Saturday, February 28, 2009

Letter of Inquiry * The Jenesis Group (Middle Tennessee)

BDPA Middle Tennessee chapter and BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) joined together on a letter of inquiry to The Jenesis Group. We requested funds in support of the Nashville-based chapter's Student IT Education & Scholarship (SITES) program.

The Jenesis Group is a private family foundation established in 1987 that works to improve the quality of life for America’s youth by creating opportunities for young people to achieve their full potential. The foundation invests in grass roots organizations that work to empower disadvantaged or at-risk youth to become productive citizens in society. The Jenesis Group invests in results-oriented organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or less that:
  • Build self-esteem and foster self-reliance.
  • Emphasize literacy and academic excellence.
  • Offer leadership training and development.
  • Utilize mentoring strategies.
  • Teach career readiness or life skills.
  • Prevent juvenile delinquency.
  • Develop entrepreneurial skills.
We hope to have an answer from The Jenesis Group within the next eight weeks.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

2009 State of the Black Union

I participated in a number of the 'Blacks in Technology' events that Tavis Smiley hosted a number of years ago. I had high hopes for a growing relationship between BDPA and Tavis' folks back then. In fact, he served as honorary chair for one of our annual conferences back in the day. I understand Tavis did a nice job as the keynoter for ITSMF banquet last year.

Tavis lost a lot of points with me last year when he showed a tremendous amount of disrespect to Barack and Michelle Obama. But, this is a new year ... and President Obama urges all of us to listen to our better angels.

As such, I'm sharing some information on the 2009 State of the Black Union from the Black Web 2.0 folks.

Tavis Smiley’s annual State of the Black Union, set for this Saturday the 28 i n Los Angeles, will use social media to carry the conversation on “Making America as Good as its Promise” far beyond the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center where its being held.

Facebook, MySpace,, and are some of the sites spreading the word about the 10th anniversary edition of the event. The event is free and open to the public, but for folks across the country or around the world it will be webcast at via Of course the event will still be aired on C-SPAN, so check local listings for station information.

Bloggers have been invited to cover the event as members of the media, and five will be on stage live blogging during the event, including
Dr. Michael Fauntroy, Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff, Carmen Dixon Rosenzweig of, conservative commentator Lenny McAllister, and Kevin Ross of 3Baas Media Group.

Each blogger will be posting about the event on their own site, so there will be a diverse range of coverage. Event sponsor Nationwide Insurance will also be live blogging on a site created just for this event.@TavisSmiley will have official event coverage on Twitter. For long time fans and history buffs, a DVD collection with highlights of SOBUs from 2000 until 2009 is available for presale, and the site also has video archives of select spots from previous SOBUs going back to 2000.

Are you planning to attend, listen or watch this year's State of the Black Union?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Will BDPA Answer Obama's Call for Commitment to Higher Education or Career Training?

BETF Donors and BDPA members all over the nation had to be uplifted by President Obama's speech last night. A major part of our volunteer efforts seek to stimulate the interest of young people in science, technology and math. Our entire Student IT Education & Scholarship (SITES) program is geared towards getting K-12 students motivated,trained and pointed towards a technology-based college education and ultimatey towards a rewarding career in the IT industry.

President Obama called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of higher education or career training, as he stressed the importance of better schooling in reviving the nation's economy during his first address to Congress.

The president, arguing that a high school education is no longer adequate in the global economy, said the federal government just made a "historic investment" in education with its $787 billion stimulus plan. He said that while lawmakers and educators are responsible for making the system work, individuals are responsible for participating in it.

"So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma."

Obama lamented that just over half of Americans achieve an education beyond high school and warned of the consequences such trends could have on the country's standing in the world.
"We have one of the highest high-school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the students who begin college never finish. This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow."
He said his new goal is for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
"Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself -- it's quitting on your country. And this country needs and values the talents of every American."
Watch the whole speech here or read it here. For the record, I watched the Republican response, as given by Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Nothing that he said inspired me in my BDPA-related mission. Perhaps others heard something from him that I missed. In the interest of fairness, I invite you to read the full text of his speech here, or you can watch him in this clip.

President Obama issued the call. Your BDPA Foundation seeks to answer the call with financial support through fundraising, scholarships and creation of our growing endowment fund.

We need all BDPA Foundation blog readers to step up. Are you ready to help us?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grant Proposal: Honda of America Foundation (Columbus)

BDPA Foundation partnered with BDPA Columbus chapter to request funding from the Honda of America Foundation to cover a large of amount of the costs associated with the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship program.

In 1979, as Honda of America began operations in Ohio, a charitable foundation was established at Honda of America to provide financial support to help address the unique needs of our local communities.

Since then, through the Honda of America Foundation and company contributions, Honda has provided nearly $42 million to fund community-based projects throughout the central and west-central region of Ohio.

