will.i.am Donates $100K to New Zealand's Manaiakalani Education Trust
May 9, 2013
Grammy-award winning hip hop artist Will.i.am jetted into Auckland for a company party last night, but he's not going home without leaving something behind.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman has donated $100,000 to a network of low-decile schools in the city's low-income areas toward providing children with new computers and iPads.
He surprised the children at Point England Primary School where he handed the cheque over to the Manaiakalani Trust this morning.
The trust will spread the money across nine schools in Auckland's Glen Innes, Pt England and Panmure - the city's oldest state housing communities where 95 per cent of the students are Maori and Pasifika.
Growing up in a "the projects" of East Los Angeles, Will.i.am, real name William Adams, said he could easily have "ended up in prison" but by surrounding himself with good friends and a support group, he was able to become a success.
"Music and arts literally saved my life," he said.
And now he's trying to better the lives of Kiwi kids too by giving them a "jump-start" and encouraging them to become scientists, mathematics and engineers so that they can compete in the technological future.
"What's coming is something that we haven't seen in humanity - this technological revolution that is transforming society as a whole. As the world advances, kids in inner cities are left behind and not even given the tools to compete in the future that we are walking into," he said.
The singer has a passion for science and technology and plans on going back to school in September to study computer science.
He's tossing up between MIT, "where all the wizards go", or California Institutes of the Arts on his home turf.
Last year, Will.i.am teamed up with NASA to premiere his song, Reach for the Stars, from the Curiosity rover on Mars.
It was transmitted to Earth via radio waves.
The song was part of a special educational event for US students when he teamed with the space agency for his i.am.FIRST programme.
Will.i.am was in New Zealand to perform at the Hallenstein Brother's "Ultimate After Party".
will.i.am Beams Into TEDxCERN
By Lilly Kam on 05/03/2013 @ 07:02 PM
Earlier today will.i.am participated in TEDxCERN near Geneva, Switzerland on stage virtually via video link, engaging with talented student performers and a student scientist.
will.i.am watched as two school choirs jointly performed “Reach For the Stars,” the song he debuted on Mars, beamed back to Earth from the Curiosity Rover last summer. The student choirs were from the Collège Internationale Ferney Voltaire in France, and the International School of Geneva in Switzerland.
After the performance, will.i.am took on a live Q&A session with young scientist and TEDxCERN speaker Brittany Wenger, the 2012 Google Science Fair Grand Prize winner. Brittany began studying neural networks when she was just 13 years old. She won the Google Science Fair for her project, “Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer.” Her Cloud4Cancer service aggregates data from biopsies done with the fine-needle aspiration process, instead of the more painful surgical option.
Here's a summary of will.i.am and Brittany's conversation:
Brittany Wenger: "You’ve been doing a lot of work with kids encouraging them to pursue STEM (Science Technology Engineering + Mathematics), why is that?"
will.i.am: "The world needs more smart young people who are career-ready to fill the jobs of tomorrow in science, physics, medicine, energy, aviation, automotive, space exploration and many other fields. Today it’s a core requirement to be proficient with computers. More people need to know how to write code, the language that powers computing. Even industries you don’t think of as STEM-based, like the fashion business, now rely on computing and STEM skills every day -- for example, the fashion industry uses very sophisticated pattern-making and fabric-cutting machinery. For students who aspire to work at global centers of excellence like CERN, STEM skills are essential!"
Brittany Wenger: "If kids of today learn more about the science of tomorrow, what will be the impact in the world?"
will.i.am: "Outstanding young people who study STEM today will be the leaders of tomorrow. They will invent new computing technologies, kick it up in social media, develop new time-saving apps, and find better diagnostic methods and treatments for patients facing serious illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer's."
Brittany Wenger: "Have you visited CERN or the Large Hadron Collider? If so, what did you think of it?" will.i.am: "I would be honored to be invited to visit! Serious STEM skills were involved in building the Large Hadron Collider."
After the Q&A session, Brittany and the attendees seated in the audience bid will.i.am farewell.
