Circulate Black Dollar Stamp


The Black Star Project launched a campaign to raise awareness of how we spend money, and how that money spent shapes our communities. Blacks in America have about a $1.3 trillion gross national income. Only 2% of that money, about $26 billion, is re-circulated in the black community.

How long does money stay in the various communities? 

A dollar circulates:

  • 6 hours in the Black community
  • 17 days in the White community
  • 20 days in the Jewish community
  • 30 days in the Asian community

The Black Star Project is working to change this narrative! For the full analysis, check out Updated: How Do Black People Spend Their Money? (The Racial Wealth Gap)

The Black Star Project’s Emerging Young Leaders Board is comprised of professionals in the Chicago land area who will use their talents and skills to grow an organization that has been committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering students, families, and communities for twenty years. The Emerging Young Leaders Board will work to expand the visibility and resources of The Black Star Project through social events, volunteering, and fundraising, as well as provide opportunities for young professionals to develop new skills, take on leadership roles, and broaden their professional and social circles by attending seminars and workshops.

Executive Board 

Symone Bridges - President

LaChanel Hemphill - Vice President

Jasmine McArthur - Treasurer

Committee Chairs

Myles Love - Board Development Chair

LaChanel Hemphill - Marketing Chair

Lee Edwards - Volunteer/Advocacy Chair

Xandria Hair - Events Chair

Board Members

Stephanie Bridges

Chiquita Cartman

Danielle Cox

Aaron Davis

Kamilah English

Krystal James

Candace Jennings

Kenneth Little

Cotrell Loftin

Vasilis Mann

Xavier Mann

Jameel Rainey

Nikita Stange

Lauren Ward

Chaka Washington

Kristina Webb


This board is proud to celebrate Black young professionals in the city of Chicago. Please visit our blog to learn more about future events and learn more about young professionals in Chicago:

The board recruits new members in late spring each year! Are you interested in learning more about how to get involved? Please call 773-285-9600 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about upcoming events, fundraisers, and ways for you to learn more about the board and the organization!

Born in 1950 in Chicago's Altgeld Gardens, Phillip Jackson moved frequently as a child, attending 11 different Chicago public schools over the course of his 13 years in that system. After receiving a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy, with honors, from Roosevelt University in 1974, he was quickly promoted from stock clerk to assistant manager at Kroch's and Brentano's Book Stores, where he had been employed since 1969.

During his 24-year career with Chicago's oldest bookstore chain, he climbed to the position of Senior Vice President of Operations. He helped build and manage the company but parted ways with the other executives when they turned on the employees, denying them their hard earned pensions. Motivated by these injustices, Phillip led, financed and won a class-action lawsuit that restored pensions to wrongfully terminated employees. After leaving Kroch's & Brentano's, he worked in the Office of Budget and Management for the City of Chicago and became Assistant Budget Director within six months. In the Budget Office, he led the Quick-Pay task force that took action to make sure that all vendors (especially minority owned enterprises) doing business with the City of Chicago were paid in a timely and proper fashion.

In 1995 he joined the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) transition team with Paul Vallas. During his five-year tenure he served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Chief of Staff. He helped CPS achieve the highest number of contracts in Chicago history with businesses owned by Blacks, Latinos, and Women. As the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Phillip Jackson managed a team that secured millions of dollars in grant funds for new construction and renovation projects, as well as innovative educational initiatives. During his tenure at the Chicago Public Schools, Phillip became acutely aware of the racial academic achievement gap, both in Chicago and nationwide, and eventually decided to enter the non-profit sector in order to address this problem. In 1996, he founded The Black Star Project to address this issue.

In 1999, he became the CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). During his dynamic stewardship of the CHA, Jackson negotiated a $1.6 billion deal with the federal government to transform public housing in Chicago with a focus on residents' quality of life, not just the bricks and mortar. Following this concept, Phillip Jackson worked to improve the living conditions in public housing for the youth residents, he even made certain that all children received gifts of books around the holiday season. His hands-on approach included driving to every building multiple times each week to talk with residents and to take note of the status of the grounds and repairs. He designed an award-winning summer school from which 92% of failed 8th-grade participants made sufficient summer progress to be promoted to high school. The average success rate for the same population citywide hovered around 63%.

In 2000, he moved to the Office of the Mayor for the City of Chicago, where he served as Chief of Education. There he implemented the first citywide parent empowerment conference.

After serving as President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago for one year, he elected in 2002 to devote himself full time to the organization he founded in 1996, The Black Star Project.

As the Executive Director of The Black Star Project, he had become a national leader advocating for community involvement in education and the importance of parental development to ensure that children are properly educated. He was honored as an Education Champion of Change for America by The White House, Champion of Social Justice by the Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy, Citizen of the Year by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Monarch Man of the Year in Education by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Reclaim Our Youth Honoree by Operation Push, Education Man of the Year for the Bud Billiken Parade, Illinois Educator of the Year for the 7th Congressional District of Illinois, Champion of Social Justice by Chicago African Americans In Philanthropy, and the Ricky Birdson Father of the Year Award for the State of Illinois by the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative. He was also named as one of Chicago Defender's "50 Men of Excellence" and received the Cook County State Attorney's Community Empowerment Award.


Phillip Jackson passed away on November 4th, 2018.

The mission of The Black Star Project (TBSP) is to eliminate the racial academic achievement gap. The Black Star Project has designed itself to produce and deliver community-­driven educational support programs, services, campaigns and initiatives that help pre­-school through college students succeed academically with the help of their parents, extended families, neighborhoods, and communities. This mission is driven by a vision for Black and Brown children to become globally competent, globally compassionate 21st-­century global citizens.

