In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
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Malaak Compton-Rock began her career in the public relations and special event fields. Her professional life started in the entertainment industry, working for many years at the Terrie Williams Agency, where she contributed to many successful movie and record release campaigns and projects for clients including Eddie Murphy, The Essence Awards, and HBO.
Following a stint in the cosmetics industry, she found her true calling after accepting a position at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund). During her three years with the organization, she spearheaded and oversaw the Special Events and Celebrity Relations Department (a position created for her once the Agency saw the need to utilize celebrities). Compton-Rock designed and orchestrated numerous fundraising and advocacy events, geared towards increasing the organization's visibility and promoting private sector and corporate giving. She managed the organization's roster of celebrity spokespersons, planning numerous international field trips for the spokespersons to witness UNICEF-assisted projects in the field, coordinated all celebrity appearances at special events and with the media, as well as created a successful television product placement campaign for UNICEF's core fundraising campaign "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF." She remains proud of the fact that she was able to increase the organization's celebrity support by cultivating and recruiting many celebrities who continue to support UNICEF today including Laurence Fishburne, Tea Leoni, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Claudia Schiffer. She continues to be an active supporter, having visited UNICEF-assisted projects with her family in South Africa and Kenya in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
While still at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, she made the life-changing decision to dedicate her life's work to the non-profit world. With that directive in mind, Ms. Compton-Rock left the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to pursue her dream of starting her own a non-profit organization. After witnessing the sweeping changes in the welfare laws, combined with her love of individual style, Ms. Compton-Rock incorporated styleWORKS, an organization that provided comprehensive grooming services, i.e., hair styling, make-up application, skincare services, clothing, accessories, and image consulting to women moving from welfare to work. After seven years of offering direct services as a non-profit, styleWORKS now provides grooming seminars on a consultant basis only and continues to offer monthly mentoring and job retention-based services, such as the styleWORKS book club.
In 2008, as a way to encourage people to live a life of service and as an umbrella organization for the six main causes that she works on full-time, Ms. Compton-Rock founded The Angelrock Project, an online e-village that promotes volunteerism, social responsibility, and sustainable change. Among its many elements, The Angelrock Project includes valuable information on how to volunteer, advice on making monetary or in-kind donations, links to life-changing non-profit organizations, recommends fair trade companies whose products sustain third-world artisans, and includes a discussion forum and blog. Additionally, The Angelrock Project features wonderful philanthropic individuals, grassroots volunteers and organizations on a monthly basis. The organization can be found at www.angelrockproject.com.
Compton-Rock also founded and coordinates Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service, a program that takes at-risk youth from Brooklyn, New York to Johannesburg, South Africa for two weeks of global volunteer service. Upon their return, the participants who attend The Bushwick Salvation Army Community Center, become Global Ambassadors for one year engaged in advocacy, service, and educational activities. The 2008-2009 inaugural program was filmed as part CNN's Black in America 2: Solutions hosted by journalist Soledad O'Brien which aired on July 21, 2009. The next global service trip is scheduled for August 18 - September 3, 2010.
Malaak Compton-Rock also created and manages the Champions for Children Committee, a prestigious group of well-known individuals committed to raising awareness about the signs and prevention of child abuse. In 2007, the group received national pro-bono exposure in magazines including People, Redbook, Essence and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as radio exposure through a series of PSA's heard on Clear Channel stations nationwide. In all, the campaign received over 28 million pro bono media impressions. The group continued to advocate on behalf of this cause with a 2008 public awareness campaign shot by legendary photographer Timothy White. The wonderful photos, including those of Emme, Iman, Marian Wright Edelman, Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann, Deborah Roberts and Al Roker, Malaak and Chris Rock, Susan Sarandon, and Veronica Webb appeared in the April 2008 issue of Redbook Magazine which dedicated the entire issue to child abuse awareness and was seen on billboards and elevator ads nationwide. The evergreen campaign will continue to be used throughout 2009-2010 in the U.S. and abroad.
Along with her husband, Compton-Rock runs The Angelrock Project South Africa, a trust that provides assistance to orphaned and vulnerable children, granny-led households and people living with HIV/AIDS in Diepsloot, a poverty-stricken shanty town in Johannesburg, South Africa. Specifically, The Angelrock Project South Africa Trust offers educational and tuition assistance, food and nutritional support, and living allowance grants for those whose lives have been adversely affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Additionally, through a partnership with The Food Garden Foundation, The Angelrock Project has funded sustainable food gardens in Diepsloot and at 6 schools in Soweto to provide food for the community and for income-generating purposes. Moreover, the organization is currently coordinating a daily feeding program and is installing playground systems for the orphan population in coordination with two local non-governmental organizations.
The Rocks are also committed to The Bushwick Salvation Army Community Center in Bushwick, Brooklyn and were proud to open a new library and computer lab through the support of Target, (RED), Dell, and AARRIS Architects, LLP in November, 2008. Additionally, Malaak Compton-Rock is a coordinating the development of a comprehensive art program at the Center which will include a teaching partnership with Pratt Institute and The Black Alumni of Pratt Institute that will begin in January 2010.
Recently, Compton-Rock ventured into new professional waters by filming the Harpo/ABC-TV reality show "OPRAH'S BIG GIVE." Debuting on March 2, 2008, Compton-Rock served as a co-judge offering her insights, encouragement and critiques to contestants whose mission was to give back to society in creative and innovative ways. "OPRAH'S BIG GIVE" offered a positive twist to primetime reality created in the spirit of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and was a ratings hit.
Additionally, she is an avid public speaker who lectures on topics pertaining to philanthropic giving, finding balance in life, raising giving children in a global world, and successfully blending a family and a professional life. Broadway Books, a division of Random House, will release her first book, "If It Takes A Village, Build One: How I Found Meaning Through a Life of Service and 100+ Ways You Can Too" on April 6, 2010.
Malaak Compton-Rock lives in New Jersey with her husband Chris Rock and two daughters. She holds a B.F.A. in Arts/Production Management from Howard University and received an honorary doctorate degree from Fairleigh Dickenson University in May 2009. Compton-Rock sits on the board of directors of The Children's Defense Fund and The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. She is a Global Ambassador for The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Promise Fund, a member of New York Women in Communications, The Cause Marketing Forum and The Association of Fundraising Professionals. Recently, she was honored to be a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel who selected the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year and to be chosen as one of Ebony Magazine's 2009 "Power 150, Change Agents We Can Believe In." She lives by her favorite Marian Wright Edelman quote "Service is the rent we pay for living."
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