American Portfolios establishes a two-year funding commitment of $200K to benefit LIFE Arts and their mission to foster youth and creative entrepreneurs in Ferguson, MO
Soul artist Brian Owens is pleased to announce that American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (AP), a privately-held, independent broker/dealer that provides business solutions and support to financial advisors throughout America, has formally committed to a two-year funding commitment by donating $200K to establish the "AP for Life" Creative Residency with LIFE Arts, Inc., the nonprofit arm of LIFE Creative Group dedicated to providing youth with a platform wherein they can fully express and develop their creative voices. The initiative is made possible through The American Portfolios Foundation, Inc., which is designed to help usher in a neo-classical urban renaissance to Ferguson, Missouri, home to the LIFE Arts headquarters.
"American Portfolios believes actions speak louder than words," states AP CEO Lon T. Dolber. "We have always been committed to serving people and places we are connected to through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, which allow us to make positive change - not solely with words or donations, but by contributing time and resources. Our hope is that by being good corporate citizens, we help to make the world a better place for everyone. The goal of our work with LIFE Arts is to assist young entrepreneurs so that through good stewardship they, in turn, will foster talent within their communities and serve as role models for generations to come."
"Over the years we have discovered that no one makes it on their own; it takes a community of support and encouragement," states Brian Owens, executive director of LIFE Arts, well-known musician and resident of Ferguson. "Today's youth will play vital leadership roles in helping bring resolution to current issues facing the local community, as well as the nation. It's our mission, with help from partners like American Portfolios, to ensure that the necessary resources and infrastructure are made accessible to young people in our local community, as well as those within our reach. We feel extremely blessed to be partnered with a company that understands and believes in this mission and is willing to take action."
Initial planning for the "AP for LIFE" Creative Residency began in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a phased roll-out commencing in January of 2020 and set to continue through 2022. The Residency comprises a comprehensive community engagement that facilitates training and development of young creatives and influencers. Together, through AP's CSR platform, the firm and LIFE Arts engage young creatives and entrepreneurs as they develop new media and content designed to bring hope and healing across generations.
Funding for the "AP for LIFE" Creative Residency establishes five residencies for promising talent within the Ferguson community, including mentors and entrepreneurs: artist and singer-songwriter Malena Smith, director and speaker Timothy J. Moore, aka T.Moore, artist and producer Joshua "Paco" Lee, videographer and editor Mike Bland, and artist and creative Cecil McLendon. Each of the residents receive a yearly stipend and a small investment account, which is managed personally by a dedicated AP-affiliated financial advisor who serves as their mentor with the aim to establish their financial legacy. Owens, Dolber, LIFE Arts Associate Director Darius Williams, and several nationally recognized artists, entrepreneurs and business leaders serve as mentors.
"Being an AP for LIFE artist in residence holds so much significance to me," said Joshua "Paco" Lee. "It has given me complete freedom in terms of creativity and entrepreneurship. In addition it has given me opportunities to serve through my gifts in music and the arts. I also look forward to learning more about financial literacy and investment from our Partners at AP. I can't wait to see what the future holds!"
LIFE Arts and AP look forward to the upcoming "AP for LIFE" Creative Residency programming that will involve resident-student collaborations with members of The Butterfly Effect Project (Riverhead, N.Y.), Gateway Music Outreach (St. Louis, MO) and Girl Conductor (St. Louis, MO). The collaborations are designed to generate meaningful creative experiences for middle and high school students in both Ferguson and throughout Long Island, New York. Each of the residents will present their projects and experiences at the AP's annual national conference, Connections 2020, to be held in October.
About LIFE Arts, Inc.
LIFE Arts is a 503(c)(3) faith-based organization committed to producing and sustaining purpose in the lives of North County youth. Using the tools of LIFE-Leadership, Innovation, Faith, Entrepreneurship- our organization develops future-ready leaders and influencers through the arts for the under-served, under-resourced communities they're rooted in.
About Brian Owens
Music and love define the artistry of singer, songwriter and dedicated community activist Brian Owens. These qualities radiate from all of his work, including his duet with five time Grammy-winning and legendary vocalist Michael McDonald on SOUL OF FERGUSON, and the heartfelt interpretation of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," which Owens filmed and recorded with his father, Thomas Owens. Their powerful performance ignited the internet and has received more than 100 million views on Facebook and Brian's own YouTube channel. Owens and McDonald recently appeared on the YouTube concert series, Sanborn Sessions, hosted by award-winning saxophonist, composer and arranger David Sanborn from his home studio in New York.
As a community advocate, Owens is the founder and Executive Director of L.I.F.E. Arts Inc (Leadership, Innovation, Faith and Entrepreneurship), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides artistic resources, opportunities, mentoring and positive experiences to help students in under served communities throughout Ferguson and the St. Louis metropolitan area to access consistent and localized programs, experiences and infrastructure. Additionally, Owens serves as the Community Music Artist in Residence with the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Collaborative at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Most recently, Owens was selected to be an honoree for 2021 Arts and Education Council St. Louis Arts Awards for excellence in the arts. For more of the latest news for Brian Owens, visit lifecreative.org/brianowenssoul