The Black Star Project was founded in 1996 to improve the quality of life in Chicago's Black and Brown communities by eliminating the racial academic achievement gap, which leads to many other quality­ of ­life gaps.

TBSP, which began as a small mentoring program in two Chicago public schools, has grown into an organization with national impact based on its innovative programs, campaigns and initiatives that engage and inspire students, parents and whole communities to improve students' educational outcomes. Black Star works to help pre-­school through college students succeed academically by advocating for and facilitating educational services, while supporting parents, families and communities to effectively provide student educational supports for their children.

The Black Star Project's multiple initiatives address parent engagement, youth development and educational advocacy. At its inception in 1996, TBSP introduced two programs: Student Motivation and Mentoring Program (SMMP), a classroom-­based mentoring model with motivational speakers designed to inspire students to do well in school, and the Barbara Ann Sizemore Communiversity for Educational Excellence—a series of community meetings using a full-­participation-­dialogue model in a public arena to generate action through organized advocacy on a variety of issues concerning closing the academic achievement gap. In its second year (1997), The Black Star Project introduced Silas B. Purnell Destination College, designed to promote awareness during middle school about the importance of post­-secondary education. Destination College was expanded in 2005 to include a series of workshops and college tours, facilitated by college students, to prepare high school students to successfully apply to, attend and succeed in college. Shortly thereafter, TBSP added Jump Start on College—college fairs throughout the city.

In 2004, the first annual Million Father March was launched as a nationwide event to mobilize Black fathers and male caregivers to take their children to school on the first school day. That same year, The Black Star Project rolled out Parent University, designed to equip parents with the essential skills, and the necessary information and resources to help build stronger families to ensure the proper education of their children. Fathers Club, which organized and hosted free educational and recreational outings for fathers, significant male caregivers, and their children, also began that year. Fathers Club encouraged men to work for educational and other positive changes in their communities.

In March of 2007, TBSP coordinated its first Men In Schools (MIS) initiative, a comprehensive campaign designed to encourage men to volunteer in schools. In 2008, led by Fathers Club members, MIS expanded its programming for an entire week—Men in Schools week included a full week of activities and opportunities for fathers to support their children's educational environments by volunteering.

Early in 2008, TBSP launched Parent of the Year Awards to acknowledge and reward outstanding parents at public and private schools throughout Chicago; the Golden Parent Award of cash was given to the top-­rated parents in Chicago schools. Next, the Black Star Scholars Tutoring program, which started in four of Chicago's public schools, was expanded to 25 public schools. Soon thereafter, the Take a Young Black Male to Worship campaign began reaching out to engage and encourage Black churches to mentor young Black men as well as to each adopt one school throughout the year.

Since 2007, The Black Star Project has been tracking youth violence in Chicago. Beyond the obvious tragedy of pre­mature and senseless death, when students do not feel safe, their academic achievement suffers. TBSP initially responded to this horrific situation with organized marches, vigils, student auditorium sessions, conflict­ resolution workshops, and public forums with workshops for parents about gangs and violence. After 53 Chicago students age 18 and under were killed during the 2008-­09 school year, TBSP organized its staff and community volunteers around a campaign called Peace in the Hood. Armed with information, posters, wristbands and t-­shirts, TBSP's command central dispatched groups of individuals to the Chicago neighborhoods most devastated by violence, and worked to inspire and prepare disengaged, hopeless youth to end the violence, continue their education and seek employment.

The Black Star Project's youth programming expanded in 2009 to include more intensive mentoring, job fairs, and training opportunities, especially for at­risk students. Additionally, TBSP has overseen a variety of summer jobs programs, during which students were trained for and placed in various positions, including performing administrative work at TBSP headquarters, selling books to area churches and schools, cleaning up neighborhood trash, and tutoring younger students. TBSP has also facilitated intensive, in-­school mentoring services for more than 200 students in the Chicago Public Schools. Additionally, it established a mentoring program for 70 young men, called The Young Black Men of Honor.

In the spring of 2011, The Black Star Project launched Saturday University, a network of Saturday schools designed to quickly remediate issues with students who performed below grade level academically and to accelerate students' progress who operate at grade level.

In 2012, TBSP, in partnership with the Open Society Foundation's Campaign for Black Male Achievement, continued its commitment to the betterment of Black males and Black and Brown youth generally by developing and distributing organizing guides, based on its experiences and lessons learned while conducting its most popular, scalable programs. These step-­by-­step, how-­to guides continue to be updated annually to help people and organizations create, manage, and support such programs nationwide by replicating or adapting them to specific communities' needs. Organizing guides were developed for and continue to be distributed for such key initiatives as: Million Father March, Take a Young Black Male to Worship, Real Men Read, Destination College, Saturday University, Daddy Daughter Dance, and the multi-component Black Male Achievement Initiative.

Since its founding in 1996, TBSP has vastly expanded from a small mentoring and educational advocacy nonprofit to an organization known for the breadth and depth of its actions with programs and initiatives in tutoring, mentoring, parent advocacy and development, violence prevention, college preparation, school environment support, and workforce development. Regardless of how much it expands, to this day, TBSP remains committed to the tradition of improving education and development in our communities, with the support and involvement of those it serves.

The Black Star Project is an Equal Opportunity Employer and offers positions with varying levels of responsibility for the development and support of our mission. All positions are based in Chicago, IL, unless noted otherwise in the description.


Please check back for more opportunities!