Honda of America supports programs and organizations in the areas of education, environment, safety, arts, culture, civic responsibility and community projects.
  • Click here for a partial listing of organizations supported by Honda of America

  • Click here for Honda of America's philanthropy guidelines and application instructions (PDF).

  • Click here to complete a Grant Application Form for Requests under $15,000.

  • Click here to complete a Grant Application Form for Requests over $15,000.

  • Click here to access grant applications started in previous sessions.

We expect to have a response from Honda of America Foundation by May 2009.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Letter of Inquiry * Best Buy Store (Hartford CT)

BDPA Hartford chapter partnered with the BDPA Foundation to submit a letter of inquiry to Best Buy Store #381 (1501 New Britain Avenue; West Hartford CT) requesting products and services.

Each Best Buy store has a donation budget to support local nonprofit organizations. Product Donations come directly from the local Best Buy store.
  • Donations are given to schools, libraries and after-school clubs
  • Donations are made in the form of product or Best Buy Gift Cards
  • Local store employees decide how to support their community

We will keep you informed on the response to our letter of inquiry.

In the meantime, we are open to any other chapter interested in approaching their local Best Buy store for a product or gift card donation. If your chapter is interested then we need three things specific technology product(s) that you seek and the mailing address for Best Buy store that is local to your chapter.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Letter of Inquiry * Wal-Mart Community Grant (New York)

BDPA New York chapter visited with the manager of Wal-Mart Store #3420 in Westbury, NY to discuss possible funding from Wal-Mart Community Grants. BDPA Foundation subsequently agreed to partner with BDPA New York chapter on an application for $2,500 community grant.

BETF encourages the other 50 chapters to reach out to the Wal-Mart Store in their local area for similiar funding discussion.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

AT&T Foundation

For more than 60 years, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have committed $1.8 billion to philanthropic programs supporting education, community development, the arts, health and human services, and technology access in communities across the country. With its strong giving record, the foundation was ranked by Forbes magazine as being among the most generous corporate foundations.

With the creation of the new AT&T, the predecessor charitable organizations of the former BellSouth and Cingular were merged. The new company maintained historical commitments of charitable contributions and community activities. One example includes continued support for the 20/20 Vision for Education, designed to integrate technology into education in order to improve learning throughout the Southeast — particularly among low-income and minority students — to address the growing achievement gap and increase graduation rates.

The AT&T Foundation provides grants to organizations and programs that address quality-of-life issues, with an emphasis on improving education, advancing community development, addressing vital community needs and enhancing unique cultural assets. Implicit within the foundation focus are efforts that advance opportunities for diverse populations.

The AT&T Foundation funds programs designed to:
  • Enhance education by integrating new technologies and increasing learning opportunities
  • Improve economic development through technology and local initiatives
  • Provide vital assistance to key community-based organizations
  • Support cultural institutions that make a community unique
  • Advance the goals and meet the needs of diverse populations

Friday, February 20, 2009

It is Never Too Late

I wanted to send out a note to the "Class of 2009" and past classes or anyone that need to know that it is never too late to go for your goal(s) in life. Many times we have our eyes toward getting the students graduated, but not looking beyond at those who felt that they can't go to college or get a decent job, or those who didn't make the requirements to graduate, but just dropped out.

I am told that life doesn't end after high school graduation, but it is the beginning of you starting your future to adulthood. Question: If we are given 3 scores and 10 years, what happens to the other 52 years after high school graduation? High schools students only use up less than one third of the years at graduation, but we acted as if it is completely over for that student or child that didn't graduate or who didn't decide to go to college until after graduation.

[Read More]

National BDPA Board of Directors Meeting, Memphis TN (May 2009)

The BDPA Foundation executive director is a member of the National BDPA Board of Directors (NBOD). The NBOD meets quarterly. The 2nd quarter meeting is being held in Memphis, TN on May 1-3, 2009.

NBOD meetings are open to any BDPA member. I hope that we see many of the Memphis chapter members in attendance.

I am aware that BDPA Memphis chapter seeks to renew enthusiasm and support from the IT community. This is a wonderful opportunity that the chapter should leverage as much as possible over the weeks leading up to the NBOD meeting.

I encourage all BDPA leaders to reach out to the Memphis chapter president and offer your support, encouragement and ideas!

Logistical fact sheet for the NBOD meeting can be found here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BDPA Philadelphia Chapter President Monique Berry Named 'Modern Day Technology Leader'

BDPA Philadelphia chapter president Monique Berry named as a 'Modern-Day Technology Leader' during the 23rd annual National BEYA Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Global Competitiveness Conference.

Since 1986, the BEYA Awards have recognized the ongoing achievements of Black leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math-related careers. Awards are presented in more than 25 categories. Modern-Day Technology Leaders are men and women of color who are demonstrating outstanding performance and will shape the future course of engineering, science and technology.

