Founder of Upliftment Jamaica and Rush Communications and Phat Farm VP Gary Foster, to Speak at JAMPACT Meeting on Tuesday, June 21st

A former top aid to Minister Louis Farrakhan and past NAACP head Ben Chavis, Fosterís remarks will focus on: "Social Reform in Jamaica - How NGOs/Non-profit organizations can rebuild Jamaica"


Gary Foster

Upliftment Jamaica founder and Chairman Gary Foster will be the featured speaker at JAMPACTís next general meeting on Tuesday, June 21st. A senior executive in Russell Simmons urban entertainment empire, Foster is a Vice President at Rush Communications where he serves as his lead advisor assisting in the day-to-day operations of many companies under the Rush umbrella, including Phat Farm and Def Poetry.

Fosterís presentation will focus on ĎSocial Reform in Jamaica - How NGOs/Non-Profit organizations can rebuild Jamaica. Given his experience as a top aide for Minister Louis Farrakhan, his work as deputy director of the Million Man and Family March, and by a cabinet position at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), serving as chief of staff for then-president Ben Chavis, Foster has a wealth of knowledge on social activism.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised by his grandmother in White Horses, St. Thomas, Foster was active in the church choir and excelled in his academic studies. Because of his academic excellence, political activism, and ability to overcome adversity, Foster earned a scholarship to come to the United States and finish high school in Baltimore. He went on to graduate from Morgan State University with a degree in political science. But during a trip back to his former home, Foster was struck by how much the poor residents had to do with out, particularly the youth. His return was a reminder that others were not as fortunate. He needed to share his blessings.

After his trip, Foster and four friends founded the non-profit organization Upliftment Jamaica in 1999. Having grown up in Jamaica and observing firsthand the negative influence that the young people are exposed to, we began Upliftment Jamaica in 1999 to bring hope back into the lives of our youth, he says. Foster serves as chairman of the organization.

Upliftment (www.upliftmentjamaica.org), which was registered with 501c3 status, seeks to empower impoverished communities throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean, starting in the pilot community of White Horses. "We are a non-partisan organization - dedicated to the upliftment of the people." Upliftmentís strategy for achieving its mission is to provide a comprehensive set of services to underserved communities, focusing on health and nutrition; housing and community development; and education and technology. "We are not only strengthening morale and promoting unity in the community, we are also saving lives," says Foster.

To more effectively address the needs, Foster formed a U.S. board of directors for Upliftment made up of major power brokers in entertainment, education, business, and social service, including Russell Simmons, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, former Motown Records CEO Kedar Massenburg, and former Def Jam President Kevin Liles.

Upliftmentís annual events involving the youth are its summer program and the Multi-Media Technology Conference. The summer program, which takes place in White Horses and surrounding communities, includes a mini-Olympics and various classes to teach the young people useful skills. The Multi-Media Technology Conference exposes students and their families to multi-media technologies and the public, private, and non-profit leaders who are using these technologies to shape our world.

Foster credits God and his wife Stacy for keeping him focused. Of his Upliftment work, he says, "I give God all the credit. I couldnít have done this without him. Iím just a vehicle that has been blessed with the gift of sincerity."

Date: Tuesday, June 21st
Location: Ruder Finn, 301 East 57th Street at the corner of 2nd Avenue, on the 3rd Fl.
Time: 6:30 to 8:30pm
Train Direction: E train to 53rd and Lexington Ave. or N/R trains to 59th and Lexington Avenue.
To RSVP please call or e-mail by Monday, June 20th: 212.459.4390 or jampact@jampact.org