Mary J. Blige was honored this week with a McDonald's 365Black Award for Outstanding Community Service, for co-founding the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN).
"My entire career has been about giving back, being a philanthropist has been a dream of mine since I was a child and I'm so blessed to be honored by McDonald's for this particular Award," Blige said in an interview after the Awards show. "The McDonald's donation is amazing and it's going to send so many women to college."
Each year, the 365Black Awards honor African-Americans who influence and inspire greatness through outstanding community service. The 2011 365Black Awards were co-hosted by Angela Bassett and Radio Legend Tom Joyner.
"Our 365Black Awards honorees define true leadership in our community, from Ruby Dee's trail blazing career as an actress to the civil rights crusades led by Hank Thomas; from the media empire created by Cathy Hughes to the leadership that Benjamin Jealous brings to the NAACP, our honorees inspire all Americans to give back in some unique way," Neil Golden, McDonald's USA Chief Marketing Officer said in a statement.
The Grammy Award-winning singer was honored alongside Grammy Award winning actress Ruby Dee, Radio One network founder Cathy Hughes, NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous and civil rights activist and McDonald's owner/operator Henry "Hank" Thomas.
"Through her organization FFAWN, the Foundation for Advancement of Women Now, Mary J. Blige continues to invest in the future of young women and gives them the confidence they need to succeed," Golden continued.
Along with the Award, McDonald's gave Blige a charitable contribution of $40,000 for the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, which looks to "empower women from all walks of life to reach their full individual potential," according to their mission statement.
The 365Black Awards were launched in 2003 and are an extension of McDonald's 365Black initiative, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans.
Blige rose to fame with her 1992 debut album, "What's the 411?" and has since sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Among her many accolades, Mary can claim eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (she has been nominated for a staggering 29) and four American Music Awards.
"Out of all of my awards, the McDonald's 365Black Award will definitely go up on my shelf along with the Grammys," Blige said at the ceremony.
Her next album, "My Life Too?The Journey Continues" will be released September 20, 2011.