Georgetown University Rugby Football Club Raises Funds for Dog Tag Bakery

Thursday, 27. February 2014 21:21 | Author:

Last week the Georgetown University Rugby Football Club raised $6,000 for Dog Tag Bakery, the nonprofit bakery and training program started by Father Richard Curry and supported by Connie Milstein. The money was raised through an intrasquad round-robin tournament held Friday, Feb. 25.

The idea for the fundraiser goes back much farther. Former Georgetown University Rugby Football Club President Robert Rosa took a class with Father Curry as a college sophomore. Father Curry approached Rosa and the men’s team last May and asked to plan an event.

“I wanted to do this because Father Curry has helped so many people and doesn’t ask for anything in return, so we really wanted to give back to him,” Rosa said. “It was for the veteras, but it was also for him because he’s such an incredible person who has helped so many.”

Dog Tag Bakery is a work-study program for disabled military veterans and their spouses. The program participants split their time between working at the bakery, located on Grace Street in Georgetown, and attended entrepreneurship classes in the School of Continuing Studies.

“All of the guys were really on board just because of what the cause was,” Rosa said. “It was just a very small thing we can do for these men and women who are willing to sacrifice everything, a small showing of our gratitude for these heroes who have given everything for our country.

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Connie Milstein Receives Inaugural Blue Star Families Angel Award

Friday, 8. November 2013 14:51 | Author:

Constance Milstein, business owner and philanthropist, was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Blue Star Families Angel Award during a ceremony held this week at Washington D.C.’s historic Army and Navy Club. Among those who joined to congratulation Connie at the luncheon were NASA Administrator MajGen Charles Bolden, United States Marine Corps (ret.), Blue Star Families CEO and founder Kathy Roth-Douquet, local military officials and other supporters of military families from both public and private sectors.

Since its inception in 2009, Connie has played an important role in the success of Blue Star Families, bringing together individuals who helped launch programs like Books on Bases and Blue Star Museums. She currently sits on the organizations Board of Directors.

“Connie has many important and worthwhile causes she supports. And yet she has given military families her attention. She believed in us at a critical time in Blue Star Families’ institutional life. Blue Star Families has become, in four years, the largest chapter based organization serving military families, with over 40 chapters in 5 countries and programs and resources used by nearly one million people,” Roth-Douquet said.

At the luncheon, Roth-Douquet announced that henceforth, the Angel Award will be known as the Connie – a fitting way to honor Connie Milstein’s deep commitment to bettering the life of our country’s military members, veterans and their families.

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FoodPolicy.US and NYU DC Host Food Aid Reform Panel

Wednesday, 7. August 2013 16:02 | Author:

On July 18, a diverse panel of relevant experts, hosted by FoodPolicy.US, discussed the proposed reforms to U.S. international food aid at the DC campus of New York University.  The panel was moderated by Former Secretary of Agriculture, the Honorable Dan Glickman, and featured the President of the Nationals Farmers Union, Executive Director of the Alliance for Global Food Security, and Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute.  A video introduction to the panel imparted the wisdom of The Honorable Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.

The subject under discussion was the President’s proposed reform to the Food for Peace Program, wherein he plans to authorize USAID to purchase up to 45% of its food aid abroad.  In addition, the reform will eliminate the monetization process, which currently facilitates the funding of development programs for many NGOs.

The panel was held at the NYU Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center, one of NYU’s 14 academic sites that are located in the world’s “idea capitals.”  The location was optimal for a panel regarding both public policy and social responsibility, as the nation’s capital has always had a strong commitment to philanthropy. The NYU campus in DC, which opened in the fall of 2012, was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Connie Milstein, a NYU alumna and local businesswoman and philanthropist. She donates her time to many local charities and non-profits such as the National Symphony Orchestra, Blue Star Families, the Heart’s Delight Wine Auction, among others. She also owns the prestigious Jefferson Hotel, located just blocks from the White House.

