James McBride is a renaissance man and a born storyteller. He is the author of The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, a moving narrative about his mother, a white Jewish woman from Poland who married a black man, founded a Baptist church and put twelve children through college.
The Color of Water is an American classic, read in colleges and high schools nationwide. It has sold more than two million copies and spent two years on The New York Times Bestseller List. McBride’s second book, Miracle at St. Anna, is now a Touchstone/Disney film that he wrote the script for and was directed by American film icon Spike Lee. McBride co-wrote the film Red Hook Summer with Lee, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.
His book, Song Yet Sung, is a national bestseller, the 2009 choice of “One Book/One Maryland” and is being adapted into a miniseries on FX. In his latest novel, The Good Lord Bird, McBride tells the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive. The Good Lord Bird went on to win the National Book Award for Fiction in 2013, and it will be turned into a major motion picture starring Liev Schreiber and Jaden Smith.
A graduate of Oberlin College and the Columbia School of Journalism, McBride has written for The Boston Globe, People and The Washington Post. Also an award-winning composer and saxophonist, McBride has penned songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington Jr. and Gary Burton, as well as for the PBS character “Barney.”
Eileen Simmons has been a REACH Prep Board Member since 2005. For the past 10 years, she has organized and hosted the popular REACH for a Slam luncheon which has made a significant financial impact on the REACH Prep program.
Her philanthropy and exceptional service in the community run deep. She actively volunteered at The Greenwich Country Day School, Greenwich Academy, Brunswick and Greenwich High School. The Bruce Museum and Greenwich Historical Society also benefitted from Eileen’s service and philanthropy.
Modeling family community service, Eileen, along with her husband Steve and her five children have helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity, worked in the soup kitchen in Stamford and have been involved with Greenwich Adult Day Care for nearly 20 years. She currently resides in Greenwich, CT.
Moments from REACH Prep's Annual Benefit Luncheon, April 27, 2015: