”

The culinary world is a male-dominated industry. How can the culinary industry work to become more diverse, and have more Black, QTPOC chefs?

“I think it’s a starts with actually investing in the lives and careers of these black/brown/trans/ LGBTQ chefs because they exist. I know they exist because they’re my friends. And what happens is that maybe they’re put in positions of leadership or maybe not, but they’re they’re not given the same care, support or investment in their skills and education and their needs. You could put someone in a line chef position or position of leadership or whatever, but if there’s no follow through to make sure that they have what they need to be supported in those positions, they’re usually set up for failure, or set up to be harmed in some way. Or maybe a small business that’s LGBTQ or Black has a good profile, [but they may not be] getting access to grants or money. You have to have the follow through. It’s not that we don’t exist, it’s that we’re not properly supported when we are put at the forefront. That’s when it gets tricky and that’s when we’re left open to harm and failure.”

What are you most excited about regarding this video release with Queer Foods and EFFEN Vodka?

“I’m very excited for mom to see it first of all, I love my mommy and she is my number one fan. And she’s a Gemini, so I’m always looking for her approval. But I’m also excited to get to Kia Feeds The People and Queer Stories in front of the world. I feel like we can’t tell enough queer stories, there’s always someone’s story out there. Even though there’s this myth out there that there’s already enough representation, or that maybe it’s too much to keep talking about queer people, that’s actually far from the truth. I’m proud and honored that EFFEN Vodka wants to support what I’m doing and wants to get my story out there. My story is the story of a lot of other Black and brown and trans people’s stories, and it also feels good to partner with someone who sees me and wants to invest in my story and invest in supporting other diverse artists, both in their representation and practice. It just feels good to be seen, and I’m excited for everyone else to see me and to be seen. Just look! Everyone just look! I want everyone to look and feel pride in who we are.”

How can readers donate to Kia Feeds The People?

“You can head to my GoFundMe if you’re not in the city, or if you’re in Brooklyn you can come to a pop up. Please donate to my GoFundMe, I have it on my Instagram page. Share it with your friends, let them know what’s up. Or if you are in Bed-Stuy, you can find me at a pop-up– I have a few coming up in April, so I’m going to be all over the place. Come get some food or throw some money, either way I’ll be very grateful.”

To learn more about Kia, visit her website.

Kia’s EFFEN Rosé Vodka Grapefruit Cocktail

Ingredients: 

  • 2 parts EFFEN Rosé vodka
  • 1 oz of lime juice
  • ½ oz of cane syrup
  • 2 or 3 parts grapefruit juice

Mix the grapefruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup, EFFEN Rosé vodka and a spoonful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Stir and taste. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with grapefruit, and thyme. Drink responsibly + enjoy!

Kia’s Gumbo Recipe 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz andouille sausage
  • 1lb Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups sliced okra, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp Ground sage
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh parsley

Directions

  • Season the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Season well on both sides. Heat a skillet or cast iron to medium heat with enough oil to cover the bottom. When the pan is hot, sear the chicken in batches. Brown the chicken on both sides and set aside. The chicken does not have to be cooked through just yet.
  • In a large pot add the oil and heat to a medium high heat. Add the flour and whisk until it begins to cook. Lower the heat to medium low. Keep whisking the roux over a controlled and steady heat until the flour begins to darken into a deep brown. This takes about 30 minutes, so pace yourself.
  • Turn the heat down on the roux and add in your onion, bell pepper and celery. Stir into the roux, season with a few pinches of salt and sauté until fragrant and translucent. Add in your minced garlic and fresh thyme. Stir for another 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken stock while whisking the roux. Do this part slowly because the roux will begin to thicken. Take your time and continue pouring in the stock until it’s completely incorporated.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, meanwhile slice the sausage in ¼ inch rounds on a slight bias. When the pot begins to boil, reduce to a simmer and add the chicken and sausage. Let the gumbo cook on low for an hour. You want time for the flour taste to cook out.
  • After an hour, add the remaining two tablespoons of creole seasoning, smoked paprika, ground sage and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Stir and add your sliced okra. Cook for another 10 minutes, add salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste then serve with rice and chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!

