Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ralph J. Grant – A Champion for Youth and His Community

(An edited version of this article is published via The Globe Newspapers www.theglobenewspapers.com, All Rights Reserved)

By: Kevin L. Nichols

It has been said that "Service is the rent that you pay here on Earth". Ralph James Grant lived his life such that he earned a "lease option to buy" for his service. It is with regret that I write this piece, especially given the fact that I was presented with an opportunity to write this while Ralph was living, but since he has forgiven me for many other shortcomings, such as giving him my tax information on April 14th, I know that he will let me slide on this one too.

Ralph J. Grant was has been a Bay Area icon and local legend for several decades. Although he was born in Philadelphia, Ralph is considered a local native who attended elementary school in West Oakland and graduated from McClymonds High School. Although Ralph liked sports, he wasn't playing around. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Accounting at San Francisco State University and was initiated into the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. That was not enough for Ralph, so he needed to earn a Masters of Business Administration from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Golden Gate University School of Law. While Ralph was shoring up his professional credentials, his life lacked completion, that is until he married Gloria Jean Yerger. Through their union, they were blessed with two children, Kimberley and Casey.

Ralph began his professional career as an Internal Revenue Service Agent with the United States Treasury Department in San Francisco. After five years, he started his own tax practice in Oakland and was later joined by Charles Adams and Donald White. They formed the Certified Public Accounting Firm of Adams, Grant, White & Co., which provided audit, tax and management consultant services. During this time Ralph taught taxation and small business management at San Francisco State University while also studying for his law degree. In 1990, Charlene Smith and Ralph formed Grant & Smith, LLP, a certified public accounting and management consulting firm specializing in tax, audit and accounting services. Ralph also became an officer and broker of RVS Realty & Mortgage Corporation, which specializes in residential and commercial real estate mortgages and sales and a partner of RVS Investment Advisors of California, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm, which provided financial advisory services. Ralph enjoyed using his law degree representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service and Franchise Tax Board.

In concert with his professional endeavors, Ralph had a passion for helping disadvantaged youth. He became an Oakland Babe Ruth Coach in 1985. His Bill Wright Payne team of 8-10 year olds, took 1st Place and he also coached 10-12 year olds in the "major" division. Ralph was affectionately known as "The Kappa" who worked tirelessly to allow disadvantaged youth in West Oakland afford the opportunity to play baseball by personally providing uniforms, transportation, food, and emotional support to his team members. His Babe Ruth coaching experience reached its crescendo when his team won the California State Championship, the Pacific Southwest Regional Championship, and the World Series Championship in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Ralph was a member of numerous organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the National Associations of Black Accountants, American Institute of CPA’s, California Society of CPA’s, Charles Houston Bar Association, The National Bar Association and Babe Ruth Baseball of Metropolitan Oakland where he spent his “spare time” coaching and mentoring Oakland youth. He served as Treasurer and/or on the Board of Directors of the Oakland Museum Association, the Eddie Walker Memorial Scholarship Fund, The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute, the National Youth Enterprise Institute, the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, USA/New South Africa Athletics Foundation, Donald McCullum Youth Court, the Oakland Private Industry Council, the Oakland Community Fund, the Black Elected Officials of the East Bay, the East Bay Resource Center for Non-Profit Support, and Campaign Treasurer for Don White, Ron Dellums, Gay Cobb and Gregory Hodge. Ralph served as past national Chairperson, Western Regional Representative and San Francisco Chapter Director of Continuing Professional Education for the National Association of Black Accountants ("NABA") Division of Firms ("DOF"), which he co-founded and that is comprised of the top Black CPA firms in the country to address the professional needs of its member firms and to foster the economic development of these firms in the business community at both the local and national level..

Some of the awards that Ralph has received are Accountant of the Year from San Francisco State, NABA DOF's Outstanding Member Award, and NABA's Presidential Service Award.

Ralph was the epitome of a man, he mastered the balance of being a child of God, good husband, father, professional, friend, and servant. I am grateful to have know him and work with him on various levels. Ralph was at work at the crack of dawn because that was his work ethic. God allowed him to go to London to see his daughter Kim, son-in-law, Lee, and granddaughters Kaylee and Layla before calling him home. Ralph had one more stop before he left, and Gloria was right at his side.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit http://klnpublishingllc.blogspot.com.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc. Convenes African American Health Summit 2009 - Fri/Sat, Feb. 6/7, 2009

