Entertainment mogul starts “Backpacks for Baltimore” initiative


Since his rise as an executive at Def Jam Records and Warner Music, Kevin Liles has continued to use his fame and fortune to provide opportunity and hope for those less fortunate.

The Baltimore native and Morgan State alum is again reaching deep into his pockets while asking others to do the same in an effort to provide backpacks for local students.

“Preparing for school is a financial, physical and mental exercise for every family around the world,” said Liles, who’s also known for his “Make it Happen” Foundation which he says provides opportunities and access for young people to become products of their experiences and not merely products of their environment.

Through internship partners and mentor programs, the foundation provides life-changing opportunities for under serviced youth.

“In Baltimore, we hope to celebrate and give kids every opportunity to achieve academic success,” Liles said.

Statistics have revealed that almost 24 percent of Baltimore’s population is living below the poverty line. Thirty-five percent of children are below the poverty line and 61 percent are living in households that have incomes that are less than two times the poverty level.

“Our children are the future of this city, and a proper education is the key to better opportunities for our kids, which is the key to a Better Baltimore,” Liles said.

He noted that each year, families of the less fortunate and Baltimore’s underprivileged youth are unable to afford some of the basic necessities for their child’s academic success.

So, Liles has introduced one solution through his other foundation, “Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore,” which three years ago hosted the first citywide back to school festival.

This year’s fourth annual event is sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Verizon, and the purpose remains bringing children and family together to celebrate the new school year throughout Baltimore.

The free event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, 2015, at Security Square Mall and children attending will have a chance to secure a backpack, free haircut, immunizations, food and a host of other activities.

Last year, Liles distributed over 6,000 backpacks at the event to students in Baltimore and this year he said the goal is to increase that, which is why he started a GoFundMe campaign to encourage others to make donations.

He says a new backpack to start the year can amount to a badge of honor for underprivileged students, one that boosts their confidence and prepares them for the academic year ahead.

“It’s important to KLBB and the City of Baltimore that our children get each year off to a strong start. These new backpacks will bolster their attitude and ultimately create a solid foundation for their academic and social performance,” Liles said.

The foundation’s goal through its 30-day “Backpacks for Baltimore” campaign is to provide students from Pre-Kindergarten to twelfth grade with 7,500 new backpacks for the 2015-16 school year.

“The purpose of this event is to get our entire community— kids, families, teachers and others— prepared and excited about another school year. It takes a village to raise a child and KLBB is proud to be a contributor by hosting this annual event,” Liles said. “Not only are we thrilled about exceeding last year’s goal of distributing 6,000 backpacks, we’re just as excited about the opportunity to distribute a plethora of community resources which will contribute to the overall success of our students and our goal of developing healthier families in Baltimore.”

To make a donation toward the purchase of the backpacks, visit http://www.gofundme.com/Backpacks4Bmore.