Checkered Flag Run Foundation

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“My Brother’s Keeper Brother Up” was a forum held as part of the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge launched by President Obama in September 2014. The forum was sponsored by the Checkered Flag Run Foundation which provides diverse educational programs that help underserved students. Alan “AP” Powell, founder and chairman of Checkered Flag Run Foundation talks about the foundation.

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Jose Cardenas: My brother's keeper brother up forum connecting solutions to action was held last month. The effort was part of the, my brother's keeper community challenge launched by President Barack Obama in September of 2014. The forum was sponsored by the checkered flag run foundation which provides educational programs that help underserved students. Here to talk about the forum is Alan Powell, founder and chairman of the checkered flag run foundation. Thank you for joining us on Horizonte.

Alan Powell: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: What's impressive about all the work you are doing in this area is you have a day job that keeps you busy, and then you find time is to give back to the community. Tell us what inspired you.

Alan Powell: Growing up in the inner city in Louisville, Kentucky, I felt part of my legacy would be making a difference in other people's lives. So I wake up thinking how can I make other people's lives better.

Jose Cardenas: You are based in Arizona?

Alan Powell: Yes, sir.

Jose Cardenas: You work all over the country?

Alan Powell: Yes, sir. I am based here, been in the valley about six years now. I love it. And I come from California and New York. That's where I resided before I moved to Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: Before we get to some of your specific projects, tell us about the checkered flag run foundation. What does it mean? Why the reference to the checkered flag?

Alan Powell: Our motto is insuring that every kid gets a chance to cross the finish line, and we really take that seriously. Our mission statement, so some of the things that we do, we have a program where we have a backpack drive, we do every year, and called the Phoenix tools of school, and we give 3,000, 4,000 out at lolo chicken and waffle on 7th street and Buckeye. We also have a thing called another thing called drive your mind, which is a community piece where we give out Christmas toys and things to children in the community, and we have another one called drive another program called to the top scholarships, we're partnering with the University of Phoenix and we give scholarships back into the community.

Jose Cardenas: Let's talk about your most recent action, the forum held on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. The forum, and I understand that the Mayor Stanton was part of that. What did you do there?

Alan Powell: Well, I wanted to I went to the Mayor and to the congressman, Gallegos and the Councilwoman, and I thought that we should take advantage of all the people being in town, Super Bowl weekend, so me coming from the entertainment business, I reached out to some gentlemen that I knew were distinguished gentlemen across the country. Everybody from Damon from shark tank and Boris, picked as the most beautiful man in the world, and African-American actor, and everyone from those who used to be the joint chief of intelligence for the armed forces -- so we went with that group along with local community leaders, like kewin brown from the black chamber, Michael Kelly, who moderated, who is a local community activist.

Jose Cardenas: And somebody that we have had as a guest on this show, so we're familiar with his credentials and an impressive fellow. And you have got a very, very aggressive, major project coming up. It's in the planning stages, as I understand it, and it's going to be if you are successful, it's going to have a major back on the city and the country.

Alan Powell: Yes, sir. So, a colleague of mine, tanika brogden, we thought that we could make a difference by bringing some, something diverse to the State of Arizona. So, I talked to Governor Ducey about it, and I talked to Mayor Stanton about it, I talked to Councilwoman Gallegos, Congressman Gallego, about let's bring something substantial to the diversity, change the image of the state so what we decided to do was change the cactus city classic, which is a multi-cultural basketball tournament held in Arizona in February around mlk weekend to kind of acknowledge our state and show that our state is it moving in the right direction.

Jose Cardenas: Several years off

Alan Powell: Yes, sir, 2017, we will move this event to Arizona. There is a duplicate event in Charlotte, and they bring about 250,000 people to Charlotte every year, called the ciaa so we decided to duplicate that. What our efforts has been, with the Thurgood Marshall fund, the largest African-American college fund in the country, they service over 300,000 students a year.

Jose Cardenas: And if people want to get involved to support your organization, how would they do that?

Alan Powell: You could reach out to us online at Checkered flag run foundation, or call us to our office. We have an 1-800-number, 800-876-8606.

Jose Cardenas: And I want to go back and talk a bit about the connection between your organization, your efforts, the forum and everything with the initiative that President Barack Obama started. What's the connection?

Alan Powell: I think what we wanted to do was accept the President's challenge and making a difference in our youth's lives in Arizona, and then educating our youth on some of the things that face our country, like, you know, being able to interact with the police, being able to show them that education is important. Being able to show some of these students that, you know, everybody has a chance to be successful in life. And being able to make sure that we brought leaders in that could tell their story, and they could adopt some of the dialogue to feel like they could be successful, also.

Jose Cardenas: And you've been at this for a few years now. What kind of impact do you think that you and your programs have had?

Alan Powell: I think that we have had a great impact because we have had serious support locally, and on a national level. We have had everybody from Andrew Cohen, who chaired up the aviation board, and we have had everybody from bubba Moffat and his crew and Joe from Crescent crown. We have had a lot of community leaders get behind us and business leaders believe in what our message is.

Jose Cardenas: And you've been able to do this with a small group of organizers. Tell us a bit about the organization, itself, and we're going to have to wrap up.

Alan Powell: We are a very small group. It's myself, tanika, Lynn Austin, and Aaron bear, who is a big-time educator here. He was down from the residency at thunderbird and embraced our movement. So we have an innovative group that wants to move forward and do things different and make a difference in the State of Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: It looks like you have done that, Mr. Powell. Thank you for joining us on Horizonte to give us a rundown of your activities and congratulations.

Alan Powell: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: That's our show for tonight. From all of us here at eight, and Horizonte, thank you for watching. I'm Jose Cardenas. Have a good evening.

Funding for Horizonte is made possible by contributions by the friends of Eight. Members of your Arizona PBS station.

Alan "AP" Powell:Founder and Chairman, Checkered Flag Run Foundation;

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