— New York’s glitterati will join a crowd of 500 at the 1998 BRICK Award Gala where Andrew Shue, co-founder of the national nonprofit Do Something, and the MSN
network of Internet services from Microsoft Corp. will honor the 10 top young community leaders in America. The gala, held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the trendy Supper Club in New York City, marks the exciting culmination of a nationwide search for outstanding young leaders and the announcement of the $100,000 national grand prize winner of this year’s coveted BRICK Award for Community Leadership. Each of the nine other winners will receive a $10,000 grant, with all funds donated by MSN (see http://www.brickaward-MSN.com/ ). Julian Lennon will be on hand to entertain and add to the festivities.
In a first-ever Internet twist to the award ceremony, people who can’t be at the gala can join the festivities via an MSN online chat, with Andrew Shue hosting live from the event. Shue and the Do Something BRICK Award winners will show young people around the globe how they can use MSN and the Internet to take action in their local communities.
“Young people have the power to change the world,”
said Andrew Shue, former star of
and co-founder of Do Something in 1993.
“The winners of the Do Something BRICK Award dramatically illustrate how young people can make a difference by doing something for others. Now with the Internet, we can take this important message further and inspire more people to take action to change the world.”
The chat will take place on Dec. 1, at 8:45 p.m. EST. For more information, Internet users can check out the MSN and Do Something BRICK Award Web site at http://www.brickaward-MSN.com/ . E-mail users can reach Shue by sending a blank e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org; they will receive a reply with details about the BRICK Award and Do Something.
“MSN supports Do Something because it has found cutting-edge ways to inspire and empower young people to take action to strengthen their communities,”
said Ed Graczyk, lead product manager for MSN at Microsoft.
“MSN is a popular place on the Internet where young people from around the world congregate. It makes sense for MSN to join forces and help Do Something get more people involved in their communities.”
The 1998 Do Something BRICK Award honors and financially supports America’s most outstanding leaders younger than 30. Selected from more than 500 applicants nationwide, nine 1998 award winners will each receive a $10,000 grant to support their community-building initiative, and a national grand prize winner will receive a $100,000 grant. This year’s grant money has been donated by MSN. Since 1996, Do Something has awarded more than $500,000 to young people who are building better communities
“brick by brick.”
About Do Something
Do Something is a national nonprofit organization that inspires young people to believe that change is possible; it trains, funds and mobilizes them to be leaders who measurably strengthen their communities.
MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at MSN.com ( http://MSN.com/ ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning
e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
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The 1998 Do Something BRICK Award Winners
Artistic Ability. Danielle Despathy, 28, is director and co-founder of Creative Clay, a nonprofit cultural arts center in St. Petersburg, Fla., that empowers people with disabilities and special needs to express themselves through art and sell their work to the community. Creative Clay’s philosophy is simple: Believe in yourself. Break the barriers attached through labels. Excel to your best ability, and do not underestimate people.
Community Healer. John Farnam, 28, is director of the Northern Colorado AIDS Project, a nonprofit agency that provides health, education and support services to individuals living with HIV and AIDS in an eight-county region in northern Colorado. Farnam has united a broad group of individuals, corporations and government agencies behind HIV and AIDS services.
Dream Maker. Wai Kiu Lee, 27, is executive director of Oakland Asian Students Educational Services (OASES), an after-school educational program that provides mentoring, arts and crafts, computer classes and college preparation courses for disadvantaged Asian immigrant youth in Oakland, Calif. OASES students have demonstrated improved grades, greater self-confidence, lower absenteeism rates and fewer behavioral problems than nonparticipants. OASES, which serves up to 100 students each day, uses educational empowerment to help students break the cycle of poverty.
Community Investor. Mark Levine, 29, is co-founder and executive director of Credit Where Credit Is Due Inc., a nonprofit agency that promotes economic empowerment for low-income immigrant families in upper Manhattan through the creation of the first community development credit union in the area. The Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union now has more than 1,400 members, assets in excess of $2.5 million and better than a 99 percent loan repayment rate. In an era when banks are retreating from neighborhoods most in need, the community-owned and operated financial institution is empowering residents to take control of their financial future.
Renaissance Man. Dennis Lluy, 25, is director of Koo’s Art Center in Santa Ana, Calif., a nonprofit community center that helps empower youth through art education and by encouraging the exercise of creative expression. Lluy responded to gang violence and economic desolation in his neighborhood by providing young people with a space in which to creatively express their struggles, hopes and dreams. Today, local artists, musicians and newly inspired youth share their work side by side at the arts center. Koo’s Art Center, which has helped cut crime by 80 percent, opens lines of communication between groups that are segregated by social and economic boundaries.
Hope Builder. Matthew McDermott, 27, is a policy specialist for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, a nonprofit organization that works to expand affordable housing, protect human rights and increase the political power of homeless people. To date, McDermott has helped secure nearly $900 million for affordable housing in his community, preserved 1,000 apartments for low-income residents and negotiated a 20 percent
set aside for future city
housing expenditures. McDermott is constantly inspired and humbled by what homeless people are able to accomplish in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
Bus Justice. Kikanza Ramsey, 29, is lead organizer and co-founder of Bus Riders Union, a grass-roots transit advocacy group that negotiated lower bus fares, the purchase of new clean-fuel buses to reduce overcrowding, and a dramatic expansion of bus routes for 350,000 daily bus riders from low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Because of the union’s efforts, bus riders now have a voice in the development and implementation of all transportation policies in the city.
Work Fair. Milagros Silva, 27, is lead organizer of ACORN/WEP Worker’s Organizing Committee, a citywide campaign to secure workplace rights, health and safety protections, and access to child care, transportation and training for 40,000 participants in New York City’s Work Experience Program. Silva’s goal is to encourage low-income residents to imagine a stronger and improved community.
Young Entrepreneur. Akilah Watkins, 20, is co-founder and director of I AM Corp., a nonprofit organization run by young people that teaches life skills, entrepreneurship and community service to low-income youth in Roosevelt, N.Y. The I AM Corp. has helped reduce teenage pregnancy by 10 percent, created a summer camp serving 150 elementary school children and helped dozens of young people start their own businesses. The program’s initiatives focus on service, entrepreneurship and training so that youth become
Power Builder. Steve Williams, 28, is director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), a membership organization of unemployed and underemployed workers in San Francisco that protects the rights of workfare workers and families moving off welfare. Because of POWER, San Francisco’s 3,000 workfare workers now have a citywide Workfare Workers’ Bill of Rights, health and safety protections, an ombudsman charged with investigating workplace abuses, and an organization that takes them seriously. Williams has made it possible for low-income people to have an organization that will help them make extraordinary change.