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African Union Ambassadors Ball to honor Former National Security Advisor, Ambassador Susan Rice


Washington, D.C, November 2023 — The African Union Ambassadors Ball, a prestigious event, is excited to announce the recipient of the Kofi Annan award to Former National Security Advisor, Ambassador Susan E. Rice. This recognition is in honor of Ambassador Rice's exceptional contributions to international relations, diplomacy, and her steadfast commitment to global security. This grand affair hosted by Her Excellency Hilda Suka-Mafudze, Permanent Representative of the African Union Mission to the United States, aims to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Africa and highlight the significant contributions of the African diaspora in the United States.

Date: Friday, December 8, 2023

Time: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Location: Mayflower Hotel

1127 Connecticut Ave NW

Washington, D.C. 20036


Ambassador Susan Rice has been a trailblazer in the field of foreign policy, serving the United States with distinction and dedication. As the Former National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama, Ambassador Rice played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy, focusing on key issues such as national security, human rights, and global cooperation. 

A special segment of the AU Ambassadors Ball will be dedicated to recognizing Ambassador Susan Rice's outstanding contributions to international relations and diplomacy. The event will highlight Ambassador Rice's legacy of leadership, emphasizing her advocacy for peace, security, and human rights on the international stage. The event will also celebrate the achievements of individuals within the African diaspora who have made significant contributions to diplomacy, public service, economic development, and international relations.

The AU Ambassadors Ball promises to be a memorable evening of culture, diplomacy, and celebration, as we pay tribute to Ambassador Susan E. Rice. Join us as we come together to strengthen ties, promote unity, and honor the rich tapestry of the African diaspora.

Invited guests includes: Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Director General of the World Trade Organization - Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Beninese-French Singer Songwriter and Actress - Angelique Kidjo, Former National Security Advisor to the United States - Susan Rice, English Actor and Rapper - Idris Elba, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Afreximbank executives, US Exim Bank Chair – Reta Jo Lewis, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University - Phylicia Rashad, and many other special guests.

About the AU Ambassadors Ball

The AU Ambassadors Ball is a momentous occasion that brings together diplomats, dignitaries, business leaders, and distinguished members of society. It serves as a platform to foster international relations, celebrate cultural diversity, and promote goodwill.

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism announces 17 inaugural Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative grantees

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism today announced the inaugural grant recipients of the Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative. The two-year, $2 million grant program will provide core operating support and capacity-building funding to nonprofit and for-profit local news organizations serving the Philadelphia region.  

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative supports established Philadelphia-area news organizations with approximate annual revenue between $500,000 and $5 million. The grantees were selected from a pool who responded to an open call for applications.  

Each grant is intended to help address the specific sustainability needs of a news organization serving a key Philadelphia community. Funding focuses on notable sustainability drivers such as new revenue strategies, reaching new audiences, and the digital transformation of legacy news organizations.  

The inaugural grantees are:  

  • African Cultural Alliance of North America – $100,000 to foster greater representation in local and mainstream media coverage and expand revenue and audience growth.  
  • Billy Penn (WHYY) – $100,000 for the broadening of audience engagement and reader revenue.   
  • Chestnut Hill Local – $100,000 for the hiring of a business growth officer focused on developing new products and identifying new revenue streams. 
  • Civic Capital Consulting / Generocity – $100,000 for the hiring of a fulltime journalist and a community narratives editor to expand Generocity’s journalism and community engagement throughout the five-county region.  

  • FunTimes Magazine – $100,000 for the hiring of a Community Navigator to spearhead outreach programs and amplify African and Caribbean Diaspora community voices in service of new audience engagement and new revenue. 
  • Kensington Voice – $100,000 to help generate new financial support by addressing news, information, and equity gaps through the expansion of community-centered reporting in North Philadelphia. 
  • Love Now Media – $100,000 to support the hiring of a managing director responsible for streamlining processes, relationship management, and facilitating public programs that offer increased community journalism, storytelling workshops, training, and potential new revenue.  
  • Newspaper Media Group – $100,000 for investment in digital innovation, increased language translation services to appeal to diverse audiences, and the testing of new reader revenue strategies.   

  • Esperanza – $150,000 to strengthen and streamline operations, integrate new technologies, and continue to enhance digital presence to attract and retain a new generation of readers and financial supporters. 