Monique is a member of the National BDPA Board of Directors and serves as president of the BDPA chapter in Philadelphia. Monique is committed to shaping the lives of future generations by demonstrating the importance of careers in math, science, engineering and technology fields.

"It is an honor and privilege to be recognized nationally as a Modern-Day Technology Leaders," said Ms. Berry. "My goal is to get minority youth interested in technology by showing them how challenging, fun and exciting the field of information technology can be."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Letter of Inquiry * Greater Milwaukee Foundation

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF) joined with BDPA Milwaukee chapter to submit an online letter of inquiry to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

We asked for permission to provide them with a full-fledged grant proposal to fund $5,000 for the 2009 Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program in Milwaukee.

Let us know if you are aware of other funding sources in Wisconsin that might support our youth education programs in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grant Declination: Ford Foundation

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation partnered with National BDPA Member Service business area to request $15,000 funding from Ford Foundation for the BDPA IT Corps project. Unfortunately, our request was turned down:

Dear Mr. Hicks:

Thank you for your inquiry about the possibility of Ford Foundation assistance.

We have reviewed your request and regret that we are unable to give you an encouraging reply. Because of budgetary constraints we confine our work to a limited number of fields, and we do not have an active program to which we could apply your request.

If you have not already done so, you may wish to contact the Foundation Center, an information resource for grantseekers.

I regret that the Foundation cannot be of assistance and hope you will be successful in securing the funds needed to advance your plans.

Elaine Kranich

We will continue to seek funding for the BDPA IT Corps project. Let us know if you have any suggestions or ideas for funding!

Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 Outstanding African American Students™ Awards Programs in Baltimore, MD and Memphis, TN

Elanni Publishing, in association with the Talented Tenth Foundation, announces the opening of the nomination period for the 2009 Outstanding African American Students™ Awards Program. According to Joni Smith, executive director of the Talented Tenth Foundation, the program will be held in this year in both Baltimore, Maryland and Memphis, Tennessee. We are proud to have the Memphis Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and Black Professional Men, Inc. of Baltimore serving as our local sponsors this year, stated Smith.

The Outstanding African American Students™ Awards Program highlights the achievements of noteworthy students from grades one through twelve who have made significant strides in such areas as art, music, sports, academics, creative writing, computer technology and community and church leadership. In August, the honored students will be feted at a special awards ceremony where each will receive a commemorative certificate and a free copy of the Outstanding African American Students™ publication containing his or her photograph and summary of achievements.

[Read More]

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Week in BDPA (Feb 15-21)

BDPA has 51 chapters around the nation. There is almost always something going on in the efforts of BDPA and the BDPA Foundation to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the BDPA CollectiveX Calendar:
We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the BDPA CollectiveX Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events! Please let us know of other BDPA events that we may have missed. Most importantly, let us know if you plan to attend any BDPA events this week.

Please make tax-deductible online donation to the BDPA Foundation in honor of Black Family Technology Awareness Week. Do it now!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Amazon Kindle 2

My mom is devoted to her Amazon Kindle. I wonder how she feels about the introduction of Amazon Kindle 2, the next generation wireless reading device.

You can see from the photo that it has a sleek and thin design that makes Kindle 2 as thin as a typical magazine and lighter than a paperpack. Apparently, the new Kindle has seven times more storage and now holds over 1,500 books. That won't make much of a difference for anyone that I know. Who the heck needs to have 1,500 books in storage? Do you have that many books in your house?

It has a longer battery life and faster page turns. That is a good feature. I hate any device where the battery runs out too quickly.

It appears to have an advanced display with crisper images and clearer text for an improved book-like reading experience. That is a great feature for older villagers like myself who are operating with bi-focals and such!

Are you thinking about purchasing a Kindle 2 anytime soon? I wonder if Amazon will let the folks who bought the original Kindle upgrade or trade-in for the new Kindle?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Obama's Broadband Plan: Why America Should Care

I am trying to adopt the cool, calm and collected aura of our new president. We are deep in an economic crisis that is put over 2 million people out of work last year. The economic crisis was a major reason that an overwhelming number of Americans voted for change in our national leadership last November.

One aspect of the President's stimulus package relates to improving the broadband infrastructure. I know how much my personal and professional life improved when I gained access to broadband. Obama wants all Americans to have access to broadband. Check out this article from the Knight Center of Digital Excellence:

We know we need to put people back to work. We also know that a key component of the Obama Plan is to stimulate our economy through the development of a next-generation broadband infrastructure.

Key to this goal is making Americans see – giving them that “Aha” moment – so that there is a clear understanding how broadband can advance our economy in the same radical way that telephone service and electricity did a century ago. As an essential utility service of the future, broadband can change how we do business, deliver health care, educate our children, provide safety services in our communities, and in short, how we conduct our daily lives. This is why broadband plays so prominently in federal plans to stimulate our economy, with proposed spending of up to $10 billion on broadband infrastructure.