Kia's EFFEN Rosé Vodka Grapefruit Cocktail Photo credit: Solène Michel  Recipe credit: Kia Damon, Kia Feeds The People for use by 360 Magazine

Photo credit: Solène Michel Recipe credit: Kia Damon, Kia Feeds The People

Kia Damon image shot by Elina Street for EFFEN Vodka and Queer Foods for use by 360 Magazine

Photo Credit: Solène Michel 

#TheFloatingChallenge by GARMENT DISTRICT FOR GOWNS for use by 360 Magazine

The Floating Challenge

NEW YORK FASHION TEAMS UP WITH GARMENT DISTRICT FOR GOWNS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR NYC FAMILIES IN NEED

#THEFLOATINGCHALLENGE CAMPAIGN TO BENEFIT THE FLOATING HOSPITAL, WHO PROVIDE EMERGENCY RELIEF & FREE HEALTHCARE IN NYC

#THEFLOATINGCHALLENGE RUNS FROM MARCH 3RD – MARCH 31ST ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, REDDIT & TIKTOK

Premier NYC designers Marc Jacobs, Oscar De La Renta, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler, Monse, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Prabal Gurung and others have teamed up with Garment District For Gowns (GDFG) to help raise funds for NYC families in need.  The designers have donated select pieces from their collection to be raffled as prizes in conjunction with GDFG’s #TheFloatingChallenge campaign.

Launching March 3rd and running through March 31st, #TheFloatingChallenge is a social media campaign to raise awareness and secure donations for The Floating Hospital (TFH). #TheFloatingChallenge asks participants to share a photo of themselves “floating”, tag @TheFloatingChallenge and three friends who “keep them afloat” to pass on the message. Participants are invited to make donations through the Garment District For Gowns website, which will automatically enter them into the raffle for the chance to win the donated designer items. The prizes will be drawn on March 31st with additional prizes awarded to creative submissions to #TheFloatingChallenge social media campaign. Other designers and lifestyle brands taking part include Coach, Loeffler Randall, La Perla, Danielle Frankel, Augustinus Bader, Discount Universe, Standards Manual, Cinnamon Projects, Olivia Wendel, Maison Cruz, Piecework Puzzles and more to be announced.

All proceeds benefit The Floating Hospital, a 155 year old charitable organization that provides free healthcare services to medically underserved communities in New York City, primarily made up of families living in shelters and temporary housing. GDFG will be providing The Floating Hospital with critical PPE supplies and an extensive list of essential items urgently needed by the families they serve, including infant diapers, socks & underwear, childrens clothing, adult professional clothing to be worn during job interviews and more.  Corporate sponsorship has been secured to bolster the donation effort.

More than 15,000 families are temporarily housed in municipal shelters, and even more families and children live “doubled-up” in spaces rented or owned by others, such as friends or family members. Millions of New Yorkers live on the razor’s edge, one personal crisis away from homelessness. 1 in 7 New Yorkers have lost their job in the past 12 months in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic.

ABOUT GARMENT DISTRICT FOR GOWNS

GDFG is a female-founded, NYC-based non-profit organization that provides healthwear and crisis relief to medical facilities and community organizations.  Founded in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, they have manufactured and distributed medical isolation gowns for over 46 Hospitals and Healthcare facilities, donating more than 11,000 gowns to date–all proudly made in the USA.  Comprising members of the fashion community­­–with experience at designer labels including Oscar De La Renta, The Row, Ralph Lauren and Coach–GDFG is an advocate for domestic manufacturing, having mobilized over 1200 U.S. jobs within sourcing and production. GDFG was in the first round of awardees of the Empire State Development grant.

ABOUT THE FLOATING HOSPITAL

The Floating Hospital is a charitable institution that combines healthcare, social support, and the delivery of necessities to New York City’s neediest families, with a particular focus on women and children. TFH’s unique integrated-care model includes medical, dental, and behavioral health programs and free health-education programming all under one roof. It also offers a free shelter-to-clinic shuttle service from nearly 300 locations throughout the five boroughs. True to its historic “more than healthcare” model, TFH also provides essentials such as food, seasonal clothing, diapers, and hygiene products to families living with homelessness. The Floating Hospital has a deep commitment to meeting the needs of diverse populations; both our staff and the populations we serve is nearly 98% BIPOC.

