Number One - October 1999
Five round-trips to
Cape Town have been completed since our last NEWSLETTER was
mailed. Our work in South Africa continues to expand and to
increase in impact and complexity. Opportunities to share our
violence prevention experiences with American audiences are
increasingly numerous, as are invitations to contribute to conflict
resolution and peace-building ventures throughout the United
States and in troubled arenas such as Northern Ireland. We are,
therefore, proud to report that Amys legacy lives through
her Foundations and in the daily work of a growing team of dedicated
people who care enough about their world to become actively
involved in it. As we now approach the sixth anniversary of
Amys death, we celebrate her life and rejoice in the countless
instances in which "Amys Magic" has brought
us another outstanding person to join the ranks of her American
and South African teams. This NEWSLETTER is dedicated to the
incredible people who keep Amys work and dreams alive.
WHAT IS OUR WORK?
Frequently, we are asked about our "mission
statement" for the Amy Biehl Foundation (USA) and the
Amy Biehl Foundation Trust (South Africa). In truth, neither
charitable organization has a mission statement at this point.
In the early-going, we felt a mission statement might actually
close too many windows of opportunity for service. We believed
our understanding of Amy and of her human rights agenda were
sufficient basis for a charter. We felt a foundation could
be well-guided by Amys life-long emphasis on thorough
research, careful listening and activism through empowerment
and facilitation of others. In other words, we concluded that
a commitment to Amy, to her convictions and to her approach
to activism were enough to guide the formative years of a
Foundation in her honor.
Thankfully, we have been blessed with
good friends and good fortune. These simple convictions
consistent with Amy have produced two growing Foundations
and an outreach which extends to many thousands of people.
We remain convinced today that Amys convictions and
example are excellent guidelines within which to grow Foundations
and that they continue to provide us with an inexhaustible
supply of challenging human rights work and opportunity.
Our work continues to focus on violence
prevention and conflict resolution. We take a holistic approach
to development of non-violent, functional people, with a balanced
concentration on health, education, recreation, arts and employable
skills development. Research and experience tells us that
balanced, empowered people are not likely to commit violent
acts which rob others of their human rights. We work most
extensively with youth, in the belief that their value structures
and behavior can be impacted, before they become rigid and
entrenched with passage of time.
In our work, we strive to produce program
models which can be replicated anywhere. A model program is
both an inspiration and an example to be studied. It should
not be reproduced exactly. Rather, a model should be modified
to reflect the special needs and characteristics of particular
communities. We empower people to produce model programs of
merit and we empower other people to learn enough from the
models to create their own individualized programs.
Our experience teaches us that good violence
prevention programs must be sustainable, financially, if they
are to be successful in the long-term. Therefore, we work
hard to help create "economic engines" with the
capacity to fund violence prevention programs through commercial
enterprise. We believe strongly in the application of business
economic wealth production to the needs of enlightened programs
with social benefit. We try to mold business to a social agenda
and it works.
It has always been our goal to migrate
violence prevention strategies and programs which are successful
in South Africa to communities and settings for which they
are well-suited in America. We were invited to work first
in South Africa. Now, we are being invited into communities
in America. These invitations are realizations of our dream.
It is important to note that our work
modeled around Amy and her work is attracting
a significant wellspring of very talented young people who
want to join in the work. Many are from universities and colleges
in America. However, the Foundations work has been embraced
by primary, middle and high school youth throughout the United
States and more recently by adults preparing
for retirement, and seeking meaningful social work to perform.
OUR TEAMS: SOUTH AFRICA & AMERICA
"Amys Magic" has introduced
us to many gifted people, who are team members with us in
Cape Town and in America. Were it not for the visibility afforded
Amys story and the work of the Amy Biehl Foundation
and Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in various media, we might
not have experienced so much interest in our programs. However,
through no special effort or recruiting program on our part,
we have been blessed with an outstanding team of people
some paid, most volunteer who accomplish our work.