Read the rest of the article here.

Are you reading this from a broadband connection? Do you remember when you went from dial-up modem to broadband connection? I think we need to get the broadband infrastructure expanded throughout the nation. What say u?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2009 Early Bird Conference Registration Extended to 2/28/2009

We learned today that the early-bird registration period for the 2009 BDPA Technology Conference has been extended to 2/28/2009. Don't procrastinate any longer ... get registered today!

HSCC Testimonial: Mackale Joyner (Kansas City)

BDPA members sometimes lose sight of why our organization exists. We get so tied up with meetings, procedures and such that we forget the human lives that are being touched by our volunteer efforts and charitable donations. Our blog tries to put human faces on our efforts.

Take Dr. Mackale Joyner as an example. He recently shared his memory of the BDPA high school computer competition program.

The BDPA national computer competition was very exciting and the conference affirmed my desire to pursue a career in software engineering. I enjoyed learning a new language and spending months preparing for the competition. It was encouraging to see so many people at the competition with my background that shared similar interests. I would later learn that the BDPA national competition was a good experience for college, as I had to learn several new programming languages while in college in a short time span. I am greatly appreciative for all those involved in sending the Kansas City team to the national conference, especially our coaches who spent many hours helping us prepare for the competition.

The BDPA has made a vital impact in my education endeavors. After acceptance to Rice University, I had the opportunity to visit Rice during Owl weekend. Owl weekend is a weekend in April where all accepted high school seniors stay on campus to experience what college life is like at Rice. This is a good opportunity for seniors who have not decided on a college to experience what life might be like at a particular university. When I arrived at Rice, someone from the admission office greeted me. When I told her my name, she immediately identified me as the person who competed in a national computer programming competition. She was referring to the BDPA national competition that I competed in the summer after my junior year in high school. She went on to tell me that the competition really distinguished my application from others and was one of the main reasons why Rice accepted me. The door that the BDPA helped open at Rice subsequently led to other doors being opened, which enabled me to complete my PhD in Computer Science at Rice University.

Dr. Joyner was a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University. His research advisor was the late Ken Kennedy. In fact, global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. selected Mackale as the first recipient of Cray's HPC graduate fellowship fund award in honor of the late Ken Kennedy. Mackale's research interests include developing compilation strategies for object-oriented languages in high-performance scientific computing.

He was simply a high schooler in Kansas City when BDPA met him. Now he is one of the top high performance computing experts in the world. Dr. Joyner is one of the reasons that BDPA exists! I hope that all BDPA members are smiling at his story as much as I am...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Summer Program (George Washington University)

George Washington University is accepting applications for their summer Science & Engineering Apprenticeship program. Applications are due by February 27, 2009.

This program places academically talented high school students (at least 16 yrs old, sophomores or juniors) with interest in science & math in Department of Defense laboratories for an 8-wk period over the summer. This is an invaluable experience in the world of scientific research, with hands-on exposure to scientific & engineering practices not available in the high school environment. It is an apprenticeship that pays up to $2,000. Each student is assigned a scientist or engineer as their mentor.

We encourage BDPA Foundation blog readers to apply online. Students must submit their transcript (minimum GPA 3.0) and teacher recommendation to the program director for consideration and daily transportation is the student's responsibility. The program runs from June 22 - August 14, 2009.

Please share this information with all SITES students and HSCC alumni!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reflections of a Black Analyst in the Age of Obama

By Daryl Plummer

On the day that Martin’s birth is celebrated and the day before the swearing in of America’s first Black president, I am facing the dichotomies of two complimentary worlds.

One world is the world of a Black man working in an industry predominantly peopled by non-Black professionals. The other is the world of any man living in a society where change has opened doors that many thought would remain closed forever.

And the doors open to allow change at the highest levels to emerge. The doors open so that people like me can face beautiful new vistas of opportunity - vistas revealing goals that can be achieved by anyone with the strength of will, or the faith of ideals, to reach for them.

Now, everyone can rejoice in the hopes of today and the dreams of the future.
And yet, no one should forget the experiences of today and the memories of the past.

For though there are many subjective worlds, we all live in one real world. The real world is a place where opportunity must be matched by effort - and effort must be matched by desire. And in my world – the Information Technology (IT) world – the question must be asked if opportunity has given rise to true effort. For when I look around me, all I see is unfulfilled desire.

When I look around me I see Black Americans rising only so far in IT. Many hold the ranks of secretary or technician, but few lead as CIOs or senior VPs.