TEDxCERN is an independently organized one day conference under license by TED. Photo courtesy of TEDxCERN.
will.i.am Makes It Loud at FIRST Robotics Championship 2013
Apr 29, 2013
This morning at the FIRST Robotics Championship, Dean Kamen welcomed FIRST's most famous supporter to the stage during the Opening Ceremonies, to the roar of the 30,000 attendees at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. But to FIRST participants, will.i.am isn't just a famous pop star; he's their biggest cheerleader.
will.i.am has a long history of supporting STEM, whether it be broadcasting his songs into space with NASA or donating his time and money to The Science Museum in London. Nonetheless, it has always been clear that FIRST is what is most inspiring to him. Indeed, as Dean Kamen presented will.i.am with this inaugural "Make It Loud" Award, he credited the students of FIRST as his greatest inspiration for going back to college to study computer science. During his address to the crowd, he encouraged students to continue pursuing STEM, saying that the next great superstars of tomorrow are not going to be entertainers or athletes, but innovators and thinkers. He believes that we're entering an era similar to the 1920s, and America is in need of the Edison or Tesla.
Later in the day I attended a press conference where will.i.am doubled down on his message. Mentioning last night's start of the NFL Draft, he talked about how kids grow up wanting to be famous athletes and musicians, but what we really need is for kids to have STEM professionals such as Mark Zuckerberg as their true role models. He said, "In a way, America is still a developing country," because we are not educating our kids to be global innovators.
To will.i.am, "Make it Loud" means getting the message of STEM out there and showing the world why events like FIRST Robotics are what is really cool. Speaking personally, he said people in music or fashion today weren't necessarily cool when they were kids, but because of the dedication to their craft and the way they express that passion, they were able to succeed. Our job is to identify those kids who are expressing themselves through making and inventing things, because that is how we truly make STEM loud.
Asked why FIRST stands out from other STEM competitions, will.i.am talked about the culture FIRST has created. 400 teams are here in St. Louis from all over the world and from diverse communities across America, yet the culture here at the Championship is singularly united in its passion for robotics. One of will.i.am's driving factors for promoting STEM is to transform Boyle Heights in East LA, the neighborhood where he grew up. During the press conference, he announced he hopes to help that transformation by sponsoring an FRC Team. He even brought Karley with him to St. Louis, a high school girl from Boyle Heights who will lead the team. Asked about her time here this weekend, Karley said, "I thought I was the only one like me." Thanks to Will, Karley knows she's not alone. And with his sponsorships, Karley hopes to be at the Championship next year, with a team of other kids transforming Boyle Heights and a robot ready to win it all!
10,000+ Students From Around the World Put Custom-Built Robots to the Test at 2013 FIRST Championship
Apr 28, 2013
This week, more than 10,000 students from around the globe traveled to St. Louis, Mo. to put their engineering skills to the test at the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, held at the Edward Jones Dome.
The three-day event, April 24-27, came down to a heart-pounding conclusion Saturday night in front of a roaring crowd of 25,000 when three teams from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; The Woodlands, Texas; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada won the coveted FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Championship. In this year’s game, ULTIMATE ASCENT, two Alliances made up of three teams each try to score as many flying discs into their goals as possible during the two-minute and 15-second match. This year, 2,546 FRC teams in 17 countries participated in 77 Regional and District competitions.
In all, more than 10,000 students, ages 6 to 18, participated in the Championship events. At the Opening Ceremonies, accomplished inventor and FIRST founder Dean Kamen recognized pop superstar will.i.am for his volunteer work with the not-for-profit. “I’m proud to help FIRST inspire young people to pursue science and technology careers,” will.i.am said. “The experience that students gain and the values they learn in FIRST programs are crucial to creating the innovative problem solvers of tomorrow.”
will.i.am Wins 2013 Honorary CLIO Award
Apr 22, 2013
The CLIO Awards has named musician and entrepreneur will.i.am the recipient of the 2013 Honorary CLIO Award.
It's the second year that the best-of-advertising show has granted the Honorary CLIO Award, which recognizes exceptional creative professionals not necessarily working in the ad industry. Last year's recipients were photographer Annie Leibovitz and food television personality Anthony Bourdain.
will.i.am will accept the honor during a ceremony at New York City's Museum of Natural History on May 15. Actor Eric Stonestreet, best known for his Emmy-winning role on Modern Family, will host the ceremony.
