It is with the HEAVIEST Heart that we acknowledge the Loss of CRF Committee Member and our Founders VERY DEAR Friend Miriam Colon

Left Picture: Miriam Colon Receives the NATIONAL MEDAL OF ARTS from then President Obama.
Right Picture: Miriam Colon with Her Husband and John Gungie Rivera
  It is with the HEAVIEST Heart that we acknowledge the Loss of  CRF Committee Member and our Founders VERY DEAR Friend Miriam Colon who passed away March 3, 2017. Miriam was one of our VERY Active Committee Members and had been secretly battling Dementia. We are all SO SAD.

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Kenan Thompson on All That, Kenan & Kel and Using Fame For a Cause — Wetpaint Exclusive

  While Kenan Thompson has spent the last 13 years making us laugh on SNL, many also know him as one of the original cast members of the Nickelodeon sketch-comedy classic All That. Characters like Pierre Escargot, Superdude, and Miss Piddlin made kids of all ages burst into fits of laughter, eventually leading him and fellow cast member Kel Mitchell to their own show, Kenan & Kel. Here, Kenan takes a stroll down memory lane back to his earliest of glory days. Wetpaint: You’ve been doing sketch and improv seemingly your whole life. When did you know comedy was something you seriously wanted to pursue?  Kenan Thompson: I didn’t take it seriously until I got on Nickelodeon and saw that it was a real business. Before that, I just wanted to be on TV because I liked watching TV as a kid, like Double Dare and stuff like that, as opposed to becoming a writer and crafting my own sitcom and having that whole business aspect of the whole thing. I was unaware of that whole process. I guess I was just a young, fun-loving kid! Me and my older brother was always quoting Coming to America, Spies like Us, 48 Hours, and all those movies, just having fun amongst ourselves. When I started acting, doing theater stuff at a young age I was always the comic relief type roles, so I knew I had a funny bone and could make groups of people laugh, but I didn’t really take it seriously until I started getting paid on a weekly basis, then I was like, “Oh, well, this could be a lifestyle [laughs].” Do you keep in touch with your old All That cast mates? Yeah, me and Josh [Server] have always been really close and me and Kel [Mitchell] are really close. We had a reunion with everybody else recently, and it was nice to see everybody I haven’t seen in some years. Me and Danny Tamberelli played the guitar, he’s teaching me the guitar all the time. So yeah, there’s a little pocket of friends that I still kick it with. What was the dynamic between you and Kel like coming up as a comedy duo? It was awesome, because we were that close in real life. We spent a lot of time together and our families are very, very similar, with the only difference being he’s from Chicago and me being from Atlanta. Both of our mothers are very short, strict women. We’re both very family-bonded and we recognized that the first day, and we just started kicking it from there. How did you initially link up with The Cristian Rivera Foundation? The organization is dedicated to finding a cure for a horrible, horrible disease. It’s a brain tumor kids are getting on their brain stem. The survival rate is very, very low. I knew Cristian, I know his father. His father used to actually host a couple of the clubs I used to go to. He was always really nice to me and I lost touch with him for some years and ran back into him and he told me what happened. What made you decide to become a board member? When I ran back into him he invited me to be on the board and I was like, ‘yeah, sure!’ Cancer is a close issue for me; I’ve lost a few family members to it. Just to hear that this particular disease is targeting children is a horrible thing. It seemed like a no-brainer, it’s not like I have to do much.You know, show up and try to raise awareness is the least I could do. How important is it for celebs and those with a platform to support meaningful causes like this? I think it’s of the utmost importance. What else are you going to use your platform for than what you’re already putting out into the world? If you can use it for some other kind of positive thing, it should be almost mandatory. To learn more about the organization or to make a donation, please visit The Cristian Rivera Foundation.

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Louie Vega Nominated For Grammy Award 2017

Best Dance / Electronic Album – Starring…XXVIII Released February 2016 on Vega Records

BillboardAnother opportunity to impact the dancefloors of the future”

i-D Magazine “A testament to Louie’s knowledge, ability and friendships in the world of music”

Resident Advisor One of dance music’s most important figures”

Mixmag “Few people in this game can truly be called a master, but Louie Vega is certainly one of them”