  • Philadelphia Gay News – $100,000 to make significant investments in future sustainability through digital transformation, the addition of new operations and journalism staff, and the addition of a multimedia news component.
  • PhillyCAM – $100,000 to support enhanced engagement activities, raise awareness, grow trust, and build community through the creation of satellite locations and media partnerships in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. 

  • Schneps Media – Metro Philadelphia – $150,000 for in-depth investigative reporting focused on the Philadelphia housing crisis and an increased investment in staffing and digital outreach efforts with a heightened focus on social media, video, and podcasts. 
  • Technically Media – $150,000 for investments in an array of new business and information tools and services: A tech workforce data dashboard, audience analytics tools, a guide to ethically using generative artificial intelligence in local newsrooms, a reader advisory panel, and support for the addition of a social media engagement manager. 

  • The Philadelphia Citizen – $100,000 to significantly increase social media outreach and other data-gathering activities; hiring a part-time social media associate, intern, and video editor, and capital investments in equipment, each designed to improve revenue potential and sustainability 

  • The Philadelphia Tribune – $150,000 to hire a marketing director and investigative reporter, each a driver of new digital subscriptions and funding. 

  • Trace Media Inc. – $150,000 to expand the Trace Philadelphia bureau to expand fundraising plans and enhance resources available for coverage of gun violence to assist local media to improve reporting of this critical issue affecting the lives of Philadelphians.  

  • WURD Radio – $150,000 for the hiring of a key executive leader focused on revenue and responsible for spearheading the development of a comprehensive news strategy, which will align with WURD’s broader event, marketing, and digital initiatives. 

Each Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative grantee will be invited to participate in quarterly meetings with other grantees designed to allow for the exchange of learnings, successes, and challenges. The Lenfest Institute will use these meetings as an opportunity to share expertise with Initiative grantees from our local and national partners and highlight lessons learned from this group with the broader community.    

The Philadelphia Local News Sustainability Initiative is The Lenfest Institute’s latest investment in local news organizations in Philadelphia. The Institute’s work supports sustainable solutions for the next era of local journalism. Our goal is to help build a more transparent, connected, and equitable Philadelphia by linking residents to their neighbors, to news organizations, and to information resources help them to flourish.   


City and School District Provide Update on Back-to-School Safety and Programming for the 2023-2024 School Year

PHILADELPHIA — At a press briefing today, the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia School District and the School Board announced plans for keeping students safe during the upcoming school year. 

“Our students’ security and well-being are essential for their learning and academic achievement,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As we continue to address violence and crime citywide, one of our top priorities is the safety of all students throughout the school day. As we look ahead to a new school year, the City is glad to continue its partnership with the School District of Philadelphia on programs designed to keep children safe and engaged.” 

The Office of Children and Families (OCF) provided an update on Out-of-School Time (OST) and other programming in advance of the return to school. This fall, OCF is working to engage over 6,400 students at 129 OST programs, and with hundreds more students in Parks and Recreation, Free Library and Department of Human Services programs. 

“We all know that the hours after school are a critical time for young people,” said Vanessa Garrett Harley, Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families. “They are at greater risk for unsafe behavior when not positively active, engaged and supervised. Research also confirms that students who participate in quality Out-of-School Time programs are more likely to attend school and to be physically active and less likely to become victims of violence or be involved in violent activity.

Most OST programs are located in School District of Philadelphia schools. Charter, parochial, private, and community-based locations including recreation centers also host programs.

Other OCF department programs are: 

  • Philadelphia Parks & Recreation provides affordable, fun after-school programming for more than 2,000 students at 100 sites across the city. Programs serve students aged 6 to 12, provide a snack, homework help and recreational time until 6 p.m. On School District half days, students go on trips (i.e., ice skating, environmental centers, etc.). Visit to learn more.

  • The Free Library’s Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program  (LEAP) returns for a new school year at all libraries this September. This drop-in, after-school program focuses on literacy, STEAM, wellness, as well as support, collaboration, communication, creativity, and social skills. LEAP offers homework assistance in-person and online with live tutoring through Homework Help Online from 9 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.  

  • The Free Library is also hiring high school students to work with the LEAP Program, who will design and implement programs, help with homework, and serve as peer mentors to younger LEAP participants. Check with your local library for more information on LEAP. The limited-edition, commemorative 50 Years of Hip-Hop library card is also available at the Central and local branches while supplies last. More information on all the Library programs is available on the Free Library’s website.