In addition to his career as a recording artist and performer, will.i.am serves as a consultant to—and collaborator with—brands on pop culture, business and technology. Since 2011, he has counted among his salutations the title director of creative innovation for Intel, a role that the chipmaker says isn't a traditional endorsement role and, reports Fortune, involves regular brainstorming with the company's staffers. will.i.am has also worked with Coca-Cola in recent years to invent a line of products made in part from recycled materials. He was an early investor in the now-popular Beats line of headphones, along with rapper Dr. Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine, and has also launched products like an iPhone camera enhancer.
"will.i.am has not only mastered music but has also transcended his art form, extending his boundless creativity into areas like politics, technology and philanthropy," said Nicole Purcell, executive director of the CLIO Awards. "He embodies all of the values the CLIOs represent by inspiring change and encouraging us to think differently."
i.am.angel Teams Up with NASA to Launch the “Reach for the Stars” Space Apps Challenge
By Lilly Kam on 04/15/2013 @ 03:00 PM
The i.am.angel Foundation has teamed up with NASA for the 2013 International Space Apps Challenge, a 48-hour coding marathon to build apps related to space exploration, taking place April 20th – 21st in over 75 cities around the world!
Our “Reach for the Stars” challenge specifically addresses the need for engaging youth in space exploration, and encouraging them to build their interest and skills in STEM subjects.
will.i.am says: “If it wasn’t for the work that NASA did, we wouldn’t have the computers that we have today. For us to continue to advance, it’s important to give today’s youth all the skill sets they will need to innovate, in order for tomorrow to be just as robust as it is today. It’s my new mission now to use my music and my career to inspire the youth of the world to pursue success in STEM.”
The challenge was inspired by will.i.am’s song “Reach for the Stars,” which made history as the first song ever to be beamed to Earth from another planet. It made its debut in August 2012 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where it was transmitted from Mars by the Curiosity rover.
Check out our “Reach for the Stars” Challenge on the International Space Apps website, and get coding!
will.i.am and The Prince's Trust Launch New Education Initiative
Mar 11, 2013
Musician and philanthropist will.i.am has launched a new Prince’s Trust scheme to engage disadvantaged young people with technology and science, following his £500,000 donation to The Trust in 2012.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman visited the Science Museum in London to launch The Prince’s Trust workshops, which will be run in partnership with the Science Museum in schools across the country.
The new partnership will see Science Museum outreach staff visiting Prince’s Trust xl clubs in schools across the country to deliver Launchbox workshops aimed at inspiring and engaging 13-19 year olds in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The Prince's Trust’s xl clubs help young people struggling at school and at risk of exclusion.
The launch of the workshops comes ahead of a Prince’s Trust report to be released tomorrow revealing a lack of digital skills among the younger generation. The research, conducted by Ipsos MORI, shows a quarter of unemployed young people (24%) “dread” filling in online job applications and one in ten (11%) admit they avoid using computers.
will.i.am said: "Inspiring young people through science and technology is a powerful tool and I am proud to see my donation to The Prince’s Trust being put into action to help engage disadvantaged youth who would not otherwise have access to technology and science education."
He continued, "These workshops are an amazing way to engage disadvantaged youngsters who don’t have this sort of access to technology and science otherwise.
"Today I have met with young people who are being supported by The Trust to improve their digital skills or seek to make their living through STEM related subjects.
"Through this new initiative, we will connect many more disadvantaged youngsters to the worlds of computing, and science and technology."
Martina Milburn, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust said: "We work with the hardest-to-reach pupils, who may not have access to a computer at home and often don't have basic IT skills. The Trust is using will.i.am's generous donation to engage these young people in science and technology while they're still at school."
She continued, “We're also giving young people more access to IT to support them into work and helping more unemployed young people set up technology-related businesses. The donation from will.i.am is transforming how we help young people in all these areas."
Toby Parkin, Outreach and Resources Manager, from the Science Museum said: "We know the importance of making science exciting and accessible to everyone. Our initiative with The Prince’s Trust aims to encourage youngsters who may not have considered science and technology as a possible career path. The workshops will span the country across 2013 and see many more young people experimenting with technology and science."
will.i.am met with HRH The Prince of Wales, The Prince’s Trust president, last year, to discuss his support for disadvantaged young people at The Trust with funding from his i.am angel foundation.