Founded in 1866, TFH is one of the last family-practice-based charity hospitals in the city, extending high-quality, compassionate care to families regardless of race or ethnicity, immigration or insurance status, or ability to pay. Today, the Hospital maintains a 23% charity rate, which is 10 times higher than other not-for-profit hospitals, which average charity rates of 1-1.5%. Since its founding, the Hospital has served more than 5 million New Yorkers. For more info, visit their website.

Covid-19 Impact on Artists

Story × Art: Alex Rudin

As we head into the eighth month of Covid-19, the distractions of apple picking, pumpkin carving, and outdoor dining are behind us. Lockdowns have long been lifted and social gatherings have become commonplace. The ominous inevitability of a deadly third wave looms. This guaranteed “dark winter” begs one to reflect on the early days of the pandemic. A time when fear, disinformation, and isolation plagued every household, no matter its inhabitants. 2020 has been a year of postponement, grief, isolation, and reckoning. Yet with struggle comes the opportunity for growth, change, and creation… If you let it. As Andy Warhol once said, “they always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

As a self-employed artist, uncertainty is a language I speak well. Prior to Covid-19 I spent my days in the School of Visual Arts printshop in NYC. From conceptualizing and prototyping new products for my business, Rudin Studios LLC, to fumbling around for an answer to the age-old question of “what to make,” it is clear I was lost in an artistic haze of looking for purpose. Then Coronavirus hit. Instantaneously everything turned upside down. Suddenly, I was in an unfamiliar town, without the ability to work (silkscreen), miles away from the studio I call home. I remained glued to the news awestruck by the infection and mortality rates. I racked my brain for something to do, how to help, what to make.

I became focused on those who were not as privileged as me. Those who were struggling to find housing, to feed themselves, to protect themselves from this deadly virus which was clearly and disproportionately hurting people of color. I began working on a series of paintings to be auctioned off, 100% of the proceeds going to homeless and trafficked youth in NYC. While the fundraiser was a success, I could not help but feel the conceptual aspects of the work were not important, relevant, or impactful. If I learned anything from my education at Parsons School of Design, it is that concept is king. My artwork slowly began to shift towards the idea of documentation. Buzzwords like “historical” and “unprecedented” flew across the airwaves and fueled my desire to capture and document the struggles of 2020. This was just the beginning.

Soon to follow were the atrocious murders of George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, which brought racial justice to the forefront of the American conscience. While the President continuously fanned the flames of racism, the cries for equality and allyship were deafening. It was time to allow my artwork to reflect the times and struggles of our country which so deeply affected me and so many others. Black Lives Matter, and it is the white person’s responsibility to be educated allies; to use the privilege we are born into to advocate for our oppressed brothers and sisters. I wanted to help acknowledge, reflect, and correct the institutional racism that is so insidiously intertwined with our institutions and the American way of being.

Concurrently, the 2020 Presidential election was ramping up. Climate change’s incendiary winds pillaged the west. The wearing of masks became a polarizing political tool. And all the while, the current administration refused to acknowledge or accept responsibility for any of it. Rather shifting blame, denying, and lying became the governing practice. The global importance of what was taking place in the United States was apparent. Election 2020 was to be a reckoning. On the docket: racial justice, women’s rights, climate change, science, and healthcare, to name a few. A polarizing choice between Id and empathy.

For the first time in my career, my purpose seemed clear. I began making work that focused on the progression of human rights, equality, and fairness relying on my trusty formula of stylized portraiture and anecdotal commentary. I firmly believe that artists have a social responsibility to reflect the times we live in. The majority of my work has focused on uncovering and expressing truths about what it means to be a woman in 2020. However, one cannot comment on the feminine experience without addressing the current political situation and the oppression experienced by American minorities. While the Trump Administration continued to attack women’s rights, promote violence, ignore climate change, and fan the flames of racism, I relied on my creative voice to talk about the challenges we faced not only as women, but as a nation. That being said, I decided to devote my time to creating a series of posters for the 2020 election to help galvanize the female vote. This included partnering with Women for Biden Harris 2020, Women for the Win, and Article 3 among numerous other female-run organizations.

