The ESSENCE FEST is the perfect place to fulfill your mind, body, spirit and soul. While many of our 500,000+ attendees flock to New Orleans to see our artists like Erykah Badu, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and Kendrick Lamar take the stage, many of them leave with new friends, renewed perspectives and knowledge of how they can make a difference within communities around the world.

One of the most special areas of the Convention Center is the Shops at ESSENCE, Community Corner. Each year, we invite various organizations and initiatives from around the world to meet with thousands of people who are ready to work for the greater good. As the countdown to Independence weekend presses on, we want to inform you of a few initiatives you must-see before the 4-day event ends. After hearing their stories, you’ll know exactly why.

5 Community Initiatives You Can Sign Up For at ESSENCE FEST 2015:

1. Play Like A Girl! 

“Play Like A Girl!® has been motivating women and girls to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle for over 10 years. Our mission is to inspire girls everywhere to live happier and healthier by promoting physical activity as a path to lifelong success. Essentially, we are on a mission to #bringbackplay. This fall, Play Like A Girl! will launch collegiate chapters at Historically Black Colleges & Universities across the South. To find out how you can bring a chapter to your campus.”


2. Friends of Uganda:

 “We seek to provide a market for the lovely, unique products made by women in Uganda, Africa. We delight in our beautiful products, and our sales change lives. It is important for us to be represented at Essence because our sales change lives of women and children in Africa. We have many different products, all hand made and lovely. We are Fair Trade. Our sales provide education, food, and shelter for many African women.”

3. Columbia College Chicago:

 “Columbia College Chicago is an undergraduate and graduate institution whose principal commitment is to provide a comprehensive educational opportunity in the arts, communications, and public information within a context of enlightened liberal education. Columbia’s intent is to educate students who will communicate creatively and shape the public’s perceptions of issues and events and who will author the culture of their times. Columbia is an urban institution whose students reflect the economic, racial, cultural, and educational diversity of contemporary America. Columbia conducts education in close relationship to a vital urban reality and serves an important civic purpose by active engagement in the life and culture of the city of Chicago.”

4.  Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital: 

“In 2005, Nelson Mandela personally challenged the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to investigate paediatric healthcare in Southern Africa, and what can be done to improve any disparities. After feasibility studies and consultation with hospitals around the world, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust was established. Since then the Trust has been fundraising towards its $100 million target. In April 2014, they reached their halfway mark, and began construction on the hospital. To date, $62m has been raised, and the hospital is targeted to open in the second half of 2016. This is Madiba’s last wish for the children of Africa – a legacy project whose effects will be felt for generations to come.”

5.  The Trayvon Martin Foundation

“The Trayvon Martin Foundation was established by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin in March 2012 as a not-for-profit organization under the auspices of the Miami Foundation. The Foundation’s purpose is to create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims and to provide support and advocacy for those families in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. The scope of the Foundation’s mission is to advocate that crime victims and their families are not ignored in the discussions about violent crime to increase public awareness of all forms of racial ethnic and gender profiling educate youth on conflict resolution techniques and to reduce the incidences where confrontations between strangers turn deadly.”

For a full list of Community Corner vendors, as well as arts and crafts you can dive in to at ESSENCE FEST, check out the July 2015 issue of ESSENCE Magazine.  To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the great times we are sure to have in NOLA, purchase your Single Night Tickets, today.