About | Blues Babe Foundation


The Blues Babe Mission

“The brainchild of Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and poet Jill Scott, the Blues Babe Foundation was formed for the purpose of nurturing college-bound students of color, artistically and academically.”

The Blues Babe Foundation is committed to assisting students in under served communities by providing programs that promote leadership and academic excellence. The foundation’s scholarship program offers financial support and mentoring for students that have shown the aptitude and commitment to their education, but whose families may not have the resources to ensure completion of their undergraduate degrees. We also engage students in grades 6 – 12 through programs such as Camp Jill Scott and Clean Up Your Neighborhood. In addition to its support of young people through their public schools, the Foundation also fulfills its mission by including support of community centers and community -focused organizations as a part of its scope.


While the goal of the Foundation is to grow to be national in its reach, the initial focus is on students in distressed areas of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Camden, New Jersey; and the Delaware Valley. Not one to distance herself from her humble beginnings in Philadelphia, Jill was inspired by events in her own life to ensure that other deserving young people would not find their education stalled due to lack of financial support. With the formation of the Blues Babe Foundation, she is able to further manifest her long-term commitment to education and enrichment.

What is the Meaning of Blues Babe?

“Blues Babe” is the affectionate nickname given to Jill’s grandmother because of the bluish tint in her brown complexion. To this day, Blues Babe continues to provide inspiration for both her family and for others around her. Of her grandmother, Jill told Essence Magazine: “My grandmother came from a different era, a different time, telling her story without saying any words. She would hum while she cooked and cleaned. But more important, she would hum and sing praises. To have someone with that kind of “herstory” express herself without words is a kind of wealth that you can’t put any price on. Sometimes when I sing, I get close to that place. Then I can go deep into the history of who we are as a people.” That the Foundation was named in her grandmother’s honor serves as a reminder that multigenerational solutions to community problems not only link past to present, but can provide a roadmap for future success.


Executive Director:

Aisha Winfield

A wife and mother, Aisha’s passion has shifted from working with recording artists and music executives to assisting youth develop their talents and pursue their dreams.

A graduate of Cornell University, Aisha Winfield began her professional career in the music industry at Epic Records, moving up the ranks to become the National Director of Street Promotions and Marketing. At Epic she was responsible for developing grassroots marketing plans and promotional opportunities for artists such as Ghostface, Jennifer Lopez, Cam’ron, Bone thugs-n- harmony, and more. While utilizing relationships at radio, video outlets, and lifestyle accounts, Mrs. Winfield also managed a national promotions team in 15 cities to increase awareness for new artists and releases.

In 2000 she left Epic to become General Manager of the artist management firm C.I.D. Management (Jill Scott, Mike Phillips, Down To The Bone). In 2002 Mrs. Winfield joined Rockstar Entertainment as General Manager working with managers, Grammy Award Winning producers, and recording artists.

In May 2004 Mrs. Winfield launch Junior (Jr.) Music Executive, a nonprofit organization created to encourage students to attend school, graduate, and be successful by exposing them to careers in the music business. Aisha continues to build Jr. Music Executive while holding the position of Executive Director for the Blues Babe Foundation. She is also a board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy and volunteers for several community-based organizations.

Board of Directors:

Jill Scott

Blues Babe Foundation - Jill Scott

See Biography here

Donyale Reavis

Blues Babe Foundation - Donyale Yvette Hooper-Reavis

Donyale Yvette Hooper-Reavis, Esq. is the current Executive Director of CORE, College Opportunity Resources for Education, a charity founded by U.S. Congressman Chaka Fatah which, among its college access programs and services, has disbursed more than $27M to fund college tuition for high school students throughout the city of Philadelphia over the past eight years.

Ms. Reavis has led CORE for three years. Ms. Reavis received a dual-major undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Relations from Boston University.  Immediately following, Ms. Reavis obtained a Certificate in International Development from Tuskegee University and spent the next year working with young women in Ivorian villages of West Africa teaching HIV/AIDS awareness. Ms. Reavis also holds a dual degree JD/MPA from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Fels Graduate School of Government. Licensed to practice law in four states and the District of Columbia, Ms. Reavis, a native Philadelphian, has provided counsel to several non-profit organizations and charter schools for twelve years, including a five-year stint as founder and board president of a media literacy non-profit called kaPow!.

Ms. Reavis moved to Washington, DC upon graduating law school working as a Corporate and Intellectual Property associate with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Immediately following her 3-year tenure with Fried Frank, Ms. Reavis was a contract attorney with Sidley Austin in New York, where she edited the PLI two-volume Art Law treatise.  Reavis later co-founded an entertainment intellectual property boutique in Philadelphia, Elam Reavis, LLP. Prior to joining Reavis & Associates, Donyale was a Senior Associate with Pierce Atwood in Boston, Massachusetts, and served briefly as acting Assistant Counsel with Anvil Knitwear in New York. Currently, Ms. Reavis remains a partner at Reavis & Associates, managing select representation of creative, political, and charitable organizational clients. She is also the current author and founder of an intellectual property media legal blog, pureimagination.org, which educates the creative community about legal issues within the arts.