While the trials and tribulations of 2020 have forever altered the fabric of American reality, so has it altered me. A year such as this begs internal personal reflection if not metamorphosis. To find purpose, love, and empathy through the chaos of hate and violence is the silver-lining we all need. In a time where division is the name of the game, we must transcend the idea of the “other.” As the most recent Covid-19 wave surges across the country, I implore anyone with the creative impulse to say something, to do so. Pick up the pen. Document the times, the thoughts, the fears that come along with living through such tumultuousness. Follow the empathy, the creativity, and the voice inside telling you to advocate for those less fortunate. As Thomas Paine aptly stated, “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” If you find yourself in a place of privilege, take it upon yourself to seize the opportunity in front of you. It is not an opportunity for financial incentive or career advancement, but for internal revolution. Soon, life will “go back to normal,” but there’s nothing normal about what we have witnessed. Allow the intensity of experience to alter you. For when the time has come and gone, and you reflect upon 2020, wouldn’t it be nice to say that through all the sadness, grief, and fear a better version of yourself was uncovered?

Isabelle Fries makes a brief splash inside 360 MAGAZINE

ISABELLE FRIES

At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.

Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.” 

Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.  

“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.” 

This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.

Isabelle still wanted to do more for Eastern African communities. She founded the “Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation (BCF)” and was able to draw on inspiration from one of her other life-long devotions: swimming. 

For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through

“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed. 

One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.  

She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”

Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.” 

Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as  Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism. 

While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with. 

She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her. 

While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”

This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”

But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most. 

However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.” 

Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place. 

Highland Dancers, Chicago Scots

THE CHICAGO SCOTS KICK OFF 175TH ANNIVERSARY WITH BLACK TIE EVENT

The Chicago Scots, the first and oldest non-profit organization in Illinois, is thrilled to officially kick off their historic 175th anniversary year by hosting the 175th Annual Saint Andrew’s Day Gala, “The Feast of the Haggis”, on Monday, November 30 beginning at 6:30 p.m. This event, held annually, even in times of war, depression, and pandemics, will be hosted virtually for the first time since its inception to keep the safety of all patrons and participants of the utmost importance. During this tremendous celebration of tradition, all participants will have the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive Feast of the Haggis in A Box, specially curated by Award Winning Chef Gary Maclean, who will take purchasers through how to recreate various Scottish delicacies in the safety of their homes, as well as live entertainment including bagpipers and Highland Dancers, special awards presentations, and much more.

This annual festivity first began in 1845, when Chicago’s population was just 12,000. A group of immigrant Scots gathered at the city’s finest hotel, the Lake House, to celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day. There, they established Illinois’ first and still oldest charity, the Illinois Saint Andrew Society and adopted a simple mission: “Relieve the Distressed.” Since then, despite crises like the Civil War, Great Chicago Fire, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 1918 Pandemic, the Society (known today as the Chicago Scots) has never failed to host their “Feast of the Haggis.” On Saint Andrew’s Day, November 30, 2020, the Society will officially become the first 501c3 not-for-profit in Illinois to celebrate this milestone and kick off its 175th anniversary year.

All proceeds of the event will benefit Chicago Scots and its principal charity, Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care.  Around the world there are many societies that celebrate Scottish culture, but there is only one that has developed an elder-care community as a defined charitable purpose. For more than 110 years, generations of families have turned to and trusted the Chicago Scots to provide loving care at their five-acre campus nestled in the forest preserve, just west of downtown Chicago.

During this uniquely Scottish evening, the Chicago Scots will recognize achievement of excellence and contributions to Society by presenting their Distinguished Citizen Award, to Peter Georgeson, Founder of Scot Forge. The Chicago Scots have also created a new prestigious award to commemorate the 175thanniversary, the Makar’s Medal, which will be presented every five years to the seated Scots Makar – the poet laureate of Scotland.

This year’s 2020 Distinguished Citizen will be presented to Peter I. Georgeson, Founder and owner of Scot Forge, who has impacted Caledonia Senior Living as its most generous donor spanning more than four decades, and which continues to this day. Peter has been an influential figure at Chicago Scots throughout the 1980s-1900s. Peter is the ‘Man of Steel’ who led the enormous expansion of his family’s forging business into what is now a successful employee-owned company Scot Forge, a global industry leader. Peter and his wife were named Kinsman and Kinswoman of the year in 1986 in recognition of their volunteer efforts and generous support. Throughout the years, Peter’s generosity continued, gifting to build the 22-bed Georgeson Wing which expanded elder care services at Caledonia’s historic building the Scottish Home, as well as leading the gift for the Reimagine Tradition Campaign to help refurbish the interior of the Scottish Home, which to this day has raised over $4 million to refresh the 110-year old Home.