Think to yourself - how many Black Americans can you name in senior management, as industry analysts, as CEOs, or as billionaires, who lead the way in the IT industry. You may be surprised at how few you come up with. Beyond Chuck Phillips at Oracle, the list goes shallow in short order. How can this be in the age of a Black president?

In 2004 a study about Blacks in IT highlighted the efforts to make the profession more open to minorities - yet, here we remain. In 2006, a report including quotes from the venerable Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) organization reiterated how much Black Americans found IT a fascinating career choice – and yet, here we remain. Now, a January, 2009, Computerworld blog addresses the issue of why there is HOPE for African Americans in IT. And yet, here .. we .. still .. remain. Blacks in IT only tend to rise so high before that glass ceiling taps them gently on the head.

And despite all the efforts of BDPA, despite the efforts of universities to cultivate more Black computer industry graduates, despite my own efforts to educate, to provide an example, to encourage, and to cajole – here we remain. I remain one of only 7 Black analysts I can name in the IT industry. For over 5 years, I was the only one. I remain one of the highest ranking Black associates who can have an impact beyond their own company. I remain frustrated but hopeful that Blacks in IT will become something more than just a continuing dream.

So forgive me, Mister Obama, while I cheer the greatness of your accomplishment and I mourn the mediocrity of my own.

I mourn for the Black child that cannot even recognize the opportunities she might grow into because she has no exposure to this world.

I mourn the HR practices in IT that seldom follow through on seeking out Black candidates for executive level positions.

I mourn the fact that when I look out from stage at an audience of over 5000 people, I can count the number of Black “IT-faces” in a matter of seconds.

But I stay true to hope. I stay true to the ideals embodied in a quote by Ronald Reagan. He said, “…there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination and wonder.” I could add – no matter what color they may be. But before Reagan and since, there are those who echo cries of hope. Lincoln referred to “a new birth of freedom”, challenging the country to elevate all men to equality. And now, Barack Obama says “Yes we Can!”

Yes. We can.

And we can because he can. We can because the youth of today now see with their own eyes that Black and white people all have access to the American dream. We can because those same youth will see that the way to success is not only through sports greatness or entertainment fame. We can because now we have more help than ever before. Whether it is Black or white, Chinese or Hispanic, Indian, Muslim, Jewish or all the colors, sexes and creeds of the world – people are banding together to hold the doors of opportunity open.

But what we can do should never eliminate the memory of what we strive to overcome. So hold the memory. Hold the memory close to your heart and just behind your eyes.

Hold the memory of my great grandmother who lived in a time when Black people could be persecuted for wanting to rise up to a better life in Georgia.

Hold the memory of my grandmother who walked with her children 450 miles from Georgia to South Florida to begin a new life. She could go anywhere as long as it wasn’t labeled “no Blacks allowed”.

Hold the memory of my mother who raised eyebrows when she decided that a single Black mother of four could become a nurse by studying alone at night and working two jobs during the day.

Hold the memory of my brother who knocked down doors to become a treasurer and CFO for fortune 500 companies.

And hold my memory too. Because as I stand in a place where I have stood for over 20 years I see myself as a lightning rod of opportunity and seek to help those who would surpass my every achievement – imagined or real.

Thank you, Mister Obama. Thank you for the next step in the dream. Thank you for remembering what Martin said back in a time when few could see that you might ever become real. And thank you for “yes, we can”.

To the IT industry, I say that the opportunities are real and the desire must flow from those who wish to hire Black IT professionals to those who wish to be hired. We will continue to educate, and to seek out people who can be prepped to become the next generation of greatness.

So, yes, we can. But, in the world of IT, I beg you in faith to remember that so far – we have not.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Diversity in Science Blog Carnival: Black History Month

DNLee of Urban Science Adventures! blog is launching a new blog carnival:

All year is great time to learn more about science and the people who make the discoveries. But February offers a great opportunity to learn about the achievements of African Americans (and others from the African Diaspora) in the sciences. So I'm introducing a new Blog Carnival - Diversity in Science. Blogs of every genre is invited to write a special feature post about a person who is a pioneer or innovator in any of the amazing fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Tell us all about him/her? How has this person impacted field of STEM or inspired you? Or why is his/her story
This is a great chance for us to share information about our current and past Epsilon Award winners and other BDPA leaders. If you have something relevant, submit it through the Blog Carnival link by February 20th.

Grant Declination: Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation

We received a response to our Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation grant proposal. Unfortunately, our request for funding to support the SITES program hosted by BDPA New York chapter was turned down.

The foundation's president wrote:

The Executive Management Committee was compelled to make some difficult decisions in light of the current turbulent economic times. As a result, a new focus and direction has been finalized for the Foundation. The focus will be global in scope and consistent with our principles and belief in Education and Health for youth around the world.

Consequently and effective immediately, the Foundation will no longer support the funding of grants (April 1 & October 1 cycles). We regret to inform you, this funding decision is retroactive for both the April 1, 2008 cycle and the October 1, 2008 cycle.