Zuckerberg, will.i.am Encourage Kids to Code in New Short Film
Feb 26, 2013
Code.org wants you — to learn computer programming. The non-profit organization has enlisted some of the most recognized names in technology, music, and sports to encourage students to take an interest in coding.
In a short film directed by documentarian Lesley Chilcott (producer of Waiting for Superman and An Inconvenient Truth), entrepreneurs like Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft's Bill Gates, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey explain the intricacies of coding, or rather, the lack thereof.
"A lot of the coding that people do is actually fairly simple," Makinde Adeagbo, an early Facebook engineer, said in the video. "It's more about the process of breaking down problems than coming up with complicated algorithms, as people traditionally think about it."
Dropbox creator Drew Houston likened it to learning an instrument or playing a sport: "It starts out being very intimidating, but you kind of get the hang of it over time."
Miami Heat center Chris Bosh can vouch for that. The athlete studied computer imaging at Georgia Tech before joining the NBA, and proudly carries his coding knowledge through life.
"When I was in school, I was in this after-school group called the Whiz Kids," Bosh said in the film. "When people found out, they laughed at me, you know all these things. I'm like, 'I don't care, I think it's cool, I'm learning a lot and some of my friends have jobs."
Coding attracts everyone from childhood geeks to real-life rock stars, including Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am, who pointed to the modern technology used to communicate, to bank, to gain and share information, yet "none of us know how to read and write code," he said.
Code.org wants to remedy that by offering free online programs for students of all ages, as well providing tutorials for in-classroom learning. The organization even invites teachers to apply to bring computer programming to schools around the country.
"Our policy is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find," Zuckerberg admitted. "The whole limit in the system is just that there just aren't enough people that are trained and have these skills today."
According to the film, one million of the best jobs in America may go unfilled because only one in 10 schools actually teach students how to code. Code.org points to a state of unbalanced opportunity, when, by 2020, there will be 1 million more jobs than students who can fill them, despite the notion that computer science is among the highest-paid college degrees.
For more details on the coding industry and the future of computer programming, check out Code.org's full infographic below. Also, watch the organization's What Most Schools Don't Teach short film in its entirety above.
Bill Clinton & will.i.am Visit L.A. to Talk About Education
Feb 8, 2013
TRANS4M 2013: A conference where geek meets cool
Rock stars have plenty to brag about but only will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas can say his song is literally out of the world. "Reach for the Stars," made history by becoming the first track to be played on Mars through NASA’s Curiosity Rover. Now will.i.am continues to push boundaries closer to home—and he’s doing it with help from a different kind of star, former President Bill Clinton.
The annual Trans4m conference, which opened yesterday at the California Science Center, was hosted by will.i.am’s i.am.angel foundation. Harkening back to his roots in Boyle Heights, the foundation works to transform communities by focusing on wellness and implementing STEAM. The program works in conjunction with Discovery Education to improve the ways children learn in school.
will.i.am, who donned a black monotone suit with gold-plated sunglasses, provided the cool while Intel futurist Brian David Johnson was the "geeky" counterpart who curated the conference. Their riffs on stage were light-hearted, but the message was clear: "We need to educate to innovate," said Todd Park, the country's Chief Technology Officer, adding, "May the force be with us." (No geek fest is complete without a Star Wars reference.)
The conference was split up into panels and featured a plethora of panelists including Dean Kamen, who will.i.am described as "today’s Edison." All the panelists have colloborated with the foundation on improving and/or implementing STEAM into school. Each panel included students from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights from the i.am.College Track program. They echoed the need for computer science and art courses—and better school lunches. A highlight was one seven-year-old girl who came on stage holding onto a stuffed animal while introducing the will.i.am-inspired game she coded. The audience cheered when will.i.am, in awe of her skills, prompted her to be his "teacher." His lack of technological know-how was the conference's running joke. At one point he suggested perhaps babies were gestating with iPads in the womb.