This inaugural Makar’s Medal Award will be presented to Jackie Kay, a critically acclaimed poet, playwright and novelist. Considered a poet of the people and the literary figure reframing Scottishness today, Jackie was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, adopted by a white Scottish couple who also adopted her brother two years prior. Her Memoir, Red Dust Road, was published in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious Scottish Book of the Year, the London Book Award, and was also shortlisted for the Jr. Ackerley prize. It was also selected among 20 books for the World Book Night in 2013. Her first collection of poetry The Adoption Papers won the Forward prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council prize. Kay was appointed the third Makar in March 2016, was awarded a CBE medal, or Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 2019, and is now a Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

To prepare for this year’s Feast of the Haggis, patrons will have the opportunity to purchase a Feast of the Haggis in A Box for $175 that serves two, specially curated by Award Winning Chef Gary Maclean, who will take viewers through how to recreate a couple of Scottish dishes and desserts in the safety of their homes. The Feast in a Box will include an event program, recipe cards, and a curated list of contents to help prepare your own Feast, including: two Chicago Scots etched whiskey glasses, two Chicago Scots cloth napkins, Caledonian Kitchen Highland Beef Haggis, Cold Smoked Scottish Salmon, Tracklements Wiltshire Beer Mustard, Mull of Kintyre Mature Scottish Cheddar, Highland Oat Crackers, Aegean Fig Chutney, and Scottish Highlands Heather Honey. Also included within the box is a photobook with memorable Feast of the Haggis pictures spanning the 175 years of the event’s history for all patrons to reminisce.

As one of the world’s largest Scottish cultural organizations, The Chicago Scots are dedicated to nourishing Scottish identity through service, fellowship and celebration. Sponsorship opportunities are available and range from $250 to $50,000 to be a premier Sponsor. Participants can purchase a “virtual table” and have the Feast in the Box sent to their guests.  For more information on sponsorships, please email Dawn Miller at DawnMiller@ChicagoScots.org. Donations of any kind are also very welcome. For more information about the Chicago Scots’ 175th Anniversary kick off, or to purchase tickets to the 175th Annual St. Andrew’s Day and “Feast of the Haggis”, please visit Eventbrite. Kilts for the virtual event are optional, but as always highly encouraged!

ABOUT CHICAGO SCOTS, CELEBRATING 175 YEARS

In 1845, when Chicago’s population was just 12,000, a group of immigrant Scots gathered at the city’s finest hotel, the Lake House, to celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day. There, they established Illinois’ first and still oldest charity, the Illinois Saint Andrew Society and adopted a simple mission:“Relieve the Distressed.”Since then, despite crises like the Great Chicago Fire, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 1918 Pandemic, the Society (known today as the Chicago Scots) has never failed to host their “Feast of the Haggis.” On Saint Andrew’s Day, 30 November 2020, the Society will officially become the first 501c3 not-for-profit in Illinois to celebrate a milestone and kick off its 175thanniversary year. Relying on their strong roots to stay true to their values, the Chicago Scots continue their mission in support of their principal charity, Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care, where their record of safety throughout the crisis our times, COVID-19, is impeccable.

Around the world there are many societies that celebrate Scottish culture, but there is only one that has developed an elder-care community as a defined charitable purpose. For more than 110 years, generations of families have turned to and trusted the Chicago Scots to provide loving care at Caledonia Senior Living, a five-acre campus nestled in the forest preserve, just west of downtown Chicago.

The Chicago Scots welcome everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination. To strengthen the enduring bonds of friendship between Scotland and North America, the Society hosts events that educate, entertain and promote Scottish culture. In response to 2020’s pandemic, the Chicago Scots pivoted their cultural events to become virtual including hosting the first virtual Scottish Festival & Highland Games in the U.S. and a Kilted Classic Golf Scramble Around the World.  The Chicago Scots also support initiatives like the Scottish History Forum, Scottish Genealogy Society and the world’s only Scottish North American Museum and Hall of Fame to tell the stories of Scottish journeys to and experiences in North America.

For 175 years, the Chicago Scots have delivered life’s most important things: home, family, and love. The Society is guided by four key principles, their “Ways of Being” that define and inform everything they do and aspire to be: We Create Home, We Relieve Stress, We Extend Family, and We Reimagine Tradition.

Annual Fundraiser for Teen Cancer America

“TEA WITH VICTORIA SUMMER” FEATURING SHERYL CROW, ALFIE BOE AND LESLEY NICOL TO BENEFIT TEEN CANCER AMERICA 

Virtual British Tea, Presented by Lawrence Charles of Charles& Co. and First Citizens Bank, Goes Global on Saturday, Dec. 12

Actress Victoria Summer will host her third annual British Tea for Teen Cancer America on Saturday, December 12, in a virtual online setting that will feature Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, Tony Award winner Alfie Boe and actress Lesley Nicol, known for her portrayal of the manor chef Mrs. Patmore on the Emmy-winning series Downton Abbey.

“Tea with Victoria Summer,” beginning in the U.S. at 3 p.m. ET, will give guests exclusive insight to the timeless British tradition of afternoon tea. The live-streamed global event will raise critical funds for TCA, the national non-profit co-founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, providing facilities and support for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

The interactive tea party will include a master class in making vegan scones from scratch with Italian Michelin star chef Fabrizio Vaccaro. There will also be primer on proper tea etiquette with William Hanson, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and regarded as Great Britain’s most trusted authority on etiquette and civility.

This special event is presented by Lawrence Charles, founder of organic luxury tea brand Charles & Company, and TCA corporate partner First Citizens Bank. Ticket information is available at the fundraiser’s Eventbrite page.

Attendees will learn how to make a tea cocktail with Charles, a preeminent tea purveyor and international expert in the tradition of British tea. Charles is known for his collaborations with the James Beard Foundation, British Polo Day, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the British Royal family.  

The work of TCA will be highlighted in a conversation between Victoria Summer and a young cancer survivor who will share personal experiences and sing a duet with the hostess.

Summer, a global ambassador for TCA, began her career on stage before transitioning to film acting where she has achieved international stardom. She played Julie Andrews in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, was featured in director Michael Bay’s blockbuster, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and starred opposite Chris Klein in the World War One drama, Game of Aces. Summer recently shot a supporting role in the period TV drama, Glow & Darkness, and starts shooting indie biopic Vindication Swim in the UK in January. The actress and producer also created the show Next Generation Role Model which shines the spotlight on leaders of the future. 

TCA’s mission is to improve the experience, outcomes and survival of teens and young adults with cancer by providing programs and specialized facilities designed especially for them in hospitals throughout the U.S.

For information about corporate sponsorship opportunities connected to “Tea with Victoria Summer,” please contact Michelle Aland at  Michelle@TeenCancerAmerica.org.

About Teen Cancer America

Teen Cancer America seeks to bridge the gap between pediatric and adult oncology care by helping the health providers and health systems develop specialized programs and facilities for this age group. TCA brings together physicians and allied healthcare professionals in both pediatric and adult oncology. Age-targeted care for this population is necessary for medical and appropriate psychosocial development. Outcomes associated with some cancers that target this age group have not improved in over 30 years. Teens and young adults with cancer are long overdue for an upgrade and TCA can hopefully light the fire in America’s health systems. For more information, email Michelle Aland (michelle@teencanceramerica.org) or visit www.teencanceramerica.org.

A Beginner’s Guide To Non-Profit Fundraising

Fundraising forms the core of all non-profits, and it allows them to do the great work which they have been set up for. The reality for most of these organizations however is that fundraising is something which is not always enjoyable. These organizations want to be out there doing great work, yet of course in order to do that they need funds, and for that they need donors. 

Brand new organizations will need to get to work quickly in setting up their fundraising infrastructure, and in doing so they can not only raise funds now, but give themselves the greatest opportunity of counting to do so in the future. 

Identify Your Ideal Donor

Fundraising is about working smart as well as hard and that is why identifying the ideal donor is the first place to start. If you take a blanket approach to this then you will find that you are wasting you time in so many avenues, and that will cost money too. Consider what your organization is trying to do, and then who that speaks to, this will help to identify which group of people are most likely to care enough to put their hands in their pockets. 