Louie Vega’s emblematic 2016 album Starring… XXVIII has been nominated for a Grammy in under the award for Best Dance / Electronic Album. With a career that spans over 30 years, including heavyweight projects including Masters At Work, Elements Of Life and Nuyorican Soul, Vega’s Starring… is unbelievably his first solo album and features over twenty-five artists on twenty-eight different songs. The esteemed group of collaborators on the album include Kendrick Lamar, Funkadelic & George Clinton, Jocelyn Brown, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul, Byron Stingily, Tony Mumrelle and Nick Monaco & Soul Clap and the collection spans the genres of afro, house, funk, latin, jazz, soul and gospel. Vega previously was awarded a Grammy in 2006 for his remix of Curtis Mayfield Superfly and he was sampled by Kanye West this year in Fade. He explains of Starring…, “My inspirations came from various visits around the world and experiences in life. The album came together naturally, it was like planting a tree, each branch represented an artist, a sound, a groove. The entire process happened within a few years. The experience with the artists on the album was magical; they are all so talented and very unique and have their own special quality. This body of work is a masterpiece that will be party of my legacy.”

Purchase “Starring XXVII” at:

Robert Vazquez, a proud committee member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation, authors a children´s book entitled “Next Stop, Yankee Stadium”.


Whether you´re looking forward to or thinking back on your first Yankee game, “Next Stop, Yankee Stadium” captures the legacy and the excitement of attending a game at sports most coveted venue. Travel back in time with four childhood friends on their visit to Yankee Stadium.

You will be transported through the bustling city as the four friends make their way to the historic and impressive landmark. The city and stadium illustrations are brought to life by legendary Bronx Graffiti pioneers, TATS CRU. This book is a true Yankees adventure for all.

Help The Cristian Rivera Foundation whenever you make a purchase

  • 1)Visit Smile.Amazon.Com
  • 2)Create an account and select “The Cristian Rivera Foundation” as the charity you would like to support.
  • 3)Select your items as you normally would and Amazon will make a small donation on your behalf.
No extra fees! You shop– you help us get closer to a cure for D.I.P.G.

Order Next Stop, Yankee Stadium Now! on and help The Cristian Rivera Foundation

Darlene & David Rodriguez raise $20,000 at their 2nd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Cocktail Party Sat 6/18/16 Catered by Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member
Celebrity Chef Alex Garcia

Darlene and David Rodriguez’ 2nd Annual CRF Cocktail Party Sat, 6/18/16 To view photos from the 2nd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Cocktail Party Follow HereDarlene & David Rodriguez raise $20,000 at their 2nd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Cocktail Party Sat 6/18/16 Catered by Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Celebrity Chef Alex Garcia As always If it’s a Darlene & David Rodriguez’ event, It is an evening Filled with Great Food, Music and Good Vibes   To view photos from the 2nd Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Cocktail Party Follow Here

Our Mission The mission of the Cristian Rivera Foundation is to help find the cure for the Pontine Glioma brain stem tumor.

What is DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)? DIPG is a Rare, Inoperable Brain Stem Tumor that predominantly affects children between the ages of 2 and 10. Only 200-300 cases are discovered in the United States each year and because there is no cure, it’s young victims only have an average of 3-18 months to live, after they’ve been diagnosed. There are NO SURVIVORS.

Who is The Cristian Rivera Foundation? The Cristian Rivera Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Organization that works tirelessly, in order to raise awareness and funds to one day put a STOP to this disease. The Cristian Rivera Foundation funds the work of Dr. Mark Souweidane of Weill Cornell Medical Center – Memorial Sloane Ketting Cancer Center and Dr. Oren Becher of Duke University. Both Doctors are conducting promising research and trails that have shown promising results. We are CLOSE to a CURE!

How Can You Help:

  • Help us by making a Donation.
  • Every Donation Big or Small, will help us achieve our goal.
  • Help spread the word to your family, friends and Colleagues.

Thank You again and may this be the year we say goodbye to DIPG, (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), FOREVER!


Sincerely The Cristian Rivera Foundation

John “Gungie” Rivera (Founder of The Cristian Rivera Foundation & “Forever Cristian’s Daddy”)

Board of Directors of the Cristian Rivera Foundation: Andy Epstein, Darlene Rodriguez and Craig Serra.