  • The Department of Human Services is enrolling now for two youth development programs: Philadelphia Youth Leadership Council and Boys and Girls T.R.A.C.K. For students in grades 7 to 11, the program offers structured activities, community service, mentorship, life skills, and more. Visit to learn about those programs.

  • Intensive Prevention Services, or IPS, is for youth ages 10 through 19, for more intensive social, emotional, or academic support. Visit to find the site closest to you.

  • Older youth are also encouraged to take advantage of Community Evening Resource Centers (CERC). At CERCs, youth can get help with homework, boost their photography skills, learn to cook, or take part in a movie night. The CERCs also provide mentorship and coaching to help with family engagement and conflict resolution, and are open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. To learn more, visit

  • Don’t Fall Down in the Hood is a community-based prevention program for youth ages 12 to 18 who have been impacted by violence. The goal is to protect youth and support their growth into healthy adults by providing interventional treatment to lessen harm and prevent future risk of violence. Parents can learn more online by visiting

  • PHLpreK is enrolling for the 2023-2024 school year. This year, the program will add 950 new PHLpreK seats to serve 5,250 students in over 225 pre-K centers throughout the city. Interested families can reach out directly to participating centers, or call 844-PHL-PREK (844-745-7735) to find a program. Children who will be 3 or 4 by September 1, 2023 are eligible, regardless of their family’s income.

The District is also expanding its Safe Path program, which provides additional supervision and support for students traveling from school to reduce the rate of violence experienced by students. The program launched in 2022-2023 with a single-contracted provider, The Institute for the Development of African-American Youth, Inc. (IDAAY) to support six schools and then expanded to an additional seven schools throughout the year. Thanks to a 2022 PCCD VIP Grant, in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Penn Injury Science Center (PISC), this program will expand to an additional nine schools.

All District employees will also be trained this school year in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) Active Shooter Response Training, a Violent Critical Incident (VCI) training model that encourages staff and students to respond based on their situation, rather than rely on centralized instructions in dynamic times of crisis. Under ALICE training, staff and students are oriented to different options to respond to a school intruder/active shooter.  Additional courses will be offered to Administration and Support Staff, to include age appropriate lesson plans for teachers to use with their students in K-3rd, 4th-8th, and 9th-12th.    

“Safe environments are critical for our students and staff to learn and grow, which is why safety is one of our top priorities in the District’s new five-year strategic plan, Accelerate Philly,” said Philadelphia School District Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D. “We cannot accelerate student academic outcomes if our students do not have safe environments where they can learn and grow. We are committed to working closely with our partners to keep a close eye on what’s going on in our communities, and provide extra resources when needed to support the safety of our schools, staff and students.”

The City of Philadelphia has over 650 crossing guards actively assigned to locations for the upcoming school year, and will continue to process applications, provide trainings, and onboard new hires over the coming weeks to staff additional locations. To learn more about the program, and submit an application please visit

For more information visit the City's website.

IRS announces special Saturday hours for face-to-face help; dozens of Taxpayer Assistance Centers open across the nation

IRS Face-to-Face Saturday Help | Internal Revenue Service

EVEV Acknowledgement Language for Partners

FunTimes Magazine is a part of Every Voice, Every Vote, a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. The William Penn Foundation provides lead support with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, Peter and Judy Leone, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Harriet and Larry Weiss, and the Wyncote Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.



Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Now Available

Attention All Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers: If your loan is $150,000 or less, you may be eligible to apply for direct forgiveness through SBA using their new online portal. See HERE to learn more about the details and eligibility for the forgiveness program. And for help submitting your application through the portal, check out this training video from the SBA.

Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT Program 

Wells Fargo has launched their NeighborhoodLIFT Program to help eligible homebuyers by providing money for down payments.

This program can help you buy a home of your own by reducing the strain of a down payment and closing costs. You may be eligible even if this isn't your first home purchase.
To learn more about the program and to see if you qualify, visit HERE.

For additional information on resources for business owners, check out Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation's (PIDC) regularly updated list of available opportunities and funding programs.

The Merchants Fund launched a Merchant Relief Fund to raise additional funds to support Philadelphia small businesses with critical need. To support the fund, please visit All donations are tax-deductible and 100% are given to a business in need.