Ensure You Have a CRM In Place 

In terms of a nonprofit success pack Salesforce offers the perfect CRM which your company can use to store and manage important data about your fundraising efforts, and about your donors. This is an easy to manage dashboard with will boost your fundraising efforts thanks to smart apps which integrate into the CRM, as well as intelligent use of metrics which can help you to tweak your fundraising strategy. 

Understand What Your Goals Are

Before you begin your approach to fundraising, you have to first set out clear goals. These goals are both for your company and for the donor. Laying out what your monthly costs are, what your desires are and how much money will be required for all of this to be taken care of are crucial calculations to make. 

Market The Non Profit 

There has to be some spending on your behalf and the marketing of your non-profit will be one such area of investment. It is essential that you have an eye on building the brand, so that you can call attention to the great work which you and your company are doing. This is a necessary step which will bring in more donations.  

The Evaluation Process

No matter whether you have just launched the fundraising round or you are in the thick of it evaluation is key. Working out which approach brought the best results with regards to your campaign, understanding what has surprised you along the way – both good and bad – and understanding how to shape your strategy in the future to gain better results, these are all critical in your efforts to raise funds. 

Focus on creating and implementing the most efficient strategy which will bring in the funds which your organization requires.

Jewish Community Foundation Supports Racial Equity

JEWISH COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF LOS ANGELES AWARDS $325,000 TO SUPPORT RACIAL EQUITY

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it has awarded grants totaling $325,000 to seven local organizations to support racial equity.

The funding is being directed to programs that span a diverse range of areas including health care for Black women and infants; job opportunities for at-risk youth and those exiting the justice system; access to quality education; and leadership opportunities for Black professionals. The seven recipients are: A New Way of Life Reentry Project, African American Board Leadership Institute, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Jews of Color Initiative, Black Women for Wellness, Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, and Social Justice Learning Institute.

President and Chief Executive OfficerMarvin I. Schotland stated: “In response to the current social unrest, The Foundation decided to make these grants. These inspiring programs align with our institution’s own values of creating a more civil, just and equitable society. We are proud to place our support behind these initiatives and look forward to following the progress of their meaningful work.”

Schotland indicated that to enhance The Foundation’s understanding of the important issues and organizations serving communities of color, it consulted with numerous prominent funders and experts in the field.

The Foundation CEO added: “These nonprofits have received prior support from trusted funders, as well as our foundation’s own donors, which helped to inform our decision-making. Beyond that, we established criteria that included being Black-led, well-established, located in the communities they serve, and focused on providing direct services.”

Susan Burton, founder and executive director of A New Way of Life, stated: “This grant will support our work and continued efforts in equity and opportunity for formerly incarcerated people and their children. With The Foundation’s support, we are able to expand our housing services with two more safehouses during the pandemic for the women we serve. Thanks to The Foundation, a safe and stable home is possible for current and future residents during these difficult times.”

Added Ilana Kaufman, executive director, Jews of Color Initiative: “With the generosity of The Foundation, the Jews of Color Initiative can expand our work to foster equitable Jewish communities and institutions by extending research and grantmaking efforts to support and advance the leadership and visions of Jews of Color.”

About the Recipients

A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides women exiting prison (primarily women of color) with a safe, welcoming and structured place to stay, education and employment opportunities, case management, and legal services as they re-enter the community.

African American Board Leadership Institute trains and places well-qualified African American professionals on boards across a number of well-known public institutions, recognizing the need for more equitable representation among corporate, nonprofit, and government boards and committees.

Anti-Recidivism Coalition works to end mass incarceration and reduce recidivism rates in California through justice-reform advocacy, re-entry support, mentoring, counseling, housing, and its career-development training and partnerships, as one of the most difficult parts of re-entering the community is access to work.

Jews of Color Initiative works to advance and build the professional, organizational, and communal field for Jews of color. This includes commissioned studies on the number and experiences of Jews of color in the U.S., as well as working to promote racially diverse engagement, and grantmaking to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Black Women for Wellness is committed to the health and well-being of Black women and girls and focuses on research, education, outreach, and leadership development of Black women to address the health challenges in their communities, where infant mortality and maternal death during childbirth run two and four times higher, respectively, than among white women regardless of socio-economic status.

Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade is a longtime grassroots nonprofit based in South Los Angeles, focuses on addressing the unmet needs of low-income, underserved, under-represented, and disenfranchised individuals through initiatives such as its Youth Development Program which provides comprehensive services – mentorship, gang prevention, educational support, and career readiness – for at-risk youth and students.

Social Justice Learning Institute is dedicated to improving the education, health, and well-being of youth and communities of color across Inglewood, Compton, Watts, Lennox, Lancaster, and Palmdale through its Urban Scholars Program, which aims to increase students’ academic achievement and provide them tools and resources to advocate for an equitable education.

About The Jewish Community Foundation:

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1 billion entrusted to it by over 1,300 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. It partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of their giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2019, The Foundation and its donors distributed more than $129 million in grants to 2,700 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 10 years, it has distributed nearly $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum. www.jewishfoundationla.org

Juvenile Law Center – Board of Directors

By Cassandra Yany

Juvenile Law Center announced Wednesday the appointment of four new members to the Board of Directors. Khaliah Ali, Daniel Okonkwo, Robert Parker and Eli Segal will join the governing body of the national organization, based in Philadelphia. The center is the country’s first nonprofit public interest law firm for children’s rights.

Meet the new members:

Khaliah Ali

Khaliah Ali, the daughter of boxing legend and social justice activist Muhummad Ali, is a fashion designer, author and humanitarian. She first connected with Juvenile Law Center after she read about the child abuse crisis at Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County, PA where she resides. This led her to begin speaking and writing in support of the organization’s fight for children in juvenile facilities.

“I am so honored to serve on Juvenile Law Center’s board,” Ali said. “Additionally as the daughter of the late boxer Muhammad Ali, I am honored to help curate my father‘s legacy through such a laudable cause.”

R. Daniel Okonkwo, Esq.

R. Daniel Okonkwo, Esq. is an attorney and public policy expert with significant experience in the policy, advocacy and nonprofit sectors. Okonkwo is the Vice President (Relationship Manager) in the Office of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase and Co., where he is responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders and grantmaking in the Mid-Atlantic region. He also manages a national grant portfolio that focuses on nonprofit capacity building and civil rights organizations.

“I am thrilled and honored to join Juvenile Law Center’s Board of Directors,” said Okonkwo. “The organization has been at the forefront of the work to ensure that young people are protected from unjust treatment in the various systems that impact their lives. Juvenile Law Center is an organization that I have admired for a long time and I look forward to supporting their work on behalf of young people across the country.”

Robert P. Parker

Robert P. Parker spent 14 years as a partner in the Litigation Department of Paul, Weiss before joining a D.C.-based technology/litigation focused firm in 2013. His practice centers on complex civil matters involving technology, regulatory and commercial issues. Parker represents some of the world’s most established companies, as well as start-up enterprises in a variety of commercial and litigation matters. He is ranked among Washington D.C.’s Super Lawyers in the area of IP litigation and has previously served as the chairman for the National Council of Adoption’s Board of Directors.

“Too often, children and teens become lost in the juvenile justice system – civil and criminal. The impact on their lives, their families, and society at large is beyond calculation,” said Parker. “I am delighted to join Juvenile Law Center’s efforts to ensure that no more juveniles get lost in our courts or in their placements.”

Eli Segal

Eli Segal is a partner at the law firm of Troutman Pepper, where he focuses on representing journalists in First Amendment matters, colleges and universities in their unique legal issues, and other businesses and individuals within the spectrum of commercial litigation. He is the co-chair of Troutman Pepper’s First Amendment and Newsroom practice.

“I volunteered at Juvenile Law Center years ago during college and law school and am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute again to the organization’s vitally important work,” said Segal.

Juvenile Law Center says it is proud to welcome these distinguished individuals to its Board of Directors. “Our Board of Directors is an integral part of Juvenile Law Center and it is a joy and privilege to work with them,” said Sue Mangold, the Chief Executive Officer. “We are thrilled to welcome Khaliah Ali, Daniel Okonkwo, Robert Parker and Eli Segal. Each is already engaged in our work and brings valuable expertise and experience to our board.”

About Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the foster care and justice systems.

Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. We fight for youth through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. For more information about Juvenile Law Center’s work, visit www.JLC.org.