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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Photos | Evening In Manila at the Harold Pratt House New York

Extraordinary Chefs and Sommeliers Stage Takeover of Upper East Side Mansion to Celebrate 'An Evening in Manila' Benefiting ARK’s  #MillionLunches Feeding Program for Rural Kids

Award-winning Author Mia Alvar and Fashion Designer Rafe Totengco Honored

New York-based social impact innovator and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt philanthropic organization Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK) and the East Village’s Maharlika Filipino Moderno’s “An Evening in Manila” brought together adventure-seeking and fun loving foodies for one night last Friday May 20, as the City’s top chefs, sommeliers and restaurant professionals took over The Harold Pratt House, an Upper East Side mansion and presented a truly unique dining and dancing experience in support of ARK’s feeding program, which aims to raise funds to provide one million lunches, get kids back to school and create much needed income for farmers in the Philippines [so that the rural community can sustain the program over the course of three years].

Offering their own takes on Filipino-inspired dishes and cocktails, restaurants Aquavit, Locanda Verde and Untitled created a one-of-a-kind, multicourse menu with wine pairings from The NoMad, while Lumpia Shack, Noreetuh and Hidden Apron featuring Master Chef Jr. finalist Josh Reisner tantalized and re-imagined Filipino classic hors d'oeuvres with specialty cocktails from the Gramercy Tavern ​and Jeepney. Desserts by chefs from The Green Table and The Modern.

EIM honored two very special guests -- Manila-born, Manhattan-bred book author, Mia Alvar (In the Country) and Filipino fashion designer Rafe Totengco.

Mia Alvar, Rafe Totengco and Ayesha Vera-Yu

Clement Rhum, Half Moon Gin, Hennessy, Tito’s Vodka, Breuckelen Whiskey, Empire Wines and Tiger Beer provided spirits, wine and beer, while Cristina Soriano Lifestyle and BAHTOH designed a glamorous and inviting event space.

Photos by Lambert Parong for Kababayan Media/ CC BY

Nicole Adrienne Ponseca

Tomas and Kara De Los Reyes with Miguel Trinidad

Nathalie Lim, Mila Cajulis, Jenjen Furer and Sharlene Aquiler.

Momar Visaya, Nicole Ponseca and Don Tagala.

Dennis Sy, Mylz Tolentino, Loren San Diego and Jennifer Santi.
Jose Llana and Jaygee Macapugay.
Mia Alvar (center) with her family.

Ernabel Demillo and John Muller.
Ramon Recto, Charisse Arboleda, Zenny Pallugna and Joey Chanco.
Nick Dawes.

Ryan Letada (2nd from right).

Khristine Catacutan (left).

Cecilia Pagkalinawan, Rafe Totengco, Mia Alvar and Ernabel Demillo.

Rachelle Peraz Ocampo.

Marlo Gamora
Mariko Jacinto, PJ Pascual and Sophie Bischoff.

Cornelius and Liv.

Billy Bustamante, Liz Casasola, Brian Jose, Jaygee Macapugay, Jose Llana and Ernabel Demillo.

Yanhong Ye and Anthony Castro.

Glenn Nano and Mia Alvar with their parents.
Emmanuel Manalo and Joyce De Vera
Carla Villacorta, Marella Gayla, Annie Gayla and Joyce Restituto-Carlin.

Randy Gonzales

Jozen, Gina and Ryan Letada.
Momar Visaya, Lucille Javier, Mark Bustos and Don Tagala.

Vanessa Hong, Khristine Catacutan, Bobbie Yanoupeth and Henry Bae.

Rachelle Peraz Ocampo
Ayesha Vera Yu and Rafe Totengco.

Carla Villacorta and Mia Alvar.

Jerry Topitzer and Ayesha Vera-Yu.

Miguel Trinidad, Nicole Adrienne Ponseca, Kara and Tomas De Los Reyes.

Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, partners with communities in the developing world, creating innovative and sustainable solutions to get kids back to school, end hunger and malnutrition and providing marginalized communities with new income. For $15 per kid per year, ARK’s community-managed Feeding Program consists of a hot meal of protein and vegetables sourced fresh and daily from parents and other local farmers. ARK also funds $5 School Supplies and $50 High School Scholarship programs; and co-invests with communities on infrastructure and for profit projects. ARK is an all-volunteer organization with the Board underwriting its operating costs. For more information, visit

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mayor de Blasio, Department of Small Business Services Host 10th Annual Procurement Fair to Connect Minority and Women-Owned Businesses to Contracting Opportunities and Resources

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) recently hosted the 10th Annual Procurement Fair at the Bank of New York Mellon, to help connect New York City minority and women-owned businesses to public and private contracting opportunities and other resources. More than 700 certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) attended the fair with purchasers from more than 70 City and State agencies and public authorities, as well as several private-sector companies.
Video available at:
“This procurement fair allows us to better connect with M/WBEs and offer them the chance to learn about the many contracting opportunities we offer. The fair is yet another useful tool we use to level the playing field for M/WBEs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are an inclusive City, and the way we do business should be as diverse as the people we serve.”
“Leveling the playing field for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBEs) to compete for City contracts is a priority at SBS, and our annual Procurement Fair is a powerful way to connect City agency procurement needs with the diversity of local businesses,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “In the past two years, we’ve awarded $1.8 billion to City-certified M/WBEs, and with the many tools that we offer City firms to become certified, grow and become more competitive – from free workshops and financing support to capacity building – we are on track to meet Mayor de Blasio’s goal of awarding $16 billion to M/WBE firms over 10 years.”
“The success of New York City’s women and minority-owned businesses is a central focus of this administration. The 10th Annual Procurement Fair is a wonderful opportunity to connect M/WBEs to meaningful and valuable contracting opportunities. We are excited about this event, and we are working to ensure that all of our City agencies are using every tool at their disposal to increase partnerships with our M/WBE vendors,” said Michael Owh, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.
"When M/WBEs work, so does the City. That's why this administration has committed to $16 billion in contract awards to MWBEs under OneNYC. We have already awarded close to $3 billion to New York City Certified M/WBEs, and today's Small Business Services' 10th Annual Procurement Fair is our chance to further tackle inequality by opening more doors for our City's diverse firms," said Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor.
The Procurement Fair offered networking opportunities with purchasing staff as well as access to 11 Opportunity Rooms where participants learned about available or upcoming contracting opportunities. The Procurement Fair also provided an informational session on the NYC Disparity Study, a report that examined the City’s procurement process; subcontracting practices of prime contractors and vendors who do business with the City; anecdotal evidence collected from a broad cross section of minority-, women-, and non-minority-owned firms; and Minority and women-owned business participation in the private sector.
The Procurement Fair is part of Mayor de Blasio’s larger commitment to increase the pipeline of M/WBEs, improve performance and impact policy, the administration is taking aggressive steps to strengthen M/WBEs and ensure the City’s procurement reflects the diversity of NYC businesses by:
  • Increasing total City awards to M/WBEs to $16 billion over the next 10 years. The City has already awarded over $1.6 billion to M/WBEs during FY 2015, and is on track to reach the $16 billion goal.
  • Reaching a record 4,454 were certified M/WBEs, a 21 percent increase since the start of Mayor de Blasio’s administration.
  • Pursuing amendments to State laws to strengthen the City’s M/WBE program to give the City parity with State, which includes raising the threshold for discretionary spending from $20,000 to $200,000.
  • Conducting a new disparity study to explore potential changes to the City’s M/WBE program. A series of community meetings was held in each borough to engage business participation.
  • Working to increase the loan limits of the Contract Financing program for M/WBEs that need capital to successfully perform on City contracts.
  • Launching a new bond fund that will assist M/WBEs with securing bonding or increasing bond capacity.
  • Expanding the Fast Track certification process to allow New York State-certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) that are minority and women-owned to obtain City’s M/WBE certification.
  • Launching the new NYC Goods & Services Mentorship Program for M/WBEs to help them compete by providing education, training, technical assistance and mentoring. This new program complements the NYC Construction Mentorship and Bond Readiness programs that help build the capacity of M/WBEs. Applications are now being accepted for all three programs that will begin in fall 2016.
Free services are available to help strengthen certified M/WBEs, including access to technical assistance, bonding, financing, teaming and mentorship. M/WBEs are also eligible to participate in the City’s Corporate Alliance Program, which trains and connects City-certified firms with private sector contracting opportunities, as well as Strategic Steps for Growth, a nine-month business management course for M/WBEs offered by the City in partnership with New York University.
Firms interested starting the M/WBE certification process or participating in M/WBE programming can learn more by calling 311, visiting or meeting with a client manager at one of the City’s seven NYC Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs.
“According to MWBEs, a common obstacle is the mere connection between prime contractors, government agencies, and MWBE sub-contractors,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “These types of match-making opportunities that the 10th Annual Procurement Fair provided are critical to the success of these businesses, and for the most part what they are looking for. The Opportunity Rooms where live contracting opportunities were provided will work toward results that will be mutually beneficial."
"As we all know small business is the back bone of America and in NewYork  city it can be said that small businesses/MWBE are the fiber and strength of the world greatest city. On Staten Island we are witnessing an economic boom especially in its NorthShore considering the construction of empire outlets and NewYork wheel just to name a few. As a small business owner and president of the NorthShore business alliance I applaud the 21 percent Increment in MWBEs since the mayor took office. My hopes is that we can work on shrinking paper work and bureaucracy in terms of pay outs to MWBE who win contract this is a common complaints by most," said Bobby Digi, Founder and Executive Director of IslandVoice Inc.

