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Being the Change in the World

Ghan­di said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Alan Pow­ell of AP & Asso­ciates has embraced this idea and is gath­er­ing troops to help him make it hap­pen. Cre­at­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships between his busi­ness, local and nation­al lead­ers com­ing and open­ing up the dia­log between them and the under served stu­dents in the Phoenix area. By ini­ti­at­ing events to help pro­pel Pres­i­dent Obama’s My Brother’s Keep­er com­mu­ni­ty chal­lenge, such as the mul­ti-cul­tur­al bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment, Cac­tus City Clas­sic, that will be held for the first year in 2017 here in Phoenix.

Jose Car­los: “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 Oba­ma in Sep­tem­ber 2014. The forum was spon­sored by the “Check­ered Flag Run Foun­da­tion,” which pro­vides diverse edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams that help under served stu­dents.

Here to talk about the forum is Alan AP Pow­ell, Founder and Chair­man of the Check­ered Flag Run Foun­da­tion.

Mr. Pow­ell, thank you for join­ing us on “Orr­i­zonte.”

What’s par­tic­u­lar­ly impres­sive about all the work that you’re doing in this area, is you’ve got a day job that keeps you pret­ty busy as it is, and yet you find time to give back to the com­mu­ni­ty. Tell us what inspired you to do that?

Alan Pow­ell: Well, grow­ing up in inner city in Louisville, Ken­tucky, I felt part of my lega­cy would be mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in oth­er people’s lives. I wake up every morn­ing feel­ing, “How can I make oth­er people’s lives bet­ter?”

Jose: You’re based here in Ari­zona?

Alan: Yes, sir.

Jose: You do work all over the coun­try?

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

Jose: 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 Check­ered Flag?

Alan: Our mot­to is, “Ensur­ing that every kid gets a chance to cross the fin­ish line.” We real­ly take that seri­ous, our mis­sion state­ment. Some of the things that we do, we have a pro­gram where we have a back­pack dri­ve we do every year called “Phoenix Tools for School.” We give about 3,000 to 4,000 back­pack salary every year at “Lo?Lo’s Chick­en and Waf­fle,” on 7th street in Buck­eye.

We also have anoth­er thing called “Dri­ve Your Mind” which is a com­mu­ni­ty piece where we give out Christ­mas toys and things to chil­dren in the com­mu­ni­ty. We have anoth­er pro­gram called “To the Top Schol­ar­ship.” We part­ner with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Phoenix and we give schol­ar­ships back into the com­mu­ni­ty.

Jose: Let’s talk about your most recent action, the forum that was held on Sat­ur­day before the Super Bowl game itself. The forum, and I under­stand the mayor’s tent was part of that. What did you do there?

Alan: Well, I went to the may­or and I went to Con­gress­man Gal­lego and Coun­cil­woman Kate Gal­lego. I thought that we should make a dif­fer­ence and take advan­tage of all the peo­ple being in town, Super Bowl week­end. Me com­ing from enter­tain­ment busi­ness, I reached out to some gen­tle­men that I knew were dis­tin­guished gen­tle­men across the coun­try, every­body from Damon Jones, from “Shark Tank,” and Boris Kod­joe who was picked as “The most beau­ti­ful man in the world,” and an African Amer­i­can actor.

Every­body from Gen­er­al Spi­der Marks who used to be the Joint Chief of Intel­li­gence for the Armed Forces. We kind of assim­i­late that group along with some local com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers like Ker­win Brown from the “Black Cham­ber,” Michael Kel­ly who mod­er­at­ed it, who’s a local com­mu­ni­ty activist.

Jose: And some­body we’ve had as a guest in this show, so we’re quite famil­iar with his cre­den­tials and a pret­ty impres­sive fel­low. You got a very, very aggres­sive major project com­ing up. It’s in the plan­ning stages as I under­stand. If you’re suc­cess­ful, it’s going to have a major impact on the city and the coun­try.