Among current team members in South Africa
A talented young South African artist,
Sarah has created our new Saleable Arts program, featuring
art and craft work of commercial appeal, produced by the young
artists enrolled in various after-school programs supported
by the Trust in and around Guguletu township. Sarah
who began as a spirited volunteer with our Trust has
trained these youthful artists and has created a commercial
identity for their work. We hope to establish U.S. distribution
for some of the work, through our Website, among other channels.
Sarah came to us through our valued friendship with her parents,
Diarmuid and Jenny Baigrie, of Cape Town.
A recent Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Princeton
University, Maggie arrived in Cape Town August 2, to begin
a year of service to South Africas disadvantaged youth
through expansion of our Trusts education programs in
the Western Cape Provence. A two-time visitor to South Africa,
Maggies graduate thesis was on the plight of Black public
education in South Africa. Maggie, whose home is Reston, VA,
has pursued us for two years before this perfect "fit"
emerged between our program needs and her special capabilities
An Amy Biehl Intern from Stanford University,
Brian has immersed himself very quickly in a range of Trust
projects, with emphasis on education, health and life skills
training for township youth. An experienced traveler, as a
university undergraduate, Brian has adapted quickly to Cape
Town and has become a key contributor to team debates on program
content and strategy. Brian resides in Palo Alto, CA where
his mother is a Stanford faculty member.
Patrick and Sonia Cronin
The Cronins approached us following the
CBS "60 Minutes" feature in January from Vancouver,
B.C., where Sonia is the Canadian federal justice attorney
for British Columbia and Patrick is associated with a prominent
labor law firm. Characteristic of young, workaholic attorneys,
the Cronins needed time away from the pressures of their jobs
but were unable to sit on a beach and do nothing. Having decided
to travel in South Africa, they volunteered their services
to Amys Trust for six weeks. During their time in Cape
Town, Patrick and Sonia accomplished significant work to advance
the human and employment rights of South African domestic
workers. They introduced us to Maggie Shongwe, founder of
the Domestic Workers Association, who knew and loved Amy and
who had planned to introduce Amy to her ladies on the afternoon
of Amys death. The Cronins have expressed a desire to
be continuing contributors to the work of the Amy Biehl Foundation
and we are fortunate to have their support.
Having just completed her MBA at the University
of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN), Cathy was part of a team representing
the Universitys Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies,
which assisted us in Cape Town this summer. Whereas we had
intended for Cathy to apply her significant business analysis
capabilities to a potential flour milling acquisition, she
was acquiescent in assisting us with a more pressing need
for design of a management reporting and control system for
bakery operations of Community Baking Trust. This she accomplished
under significant timing pressure and returned to Seattle
to resume her career with Weyerhaeuser Corporation. Cathy
has committed to assisting the Amy Biehl Foundation in development
of a work service vacation or sabbatical program through which
talented people can integrate South African travel with service
to the countrys needy population through various programs
of the Trust.
A product of the Pacific Northwest, with
interests and educational background in the arts and education,
Isa is assisting the Domestic Workers Association with its
pre-school for children of domestic workers employed in the
Sea Point neighborhood of Cape Town. She will also be assisting
Linda Biehl with concept development for a multi-purpose arts
and entertainment centre to be located in the Cape Flats.
Isa was traveling in South Africa when we had a chance meeting
at a Cape Town restaurant, following which she volunteered
her services to the Trust.
A member of the University of Notre Dame
MBA team, Anne brought to the Trust an excellent background
in consumer brand development, marketing and stewardship earned
in businesses including advertising and specialty retail.
We were able to put Annes capabilities to work in developing
a new brand identity for Community Baking Trust and its products
and in creating a niche service concept for the Monde Modeling
Academy a new interest. Anne has returned to the United
States to pursue a career in branded marketing with the "Cover
Girl" business of Proctor & Gamble, having made a
great contribution to at least two important programs of the
We discovered Conic purely by accident
and learned very quickly that he possesses a strong interest
in the youth of disadvantaged communities and a passion for
their rights to self-determinism. He was a natural choice
to take charge of our employable skills training programs
at Buthisizwe Training Centre. His value as a role model for
township youth is incalculable. Conic and his wife
both activists in their countrys democratic struggle
are now seeing a dream of youth empowerment in a free
South Africa come to fruition.
