When Malaak Compton-Rock and her celebrity husband, comedian Chris Rock, auctioned themselves off to go on a double date to a Knicks game, it was far from a publicity stunt. Instead, the couple was raising money for their Journey for Change: Empowering Youth through Global Service organization, which sends youth in Brooklyn on trips to South Africa where they engage in work to serve communities. “We introduce global travel to inner-city kids who have not had the opportunity to travel, to open up their minds and allow them to dream. We put kids who have been on the receiving end of aid on the giving end of service, so that they understand that they really have a lot to give,” Malaak affirms.
The organization remains yet another public service outlet for Malaak, an uncompromising change agent. An early career in public relations and special event planning put her in touch with power players in the entertainment industry. She found her calling, however, when she accepted a position at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF designing fundraising events and managing the organization’s roster of celebrity spokespersons. Through her role she recruited Laurence Fishburne, Téa Leoni, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Claudia Schiffer, who continue to support the organization today.
To encourage and enable others to live a life of service, Malaak launched The Angel Rock Project, an online e-village that promotes volunteerism, social responsibility and sustainable change. The site features inspiring Angel stories of people who spend their lives helping others. Like many in the network, a woman named Sarah Colberson reminds Malaak of the power of service. “Sarah, an American woman who is adopted, learned that her biological father was a school teacher in Sierra Leone, and that the school he worked for was destroyed by the civil war in the area. Since meeting her father for the first time, she’s been raising money in Los Angeles, where she lives, to rebuild the school,” Malaak explains. “I am truly amazed and inspired by her.”
Her first book, If It Takes A Village, Build One: How I Found Meaning Through a Life of Service and 100+ Ways You Can Too, was released in 2010. Malaak is also an avid public speaker who lectures on philanthropic giving, finding balance in life, raising giving children in a global world, and successfully blending a family and a professional life. “Chris is a great husband and an even better father. Professionally I’m so fulfilled by something that means a lot to him,” she says, explaining that Journey for Change came to fruition when she combined her work in Africa with the support they lend to the community center in Brooklyn that Chris attended as a child.
As the mother of three young girls, Malaak continuously opens her daughters’ eyes to a greater vision for living fully. “I try to do this with them on a daily basis, if not through a literal act of service—it’s a conversation, a quote, some kind of reminder—and try to actively engage them in service, both small and large,” she shares, summing up her legacy to them. “To whom much is given much is required.”
Though Malaak champions many endeavors, there are six main causes that she is wholeheartedly committed to. To join her in helping others, visit The Angel Rock Project website.
- Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service is a global volunteer exchange program for at-risk youth.
- The Angel Rock Project South Africa includes projects in Johannesburg (Diepsloot) and Soweto, South Africa, and focuses on educational and finance-generating projects.
- Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation raises awareness and funds for researchers working on triple negative breast cancer.
- Brooklyn Services aids youth in the borough of Brooklyn, New York through partnerships with The Salvation Army Bushwick Community Center.
- Child abuse awareness and prevention through the Champions for Children Campaign.
- Hurricane Katrina Relief aids families and children devastated from the storm through partnerships with The Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School in the 9th Ward of New Orleans and Bonita House of Hope in Houston, TX.