Hey Boost Friends™,
Let’s talk about impact. If you’ve been keeping up with the Kwanzaverse, you’d know that Kwanza is on a mission to boost a billion lives, and this is reflected in every action she takes.
Throughout 2023, Kwanza made moves that created opportunities for communities of color and enhanced belonging. She built statements in line with her commitment to create lasting impact.
This article highlights some of the impact that she made through culture, community, and capital. For the complete list of wins and accomplishments in 2023, see Kwanza’s year in review page.
Making Impact Through Culture
Culture changes hearts and minds. If you can impact folks through art and media, you can change the world.
As you know, Kwanza creates music and content to help motivate, empower, and inspire. She uses her voice and art as a catalyzing positive force for good. So, it should come as no surprise that she uses culture to inspire action and enhance belonging.
In 2023, Kwanza released a new single titled, “We Buildin’ (Reggaeton Mix),” which celebrates the power of collective action and positive change. The song highlights the possibilities that come from building opportunities and serves as a reminder that we can build the lives we want and achieve a better future by taking action.
Kwanza also created impact through culture when she spoke at various events, sharing her experiences and inspiring people to become their best selves. At the My Dream Summit, she and her partner in business and life, José E. Feliciano, engaged in a thoughtful and impactful conversation with author, distinguished professor, and media personality, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. The conversation was focused on building opportunities for economic prosperity and social mobility for traditionally underserved communities.
At the Women’s Leadership Breakfast held by Girls Inc. Los Angeles, Kwanza encouraged girls to embrace their power, be confident, and make Queen Moves Only. She encouraged girls to embrace their power, be confident, and make Queen Moves Only. As Kwanza stated in the past, “Making Queen Moves Only is about being the boss of the things that matter to you. It’s about taking action with inspiration, purpose, intention, and strategy.”
The event featured other panelists such as Caroline Styne (President and Wine Director, The Lucques Group), Christy Haubegger (Formerly of WarnerMedia), Hillary Super (CEO of Savage X Fenty), Jesse Draper (General Partner, Halogen Ventures), Nichol Whiteman (CEO of LA Dodgers Foundation), and Journalist/Author Melissa Magsaysay.
Kwanza boosted humanity in 2023 by supporting democracy, which is essential for advancing a nation. What we have because of our democratic system puts us at an advantage and provides opportunities that others don’t have. This system is something worth protecting. As a part of Kwanza’s commitment to boost humanity, she and José hosted President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in their home.
Making Impact Through Community
Kwanza Jones is a visionary leader. Throughout the year, she made a lasting impact by connecting diverse groups of people and providing a platform for others to use their voices. The Kwanza Jones Boost Friends™ Community hosted several events and experiences this year that empowered individuals to take action, attain knowledge, and explore ways to make a difference in their community.
In March 2023, Kwanza hosted We Belong: A Fireside Chat About Women and Equity with Anita Ortiz, founder of LAinclusionista. Anita shared her knowledge on the six crucial factors for leading with inclusion and boosting DEIB in the workplace: cognizance, curiosity, courage, cultural intelligence, commitment, and collaboration. Kwanza and Anita also covered the topic of women’s rights issues and how we can work together to foster a more equitable community.
In August 2023, The Kwanza Jones Boost Friends Community and Kwanza’s SUPERCHARGED audio team held “Supercharge Your Summer,” a virtual event exclusively for The nsoro Foundation and nsoro alumni. The audio team asked the scholars what words and statements made them feel powerful. They then took those power statements and created short songs accompanied by energy-igniting lyric videos. These power statements serve as a reminder to own your power, especially in times of adversity. The SUPERCHARGED audio team members also shared their personal journeys and how they overcame challenges.
That same month, Tracy Waters, Director of Impact for SUPERCHARGED by Kwanza Jones, spoke with Dana Coleman, Executive Director at The Independent School Alliance (ISA), about the importance of access to quality education for children of underserved communities. Independent School Alliance is a leading organization that recruits, educates, counsels, and advocates for families from underrepresented communities seeking access to independent schools in Los Angeles. One of Kwanza’s core pillars is education. Through her continuous support and the help of others, ISA served over 4000 families and had close to a 100% college matriculation rate with their students. Kwanza was honored with the ISA Impact Award earlier this year.
Community starts at home. Kwanza invited Marion E. Brooks, an Internationally Certified Executive Coach, for an exclusive fireside chat with the SUPERCHARGED by Kwanza Jones team. Marion spoke about the importance of EQ vs. IQ, and how sharpening your emotional intelligence can help you advance in life.
Making Impact Through Capital
We all know money matters, but equally as important is the heart and effort you’re putting out there. Kwanza doesn’t just give donations. She provides experiences and opportunities for learning to boost growth for individuals, organizations, and communities.
On June 12th, Kwanza supported the Apollo Theater Spring Benefit with $100,000 at the Vice Chair level. Proceeds from the Spring Benefit are used to fund The Apollo’s important performing arts, education, and community initiatives.
She didn’t stop there. Kwanza went on to give the faculty and scholars of Bennett College the opportunity to attend the Apollo Spring Benefit as members of Team Kwanza. This created access, and opportunities for the faculty and scholars of Bennett College.
Kwanza also provided a boost grant to nsoro Foundation, an organization that provides access to college education for youths aging out of foster care nationwide.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California received a boost grant from Kwanza as well. This organization provides comfort, care, and support to sick children and their families throughout Southern California.
The work that both organizations do for the community is critical. That’s why Kwanza gave the boost grants to support and encourage the staff who are doing the hard work.
Remember the “We Buildin’ (Reggaeton Mix)” we mentioned earlier? Well, that song was released in time for the dedication of two new dormitories at Princeton University in May. The buildings were named after Kwanza and José E following their historic gift of $20 million to Princeton back in 2019. They are the first Black and Latino donors to have dormitories named after them throughout Princeton's 275-year history.
The donation was made to attract and support high-achieving students from all backgrounds and highlights the promise of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for the larger community.
As a result of Kwanza’s dedication to boost humanity, SoLa Impact recognized her as the 2023 Social Impact Honoree at their 2nd Annual Sneaker Ball Gala and Fundraiser. The event was held in support of the non-profit affiliate SoLa I CAN Foundation. She and José gave a gift of $50,000 in addition to a $10,000 matching grant. This propelled the foundation to raise an additional $43,000.
Proceeds from the Gala go directly to supporting the SoLa Foundation's marquee projects, the SoLa Technology and Entrepreneurship Center and the SoLa College Scholarships program, along with other education and community engagement programs.
Kwanza and José were also honored with the 2023 Impact Award from the Independent School Alliance for their efforts in promoting equity and education.
But that didn’t stop Kwanza from doing more. She invited two scholars from the SoLa I CAN Foundation to experience the magic of a professional video shoot during the production of her year in review video. This hands-on opportunity created a bridge between academic aspirations and real-world experiences, leaving a lasting impact on the scholars pursuing careers in production.
As the curtains draw on 2023, it's evident that Kwanza has laid the groundwork for a future where possibilities are endless. It was a year of highs and lows, but through it all, the mission to boost a billion lives remain unwavering.
In the Kwanzaverse, the journey of impact is ever-evolving, but the foundation has been set and we can feel the momentum. As the world steps into 2024, Kwanza stands firm in her commitment to elevate humans and humanity through culture, capital, and community.