We met Ashleigh last year during a study/living
program in which she was doing course-work and independent
studies in association with the University of Cape Town and
residing with two families in the Black township of Langa.
She had a hunger for information about Amy and her activities
in South Africa. We were struck immediately by her "can-do"
attitude, by her resourcefulness, courage and inherent good
nature. Ashleigh accepted our invitation to join our Trust
team this summer to become our first Intern Coordinator
a demanding role that she has completely fulfilled, in addition
to her contributions to several key violence prevention projects
and to the "Cape Town Roses" girls soccer
club in Guguletu. Ashleigh has written our first Interns
Handbook which will benefit our interns (or prospective interns)
for years to come. Ashleigh Murphy will be sorely missed when
she departs Cape Town on August 20 to complete her senior
year at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). We hope to
see her back one day.
Following the departure of Project Director,
Sheila Roquitte, we anticipated a long and difficult search
to secure a new Director. Again, "Amys Magic"
was at work when business friend, Kit Haines (Vice President,
Marketing, Riviana Foods), recommended we approach "this
outstanding young guy who is just wrapping-up a Peace Corps
stint in Tanzania and may like to go back to Africa".
We contacted Trevor Murphy and knew following our initial
meeting that he was blessed with a perfect combination of
temperament, ability and African experience to succeed as
Project Director at the Trust. He has not disappointed us.
Trevor has distinguished himself in his stewardship of our
education and arts programs, in particular. An economics graduate
of Cal Berkeley, Trevor is hoping to apply his interest in
micro-credit to affairs of the Trust before returning to graduate
school in the United States.
The restaurant encounter in Cape Town
with Isa Helfgott also brought us Noah Novogrodsky. A Robert
S. Bernstein Fellow in International Human Rights (Yale University),
this bright young human rights lawyer form America was able
to pick up the file left by the Cronins and wade into some
important structural and legal issues confronting the Domestic
Workers Association in Cape Town. Noah has quickly taken charge
of this important portfolio with the goal of legally asserting
the rights of the Domestic Workers Association and securing
those legal rights and protections for the future. Noah has
performed hundreds of hours of world-class legal services
for the Trust all on a pro-bono basis. His thoughtful
service is an invaluable gift to our Trust and its advocacy
work on behalf of domestic workers.
A native of New Orleans and a double major
in accounting and in finance at University of Notre Dame,
Jamaal lovingly put aside his mothers fears and journeyed
to Cape Town for the most important self-realization experience
of his young life. While working with the Trust this summer,
Jamaal worked with Cathy Farmer on design of the financial
management and control system for Community Baking Trust,
and on organization issues involving Monde Modeling Academy.
His primary legacy, however, will be the management and financial/cost
control systems he created for Buthisizwe Training Centre,
and the legal formation of its umbrella trading trust to shelter
an emerging portfolio of micro businesses. Of equal value
was the close working partnership which Jamaal nurtured with
Conic Mkefa, which was critical to his success. The two men
became inseparable, and we commend Jamaal for his commitment
and for his recognition of the partnership process as the
most productive approach to achieving results in another mans
country. Like Amy, Jamaal learned this vital lesson far earlier
in life than most of us, and it made his time particularly
Were it not for the tragic death in Los
Angeles of our friend and his older sister, Anthea, we might
never have met Darrell, who put aside a promising athletic
career to follow his sister to Harvard University. As Assistant
Project Director and, then, as Project Director, Darrell has
distinguished himself through his caring and effective service
to our Trust. In September of last year, he volunteered to
assume the demanding responsibility for creating and managing
our innovative Community Baking Trust. Almost one year later,
as Managing Director, Darrell has learned more about the joys
and perils of building a new, growth business in the new South
Africa than most of his nations executives three times
his age. In the process, Darrell Williams is grooming himself
to become an important factor in the future leadership of
his re-building country. We shall watch his successes with
pride and with gratitude.
Yet another talented member of the amazing
Williams family, Eleanor joined our Cape Town team following
her high school graduation, at the age of 17 years. Without
question, she has become the most capable and sophisticated
Administrative Manager ever to serve the Trust all
within a matter of months. We are hopeful that Eleanor will
remain with us until she enters a major university in America.