The day culminated with the most anticipated moment of the conference, a keynote speech by Bill Clinton. Sprinkled with humorous anecdotes including how he felt like the kid from Home Alone when Hillary got the "travelling job," he said her absence inspired him to learn more about science, a lifelong passion. Clinton's speech touched on a variety of issues, but he focused on the need to fix how schools teach different subjects by underscoring the importance of the arts and sciences.
The conference closed with will.i.am reiterating the goals for Trans4m: "Kids are the architects of the future. We need to give them the tools to design their tomorrow to be different than their predetermined future."
5 Inspiring Moments from yesterday's confab
5. will.i.am on Waiting For Superman, the film that inspired his efforts:
"I knew my neighrborhood was bad but I didn’t know it was that bad… maybe I can be a superman. Let me transform myself to accept the responsibility for why my neighborhood is that way."
4. will.i.am on change:
"Whether Paul Revere was a real person or a metaphor, he came yelling the “British are coming,”… well innovation, change, opportunity, transformation are coming and here’s how to do it. Boo ya."
3. Leland D. Melvin of NASA on equality and justice:
"Equality is not justice. We need to make sure every kid gets what they need, it’s not going to be equal cause there might be a little more for others but if they get what they need they can compete on any sphere on this planet."
2. Bill Clinton on kids who grow up in tough neighborhoods
"A lot of them are unusually alert to their surroundings at a very young age. They are born for science…the obervational powers they need to survive on the streets are the same they need to apply in class."
1. Bill Clinton on the value of collective intelligence
"If you take 20 people with average intelligence and pu them in a room to work together for a year and you take a guy with 200 IQ and you leave him alone… overtime the people with average intelligence will make better decisions than the one genius… We are inherently a cooperative species."
will.i.am Announces Grant to Send Boyle Heights Students to China
Feb 7, 2013
100,000 Strong Foundation Gift to Expand Educational, Cultural Opportunities
Entertainer and philanthropist will.i.am on Thursday announced a major grant from the 100,000 Strong Foundation to his i.am.boyle heights center to create new opportunities for area students to learn Mandarin and study in China.
The $100,000 contribution is part of an ongoing effort by the 100,000 Strong Foundation – launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last month – to strengthen the US-China relationship by expanding and diversifying the number of Americans studying Mandarin and studying in China. will.i.am announced the 100,000 Strong Foundation gift along with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and students from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of LA at the i.am.angel Foundation’s 2013 TRANS4M conference at the California Science Center.
“The partnership between i.am.boyle heights and the 100,000 Strong Foundation will give kids from my neighborhood the opportunity of a lifetime,” will.i.am said. “Learning Mandarin and studying in China can be transformative. I am so grateful to the 100,000 Strong Foundation for helping open doors for these bright and talented young people.”
Over the next two summers, the 100,000 Strong Foundation gift will send at least 10 students from Theodore Roosevelt High School to China through Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA). It will also help create an after-school Mandarin language program at the i.am.boyle heights center.
“We are thrilled to be working with will.i.am and the i.am.angel Foundation to create new opportunities for Boyle Heights students to learn Mandarin and study abroad,” said Carola McGiffert, president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. “The 100,000 Strong Foundation knows that the future of the US-China relationship rests with our students. They are the leaders of tomorrow who will solve our greatest global challenges.”
Said Mayor Villaraigosa: “The city of LA is proud to be a partner of the 100,000 Strong Foundation and to help carry out its very important mission. And as a Boyle Heights native, today’s announcement is particularly special. The opportunities created through 100,000 Strong and i.am.angel will arm these students with the cultural understanding, language skills and global experiences to chart our future.”