Courtesy of BlackNews.com

Addressing Health Issues and Disparities/Featuring Keynotes by Danny Glover and Dr. Ian SmithActor Danny Glover, Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks, and “The 50 Million Pound Challenge’s” Dr. Ian Smith among Health Summit participantsOakland, CA(BlackNews.com) - The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities reports the following dreadful statistics: the infant death rate among African Americans is more than double that of whites. Heart disease death rates are more than 40 percent higher for African Americans than for whites. The death rate for all cancers is 30 percent higher for African Americans than for whites; for prostate cancer, it is more than double that for whites. African American women have a higher death rate from breast cancer despite having a mammography screening rate that is nearly the same as the rate for white women. The death rate from HIV/AIDS for African Americans is more than seven times that for whites; the rate of homicide is six times that for whites.A report headed by Vickie Mays, UCLA professor of psychology and health services and director of the Center for Research, Education, Training and Strategic Communication on Minority Health Disparities suggests: "Race-based discrimination may help explain why African Americans, despite gains in civil rights and targeted health programs, continue to have the highest rates of diabetes, cardiovascular heart disease, hypertension and stroke as compared to all other racial or ethnic groups in the United States."<A href="http://blacknews.advertserve.com/servlet/click/zone?zid=3&pid=0&lookup=true&random=62267250&millis=1233598164295" target="_top"> <IMG src="http://blacknews.advertserve.com/servlet/view/banner/javascript/image/zone?zid=3&pid=0&random=62267250&millis=1233598164295" height="250" width="300" hspace="0" vspace="0" border="0" alt="Click Here!"> </A> On Friday and Saturday, February 6 and 7, 2009, Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc. (BABUF) will convene the comprehensive African American Health Summit 2009 at Oakland Marriott City Center and Convention Center, 1001 Broadway, downtown Oakland. Themed "Claiming Our Story of Health & Wellness: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future," the two-day Summit will address countless health issues plaguing the African American community. Friday - Health Summit Conference and Luncheon; Saturday -- free Health Expo.On Friday, Bay Area civic, professional, ministerial, and community leaders and some of our nation's most influential representatives and health experts will come together for the Health Summit Conference and Luncheon. Day one will consist of morning and luncheon plenaries, discussion tracks and independent workshops, a Conference on African American Inequities, and a Faith-based & Youth Initiative Institute.Actor, film producer and humanitarian Danny Glover will deliver the key address during the breakfast plenary. Dr. Ian Smith -- co-host of "Celebrity Fit Club" and creator of "The 50 Million Pound Challenge" -- will keynote the luncheon that follows the morning sessions. Also among dignitaries playing prominent roles in the day's activities will be BABUF Executive Director Woody Carter, Ph.D.; physicians from Kaiser Permanente, Alta Bates Summit Hospital, Ethnic Health Institute, Bay Area Black Consortium for Quality Healthcare and James A Watson Wellness Center; and Alameda County Public Health Department Director and Health Officer Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H.Saturday, several thousand Bay Area residents will take part in the Summit's free day-long health exposition at the Oakland Convention Center. The expo will include a full day of free health exams and screenings, including blood pressure, diabetes, prostate, cholesterol, dental and vision. Numerous workshops will address physical and mental health, fitness, medical and holistic topics, as well as pavilions designated specifically for teens, men, women, and one to address holistic healing and restoration. Billy Blanks will lead Tae Bo exercises; Chef Mimi will conduct healthy food cooking demonstrations; and Maalak Atkins will hold Soul Chi classes -- his blend of Tai Chi and R&B. Saturday's Health Expo will also include live entertainment and many more activities for the entire family."Kaiser Permanente is proud to be the title sponsor of the 2009 African American Health Summit," said Greg Adams, President, Northern California Region, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. We recognize the health disparities that exist in the African American community. African Americans have a unique and different set of risks for specific diseases. Adams further commented, "We want to address these needs in a meaningful way that resonates with cultural values of this community, and we want to offer tools for managing health and preventing disease."Referring to the Summit's theme (Claiming Our Story of Health & Wellness), Melody Powers, BABUF Director of Marketing and Workplace Campaigns said, "The art of storytelling is firmly rooted in the history of African Americans. This art has been used to pass on our history, culture and traditions." She continued, "African American Health Summit 2009 intends to revive storytelling as a tool for healing. We want to remind our community to use storytelling to help us take responsibility for our health." During some conference workshops, oral historians (griots) will use storytelling to explain our ethnic history and to inspire families to share their healing successes."We at United Way are proud to support the African American Health Summit, which is bringing together the best and the brightest to address health disparities in our community," said United Way of the Bay Area, Inc. Chief Community Investment Officer Carole Watson. "Our goal is to raise awareness about the disparities, as well as focus our collective efforts on 'moving the dial' to close the gaps, and more effectively address the social and economic factors that cause the disparities."The Bay Area African American Health Initiative is coordinator of African American Health Summit 2009; Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc. is the event convener; and Kaiser Permanente is the event's title sponsor. United Way of the Bay Area, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Alameda County Public Health Department, and YMCA of the East Bay are among the Summit's key supporters, along with numerous other generous community partners. View Danny Glover promotional video at http://stellarvision.tv/player.html?bcpid=1119364354&bclid=2888243001&bctid=3272601001ABOUT BAY AREA BLACK UNITED FUND, INC:The Bay Area Black United Fund (BABUF) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization located in Oakland, CA. Its mission is to promote and build partnerships with organizations to maximize its capacity to serve African American people and other communities of color. BABUF brings together resources that support human growth and development, and advance community economic development and renewal. 510-763-7270 / www.babuf.orgCONTACT:Toni Beckham209-832-8020 / 408-499-3664cToni@PRetCetera.comEVENT CONTACT:Melody Powers510-763-7270mpowers@babuf.org