NEWPORT, R.I. – Malaak Compton-Rock, founder of numerous charitable entities – including The Angelrock Project, an online e-village promoting volunteerism, social responsibility, and sustainable change – will present the commencement address and be awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters during Salve Regina University’s 60th commencement on Sunday, May 16.
Also being awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters will be longtime Newport artist Richard Grosvenor. The commencement will begin at 10 a.m. on the oceanside lawn of McAuley Hall, Ochre Point Avenue.
Compton-Rock has devoted her life to community service, working tirelessly to fulfill the principle behind her favorite Marian Wright Edelman quote: “Service is the rent we pay for living.”
Her first book, “If It Takes A Village, Build One: How I Found Meaning Through a Life of Service and 100 Ways You Can Too” was released this month by Broadway Books, a division of Random House.
Compton-Rock founded The Anglerock Project (www.angelrockproject.com) in 2008 to serve as an umbrella organization for six of her main philanthropic causes, as well as to serve as a means to encourage others to live a life of service.
Among its many elements, The Angelrock Project includes information on how to volunteer, advice on making monetary or in-kind donations, links to life-changing non-profit organizations, information on fair trade companies whose products sustain third-world artisans, and a discussion forum and blog.
Compton-Rock champions many endeavors, but her six main causes include: “Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service,” a global volunteer exchange program for at-risk youth; “Brooklyn Services,” which aids youth in the borough of Brooklyn, N.Y. through partnerships with The Salvation Army Bushwick Community Center; “Child Abuse Awareness” and prevention through the Champions for Children Campaign she created; “Hurricane Katrina Relief” to aid families and children devastated from the storm through partnerships with The Children's Defense Fund’s Freedom School in the 9th Ward of New Orleans and Bonita House of Hope in Houston; “South Africa Programs,” which includes projects in Johannesburg (Diepsloot) and Soweto, South Africa focused on educational and micro-finance projects; and raising awareness and funds for “Triple Negative Breast Cancer” in conjunction with The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.
Compton-Rock began her career in the entertainment industry. She worked for many years at the Terrie Williams Agency contributing to movie and record release campaigns and projects for clients including Eddie Murphy, The Essence Awards, and HBO.
Following a stint in the cosmetics industry, she found her true calling after accepting a position at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). During her three years with the organization, she spearheaded and oversaw the Special Events and Celebrity Relations Department, a position created for her.
Compton-Rock designed and orchestrated numerous fundraising and advocacy events geared toward increasing the organization’s visibility and promoting private sector and corporate giving. She managed the organization’s roster of celebrity spokespersons, planning numerous international field trips for the spokespersons to witness UNICEF-assisted projects in the field, coordinated all celebrity appearances at special events and with the media, as well as created a successful television product placement campaign for UNICEF’s core fundraising campaign “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.”
During her tenure with UNICEF, Compton-Rock increased the organization’s support by cultivating and recruiting such notable celebrities as Laurence Fishburne, Tea Leoni, Sarah Jessica Parker and Claudia Schiffer. She continues to be an active supporter, having visited UNICEF-assisted projects with her family in South Africa and Kenya in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
While still at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Compton-Rock made the life-changing decision to dedicate her life’s work to the non-profit world. With that directive in mind, she left the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to pursue her dream of starting her own a non-profit organization.
She incorporated styleWORKS, an organization that provided comprehensive grooming services, i.e., hair styling, make-up application, skincare services, clothing, accessories, and image consulting to women moving from welfare to work. After seven years of offering direct services as a non-profit, styleWORKS now provides grooming seminars on a consultant basis only and continues to offer monthly mentoring and job retention-based services, such as the styleWORKS book club.
She created the Champions for Children Committee, a prestigious group of well-known individuals who are committed to raising awareness about the signs and prevention of child abuse. In 2007, the group received national pro-bono exposure in magazines including People, Redbook, Essence and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as radio exposure through a series of PSA’s heard on Clear Channel stations nationwide. In all, the campaign received over 28 million pro bono media impressions.
Along with her husband, comedian Chris Rock, she runs The Angelrock Project South Africa, a trust that provides assistance to orphaned and vulnerable children, granny-led households and people living with HIV/AIDS in Diepsloot, a poverty-stricken shanty town in Johannesburg.
The Trust offers educational and tuition assistance, food and nutritional support, and living allowance grants for those whose lives have been adversely affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Through a partnership with The Food Garden Foundation, the organization has funded sustainable food gardens in Diepsloot and at a half dozen schools in Soweto to provide food for the community and for income-generating purposes. The Trust is currently coordinating a daily feeding program and is installing playground systems for the orphan population in coordination with two local non-governmental organizations.
The Rocks are also committed to The Bushwick Salvation Army Community Center in Bushwick, Brooklyn and recently open a new library and computer lab through the support of Target, (RED), Dell, and AARRIS Architects, LLP.
Additionally, Malaak Compton-Rock is a coordinating the development of a comprehensive art program at the Center which will include a teaching partnership with Pratt Institute and The Black Alumni of Pratt Institute that will begin in January 2010.
Recently, Compton-Rock filmed the Harpo/ABC-TV reality show “Oprah’s Big Give.” Debuting on March 2, 2008, Compton-Rock served as a co-judge offering her insights, encouragement and critiques to contestants whose mission was to give back to society in creative and innovative ways.
Compton-Rock is an avid public speaker who lectures on topics pertaining to philanthropic giving, finding balance in life, raising giving children in a global world, and successfully blending a family and a professional life.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She holds a B.F.A. in Arts/Production Management from Howard University and received an honorary doctorate from Fairleigh Dickinson University in May 2009.