The 100,000 Strong Foundation works with the Confucius Institute at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), which will provide Mandarin language and martial arts classes two days a week starting in September and will offer additional opportunities for Boyle Heights students to study in China under the Chinese government’s Bridge Scholarship program.
will.i.am: Why Coke, Intel and Others Love to Pick His Brain
Jan 14, 2013
STEM to STEAM: Art Is Key to Building a Strong Economy
Nov 13, 2012
We recently had the pleasure of collaborating in Richard Saul Wurman's new improvisational conference WWW, which came to life for the first, and perhaps only, time in September. One of many powerful moments of conversation was when Will.i.am took the stage to talk about the importance of getting children involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- the STEM subjects. The lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas has become an impassioned spokesperson for how STEM will power the economy and lift neighborhoods from poverty, and for how we need to do more to get kids to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
Talking to each other after his talk, we both realized it's no coincidence that someone like Will.i.am -- an artist himself -- makes the case for STEM the best. As the CEO of a global transmedia company, and president of the preeminent school of art and design, we both witness the amazing thinking and making that creative people -- artists and designers -- engage in every day. It's why, like Will.i.am himself has recently started to champion, we need to include Art and design when we talk about how STEM powers innovation. We need to add Art to turn STEM to STEAM.
Our conversation together reinforced three important points about why STEAM, not STEM, is so critical:
Artists and designers bring STEM to life:
As we all know, STEM is so important -- but on its own, sadly it's not working. Despite all of the resources being invested in it, the word is exactly what's wrong with the concept. It doesn't inspire, energize or engage the youth whom it is ultimately intended to benefit; hence our nation is falling desperately behind.
Just looking around the room at WWW, when an artist like Yo Yo Ma or Will.i.am speaks or performs, you instantly recognize the attention the Arts commands. There's a level of storytelling and pure emotion that only they can convey that makes people sit up and take note. It's artists and designers who tell stories to move, to inspire, to entertain, to persuade. This same creative thinking that will be required to solve the gnarly challenges the 21st century presents to us.
As an example, there was a recent campaign by the Lumina Foundation called KnowHow2Go, aimed at getting high school kids prepared for college. It reminds them of the required courses they will need to take to be considered for admission -- Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Foreign Languages. Lumina is right: these are the subjects many colleges value. But what about the important work of getting the students tuned in to this message? That was done with a compelling campaign developed by the same kinds of artists and designers who come to RISD and end up working for firms like @radical.media.
Creativity will always be America's secret sauce:
What is missing from traditional STEM approaches is what has always been the "secret sauce" to American progress -- creativity. When we think about the success of the American auto industry in its heyday, or Apple's present success, it's because both pioneered taking a product that was purely functional and made it desirable. Both took a piece of technology and provided artistry.
We both see examples every day -- of students experimenting with a new material to get the desired shape, of sound editors staying up to all hours mixing to get the desired impact, of web designers testing versions to get the most intuitive experience. The artists' and designers' passionate pursuit to express themselves -- to make an impact -- gives the technology in their hands purpose and makes innovation come alive.
STEAM is gaining traction
At RISD we have been championing STEAM for a while and have truly seen a national movement starting to take shape. In addition to Will.i.am, this year Sesame Street is being brought to viewers by the letters S - T - E - A - M . Only a year ago, Elmo was interviewed on CNN about the importance of S -T - E -M.
In Rhode Island, Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced House Resolution 319, which "Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that adding art and design into federal programs that target Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States." Government agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts are working together and are both behind STEAM as well.
You can support the House resolution and let your voice be heard by signing this petition. Join us at http://stemtosteam.org/
Chase, will.i.am Open Homeownership Center in Boyle Heights
Oct 13, 2012
The FINANCIAL -- Chase and the i.am.angel Foundation announced today the opening of the Chase Homeownership Center in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. As JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced, the center will serve as a one-stop-shop for Boyle Heights residents as part of an innovative effort to help solve the community’s most pressing challenges.
“Boyle Heights is where it all began for me and I am committed to creating opportunities for the people who live here,” said will.i.am, Founder of the i.am.angel Foundation and native of Boyle Heights. “The Chase Homeownership Center is exactly the kind of thing this community needs to bring financial awareness and education to the families who need it most.”
“Our Homeownership Center here is part of our longstanding commitment to rebuild the highest-need neighborhoods and communities,” said Eric Schuppenhauer, Head of Mortgage Servicing at Chase. “Together with will.i.am and our many partners, we will help Boyle Heights’ residents work to achieve their homeownership goals.”
The center will offer face-to-face counseling for borrowers who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. In partnership with the non-profit East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), the Boyle Heights center will also offer home-buying and financial literacy education for both Chase and non-Chase customers.