In the meantime, we are obsessed with a concern for how we
will ever replace her seemingly boundless capacity for excellent
work or her great good-humor in every situation.
On August 17, our Cape Town organization
will be augmented by a team of four Wharton MBA graduates,
led by Elisa Parsons (a friend of former Project Director,
Sheila Roquitte). This impressive team from the University
of Pennsylvanias graduate school of business has already
written a business analysis and growth strategy for our Community
Baking Trust which is interesting and challenging, and will
be working with us on a plan to expand the business throughout
the Western Cape Province and to optimize its unique, community-based
distribution system. The Wharton team will work with us for
three very intensive weeks on these important projects.
The involvement of America-trained MBAs
in disadvantaged South Africa is emerging as an important
trend for the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust, which can provide
the opportunity for grassroots business/social work and
benefit materially from the value of very significant pro-bono
consulting input to its program. We believe we are well-positioned
and sufficiently visible to capitalize and expand upon this
trend for years to come.
Among current team members in America
Molly Biehl Corbin
When not absorbed with her new duties
as mother to Alexander Jeffrey (born May 18), Molly has accepted
part-time responsibilities with the Amy Biehl Foundation.
From her home office in San Diego, as Domestic Liaison, Molly
will help to manage an expanding interface between South Africas
Amy Biehl Foundation Trust and its American counterpart and
the numerous funders and supporters of our work in South Africa,
who are resident in America. This important communications
link has become increasingly difficult for us to manage as
we have found ourselves with less available time in America,
as a combined result of more time spent in South Africa and
heavier schedule commitments when we are in America. Molly
will also assist in managing our schedule of speaking and
other commitments while we are in the United States. Her background
as Executive Director, Family Literacy Foundation, will serve
us well as Molly assumes these duties.
The new telephone/fax number for the Foundation
in San Diego is (858) 278-1420.
Kim and Zach Biehl
Although heavily committed to specialty
retail management, college and coaching, Kim and Zach continue
to contribute significantly to the Amy Biehl Foundation and
have represented us well on many occasions and at numerous
functions which are of great importance to the Foundation.
Our work and image are greatly enhanced through their many
voluntary efforts on our behalf.
From her base in Wickenburg, AZ, Lindas
younger sister has become an important Foundation spokesperson.
Her efforts have resulted in new relationships and in significant
financial support for the Foundation from a well-traveled
and globally savvy community to which we would not have access
A resident of the Coachella Valley agricultural
community of Mecca, Crystal is the first intern of the Amy
Biehl Foundation in America. An honors graduate of Coachella
Valley High School, where she was founder/President of the
"Save the World Club", Crystal will enroll as a
scholarship student of the University of California
Irvine in late September, 1999. As a focus for her internship,
Crystal is spearheading an innovative violence prevention
program to help Coachella Valley High School and its surrounding,
predominantly-Hispanic communities reduce the high levels
of violence with which they are presently plagued. In this
important pilot project, Crystal is coordinating local resources
with those of national resources including Youth Links/Peace
Links (Washington, DC) and US Representative Mary Bono, to
host a "Listen-Up" town hall session to be held
in Coachella, CA on November 19, 1999. The Amy Biehl Foundation
is introducing the "Listen-Up" program of Youth
Links to the violence prevention challenge in its Coachella
Valley home, thanks to an invitation from the "Save the
World Club" and its faculty advisor, Michael Rosenfeld,
to become involved. We are honored to have Crystal Gonzales
as our first U.S. intern and are confident of her ability
to deliver a successful pilot violence prevention program
for her community.
Our care team in America is greatly strengthened
by students of Mary Institute Saint Louis Country Day School,
Wydown Middle School (St. Louis, MO), Sunnymead School (Hillsborough,
NJ) and by student, Scott Lowenbaum. The continuing, innovative
fund raising efforts of these committed young students have
made a dramatic difference in the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged
South African youth. Each year, these young American students
and their teachers come through with substantial financial
support unsolicited by this Foundation. Unquestionably,
they represent the very best in Americas youth and our
best hope for the future.