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Blue Star Families Kicks Off 2013 Museum Program

Monday, 13. May 2013 18:39 | Author:

The 2013 Blue Star Museums program will kick off on May 21, just one week from today. Now in its fourth year, the Blue Star Museums program offers free admission to more than 1,800 museums around the country to active duty military members and their families. Participating museums can be found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. It began with 600 museums in 2010, and added 627 museums in 2012 alone. The summer program will begin with a kickoff party to be held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Blue Star Families has partnered with a number of national service organizations including the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Association of State and Local History and the Association of Science-Technology Centers to grow and bring publicity to the program.

Connie Milstein serves as a member of the Blue Star Families Board of Directors. She is also a resident of Washington, D.C., home to four museums participating in the Blue Star Museums program and 18 Smithsonian museums that are always free to the public. Visit the National Endowment for the Arts website to see participating museums near you.

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United Neighborhood Houses Helps Improve NY Communities

Tuesday, 5. February 2013 17:05 | Author:

Back in December of 1900, two individuals named John L. Elliott and Mary K. Simkhovitch started the Association of Neighborhood Workers in New York City as a way to foster cooperation between settlement houses and to promote social causes important to those individuals and families living in settlement houses. Nineteen years later, the Association was incorporated as United Neighborhood Houses of New York.

Today, UNH works to improve the lives of New Yorkers and the communities in which they live. United Neighborhood Houses supports 37 settlement houses in the City through policy development, advocacy and capacity-building activities. Examples of the program’s capacity-building activities include arts and literacy training, job training and employment programs, food preparation, legal counseling, and early childhood and youth services. Through these activities individuals are empowered and, in turn, strengthen the community as a whole.

Alain Kodsi is a member of the Board of Directors and has been an active member of United Neighborhood Houses since 1998. While in law school at Harvard, Kodsi worked with former UNH executive director Emily Menlo Marks to create an organization called Code Critical, which would raise awareness and funds for non-profits like United Neighborhood Houses. He also encouraged law firms to donate time and funds to adopted settlement houses. In 2011, Kodsi received the UNH annual award for lifetime contribution.

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SpeakeasyDC Supports Oral Traditions, Teaches Storytelling Skills

Tuesday, 7. August 2012 15:19 | Author:

Established in 1997 under the name Washington Storytellers Theatre, Speakeasy DC is an organization that empowers individuals to share their experiences through the rich traditions of storytelling. Not only does the group produce 25 original live storytelling shows each year, but it also offers both public classes and private coaching to those who wish to improve their skills.

SpeakeasyDC’s goals are simple: to produce high quality storytelling performances; provide ongoing storytelling training and performance opportunities to the public, and preserve the oral tradition in a way that speaks to and enriches contemporary life. Through these goals, SpeakeasyDC allows ordinary people to share their authentic experiences, promotes understanding and builds community.

The rules for performances are simple: every story must be true, under seven minutes, and adhere to the night’s theme (if there is one). The group’s monthly open mic storytelling series takes place on the second Tuesday of every month. SpeakeasyDC also has special performances throughout the year, like a Valentine’s Day Sucker for Love even or a performance at Sixth & I titled My So Called Jewish Life. This non-profit is able to continue the art and instruction of traditional storytelling through donations, sponsorships and the support of DC locals and visitors at its performances.

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Blue Star Families Grants Free Museum Admission to Military Families

Thursday, 24. May 2012 16:32 | Author:

Starting with Memorial Day on Monday, select museums across the country are offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day as part of a partnership with Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Defense.

Three hundred museums will participate in the event for the first time this summer, bringing the nationwide total to 1,600 museums. It is the third year that Blue Star Families has organized the event.  Last summer, more than 300,000 service members and their families took advantage of the program. To obtain free admission, visitors are required to present a valid piece of identification proving active duty in one of the military branches or National Guard and Reserves. One piece of identification will grant up to five family members free admission. Spouses of deployed personnel are also eligible, but must present a piece of valid identification for active duty family members.

According to the Blue Star Museums website, there are 27 participating museums in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Building Museum and the National Museum of the United States Navy. D.C. resident and well-known philanthropist Connie Milstein serves as a member of the Blue Star Families Board of Directors. She is a supporter of this program and has a long-standing interest in veterans and concern for the well-being of military families.