Alan: Yes, sir. A col­league of mine, Teni­qua Broughton, and myself, we thought we could make a dif­fer­ence by bring­ing some­thing diverse to the state of Ari­zona. I talked to Gov­er­nor Ducey about it. I talked to May­or Stan­ton about it. I talked to Coun­cil­woman Kate Gal­lego. I talked to Con­gress­men Gal­lego about this brings some­thing sub­stan­tial, diverse to kind of change the image of our state.

What we decid­ed to do was cre­ate a thing called the “Cac­tus City Clas­sic,” which is a multi?cultural bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment. It will be held in Ari­zona, in Feb­ru­ary around MLK week­end to acknowl­edge our state, and show that our state was mov­ing in the right direc­tion.

Jose: As sev­er­al years off.

Alan: Yes, sir. 2017, we will move to event here to Ari­zona. There’s a dupli­cate event in Char­lotte, and they bring about 250,000 peo­ple to Char­lotte every year. It’s called CIAA. We decid­ed to dupli­cate that. What our efforts has been with the “Thur­good Mar­shall Fund,” which is the largest Amer­i­can African col­lege fund in the coun­try. They ser­vice over 300,000 stu­dents a year.

Jose: If peo­ple want to get involved, to help sup­port your orga­ni­za­tion, how would they do that?

Alan: You can reach out to us online at cfrf.org, CheckeredFunRunFoundation.org, or you can call us at our office. We have a 800 num­ber, 800?876?8606.

Jose: I want to go back and talk a lit­tle bit about the con­nec­tion between your efforts at forum and every­thing, with the ini­tia­tive that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma start­ed. What’s the con­nec­tion?

Alan: I think what we want­ed to do is accept the President’s chal­lenge, in mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in our youth’s lives in Ari­zona. Then, edu­cate our youth in some of the things that face our coun­try, like 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 every­body has a chance to be suc­cess­ful in life. Being able to make sure that we brought lead­ers in that could tell their sto­ry, and they could adopt some of the dia­logue from these lead­ers, to feel like they could be suc­cess­ful also.

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

Alan: I think we have a great impact, because we’ve had seri­ous sup­port local­ly, and on nation­al lev­el. We’ve had every­body from Andrew Cohen, who chaired up the Avi­a­tion Board in Sky Har­bor, who’s a big busi­ness­man, sup­port us. We’ve had every­body from Bub­ba Mof­fet and his crew, Joe Cotroeo and Cres­cent Crown. We’ve had a lot of com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers get behind us, and a lot of busi­ness lead­ers believe in what our mes­sage is.

Jose: You’ve been able to do all this with a fair­ly small group of orga­niz­ers. Tell us just a lit­tle bit about the orga­ni­za­tion itself and we’re going to have to wrap up.

Alan: We have a very small group. It’s myself, Teni­qua Broughton, Lynn Austin. We have a gen­tle­man named Aaron Bare who is a big time edu­ca­tor here. He was the entrepreneur?in?residence at Thun­der­bird. He’s embraced our move­ment too. We have a very inno­v­a­tive group that wants to move for­ward, and do things dif­fer­ent and make a dif­fer­ence in the state of Ari­zona.

Jose: It cer­tain­ly looked like you’ve done that. Mr. Pow­ell, thank you for join­ing us on Orr­i­zonte to give us a run­down of your activ­i­ties.

Alan: Thank you, sir.

Jose: Con­grat­u­la­tions.

Alan: Thank you.

Jose: That’s our show for tonight. From all of us here at “Eight and Orr­i­zonte,” thank you for watch­ing. I’m Jose Car­los. Have a good evening.

[music]

Man 1: Fund­ing for Orr­i­zonte is made pos­si­ble by con­tri­bu­tions by “The Friends of Eight,” mem­bers of your, Ari­zona PBS Sta­tion.

Alan “AP” Powell is a Gulf War Veteran, Serial Entrepreneur, and a renowned Strategic Consultant developing strategic relationships for Fortune 500 companies. AP’s business philosophy has been “turning contacts into contracts” and it has become the standard for all of his companies and investments. AP has diverse industry experience and has worked with companies like ISC, Diageo, Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, University of Phoenix, and Miller-Coors.

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