With American and South African teams
of this caliber and range, who can deny that "Amys
Magic" continues to sustain the hearts and souls of her
Foundations by delivering the right people, to the right place,
at the right time?
Seven Months, in Brief
The past seven months have seen a continuous
stream of amazing experiences, which have left us humbled
and fulfilled as parents and as Foundation directors. Among
the highlights of this period are the following:
‡ 10 Dr. Herma Williams and a traveling
group of presidents and key administrators of prestigious
eastern U.S. colleges and foundations tour violence prevention
projects supported by our Trust.
‡ 16 First "Party for the Arts"
is hosted by the Biehls to introduce a broad cross-section
of Cape Town and Cape Flats residents to the arts of youth
from townships and informal settlements.
‡ 17 CBS "60-MINUTES" airs
Leslie Stahl feature segment on the Trust and its work
to a prime time U.S. television audience.
‡ 18 Prestigious "PRESIDENTS
AWARD" is presented to the Biehl Family by the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles
and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Association.
‡ 24 Biehls meet with directors of
the German Fulbright Alumni Association, in Frankfurt,
to discuss opportunities for a working partnership in
South Africa. Meetings are arranged by Dr. Ulrich Hueck.
‡ 06 Amy Biehl is presented
posthumously a Humanitarian Award by The Immortal
Chaplains Foundation of Minneapolis, MN. Peter and Linda
receive the award from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
‡ 08 Linda Biehl meets with Mrs. Judy
Kendalls sixth grade class at Mary Institute St.
Louis Country Day School in recognition of its continuing
support of youth in South Africa.
‡ 11 The Biehls appear in a live interview
on NPRs "DIANE RHEEM SHOW". Among numerous
on-air callers are Mrs. Kendalls sixth grade class
and one of Amy Biehls former teachers.
‡ 20 Biehls participate in an event
hosted by State Senator, Tom Hayden, in Brentwood, CA
to honor Anne Blackshaw and Tim McKee authors of
"No More Strangers Now" (DK Publishers, New
‡ 21 Biehls appear with Anne and Tim
at All Saints Episcopal Church (Pasadena, CA) and at the
Midnight Special Bookstore (Santa Monica, CA) to talk
about South Africas road to reconciliation.
‡ 22 Peter and Linda address over
700 high school students and adult guests at a special
evening event at the University of California Irvines
Barclay Theatre, hosted by the Irvine chapter of Youth
Ethics Advocates and Dr. William Hsiang.
‡ 06 "Spirit of Tahirih"
award is accepted for Linda and Peter Biehl and the Amy
Biehl Foundation by Molly Biehl Corbin and husband, Tim,
at a performance event staged by Muhtadia Rice in Los
‡ 09 Biehls address the World Presidents
Organization (WPO) University at Cape Town on Robben Island
on process of reconciliation.
‡ 15 Helderberg College, near Cape
Town, hosts the Biehls who address the student body at
its weekly convocation. Senior class President
a PAC party member describes the Biehls as "Black
people with White faces".
‡ 21 MTV "Road Rules" crew,
with Semester at Sea students arrive in Cape Town for
a concert by Johnny Clegg. The Trust provides fifty kids
from the townships through its Themba Music Programme
and the Biehls are joined by Amys close Stanford
friend, David Hill, for the event.
‡ 01 Biehls address the Palm Desert
Rotary Club luncheon at the invitation of Leonard Rudolph,
providing an opportunity to become acquainted with our
local desert community.
‡ 12 City of La Quinta Community Services
Commission invites Linda and Peter Biehl to discuss youth
violence prevention strategies for the community, presenting
another opportunity to become involved locally.
‡ 15 Biehls speak to students at Georgetown
University (Washington, DC) on conflict resolution, at
invitation of Dr. George Irani, noted international conflict
resolution specialist. South African Ambassador, Sheila
Sisulu, is a surprise visitor.