Deeply passionate about encouraging young people to develop personal passions, among her charitable and arts related pursuits, Ms. Reavis is a co-founder of Spring Garden Pictures, a film production company created to use film to encourage children of all ages to explore their world through nature. She is also board President of client Jill Scott’s charitable arts foundation, Blues Babe, and a longstanding member of The Picasso Project of PCCY, Public Citizens for Children & Youth-the city’s leading youth advocacy agency, which grants funds to school-community artist partnerships in public schools across the City of Philadelphia.

Joanne Bell

Joann Bell is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Pugliese Associates, a Government Affairs Consultancy. She is a former Special Projects Manager for Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. In her role as Special Project Manager, Joann participated in the development of private and public works projects with a collective value of over fifty million dollars. Joann is an expert in communication, management and public affairs. Joann was the first appointed Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs in 1992 under then Governor Robert P. Casey. The commission is one of only three such commissions in the United States. Ms. Bell coordinated the activities of a twenty-five-member commission, and served as an important liaison between the Governor’s office and the African American community in Pennsylvania. The commission through Ms. Bell’s leadership is one of the Commonwealth’s most effective advocates for African Americans in areas such as legislation, education, economic development, health, housing, and human services. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Ms. Bell was the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Affirmative Action in Philadelphia . As the Affirmative Action Officer for the City of Philadelphia, Ms. Bell was responsible for a number of duties including the review of hiring and promotion practices of all city departments, boards, and commissions as well as assisting in the drafting of policy and procedures for adoption and implementation of affirmative action plans. Ms. Bell also served as a Special Assistant to the Honorable W. Wilson Goode, the former Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. In 2008 she was appointed to the DHS Community Oversight Board.

Valerie V. Gay, CFP

Blues Babe Foundation - VALERIE V GAY

Valerie V. Gay is Assistant Dean of Institutional Advancement for the College of Education at Temple University, where she is responsible for directing fund-raising, communications, community building, and alumni activities for 40,000 alumni at the College. Prior to joining Temple University in 2004, Ms. Gay was Vice President and Portfolio Manager at PNC Financial Services. Ms. Gay continues to be a frequent speaker on various investment topics. Additionally, she has written articles concerning women and investing for regional and national publications, has appeared on television newscasts and radio broadcasts speaking on investment topics, and has facilitated a series of financial empowerment classes in partnership with the Urban League of Philadelphia.

Having been named one of Philadelphia’s “101 Connector Leaders”, Ms. Gay serves as member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and is a Trustee for the Concerto Project of New York. She has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors for WOMENS WAY of Philadelphia, member of the Advisory Council for the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Trustee of the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and member of the Education Committee for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. A 2006 Leadership Philadelphia alumna, Ms. Gay founded Fortress Arts Academy in the same year to provide experiential access to arts instruction for low-economic children and interested adults. Holding a Master of Music in Voice Performance from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of the Arts, Ms. Gay has completed degree course work at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, holds a certification in elementary music instruction by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning, a German language certificate from Goethe Institute, Germany and has achieved the professional designation of Certified Financial Planner. She is the proud of an amazing daughter, Nasya.

Brandon Pankey

Brandon Pankey currently works at the Sports and Entertainment Financial Group Inc. (SEFG) in Philadelphia, PA. At SEFG, Brandon serves as the Account Manager, handling the needs of multiple clients of the firm including Jill Scott, Kanye West, The Roots and more. In his role his various tasks include, but are not limited to: working on touring and recording budgets, helping to implement brand strategies for clients, and handling other various financial matters. Brandon has a lifelong goal of improving the quality of life of African Americans. As such, Brandon is also the Co-Founder of the Business of Entertainment Charter Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA. Funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Black Alliance of Educational Options (BAEO), the school presents an extraordinary opportunity to not only build future entertainment executives, but also the future leaders of the world. The school is slated to open September 2011.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Black Entertainment and Music Association, Jr. Music Executives, and as a member of Concerned Black Men Inc. of Philadelphia and a member of the Black Alliance of Educational Options.

Brandon Pankey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.

Isaac L. Ewell

Blues Babe Foundation - Isaac L. Ewell

Isaac L. Ewell is a gifted relationship builder who has established himself as an innovator in the field of “Edutainment,” identifying new ways to influence decision-makers in education and entertainment to develop strategies to improve the lives of urban youth through education. The former owner of an independent hip-hop label, Ewell co-founded SoulGenesis, a lifestyle-brand geared toward exposing and promoting healthy and socially- responsible living to more diverse audiences. Isaac serves as Director of the BAEO-Gates Small Schools Project, an initiative of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, where he manages a portfolio of schools created through a generous multi-million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Isaac has a B.A. from Morehouse College and Masters in Education from Harvard University. He proudly serves on the Board of Directors of Boys Latin Philadelphia, Wissahickon Charter School and The Big Picture Company. Most importantly, he is a dedicated husband, father of four, and a nut for anything that makes your head nod and your mind expand.