The Chase Homeownership Center in Boyle Heights provides: One-on-one meetings with a mortgage specialist. On-site East LA Community Corporation counselors who specialize in financial education. Bilingual services for customers, including a team of five Spanish-speaking employees. Extended hours, including evenings and Saturdays.
Chase also announced two grants to local non-profits to help Boyle Heights residents – all part of Chase’s $7 million commitment over three years to TRANS4M Boyle Heights. The partnership with the i.am.angel Foundation and other non-profits addresses Boyle Heights' needs, including education, jobs and job training, health, home ownership and green space.
The grants are:
$200,000 to East LA Community Corporation to provide financial counseling, free income tax preparation, affordable housing development and resident-led community planning to Boyle Heights residents.
$250,000 to Valley Economic Development Center to establish a Chase-branded small business technical assistance and Capital Access Center in Boyle Heights. The center is set to open this fall, and is focused on local retail development linked to local city revitalization.
“Through the TRANS4M Boyle Heights initiative, Chase is displaying the kind of commitment to Boyle Heights that will undoubtedly change and transform lives for the better,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “Working with will.i.am and community partners ELACC and the VEDC, the Chase Homeownership Center – as well as additional grants donated by Chase – will offer homeowner, financial counseling and small business assistance that are critically needed in our Boyle Heights community.”
Will.i.am, Deepak Chopra, Wesley Clark and Princess Ameerah on making America great again
Sep 26, 2012
Coming up this evening at 9, "Piers Morgan Tonight" welcomes a panel of all-stars to talk about America's needs to grow and prosper. Joining Piers Morgan is Will.i.am, founder of the i.am.angel Foundation, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, Her Highness Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia, and Deepak Chopra.
In New York for the CGI Annual Meeting, Morgan's guests each have issues near and dear to their heart. Morgan asks Will.i.am to explain why the rest of the world is overtaking America and what can be done about it:
"It's greed and lack of leadership," the Black Eyed Peas rapper says, "to the point where I don't see why it makes sense that we spend so much money on prisons versus education."
Clark notes one of America's problems is that it is an older manufacturing economy. "One of the things we can do in America is we can move more into the Internet age in our manufacturing, in our bidding and our ordering process," the retired general explains. "It's critical."
Morgan moves on to ask about America's competition. "Is China the enemy that many Americans see it as?"
"We live in a - a very diverse world and we need to embrace that. If China is excelling in something, that's great. But guess what? America is in excelling in technology, as well," Princess Ameerah says. "I am not against a - a certain country or a certain nation excelling in something. I'm actually embracing that."
"America has to figure out what it is we are. We are our own enemy right now," Will.i.am explains, seemingly confused. "I still - somebody still hasn't told me why we spend so much money on prisons and not for education."
Chopra details many things in the world that he thinks are not OK. "Who said drones were OK? Who said economic injustice is OK? Who says 50 percent of the world is living on less than $2 a day, 20 percent less than $1 a day?"
Watch the clip, and listen to the interviews, as Piers Morgan asks his panel of experts how we can make America great again, then tune in at 9p.m. EST for the full interview.
Go Inside Will.i.am's Out-of-This-World Song Premiere
By Justin Paschal on 08/31/2012 @ 05:45 PM
Black Eyed Peas frontman becomes the first man to land (a song) on Mars. Here's why he did it.
NASA's Curiosity rover wasn't the only presence on Mars this week. To premiere his latest single, "Reach for the Stars (Mars Edition)," Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am partnered with NASA to beam the orchestra-laced track to the rover while it traveled to the Red Planet.
Upon landing, Curiosity transmitted the song back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., where Will.i.am debuted the cut for NASA officials, JPL personnel, VIP attendees and 53 students from his hometown of Boyle Heights, Calif. The transmission of the song from Mars to Earth took nearly 15 minutes.
The unusual premiere speaks to Will.i.am's larger initiative to inspire students and young people to cultivate an interest in science. At the JPL event, the artist, born William James Adams Jr., also announced a partnership between his i.am.angel Foundation and digital resource provider Discovery Education for a program called i.am.STEAM, intended to bring science, technology, engineering, art and math (or STEAM) to K-12 classrooms around the country.