‡ 21 Biehls attend City of La Quinta
Youth Forum on a day marked by the passing of William
J. Biehl (Peters father) and Linda Biehls
‡ 26 University of California
Berkeley, Human Rights Center hosts the Biehls to talk
about "Converting Rights to Realities in the new
‡ 28 Biehls appear at San Jose Rotary
Club luncheon to acknowledge clubs decision to provide
funding for three Trust projects in the Cape Flats. An
evening appearance at Stanford Universitys Haas
Center of Community Service focuses on "Getting Things
Done in South Africa".
‡ 04 Abigail Carney born to Foundation
supporters Mike and Tracy (Kendall) Carney, in Spokane,
‡ 18 Alexander Jeffrey Corbin born
to Dr. Tim and Molly Biehl Corbin at Mercy Hospital in
San Diego, CA. On this same afternoon, "OPRAH"
show airs segment, "Remembering Amy".
‡ 20 Linda and Peter Biehl are presented
with an award by Californias Death Penalty Focus
in Santa Monica, CA. Introduction of the Biehls is by
actress, Alfre Woodard, and presentation is by actor/producer
Mike Farrell. Friends, the Glietsmans, are table-mates
‡ 29 Peter Biehl greets team from
Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, University of
Notre Dame on its arrival in Cape Town.
‡ 05 With Fr. Basil Van Rensburg of
St. Gabriels Church, Guguletu, Linda and Peter discuss
forgiveness and conflict resolution with participants
in an Ecumenical Conference on Violence Prevention at
Mission San Juan Capistrano, in California.
‡ 11 Annual fund raising dinner with
Steve Schwarz and his sixth grade students at Sunnymead
School in Hillsborough, NJ. Once again, this great event
raises over $1000 for the Foundation. Fr. Basil joins
Linda and Peter for the event.
‡ 15 Biehls attend dinner at Cape
Towns Mt. Nelson Hotel, hosted by University of
Notre Dame College of Business Dean, Dr. Carolyn Woo and
her visiting faculty and students. Dr. Woo discusses a
long-term commitment of Notre Dame to South Africa development.
‡ 20 New Intern Coordinator, Ashleigh
Murphy, arrives in Cape Town to join Amy Biehl Foundation
‡ 26 Biehls join Henry Reynolds (Deputy
Director, USAID-South Africa) and his family in North
Adams, MA on the occasion of Henrys recognition
by alma mater, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts,
with its Alumni Prize for 1999.
‡ 06 Linda and Peter join Drs. Paul
and Sonia Lieb Ables (Cal State Long Beach) in
presentation of a paper, "Transforming Private Issues
into Social Development", at 11th International
Symposium of I.U.C.-I.S.D. entitled "Social Development
for the New Millennium: Visions and Strategies for Global
Transformation", in Cape Town.
‡ 07 Visiting social workers and sociologists
tour violence prevention projects supported by the Amy
Biehl Foundation Trust.
In Memory of Amys Grandfather
Amys grandfather, William Joseph
Biehl, passed away quietly at his home in Bermuda Dunes, CA
at approximately 2:00 AM, April 21, 1999. He had always encouraged
Amy to reach high and to go to the top to get what she wanted.
Amy and her grandfather shared many hours of political discussion
over the years, and a little girls Amy and her
sisters were admonished by their grandfather that "intelligent
people are never bored".
No one was more devastated at the news
of Amys death. Few have been more supportive of our
work in Amys memory. In his last hours, Linda told "Grandpa"
that a little angel was waiting for him. We are certain that
Amy and her beloved grandfather are in fact
The Amy Biehl Foundation will find an
appropriate memorial for William J. Biehl at some point in
the future, in celebration of a special relationship.
August 25th is the sixth anniversary
of Amys death in Guguletu, Cape Town, South Africa.
As busy as we are with her two Foundations, it is essential
to pause, on occasion, to reflect on Amy and on the elements
of her character and personality which made her special and
productive in life. We are committed to keeping her Foundations
and their approach to service as reflective of Amys
image as possible.
Recently, Kim Biehl reflected on Amy and
her love of music.
"What is it about he music?
Voices folding over and melting into each
creating natural harmonics
important lyrics, significant melodies,
Staccato clicks, full-bodied baritones,
Drums pushing, pulling, prodding me to
the beat. the beat. the beat.
Rhythm tapping, knocking, pounding on
Amy, is that you?"
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