*Atlanta, GA – On Saturday, February 26, 2011, the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation will host a charity gala, Caring for Congo at the St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.
NBA Legend Dikembe Mutombo created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997 to improve the health, education and quality of the life for the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country that is still trying to recover from the ravages of a decade of war and disease.
Mutombo, an eight-time NBA All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, is truly one of the game’s great humanitarians and before suffering a serious knee injury during the 2009 NBA Playoffs, he had a distinguished 18-year career with Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Houston. Dikembe Mutombo retired in 2009.
The latest UN report on global child mortality shows that worldwide mortality rates among children below five years old are the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in eight children dies before his or her fifth birthday. In the Congo, 158 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday.
One major project of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation was the construction of a new general hospital in the capital city of Kinshasa, which opened in December 2007. This new hospital named in memory of Mutombo’s beloved mother is the first new hospital of its kind to be built in the Congo in over 40 years. In 2009, the hospital had over 20,000 outpatient visits, a little over 3,000 emergency room patients and close to 2,000 patients were hospitalized. Mutombo believes the addition of this new facility has been effective in diminishing some of the major health gaps within his country.
Ali Velshi, CNNs Business Correspondent (who was born in Kenya) will be the Moderator for the entire evening. Caryl Stern, CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF will deliver Opening Remarks.
The event will include a dance performance by Manga African Dance and musical performances by R&B/Jazz/Blues vocalist Alyson Williams(former Def Jam/Columbia Records artist) whose hit single “Just Call My Name” has become an R&B classic and Soul/rockstar Derek McKeith whose video “Can’t Get Enough” soared to #1 on BET’s “Soul Sessions Top Ten Countdown.” Derek McKeith whose musical style has been described as a combination of Prince and Jimi Hendrix with a touch of Michael Jackson. His latest CD, The Signature, was recorded on Electric Life/DIOS Music. He is also the Director, Programming, (West Coast) of the Traveling Guitar Foundation (TGF).
Following his performance at the gala, Mr. McKeith and TGF Founder/guitarist Damon Marks will present the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation with a donation of brand new Dean acoustic guitars to donate to a needy music program in the Congo. They will also contribute an item to the live auction of a personally-autographed guitar by R&B/Pop sensation Alicia Keys.
About the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Inc.
The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal not only by providing comprehensive health care at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, but also through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people in the Congo. www.dmf.org
About the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital
The Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital represents the triumph of hope and determination over obstacles big and small which included the scourge of diseases often unknown or vanquished in the developing world. Today, the hospital stands proudly in the commune of Masina, a suburb of Kinshasa . This attractive, modern facility opened its doors to patients on December 4, 2007 and has now been functioning for over three years. It has capacity of 150 beds and it is supported by a state of the art emergency room, intensive care unit, well stocked pharmacy, and a modern radiology department including a new CT Scanner, mammography machine and ultrasound equipment. The hospital’s facilities and services encompass several dimensions, which make it unique in the context of health care delivery on the continent of Africa and in other undeserved areas.
About The Traveling Guitar Foundation The Traveling Guitar Foundation(TGF) is focused on shaping the future of the music industry through children’s education. In 2009, founder guitarist/songwriter Damon Marks established the Traveling Guitar Foundation, which donates instruments and equipment to schools whose music programs are endangered due to budget cuts. The TGF is developing an exciting roster of artists and music industry manufacturers to support the cause. When the foundationvisits a school to make a donation, they put on a show to reinforce the benefits and joy of making music. In addition to young artists, who make a big impact on school children, he also brings along renowned music personalities to help deliver the message including Darryl McDaniels (Run-DMC), music producer Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, NJ rappers BDS(Hashim BING/Alias DUNDEE), Willie Brown(Alicia Keys’ guitarist) and a host of others. Bon Jovi c0-founder/keyboardist David Bryan has recently joined the TGF Board of Directors. www.travelingguitarfoundation.org
Sandra Trim DaCosta
Susan M. Johnson