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Frank Peterson Helps Guatemalans Through Partner for Surgery

Tuesday, 27. March 2012 20:41 | Author:

In June of 2000, Frank Peterson was busy with his work as the Director of the Propulsion and Hydrodynamics Department at the U.S. Navy Department. In July of 2000, Peterson gave it all up, choosing instead to help Guatemalans gain access to surgical care offered by volunteer medical teams.

Frank’s son, Todd, spent two years in Guatemala as a Peace Corp volunteer. During his time there, he realized that there was no communication or infrastructure between the rural Guatemalan communities and the volunteer international surgical teams that would visit the country hoping to aid those who needed surgery and healthcare the most. When the elder Mr. Peterson visited his son, he saw a way the pair could help. That visit grew into Partner for Surgery. Now, Frank splits his time between Guatemala, where he oversees operations, and the United States, where he raises funds and recruits volunteers. Last year, Frank was honored with the highest honor bestowed by Rotary International, the Service above Self award.

Based outside of D.C. in McLean, VA, Partner for Surgery aims to improve health, reduce poverty, overcome barriers and empower communities around Guatemala. Due to the hard work of Todd and Frank Peterson, along with numerous volunteers, the program has grown and flourished in the past 11 years. Through several grants, the program was able to give medical supplies and equipment to over 55 North American medical teams and, altogether, the program has helped improve the lives of over 40,000 patients from the Mayan communities.

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Life Pieces to Masterpieces Help Young Adults Express Themselves

Thursday, 16. February 2012 19:41 | Author:

Her awards include: Mayor’s Spirit of Neighborhood Action Award, the Augusta Savage Arts Leadership Award, the Monica Davis Show Award for Community Service, the 2007 Washington DC Economic Partnership Innovators Awards. She is a member of the Leadership Great Washington class of 2009 and the Board of Directors for See Forever Foundation/Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools and the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative. She serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. She has been inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Sponsors at Morehouse College. Clearly, philanthropy and community service are important in the life of Mary Brown; but what really matters to Brown is the non-profit organization that she serves as Executive Director, Life Pieces to Masterpieces.

In 1996, Brown, along with two others, Larry B. Quick and Ben Johnson, founded Life Pieces to Masterpieces to help young and under-served African American males in Washington, D.C. For young adults who have grown up without fathers or in families plagued by poverty or substance abuse, Life Pieces to Master Pieces serves as an escape. By combining arts instruction and human development skills, Brown and her staff encourage their “apprentices” to find beauty in their lives through art, be it pain, storytelling, poetry or rap. The organization’s success is overwhelming; of the 150 participants each year, close to zero percent father an illegitimate child or become involved in the District’s juvenile justice system and 100 percent graduate.

 

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Holiday Party Thrown for Walter Reed Soldiers and Families

Thursday, 22. December 2011 17:27 | Author:

This past Sunday was a joyful day for the wounded soldiers and their families at the Walter Reed Medical Center. Connie’s Bakery and General Store, a bakery founded by local philanthropist Connie Milstein that donates 100 percent of its profits to charity, partnered with Blue Star Families for the holiday event. Wounded warriors, their families and volunteers from the Washington, D.C. area joined Blue Star Families in the Tranquility Hall at Walter Reed for an afternoon of crafts, games, raffles, presents and a special visit from Santa. The event allowed soldiers to take a break from the stress of healing to focus on family and the holiday spirit.

“For the wounded warriors and their families at Walter Reed, Connie’s Bakery made the holidays a reality,” said Mark Smith, Executive Director of Blue Star Families. “Connie’s sets the bar for businesses who deliver on the promise to support both our military community and the community at large.”

Connie’s Bakery, which was started in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., is dedicated to using the finest, most wholesome ingredients to create delicious cookies, cakes, pies and tarts. Not only does the bakery support small farmers and craftsmen, but it pays employees a living wage and provides help to neighbors in need. The bakery also runs an apprenticeship program to train participants in the art of pastry cooking, entrepreneurship and business management. All of the bakery’s net profits are donated to charities selected by the bakery.

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