Community service is one of Malaak Compton-Rock's reasons for living.
The New Jersey philanthropist spoke Monday to about 950 at the annual Women Helping Women Fund Tri-Cities luncheon.
She talked about issues that are close to her heart, including youth, women's empowerment and education.
And she shared a video about one of her projects, Journey for Change, which takes at-risk children from Brooklyn to South Africa to teach them about social change and how they can make a difference one person at a time.
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"What they discover is that children even from inner cities in America are so much better off than those in any third world country," she said.
"I try to instill in them a passion for giving. I remember what it felt like to be exposed to community service and how it made me feel. I came to realize living a life of service is one of the most important things in life," Compton-Rock said.
She said she lives by her favorite Marian Wright Edelman quote, "Service is the rent we pay for living."
Compton-Rock is the author of If It Takes a Village, Build One: How I Found Meaning Through a Life of Service and a judge on Oprah's Big Give.
The wife of comedian and actor Chris Rock was an inspired choice for a luncheon raising money to give to organizations dedicated to empowering women, creating healthy families and mentoring women and children.
This year, eight Tri-City organizations and agencies will get a share of the money raised at the annual event. The total collected was not announced Monday.
"This was a record year for grant applications," said Jody Oxenford, president of the organization's board. Requests totaled $400,000. The lunch generally raises about $100,000.
The group's mission is to raise awareness for the unmet needs of women and children, raise money to support programs that make a positive difference for women and children and to foster the growth of women philanthropists.
This year's recipients are:
-- Richland Brighter Horizons, a program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties, which provides drop-in day care for teen parents attending classes in the Richland School District.
-- Grace Clinic Fund for Dental Hygiene, a program of the Columbia Basin College Dental Hygiene Program, to provide dental and periodontal services to uninsured, adult, Grace Clinic patients living at or below the federal poverty level.
-- Through Money Matters, a financial literacy program, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho will provide at-risk, disadvantaged, Hispanic girls ages 8-15 a chance to learn personal financial management.
-- Women Build 2012, a program of Habitat for Humanity Tri-Cities, which brings together volunteers and the future homeowner to build a house for a single mother.
-- Ignite Youth Mentoring, a Tri-City, nonprofit, faith-based organization that pairs youths ages 8-16 with trained mentors who will listen and offer encouragement.
-- The BodyWorks Program, an obesity prevention program run by Lourdes Health Network which works with Tri-City doctors to identify families who can benefit from an obesity prevention program targeting the parents and caregivers of children and teens.
-- Diaper Distribution Network, a program of Adventist Community Services, helps ensure that families living in poverty have an adequate supply of disposable diapers for infants and toddlers.
-- First Generation Scholarships, a program of Washington State University Tri-Cities, which provides low-income, first-generation female students with academic scholarships and help with other expenses including tuition, child care, internships and transportation.