Will.i.am isn't the first musician whose music cracked Earth's atmosphere. The Voyager deep-space probes, launched in 1977, house a copy of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," for instance, but Will.i.am became the first to have a song on Mars. He initially connected with NASA after buying a $5 million time block on ABC for the back-to-school one-hour TV special "i.am.FIRST-Science Is Rock and Roll" last August. (The special was filmed at the 2011 FIRST Robotics Championships for kids.) After the show, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden was piqued by Will.i.am's educational initiative, inviting him to attend the Curiosity launch at Cape Canaveral in November and putting in motion the idea to beam an original song on a 708 million mile round trip between Earth and Mars.
Will.i.am set to work on the track, enlisting a 40-piece orchestra, two youth choirs and producer/rapper Lil Jon, who contributed additional vocals. But the song's main goal was to engage the next generation in continuing science education. "We realize that as cool as this is, there was a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of STEAM education here on Earth," i.am.angel Foundation executive director Justin Paschal says.
Shortly after the song's out-of-this-world premiere, "Reach for the Stars" was made available to streaming services like Spotify and to iTunes. The track's high-profile launch coincides with the upcoming release of Will.i.am's often-delayed solo album, #WillPower, due this fall on Interscope. Will.i.am wouldn't confirm that the song will end up on the album, which reportedly features guest appearances from Britney Spears, Nicole Scherzinger and Rihanna, instead saying that the focus is more about using music to highlight his mission.
"I have a record coming out but I have a whole bunch of facts and passion projects that bring opportunity to people that are [also] coming out. So if my music brings awareness to those things, that's amazing," Will.i.am says. "I'm not doing music to sell records. Even though selling a record is cool, the song being heard is more important. I have some of the most downloaded songs [of all time]. Am I supposed to compete with myself? Because I'm probably going to lose to myself. So I need to start doing things to bring opportunity."
While the initiative stirred up media attention, Will.i.am is more focused on continuing his relationship with NASA, hoping that more will join in his efforts.
"We need the help of popular culture because if we don't care and don't start caring, then people that care about profits that contradict wellness and helping lives can manipulate the fact that we don't care," he says. "There are a whole bunch of forces out there to distract you from that. We need to make a difference."
"Reach For the Stars (Mars Edition)" Sizzle Reel
Posted on 08/29/2012 @ 09:45 AM
"Reach for the Stars," is about will.i.am's passion for science, technology and space exploration. This video is a behind the scenes look at the creation of the song.
For the first time in history, a recorded song has been beamed back to Earth from another planet. Students, special guests and news media gathered at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, to hear will.i.am's "Reach for the Stars" after it was transmitted from the surface of Mars by the Curiosity rover.
"Reach For The Stars" on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/RFTSMars
Will.i.am Song Broadcast By Nasa's Curiosity From Mars
Posted on 08/29/2012 @ 09:30 AM
A song by the US musician Will.i.am has become the first piece of music broadcast back to Earth from Mars.
"Reach For the Stars" was played back by Nasa's Curiosity rover as part of an educational event, a collaboration between Nasa and the Black Eyed Peas rapper's i.am.angel Foundation.
Will.I.Am Teams With NASA to Broadcast Song From Mars
By Justin Paschal on 08/28/2012 @ 12:56 AM
Will.I.Am has teamed with NASA and Discovery Education for a special educational event that includes a new song that will be broadcasted from the Curiosity rover on Mars. "Reach for the Stars," a cosmic tribute from the Black Eyed Peas leader, will premiere at a special event tomorrow starting 1 p.m. PDT at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
For more information, including a live stream of the event, visit NASA's website.
will.i.am and Eva Simons Perform This Is Love on LIVE! with Kelly
By Justin Paschal on 07/03/2012 @ 11:00 AM
Listen as will.i.am and Eva Simons perform their chart-topping hit "This Is Love" and afterwards as will.i.am discusses his philanthropic work and his recent donation to Prince Charles' charity, The Princes Trust.
will.i.am Donates £500k to Youth Charity The Prince's Trust
By Justin Paschal on 06/25/2012 @ 12:00 PM
will.i.am has donated £500k to help UK's disadvantaged youth. His money will be used by The Prince's Trust to support the UK's hardest to reach young people.