August of this year will mark two years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.  Despite the time that has passed, many individuals from the area are still trying to rebuild what was lost.

In 2005, America’s Next Top Model creator Tyra Banks offered her assistance to the rebuilding effort by partnering with iAmplify for an exclusive release of an India.Arie that was performed on her talk show.  She is now using the same forum of her talk show to continue to help the victims of the event who have yet to fully recover.

Tyra’s show has recently announced that on her May 24th talk show, she and her guests will be giving a Hurricane Katrina survivor a check and a pledge to rebuild the home that was lost during the storm.  The survivor, Rochelle Gaddis from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, not only lost her home, but also a cousin and a nephew.  Tyra had originally assisted by connecting Gaddis with a contractor, but when the contractor didn’t come through, Tyra was “angered” and this ostensibly led to the funds and additional commitment.

Tyra’s assistance with the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts are far from her only forays into philanthropy.  She has also formed an organization called the TZONE Foundation, which states the following as its mission:

“The mission of the TZONE Foundation is to build a sisterhood movement among women and girls by raising funds and making grants to community-based nonprofits that serve low-income, disadvantaged girls. The Foundation is committed to supporting visionary organization that enable women and girls to achieve their full potential.”

Although the foundation is still in transition and development, with its website still not fully developed, the America’s Next Top Model creator is full steam ahead with the fundraising process.  She is “cleaning out her closet” and auctioning off items, including the tee-shirt given to her by Naomi Campbell when their feud was ended on Tyra’s talk show.

The phrase “TZONE” will likely be familiar to devoted Tyra fans, as it is also the name of the summer camp she began in 2000 to assist teen girls with self-esteem and empowerment.

Continuing with her clear focus on empowering young women, Tyra has also established the Tyra Banks Scholarship.  The Scholarship is provided to provide to young African -American women the opportunity to attend the same all-girl private Catholic high school she attended: Immaculate Heart High School.

For the chance to see her philanthropy in action, tune in to her talk show on May 24th.  For a chance to see what she herself has called the “Other Tyra,” tune in to see her tough-cookie judging on the America’s Next Top Model finale on May 16th.

– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Source The Clarion Ledger)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV