Belafonte Family – Amadeus, Sarafina, Malena and David Belafonte. Photo by George Alex Popescu and Paul Tirado

David Belafonte,  Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Belafonte Family Foundation

David Belafonte, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Belafonte Family Foundation

Malena Belafonte, Co-Founder of The Belafonte Family Foundation

Malena Belafonte, Co-Founder of The Belafonte Family Foundation

Benefits Multi-Generational Organization’s Mission to Fight Social Injustice, Support Equality & Create Opportunities for the Systematically Underserved

Having worked more than 40 years with and alongside my dad, I’ve long appreciated the enormous responsibility that my family has accepted, to use our experience, and influence to pursue social change”

— David Belafonte

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, USA, September 14, 2023/ — The Belafonte Family Foundation (BFF) announced its inaugural gala set to take place on Tuesday, October 24 at New York City’s Sony Hall. This first-time event supports the foundation’s innovative, multi-generational philanthropic mission to create access, opportunities, and progressive programs for historically underserved youth, adults, and underserved communities.

This evolving program will include Performances – Tributes – Musings – Awards – Art – Music – Dancing – Gastronomy – Live Auction & More…

Gala tickets, on sale now, can be purchased at:

Established in 2020 by family members of world renowned artist and humanitarian Harry Belafonte, the Belafonte Family Foundation is led by co-Founders David and Malena Belafonte, and their children Sarafina and Amadeus Belafonte. Harlem-born Harry Belafonte, who passed earlier this year, inspired his family to commit to vital, lifelong work toward social justice. The foundation honors his spirit, and the work of countless people who selflessly devoted themselves to the betterment of the human condition.

BFF Co-Founder and Executive Director David Belafonte said, “Having worked more than forty years with and alongside my father, I’ve long appreciated the enormous responsibility that my family has accepted, to use our experience, energy, and influence to pursue social change. When Malena and I married and had children, we realized that our children would share in that responsibility. That sense of shared responsibility and our family’s longstanding commitment to social justice fueled the founding of BFF, which uses an innovative multi-generational approach to the tasks at hand, incorporating lessons from the generations before us, our current experiences, needs and insights, while truly listening to the youngest of generations… that is what sets us apart. It is what drives our board, supporters, and my family.”

“I personally witnessed the cultural influence that my father had around the world, and how he used that influence to address the need for social change. Inspired by what I saw – in terms of both the ever-evolving challenges faced by too many and how those challenges could be addressed – my family established BFF. My father’s recent passing was a reminder that the long standing need for social change stubbornly persists. We are confident that BFF’s lasting legacy will be one that reflects how my family and our supporters inspired this generation and future ones to roll-up their sleeves to bring positive lasting changes to underserved communities.”

BFF Co-Founder & Vice-President Malena Belafonte said, “Our foundation’s multi-generational perspective is essential to our mission. I spent 30 years in and around the Belafonte family and for me it was always children first, giving importance to the insight of this young inquiring generation that is actually tuned-in to current dialogues in ways that many adults too often are not. It is an approach my father-in-law told me he admired. This inclusion gives us a more holistic approach to the future of our legacy. We all have the responsibility to ensure that the work and sacrifices of those who have walked the walk are not minimized, sterilized or erased. We are committed to inspire agents of change, support those who have historically been underserved, create opportunity for voices to be heard, and provide education so stories can be told. What better way to honor this beloved man’s legacy than expanding on it?!

Gala Co-Host Sarafina Belafonte and BFF Program Mentor Amadeus Belafonte said, “Losing our grandpa was extremely hard for our family, and earth shattering for us as his youngest grandchildren. Living in NYC we spent a lot of time with grandpa and were extremely close. Seeing him so fragile and in such a state of decline these past few years was beyond difficult, but did nothing to erode the lasting positive impact he had. And while we couldn’t protect him, we are devoted to protecting his legacy by honoring everything he worked so hard for – always remembering that he and many others opened doors for us that children of color could not walk through before.”

The Belafonte Family Foundation’s wide-ranging plans are focused on multiple pillars, areas of support that are critical to human development and success: opportunity, education, and health, humanity & well-being. The latter is currently addressed by two of the foundation’s innovative programs: Bright Road Farms, an urban, vertical farming initiative which supplies organically and locally grown greens to underserved communities and food deserts. This distributed farming network, operated in cooperation with Freight Farms, provides nutritional food produced year-round and in any climate. Bright Road Martial Arts recognizes the mentorship and power of martial arts disciplines which improves lives through self-control, self-discovery, and self-respect, offered to qualifying at-risk youth in partnership with leading academies and instructors. Serving over 100 students this summer and fall, between New York and the Dominican Republic alone.

To improve educational opportunities, BFF offers full academic scholarships for deserving students to attend secondary or university educations. Awards are based on educational merit and economic need, with a focus on scholarships for students of color. One of the programs provides full scholarships for students in Haiti, inclusive of transportation, books, and food. Those who have received a scholarship will be announced at the gala.

Aligned with the foundation’s multi-generational approach, BFF is also creating programs that focus on social justice, wrongful incarceration, sex trafficking, and mental health and wellness.


The Belafonte Family Foundation (established in 2020) is a public charitable foundation with an innovative approach to creating access and opportunity for historically underserved, marginalized youth, adults, and communities across racial, gender, and economic lines. The organization focuses on progressive programming and resources, structured around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Created by a family whose lives are devoted to serving others, the Belafonte Family Foundation has taken a multi-generational approach to philanthropy formed around pillars critical to human development and success: education, opportunity, and health & well-being. Its innovative programs address the deeply imbalanced socio-economic playing field, promoting access and opportunities for improving lives.

Rebecca Shapiro
Shore Fire Media
+1 917-446-2410
[email protected]
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Originally published at