"I am thankful that the Mayor and SBS is caring about the small business owner. This Procurement Fair is just what small businesses need to thrive and have longevity," said Cynthia Simpson, Captain of Marcy Green Committee.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services, go to

Governor Cuomo Announces New Masters-In-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program for Future Top Educators

Statewide Award Program Recognizes High-Achieving Undergraduates and Professionals Seeking Career in Education

Scholarship Provides Full CUNY or SUNY Tuition for Master’s Degree in Education

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program will begin accepting applications on May 26. The program provides a full SUNY or CUNY tuition scholarship to high-achieving college undergraduates or professionals for their master’s studies in education. Up to 500 new awards will be granted annually for two academic years of full-time study. 

“Expanding access to higher education today will help foster top notch talent to be the educators of tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “This program will help ensure that our future teachers have access to the resources necessary to become leaders in the classroom and continue to shape and inspire students across New York for years to come.”

Honorees must be New York State residents and have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher at a college or university located in the state. Recipients must agree to teach at a public elementary or secondary school in the state for five years after completing their degree. The application deadline is July 10, 2016, and awards will be announced in August. 

“The launch of the Governor’s Masters-in-Education scholarship, coupled with the launch of TeachNY, offers our future teachers unprecedented financial and professional support to ensure their success,” said New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Acting President Elsa Magee. “This scholarship will help provide a pool of top teacher candidates at the time the State’s need for teachers is growing.”

“The need for teacher recruitment and retention is at an all-time high in New York State, as we face a significant – and growing teacher shortage,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Governor Cuomo’s Teacher Incentive Scholarship Program is an excellent complement to TeachNY, one that is certain bring more excellent teachers to New York’s classrooms and students. SUNY is proud to be a part of this important initiative and we look forward to welcoming the inaugural recipients to SUNY campuses throughout New York State.”

"I commend Governor Cuomo for this timely and important initiative to support New York’s future educators,” said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken. “The City University of New York has long recognized the importance of teacher preparation and retention, and CUNY is the largest provider of public school teachers for New York City. The Masters-in-Education Program demonstrates the State’s commitment to supporting high quality preparation for the next generation of New York teachers.” 

For more information, visit

About New York State Higher Education Services Corporation:

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation is the State’s student financial aid agency that helps people pay for college and a national leader in providing need based grant and scholarship award money to college-going students. At the Corporation's core are programs like the Tuition Assistance Program, numerous state scholarships, federal college access grants and a highly successful College Savings program. The Corporation puts college within the reach of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year through programs like these and through the guidance it provides to students, families and counselors. In 2013-14, the Corporation helped more than 388,000 students achieve their college dreams by providing more than $984 million in grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness benefits, including $935.5 million awarded through the Tuition Assistance Program.