Thank You For Supporting Dorson’s 9th Annual Spring Splendor Virtual Gala!

We are grateful to those who joined our virtual gala on Saturday, April 10th, 2021. Thank you for your generosity and support! If you did not make it to the virtual gala or would like to rewatch the exciting evening’s program, you can view it here.


Gala Program

GALA OPENER LENNY GREEN, HOST OF "THE QUIET STORM" ON 107.5 WBLS

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Green grew up singing around the house with his mother and brother, with an appreciation of the R&B, hip-hop, jazz and gospel sounds. The host of the syndicated radio show “The Quiet Storm with Lenny Green,” Lenny makes his home at the show's flagship station, the highly rated Tri-state (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) radio station WBLS/107.5-FM.  A definitive entertainment industry professional, Lenny and his distinctive, silky baritone voice have carved out a prominent, noteworthy niche in radio.

GALA EMCEE ROBYN HATCHER

Robyn is a communication expert, professional speaker, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and “recovering” actor. She has been seen on Good Morning America, The List TV, numerous TV commercials and episodic TV shows, and has been a guest on over 50 podcasts. Robyn was once a staff writer for ABC’s One Life to Live and All My Children. Her book, Standing Ovation Presentations was named on Forbes.com as one of the top 10 coaching books of 2014. In 2019, she was named by Ewomen’s news as one of the 21 women of the 21st Century. And she can confidently say that she is the only woman in the world who’s been parodied by Halle Berry. Robyn has worked for over a decade with leaders and teams in major Fortune 500 companies to find and fix their hidden communication glitches.

GUEST SPEAKER U.S. SENATOR CORY BOOKER, NEW JERSEY

Cory Booker has spent his entire career running at the toughest challenges and bringing people together to accomplish things others said were impossible. And for the last 7 years as New Jersey’s Senator, he’s done the impossible in a broken Washington: he’s brought people together to deliver real results for New Jerseyans. In 1996, Cory moved to Newark, New Jersey, to provide legal services for low-income families, and to help tenants take on slumlords, improve their living conditions, and stay in their homes. At age twenty-nine, Cory was elected to the Newark City Council, and beginning in 2006, he served as Newark’s mayor for more than seven years. In 2013, Cory became the first African-American elected to the US Senate from New Jersey. In the Senate, Cory has  advanced economic opportunity and equal justice -- including leading efforts to reform our broken criminal justice system, increase wages and ensure hard work is fairly rewarded, spur economic development and create jobs, and protect the rights of all Americans to breathe clean air and drink clean water. From taking on the NRA to stop the scourge of gun violence in our communities, to fighting for economic changes that lift up those who have been struggling and deliver opportunity for all, to protecting and expanding health coverage and fighting to drive down healthcare costs, Cory is fighting every day to make justice and opportunity real for everyone.

SILENT AUCTION

Featuring exciting prizes including travel packages, virtual experiences, luxury goods & services, and much more. The online auction will open the week of Spring Splendor. Be on the lookout for a sneak peek into the exclusive auction items available for bid.

HONORING

Austin Conti, Co-Founder & CEO

Champion of Access and Opportunity Award

PERFORMANCE BY TWO-TIME GRAMMY NOMINEES ALPHABET ROCKERS

Alphabet Rockers make music that makes change, creating brave spaces for children and families to stand up to hate and be their courageous, beautiful selves. Led by Kaitlin McGaw (she/her) and Tommy Soulati Shepherd (he/him/they), Alphabet Rockers gets young people to talk about self-love and justice while living it. Their GRAMMY-nominated albums, multimedia, & curricula empower youth to embody change, advocate for others, & imagine a world they can both be seen in and thrive in. Alphabet Rockers are based in Oakland, CA, on the unceded land of the Chochenyo Ohlone people.

FASHION SHOW BY NEWARK-BASED DESIGNER TYRONE CHABLIS OF CHABLIS DESIGNS

While growing up in his hometown of Newark, NJ, Chablis discovered an old discarded sewing machine and it changed his life. What followed was a path of learning, hard work, and innovation. A major influence on the local fashion culture for more than 30 years, Chablis has been a fixture of the tristate area fashion scene.

