Tag Archives: GrassROOTS Community Foundation

Third Annual Roots, Rock, Run, GrassROOTS Community Foundation Raises $6k

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THIRD ANNUAL ROOTS, ROCK, RUN 5K RETURNED TO GERMANTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD IN PHILADELPHIA TO PROMOTE HEALTHY LIFESTYLES IN URBAN DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES

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Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, The GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF), members of The Roots band, and hundreds of Philadelphians took to the streets of Germantown on May 30th for the 3rd Annual Roots, Rock, Run (R3) 5k community walk/run.

“We are running, walking, and talking in Germantown to show our support for healthy girls and healthy communities,” declares Trotter, co-founder and MC of the, The Roots.

Fourteen year-old Crystal Ortiz (pictured above), was this year’s winner finishing the route in 18:25. She was one of hundreds of runners and walkers that helped raise nearly $6,000. Proceeds from the race went to support GrassROOTS afterschool health programs for youth at Anna L. Lingelbach Elementary School. Primary support for R3 comes from Jimmy Jazz stores, who gifted 100 pair of Adidas sneakers and Reebok who donated 100 pairs to participating youth. Additional key support came form State Legislature Stephen Kinsey, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, State Senator Art Haywood, the Philadelphia Police Department and SEPTA.


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R3 is a GrassROOTS engagement activity that raises awareness of the importance of physical activity and healthier living and seeks to reclaim impoverished neighborhood spaces. This year’s event took place once again at Lingelbach Elementary, site of the new GrassROOTS’ afterschool program for girls, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

GrassROOTS chose to remain at Lingelbach because of the economic and social challenges facing the community. More than a quarter of the residents in the targeted neighborhood live in poverty, and the income per capita is 15 percent less than the rest of Philadelphia. Equally important was the fact that Lingelbach was only awarded $160.00 for their discretionary funding for the entire school year.

City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, State Rep Steve Kinsey, State Sen Art Haywood and Aja Graydon of Kindred the Family Soul were all in attendance, along with runners from Black Girls Run, the Black Running Organization, Black Men Run and even the principal of Lingelbach. R&B groups Mprynt and Good Girl both performed.


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The day also featured other acts of service and activities, including face-painting and surprise musical performances. And as tradition dictates, R3 hosted its dance contest. The Lingelbach Home and School Association was also collecting summer reading books and toys that encourage outdoor activity.



For more information on GrassROOTS and R3, visit:
–> www.grassrootscommunityfoundation.org
–> @grassrootsfound

Story/Photos via Skai Blue Media

Let’s Move It Philly: Black Thought and Hometown Heroes Party with Purpose

Story by Franceska Rouzard


Many in the region may remember Saturday, February 21st as the night of a wicked wintry storm. However, the funkiest and flyest of Philadelphia will remember it as the night they shared a dance floor with brilliant activists like Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, and talented artists and pioneers the likes of Philadelphia’s own Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Rich Medina [yea we’re claiming you too Rich!].


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Hosted by the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, an organization co-founded by long time friends Black Thought and Dr. Johnson Dias, The 5th Annual Let’s Move It: Philly aimed to raise money for Linglebach Elementary [learn how you can help #SaveLingelbach], one of many educational institutions in Philadelphia who received laughable, in a not so funny kind of way, discretionary funding for this school year. Held at Trilogy [formerly Palmer Social Club], attendees described it simply as, “a good time for a good cause.”

Many who braved the weather and ventured to the event, from near and far, expressed openly they were “glad they came out!”


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Personally I, as a Philly transplant, was in awe of the entire evening. It is difficult to pinpoint a sole source of wonderment. It could have been the overwhelming turn out given the weather. Perhaps, it was bankhead bouncing to Busta Rhymes with an accomplished, well dressed sociology professor. Conceivably, it was the easy-going nature of Grammy-Award winning, world-renowned artists mingling with guests just like all the others.

No doubt it was the DJ sets and live performance from Black Thought, which so well complimented the energy of the evening – originating with the cause(s) the GrassROOTS Community Foundation stand for.


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I was afforded the privilege of speaking with Dr. Johnson Dias, Rich Medina, and Black Thought about the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, the Linglebach Elementary cause, and future plans for Philadelphia.



FR: On the home page of the GrassROOTS Community Foundation’s website, there is a big banner that says “A Tribute to Tanji Dewberry”. Who is that?

Dr. Johnson Dias: Tanji Dewberry is a friend, author, mentor and a trailblazer in ‘Super Camp‘, a summer day camp for Philadelphia’s inner city girls. Her dream was to extend it to Philadelphian boys. She died in a fire trying to rescue her children. Last year, her mother, Cynthia Mitchell, funded three boys to Super Camp.

FR: What does it take to put an event like this together?

Black Thought: It takes a lot of planning and flexibility and the delegation of many responsibilities. It takes a strong and reliable team, people you can trust and who can improvise. It takes a village.

FR: I read the GrassROOTS Community Foundation has a three year commitment to Linglebach Elementary to create an after school program. What are the next steps?

Black Thought: After tonight, we plan to give a nice sized contribution. Our next fundraiser is a 5k race called Roots Rock Run.

FR: Dr. Johnson Dias and Black Thought have decided to take their success and help the city of Philly, and others. What motivates you, Rich?

Rich Medina: I have a son, a 7 year old. Also, I went to college so I know the importance of education and learning. However, I feel I learned even more during college in my extracurricular activities — outside of the classroom. For that reason, I remain a student even now. I believe in a lifetime of learning and promoting wellness and forward thinking.


More info about the GrassROOTS Community Foundation

Website | Twitter | Facebook


 Photos courtesy of Saeed Briscoe

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