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The Mary J. Blige Center For Women Opens In NYC

Submitted by on October 23, 2009 – 10:10 am6 Comments


Mary J. Blige speaks to the media and the local Yonkers crowd at the opening of The Mary J. Blige Center For Women

Yesterday was a momentous day for the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, as she opened The Mary J. Blige Center For Women in her hometown of Yonkers, New York.

A partnership between Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) and FFAWN (Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now Inc.), the MJB Center is committed to providing young women and girls in Yonkers with skills, knowledge, resources and supports empowering them to pursue their personal goals and become self-sufficient, confident women.

Alan Tragear, Executive Director/CEO of WJCS, said “When Mary talks, it’s just like she sings. It’s not just from her lips, it’s from her heart.”

“I always desperately wanted to help women to become CONFIDENT [in themselves]” Mary told the crowd. She broke down in tears at one point in her speech: “When I was five years old, a lot happened to me…I also used to see women beaten almost to death growing up in my building. But it’s not just in poverty that this happens – it happens to every woman.”


Mary cutting the ribbon with (from left) WCJS Exec Alan Tragear, Gucci’s Frida Giannini and FFAWN co-founder Steve Stoute

Located at 489 South Broadway (between Valentine Lane and St. Andrew’s Place), Yonkers, NY, the Center Opening was attended by Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, Alan Tragear, Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini and MJB Center Director Michelle Hammett.

Many young women in the Yonkers community lack the resources necessary to reach their potential. The MJB Center offers a supportive environment with educational, vocational, parenting, health and life skills components, all aimed at empowering women to overcome life’s obstacles and pursue positive choices.


Mary shares a smile and a wave with the local fans who came out to support her

FFAWN’s co-founder Steve Stoute (whom Mary thanked God for in her speech) told the crowd the MJB Center was the first of many, with the organization’s vision including outposts across the globe.

Gucci’s involvement was also touched on, with the brand’s philanthropic efforts heralded. “They did so much more than cut as a check”, a representative from FFAWN said. “We thank you [Gucci] from the bottom of our heart – we would not be here cutting this ribbon without you.”


A check for $125,000 is presented to WCJS for The Mary J. Blige Center For Women

Boss Lady had the chance to exclusively interview Mary J. Blige on the day – check back for video soon!

For more information on FFAWN, head to FFAWN.org.

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