FASHION SHOW BY HOPE WADE OF HOPE WADE DESIGNS

Hope Wade was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She studied Art and Advertising Design at New York City Technical College and is a graduate of Cooper Union College where she studied Graphic Design and Photography. Hope started the Hope Wade Designs fashion company and her motto is “If you can describe it, I can design it.” She has continued to gain recognition for her designs and has received several awards. She is the Producer/Owner of Rockland Fashion Week and Hope Wade Designs was chosen by Harlem Fashion Row in collaboration with NIKE for the first Designer Retreat for Designers of Color. Her designs have been showcased by Darlene Love at the White House and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, and has been seen in magazines and TV. In November 2018, she received the coveted Woman of Excellence Award and in 2016, she was the top 3 finalist at Project Runway. Her designs have graced the runways of London Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and Caribbean Fashion Week.


VIP Wine Tasting Reception

Sponsored by GlenLyon Vineyards and Winery | Sonoma Valley, CA

Thank you to all our VIP Ticket Holders who attended the VIP Wine Tasting Reception and a big thank you to our wonderful hosts, Suzy and Squire Fridell, owners of GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery. To learn more about GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, please visit https://www.glenlyonwinery.com.

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS


THANK YOU TO OUR KEYHOLDER SUPPORTERS


Matt and Liz Goldberg with support from Lumina Foundation

Kurt and Gina Family Foundation

The Nicoll Family Fund

Dr. Robert Cunningham

Carlene Gopie

Dr. Andrew Baddoo

Dr. Lennox Alves

Dr. Odler Robert Jeanlouie

Dr. Robert Clarke

Dr. Rudolph Willis

East Orange General Hospital

Neil and Nancy Weidner

Honor Our Rising Scholars!

Help Dorson continue its dynamic work with Essex County, NJ High School Students.

To inquire about sponsoring future events, please contact events@dorsoncommunity.org

Dorson Community Foundation

280 South Harrison Street, Suite 300

East Orange, New Jersey 07018


info@dorsoncommunity.org

P (973) 280-9565

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Sonia Scott

Founder

Sonia Y. Scott is a teacher, author and well-known personality in the health and wellness industry. A native of Jamaica, Mrs. Scott is a first-generation college graduate having received her Bachelors from Herbert H. Lehman College.


Mrs. Scott founded Dorson Home Care, Inc., a licensed and accredited home health care agency headquartered in West Orange, NJ. She is also the founder of Dorson Vocational Training Institute.


Mrs. Scott founded Dorson Community Foundation with a mission dedicated to providing inner-city youth in Essex with a meaningful alternative lifestyle to one involving drugs and gangs.


She is a member of several organizations including the Caribbean Medical Mission, the Association for Female Executives, New Jersey Association of Business Owners (NJABO), and the Essex County Coalition for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (ECCPVA). She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). Mrs. Scott is a person who pushes boundaries by skillfully weaving her compelling life story into helping others build a life story.

Natasha Scott

Executive Director

Natasha Scott is a 2016 graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University with a Master of Arts degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education. She is a 2011 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Natasha is an alum of Dorson Community Foundation, having participated in several programs as a child and adolescent. Wanting to impart her hands‐on “how‐to‐get‐into‐college” knowledge to others, Natasha has worked for years with Dorson Community Foundation students providing college prep mentorship to students tackling the college admissions process. Natasha's work at Dorson Community Foundation is what influenced her to write and publish The College Admissions Bible in 2013. The guidebook has been purchased by Paterson Public School District, East Orange School District, and Orange High School. Natasha has since built her career in the college access/college success space.

Prior to being named Executive Director, Natasha served as an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Career Development at Columbia University's Center for Career Education.

​Natasha is also a former Program Associate for the Northeast Region of A Better Chance, a national nonprofit organization recruiting and placing high-achieving children of color into independent day and boarding schools around the country.

Leslie Daley

Board Member

Leslie G. Daley, CPA is the founding principal of LESLIE G DALEY, LLC an accounting and tax firm located in Maplewood, New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1986. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and a member of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.


He has specialized and extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of accounting and taxation for Individuals, Corporations and Partnerships specifically in the health care and home care industries. Leslie also provides financial planning services for Individuals and accounting and financial services for non-profit organizations.

Kellion Knibb

Secretary

Born and raised in Jamaica to a single mom, Kellion learned the value of education at an early age. Consequently, Kellion used her athletic talents in track and field as a discus thrower to pave the way to higher education.


