Post from October, 2011

Elin Ross Helps Foster Kids Prepare for Future in Hospitality

Monday, 31. October 2011 21:09

After working in the child welfare and foster care system for several years during the 1990s, Elin Ross was disheartened by the lack of community commitment to helping youths in foster care learn skills that would help them succeed after they have aged out of the system.

In 2008, Ross combined her passion for baking and culinary arts with her expertise in non-profit management and social services experience and started Cakes for Cause. Cakes for Cause is a nonprofit social enterprise bakery and bistro based in Frederick, Maryland, that offers an eight-month program of vocational and job readiness for young adults between 16 and 21. In addition to learning about restaurant operations, the students will learn skills like punctuality, appropriate dress and interview protocol and how to secure a job in the hospitality industry.

“For me, it is a sense of responsibility … as I feel we, as a society, have failed these kids,” she said in a 2008 interview. “There is a sense of wanting to create a program that doesn’t sustain levels of poverty, but instead gives young people options and finds ways to lift them up.”

Before she began Cakes for Cause, Ross worked for the D.C. nonprofit Nonviolence International for eight years. In 2004 she attended L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, where she honed her skills learned from her baking hobby as well as gain skills in bakery marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in liberal studies and a master’s in applied anthropology from American University. She also is an active participant in her Neighborhood Advisory Council and is raising funds for the beautification of the Laboring Sons Memorial Ground in Frederick.

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Ted Leonsis Donates Time, Money to D.C. Charities

Monday, 17. October 2011 15:48

One can’t speak of philanthropists in D.C. without mentioning Ted Leonsis, a powerful businessman who has turned his hobbies into outreach efforts and has touched the lives of many in and around the nation’s capitol. Born to Greek parents in Brooklyn, NY, Ted’s life has followed a trajectory that has allowed him to participate in business ventures in various private sectors.

After graduating from Georgetown University and starting a marketing company called Redgate Communications, his career really began when AOL purchased the start-up. Until he retired in 2006, Ted held multiple positions including the audience group’s president and vice-chairman. But the well-known businessman did not stop there. Ted is founder, majority owner, chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center. Owning a sports franchise is just one of the items on Ted’s list of 101 items he would like to complete in his lifetime, a list he compiled after he survived a plane crash in 1983.

Philanthropy is certainly one of Ted’s biggest passions. Several years ago, Ted entered the world of film investment as a means of philanthropy, something he has termed “filmanthropy.” In 2008, he launched Snag Films, a social media website where viewers can watch and submit documentary films. Several of Ted’s films have won awards and have appeared in well-known film festivals like Sundance. Titles include Nanking, which won an Emmy for Best Historical Programming in 2009 and won a Peabody Award in 2008, and Kicking It, a film about the 2006 Homeless World Cup.

Ted is also a mentor through the Hoop Dreams program and scholarship fund which uses basketball and other programs to raise money to send underprivileged D.C. public school students to college. He also contributes to YouthAIDS and the See Forever Foundation. Ted has also started his own philanthropic foundation, the Leonsis Foundation, which creates opportunities to help children overcome obstacles and achieve goals through creativity, skills and dedication. In 2010, he was inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame for his work with AOL, D.C. sports teams and donations to local charities.

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