The Foundation would like to thank you for your patience during this period of restructuring and wishes you much success with your organization and in your search for new funding. We hope that the Foundation played a small role in impacting the lives of children.

Guy Vickers, president
The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation

Mr. Vickers confirms what we already knew. The economic crisis impacting our nation is detrimental to our funding efforts in BDPA. We cannot wait for bailouts or stimuli. We must take steps as BDPAers to stimulate the interest of our young people in science and technology.

That's my view. What say u?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This Week in BDPA (Feb 8-14)

Is your chapter interested in creating BDPAToday eZine to brand your BDPA image with timely information for your stakeholders? If so, let me know via the COMMENTS section below ... especially if you want your chapter success metrics to move in a positive direction? In the meantime, our foundation provides funding for programs that advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry. Are you taking advantage of these programs? Here is a weekly preview of upcoming events gathered from the BDPA CollectiveX Calendar and elsewhere:
We encourage all BDPA leaders to take advantage of the BDPA CollectiveX Groupsite Calendar to post your upcoming events! Please let us know of other BDPA events that we may have missed. Most importantly, let us know if you plan to attend any BDPA events this week.

Please make tax-deductible online donation to the BDPA Foundation to start your new year. Do it now!

Deadlines Approaching for Great Opportunities (Scholarships, Summer Programs, Etc)

Contributed by guest blogger Callie Herd.

Guys, I wanted to highlight some of many great opportunities in Planning and Preparing for College (Scholarships, Internships, Etc). Please take the time to review and share with others:

Grant Declination: Ben and Jerry's Foundation

We received an answer to the letter of inquiry sent to Ben & Jerry's Foundation on behalf of BDPA New York chapter. They declined our request for funding. The administrator wrote,

Dear Wayne,

Thank you for your letter of interest. After careful consideration, the review committee has decided that your program does not meet our guidelines as closely as some other applicants.

We receive a great many letters of interest and the selection process is difficult. We regret that we cannot consider a full application from your organization. We wish you luck with your project.

Deborah Kessler

We will continue to seek funding for BDPA New York and the other 49 chapters. You can help. Please make a small donation to help stimulate the interest of young people in science and technology. We are the change that we seek. We can no longer wait for government bailout or stimuli. We need to help ourselves. What say u?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bloggers and Barack Obama

Omar Wasow was the keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies at our 2005 BDPA Technology Conference in Detroit, MI. Did you see his interview on The Today Show on MLK Day?

I encourage you to read Omar's related article, 'The First Internet President'.

I invite BDPA Foundation blog readers to visit my primary blog -- Electronic Village -- if you have time or inclination. Are there other BDPAers that read or publish blogs?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Grant Proposal: Gannett Foundation

BDPA Middle Tennessee and the BDPA Foundation submitted a grant proposal to The Tennessean (as a subsidiary of the Gannett Foundation) asking for $3,000 in support of the Student IT Education & Scholarship program. The chapter is training ten (10) students as part of their 2009 efforts.

The Gannett Foundation is a corporate foundation that gives grants to organizations in the communities in which Gannett owns a daily newspaper or television station. Gannett Foundation values projects that take a creative approach to fundamental issues such as education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation and cultural enrichment.

Wish us luck on this grant proposal!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grant Declination: Progress Energy Foundation

BDPA Triangle chapter and the BDPA Foundation learned that our joint grant request to the Progress Energy Foundation has been declined.

Dear Mr. Hicks:

Thank you for your interest in Progress Energy's grant programs. While we recognize the importance of BDPA Education And Technology Foundation to the community, we are unable to provide you with a grant. The focus of Progress Energy's K-12 education grants is primarily on energy education. Progress Energy receives many fine proposals each year that we are not able to fund due to very limited resources.

Although we can't offer support for your organization, we wish you much success with your fundraising efforts.

Jennifer Pittman
Contributions Specialist

We are grateful to Progress Energy Foundation for considering our request. We will continue to seek funding with BDPA Triangle chapter for their 2009 SITES program. Let us know if you are aware of any funding sources we should be seeking out in North Carolina.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

BDPA Hartford Chapter Partners with State of Connecticut on Computer Learning Program

From An Idea to a Reality
by Matthew Lampkin

Who would have ever imagined that a brief, informal conversation would turn into an annual learning opportunity of great proportions? Well, that brief conversation between Charles Kinard of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Matthew Lampkin of the BDPA Hartford Chapter created the DCF\BDPA Computer Learning Program.

Entering its 4th year of existence, the program has grown exponentially. "When Charles and I first spoke over 4 years ago, he had a vision of providing the youth of DCF with a valuable skill set which they could use and apply after high school," recalls BDPA Hartford chapter vice president Matthew Lampkin.