She moved to the US in 2012 to pursue a college education and an athletic career at the Florida State University. While at FSU, Kellion became one of the best discus throwers in the ACC. She claimed 5 ACC titles, 2 regional titles and became a 3-time all-American. Kellion competed at the 2017 World Championship, the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Kellion has a BA in English and MA in Communication & Digital Media Studies and is now a Marketing professional with experience in content writing, social media, email marketing and website management. She helps small companies build their online and social media presence.​


Kellion hopes to share her experience and expertise in online marketing communications with Dorson Community Foundation as a Board Member for years to come.

Liz Goldberg

Board Member

Liz has had a 20 year career operating her own business as an art consultant working with architects and designers to provide large and small scale and art installations to restaurants, hotels and resorts worldwide.  In 2009, she and her family moved to Melbourne, Australia when her husband went to work for Melbourne based travel company, Lonely Planet.


Consequently, Liz has traveled extensively globally learning about different cultures and viewpoints from around the world.  Today, Liz consults with start ups to help with the business launch.  Liz and her husband Matt are involved with many educational organizations including Cornell University, The University of Melbourne and the Lumina Foundation and are passionate about thinking about how to level the playing field to create opportunities for kids from at-risk populations.​

Liz currently lives in New Jersey with her husband Matt and three kids Aidan, Jesse and Olivia.

Michelle Butler

Board Member

Michelle A. Butler is a Project Manager for one of the top Engineering Consulting firms- Burns & McDonnell. Michelle started her career with the electric utility industry 13 years ago. She has worked with several major electric utilities including Florida Power and Light (“FPL”), Eversource Energy, and most recently Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) in New Jersey.


Michelle was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science (“BS”) degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Florida in 2005 and an MBA from the University of Central Florida in 2011. As a Project Manager with Burns & McDonnell, Michelle has led and/or assisted in managing substation, transmission, or distribution projects.


She brings 13 years of experience managing large scale transmission/distribution projects valued at more than $450 million, maintaining costs within 10 percent of the planned budget. Michelle specializes in system resiliency, conducting financial and resource-based cost-benefit analysis, and leading utility capital projects. She is experienced in working with public agencies and the community to keep projects on track.


Michelle worked at Eversource Energy for three years as the Manager of Connecticut’s System Resiliency group. Within this role, she coordinated Eversource's $300 million, multi-year effort to develop and implement storm resiliency plans to minimize the effects of major storms on the Distribution system, ultimately improving customer reliability.

Laurel Bernstein

Board Member

Laurel Bernstein is the Founder and President of Laurel Bernstein & Associates, a New Jersey based consulting and training firm focused on enhancing the performance and leadership skills for small business owners.

​Laurel has a track record as a highly effective facilitator and trainer, working with business owners to develop key initiatives that leverage talent and help businesses grow.  In this capacity for both retention and attraction strategies, she serves as an executive coach.


Ms. Bernstein advises companies, helping owners evaluate business models, plan vibrant strategic initiatives and design team development.  She has an impressive track record of improving organizational effectiveness and individual achievements. She helps business owners evolve the way they lead to keep up with the needs of the changing environment and economics.


Ms. Bernstein holds a B.A. in Science Education from Montclair State University and a Certificate in Professional Coaching from Baruch CUNY Zicklin Business School iCoach New York.

Contact

info.dcfoundation@gmail.com

Roksanna Craig

Board Member

Iris Wells

Board Member

Iris Wells is an education advocate who holds a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Education, and one year of Masters Level in Instructional Design and Technology with a concentration on Training & Performance Improvement.​

Iris Wells brings twenty plus years of educational diversity having worked with preschool through college levels in both the private and public sectors - contributing to traditional and non-traditional environments. Ms. Wells has worked directly with the New York City Board of Education within the Students in Temporary Housing Unit in District Two.

​Iris has been served in other roles such as Director, Counselor, Facilitator, Trainer, Consultant, Advisor and Manager that have led her in the public school system, charter school system, and non-profit agencies, where she worked with general education, first time offenders, high risk and gang-involved youth.​

She is the Author of It Got Me Through – Daily, I Give Thanks! And, encompassing all that she believes and represents, she is the founder of the QnIrie Foundation which brings everything together through philanthropy, events, volunteerism, fundraisers and more.​

Claiming endless possibilities and knowing that through God, All things are possible; Ms. Wells says “there's no telling what's coming next! It's about decreasing me, increasing God and being used to make a difference in the lives of others."