Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy Celebrates Community Impact Awards

Community Impact Awardees at the third annual Bay Area Blacks In Philanthropy (BABIP) Gala reception: from left to right, Owen Garrick, MD, MBA, and wife Jocelyn Freeman Garrick, MD; Sylester Flowers, founder of Ramsell Holding Corporation; Paul Cobb, Post publisher, and wife Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of Oakland Private Industry Council; and Carl Hackney, CEO of MSE Group. Photo by Adam L. Turner.

By Ashley Chambers The historic landmark One Leidesdorff in San Francisco hosted philanthropic leaders on Friday, Oct. 19 at the third annual Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy (BABIP) State of the Race conference and Celebrating Blacks in Philanthropy Gala reception. Under a theme of “Politics, Power, and Philanthropy: A Bay Area Perspective,” the conference offered sessions that focused on solutions to disparities in economics, health, education, and employment within the Black community. “This [theme] applies to so many different things, everyday politics, everyday power, everyday philanthropy,” said CJ Callen, board member of BABIP. “It transcends what people think of as ordinary and makes it extraordinary.” Conference speakers included Timothy Alan Simon, Public Utilities Commissioner; Dana King, CBS 5 news anchor; Carol Burton, executive director of Centerforce; and Nwamaka Agbo, campaign director of the Ella Baker Center. Colin Lacon of Northern California Grantmakers was Master of Ceremonies. The evening’s awardees included Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of the Oakland Private Industry Council and her husband, Post publisher Paul Cobb; Carl Hackney, president and CEO of the MSE Group; Jocelyn Freeman Garrick, MD, co-founder and president of Mentoring in Medicine & Science (MIMS) and husband Owen Garrick, MD, MBA, COO and Director of Bridge Clinical Research, Inc.; and Sylester Flowers, founder of Ramsell Holding Corporation and Apothecary pharmacy in Oakland, now a chain of pharmacies serving inner-city communities. “Our community has needs that are vast – there’s always so much more to do,” said Gay Cobb as she received the Community Impact Catalyst Award presented to her and her husband. In recognition of their humanitarian deeds, awardees received Zimbabwean statues, symbolic of the significance of African and African American culture and traditions. The gala also featured a presentation and book signing by Valaida Fullwood, author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists,” who said she wants to “widen the lens” and “reframe the portrait of philanthropy.” Fullwood, a North Carolina native, inspired many as she told her story of creating a “giving circle” with friends and making an impact on others by giving back. For more information, visit

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