With that goal in mind, BDPA has been a perfect fit for the youth of DCF. BDPA is a community organization made up of adult IT professionals, college students, and high school students who have a keen interest in Information Technology (IT). One of the main goals of BDPA is to educate youth on IT and provide them with the necessary "soft" skills to help them go "From the Classroom to the Boardroom."

Ten (10) DCF youth were trained in the first year of the Computer Learning Program using one of the chapter's existing education programs. Three (3) of these young people displayed dedication and worked hard enough to earn an all-expense paid trip to attend the 2006 BDPA Technology National Conference in Los Angeles.

The Computer Learning Program evolved in 2007 to provide more participation by the youth of DCF. DCF headquarters, in the capitol city of Hartford, became "training central" for the program. Seven (7) of the young people attended the 2007 National BDPA Technology Conference in Washington DC.

The young people in this program learn an array of skills such as exploring and understanding computer hardware, developing websites using HTML, and using Microsoft Office. Over the past three years more than 40 students have been trained successfully. In 2008, more than 20 students received laptops for their completion of the program from the State of Connecticut.

The upcoming year of 2009 promises to be a great year for the youth. They will have the opportunity to learn about digital music production in addition to gaining more core IT skills. Youth who excel in the program will have the chance to be rewarded for their hard work. In addition, BDPA Hartford will be working hard with some of its corporate partners to try and place those exemplary students in summer internship positions that utilize their newly-acquired Information Technology skills.

As Mr. Kinard has said, "It's time for the program to go to the next level."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Message from Philadelphia Chapter President

Monique Berry is one of the most powerful leaders on the National BDPA Board of Directors. She is a role model for many of us. She is active on efforts to improve the membership management process at a national level. I think that her greatest legacy is the continued growth of the programs and services offered by BDPA Philadelphia chapter. Here is the message that Ms. Berry shared with her chapter stakeholders this month:

This month, we will continue our leadership role in closing the Digital Divide with our sixth annual Black Family Technology Awareness Week (BFTAW) events.

BFTAW is a public awareness campaign to communicate the value of technology in the Black community and its importance in educating and preparing Black children for future careers.

BDPA has several events planned for February and in the week of February 15-20 in partnership with Mayor's Commission on Technology, the Philadelphia School District and Temple University's Upward Bound program.

February is also our chapter's college student membership month. We are sponsoring free membership for full time college students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. Please consider sponsoring a student for $15.00 or 10 students for $150.00.

Wednesday February 18th is "BDPA on the Hill" day. BDPA chapter presidents travel to Washington, DC to formally present technology agenda items to the 111th Congress.

I am also pleased to tell you that I will be recognized, as a Modern-Day Technology Leader, during the 23rd annual National BEYA Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Global Competitiveness Conference. Please join me in Baltimore, MD on Friday, February 20th, at the Modern-Day Technology Leadership Luncheon. I would love to see you there.

Stay tuned for our upcoming newsletters for future events. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at our February 18th program.

Monique F. Berry, President
BDPA Philadelphia Chapter

BDPA Philadelphia is currently the 3rd largest chapter in the nation. I anticipate that they will be in the #2 slot by this time next month. What are your thoughts on our Philadelphia chapter?

Grant Declination: Best Buy (Stone Mountain GA)

BDPA Foundation partnered with BDPA Atlanta chapter on a request for product donations from Best Buy Store #506 (Stone Mountain, GA). Each Best Buy store has a donation budget to support local nonprofit organizations.

Our request for funding has been declined. Desmond Donlin, Store #506 assistant manager wrote, "Unfortunately, Best Buy is not making any donations at this time. This is not a reflection of your organization or our relationship with it. This does not mean we cannot make a donation to you in the near future. Please contact us back in a month or so and we will see what we might be able to do then."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Top Ten Black Blogs (Feb 2009)

Are you enjoying Black History Month? It appears from the growing popularity of the Villager's Black Blog Rankings (BBR) that many of you are enjoying the nubian flava flowing from in the afrosphere. The list grew to 1,593 blogs ranked in February 2009 BBR. Join us in welcoming This is as a new member of the Top 10.

Were any of you with us when we started this monthly ranking BBR with 75 Black blogs in Sep 2007. It has been a remarkable journey. It is likely we are missing some Black-owned & operated blogs our current list! If you see any that are missing ... please let me know in the COMMENTS section.

