T.D. Jakes Foundation Weekly Updates – April 19, 2021

April 19, 2021

To help you navigate these uncertain times, we’ve compiled timely news and resources related to small business, education and connectivity. We hope this provides both information and comfort as we continue to weather these challenges.

T.D. Jakes Foundation in Action

The T.D. Jakes Foundation was founded to expose underrepresented communities to science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) because “you can’t be what you don’t see.” In honor of “World Creativity and Innovation Day” to raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development, TDJF president and CEO Hattie Hill gave girls and women of all ages an opportunity to see and hear from strong female role models in arts and technology, convening a thought-provoking Zoom roundtable dubbed: “Women in STEAM: A Conversation at the Intersection of Art & Science, Onscreen and Off.”

The hour-long discussion featured three highly accomplished women:

  • Lisa Edelstein, actress, director, writer and producer best known for her role as Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the hit series “House.”
  • Marisa Polvino, co-founder of Straight Up Impact, a woman-owned, fully integrated media company that finances, develops and produces thought-provoking stories that inspire audiences to enact positive change.
  • Lisa Gelobter, co-founder and CEO of tEQuitable, which uses technology to create more equitable workplaces. Previously, she was Chief Digital Officer at BET Networks and Chief Digital Service Officer for the Department of Education in the Obama administration.

The T.D. Jakes Foundation is honored to host a breakout session featuring Hattie Hill, Cynt Marshall, Leona Ford Allen, Marie Forleo, and Sonya Robinson at the first International Leadership Summit (ILS) Virtual Experience, April 29-May 1, 2021. Presented by T.D. Jakes, ILS is an intensive training experience that equips you and your team with in-depth strategies and direction to execute your vision with precision and clarity. Invest in your teams, mentees, friends, or family members when you bring your plus-9 with you to the top as an ILS registrant — at no additional cost! Leaders, your elevation awaits. Register now.

The T.D. Jakes Foundation (TDJF) is a proud sponsor of the Texas Women’s Foundation Women Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration, which honors female leaders and trailblazers making a difference in their communities through the Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards. TDJF president and CEO Hattie Hill will serve as a co-chair of the virtual event, hosted on April 29, 2021. In advance of the program, we asked honorees to share their experiences as female leaders in the business and nonprofit worlds and highlight steps we can all take to further advance gender equity in the workplace. Check out our Take Five with 2021 Maura Women Helping Women Award recipient Cheryl Polote Williamsonfilmmaker, author, speaker & entrepreneurial activator.

Chairman T.D. Jakes shares the inspiration behind his new book, “Don’t Drop the Mic!” in which he shows readers how successful communication is key for building community, commanding power, and so much more. Watch here.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in STEAM

Amazon has pledged to increase the number of women and Black employees in its senior ranks as part of an unusually detailed set of diversity commitments for a company that has rarely publicly discussed the makeup of its workforce. The company has outlined a set of hiring and promotion targets for 2021, including a 30% rise in the number of women in senior technical jobs and doubling the number of high-level Black employees in the U.S. Read more about these efforts here.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, new data received from an updated analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects strong growth for many STEM occupations in the United States, particularly epidemiologists, medical scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, and biological technicians, among others. But Black and Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in STEM jobs compared with their share of the U.S. workforce, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. government data. Here are six facts about the STEM workforce and STEM training.

Efforts to promote equity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and math have a long way to go, a new report suggests. An analysis released in early April of federal education and employment data from recent years highlights the wide the racial, ethnic and gender gaps in STEM representation. Read more in Science News.

Closing the Digital Divide

In a recent TechTank Podcast episode, Nicole Turner Lee, Senior Fellow – Governance Studies and Director – Center for Technology Innovation at The Brookings Institution, discusses if, with new investments in broadband infrastructure, we can finally close the digital divide. Listen here.

AT&T is committing an additional $2 billion over the next three years to make internet access affordable for more Americans in underserved areas — narrowing a gap in access to education and job opportunities known as the digital divide. Part of this commitment includes opening 19 “connected learning centers” in cities around the country – including Dallas. Read more about the plan in the Dallas Morning News.

Education Update

There are nearly 45 million borrowers holding more than $1.56 trillion in federal and federally backed student loans, according to recent data from the Department of Education. During a hearing Thursday morning, President Biden’s Undersecretary of Education nominee James Kvaal explained how the administration is prioritizing loan forgiveness, focusing on three potential areas: people struggling due to the pandemic, those in public service and those with low incomes and high debts. Read the story in Yahoo Finance.

COVID Vaccine

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine to evaluate its extremely low risks of rare and severe blood clots. Some experts have expressed concerns that the pause will add to existing fears related to vaccine hesitancy. While the FDA is reviewing the data, it is taking all safety concerns seriously to inspire confidence in the system. Read the story in WIRED.


Together, we can and will get through this.


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