Here are some of the blog lists from the past four quarters:
Anyhow, with no further ado, here are the Top Ten Black Blogs for Feb 2009:
  1. Pam Spaulding: Pam's House Blend (Authority: 1,241 / Rank: 1,257) - [Politics] Pam's blog continues to maintain a commanding lead as the top Black blog in the universe. Tags for this blog are race, politics, feminism, gay and lesbian. This blog was BBR #2 a year ago.
  2. The Bossip: (Authority: 751 / Rank: 2,942) - [Entertainment] is the top-ranked gossip or entertainment blog on our list. We continue to wonder whether The Bossip is male or female? Tags for this blog are Music, Entertainment, gossip, R&B, Racism, Black, Hip-Hop, Harlem, Bet, African American, alicia keys, jay-z, Allen Iverson, russell simmons, p diddy, the superficial, spelman college, young jeezy, hot 97 and Mary J Blige. This blog was BBR #1 a year ago.
  3. Ahsmi Rawlins: Nah Right (Authority: 738 / Rank: 3,042) - [Entertainment] Ashmi (a.k.a., ESKAY) has been blogging since May 2005. Both his name and job are based on phonetics, literally and figuratively. The name – eskay – is the phonetic spelling of “SK,” the tag he used as a graffiti writer years ago. Tags for this blog are news and music. This blog was BBR #6 a year ago.
  4. Angel Laws: Concrete Loop (Authority: 634 / Rank: 3,762) - [Entertainment] Angel Laws is the young sister who who owns and operates this dynamic entertainment blog. Angel has other interests in life as demonstrated by her photo blog. Tags for this blog are Music, Pictures, gossip, R&B, Hollywood, Celebs, Exclusive, loop, concrete, gossip blog, concreteloop, black celebs, black gossip, celeb interviews and black hollywood. This blog was BBR #3 a year ago.
  5. Oliver Willis: Oliver Willis (Authority: 600 / Rank: 4,061) - [Politics] Oliver has been blogging since April 2005. He is expanding his cyber-empire to YouTube as well. Tags for this blog are politicsmedianewscomedyhumor, progressive, politicsmedianewscomedyhumor, Journalism, News, Entertainment, Politics, Media, Liberal, pundit, Democrats and Movies. This blog was BBR #7 a year ago.
  6. Felicia Palmer and Steven Samuel: This is (Authority: 592 / Rank: 4,118) - [Entertainment] I just learned about this blog last week. SOHH stands for Support Online Hip Hop. is a destination site for fans of hip hop music. The site was created in 1997 as a more cost-effective information alternative to a monthly print publication called 4Control Media, which launched two years earlier., which is based in Jersey City, N.J., began as an online hip hop campaign to promote the musical genre on the Internet. Tags for this blog are HIP HOP, Rap, Magazine and Newspapers. This blog was not ranked a year ago.
  7. Natasha Eubanks: Young, Black & Fabulous (Authority: 570 / Rank: 4,118) - [Entertainment] Natasha Eubanks started blogging four years ago out of her passion for celebrity gossip. This blog was BBR #8 a year ago.
  8. Baratunde Thurston and Cheryl Contee: Jack and Jill Politics (Authority: 563 / Rank: 4,405) - [Politics] Baratunde and Cheryl make up the dynamic online team of Jack and Jill. This blog was BBR #13 a year ago.
  9. La Shawn Barber: La Shawn Barber's Corner (Authority: 411 / Rank: 6,848) - [Social Commentary] This top-ranked blog was launched in November 2003. Tags for this blog are News, Music, Media, Writer, conservative, Black, God, Digital, blogger, Journalism, Women, Jesus Christ, Bible, Harry Potter, iTunes, Christian, Pro-life and Reformed. This blog was BBR #9 a year ago.
  10. Wayne Bennett: The Field Negro (Authority: 382 / Rank: 7,637) - [Social Commentary] The Los Angeles Times interview provided insights into Wayne last year. It is worth noting that this is the top-ranked Black blog running on platform. Tags for this blog are house negro, Politcs, Race, Racism, negroes, Economics, Law, Urban, Jamaica, Pan Africanism, Malcolm X, Crime, Sports, killadelphia and third world. This blog was BBR #17 a year ago.

HONORABLE MENTION (11-25): AfroBella, Womanist Musings, Necole Bitchie, Raw Dawg Buffalo, Living Life Abundantly, Ill Doctrine, Angry Black Bitch, Sandra Rose, Crunk & Disorderly, Rod 2.0:Beta, The Black Snob, The Angry Black Woman, Stuff Fly People Like, and Electronic Village.

This ranking is open to any blogger of African descent. We invite all progressive Black bloggers to consider applying for membership into The AfroSpear.

Black Blog Rankings lean heavily on the Technorati Authority and Rank score for each blog. The Technorati authority and rank numbers are shown in parenthesis. The authority figure includes a number of factors including the number of blogs that are linked to this blogger over the past six months. The rank number indicates how many blogs are between the one listed and The Huffington Post, which is the #1 overall blog in the universe.

We are adding links to the Word version of the Villager's Black Blog Rankings. Let me know if you want a copy of the Word version. In the meantime, I encourage you to share some link-love with this post so that your blog readers know about us!