Committee Members of the Cristian Rivera Foundation: Aldo Marin, Alex Garcia, Carlos Colon, Carlos Keyes, Carlos Yepez, Dennis Rodriguez, Dolores Catania, Dr. Ben Velazquez, Dr. Manuel A. Moran, Elis Pacheco, Fernando Ferrer, J.I. Starr, John “JellyBean” Benitez, Kenan Thompson, Kim Medina, Little Louie Vega, Luis Guzman, Meiling Macias Toro, Miriam Colon, Nirav Patel, Robert Vazquez, Rafael Toro, Ramon E. Javier, Steve Cox, Tony Ferrara and Vito Bruno Committee Friends of the Cristian Rivera Foundation: Carlos Nazario, Edward Caban, Francisco Companioni, Funkmaster Flex, Jerry Chaparro, Mark Rosner, Modesto Lacen, Odalys Molina, Pablo Diaz, Paul Pristavec, Roberto Clemente Jr., Steven Rodas, Teddy “Tedsmooth” Mendez, Victor Martinez, and William Pla

The Cristian Rivera Foundation is Proud to Introduce One of Our New Committee Members: Carlos J Yepez


Bio Carlos J. Yepez, is a current VP Branch Manager with PNC Bank in West Windsor NJ and President of PNC Bank Latino Employee Resource Group in the Central NJ Market.

With Over 15 years of banking experience, Carlos has managed to make a positive impact on his clients overall financial well-being. He is a strong leader in the community and is always engaged in community events delivering brand awareness for PNC Bank and himself.

He is a father of two wonderful children Angelica and Noah and Husband to an Amazing Wife Brenda. Carlos is a Native New Yorker and currently resides in New Jersey. Being born in “El Barrio” he loved listening to all kinds of Latin Music especially Salsa. Carlos is the Lead Singer for Nelson Toress’ Grupo Decision a Bronx based Salsa Band and loves teaching his kids all about their culture through Latin Music.

Statement “Being asked to join the Cristian Rivera Foundation is a true honor. I never had the privilege of personally meeting Cristian Rivera but through his foundation I feel as if I already knew him. Through his pictures you can see the innocence and kind heart this young man had. Being a father myself I can’t fathom the thought of losing a child. I have had the pleasure of meeting John “Gungie” Rivera, Cristian’s father who has given me the opportunity to support the foundation as a committee member. The passion and drive that this foundation delivers is contagious. The goal of finding a cure for DIPG, Creating Awareness, and Delivering Support to those affected are impactful.”

“I am excited to become a part of the Cristian Rivera Foundation Family.”

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member Victor Martinez Dedicates Arnold Sports Festival Appearance to Cristian Rivera

  Professional bodybuilder “Mr. Olympia” Victor Martinez, a committee member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation, announced that his upcoming appearance at the Arnold Sports Festival will be dedicated to Cristian Rivera, as well as the foundation that shares his name. Martinez knew Cristian before he passed away from pediatric brain stem tumor in 2009 and visited him in the hospital during his final days. “It was heartbreaking to see Cristian in his last moments,” said Martinez, “but I was happy to be there for his father, John ‘Gungie’ Rivera, during his toughest times.” Martinez will compete in the bodybuilding portion of the Arnold Sports Festival on Saturday March 1 in Columbus, Ohio. The multi-disciplinary event lasts from Friday February 28 through Sunday March 2 and features a variety of sporting events, including boxing, mixed martial arts and hockey, to name a few. “The Cristian Rivera Foundation has come a long way and I know that often you start something and it eventually fades away, so this is my way to shine a light again on this great cause,” said Martinez.

Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee Member
Anthony Mason Donates $15,000 to Help Cure DIPG


Cristian Rivera Foundation is happy to announce that Committee Member and former New York Knicks All-Star Anthony Mason recently donated $15,000 to the foundation to help find a cure for rare pediatric brain stem tumor DIPG. Mason, who named the Cristian Rivera Foundation his official charity, made the generous donation in return for promotional appearances he made on behalf of Steiner Sports.

“Being on the Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee means a lot to me,” Mason said in a statement. “I know what it’s like with my own kids and though you can never know what it’s like for someone to lose a child, I can only imagine since I know how I feel when my kids only get hurt. I want people to get involved and start doing the research to cure this disease because we as parents should not have to bury our children.”

Mason’s $15,000 donation is helping to fund a promising clinical trial that started in May 2012 at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Mark Souweidane, the doctor spearheading the trial, is using convection-enhanced delivery for the first time to administer radio immunotherapy to children with an otherwise incurable tumor. Since May 2012, Dr. Souweidane has operated on two young children with DIPG tumors that, until now, had been considered inoperable. Both patients are continuing to do well after surgery and Mason’s donation will go a long way toward ultimately curing this deadly disease.

Miriam Colon and Khaliah Ali Join
the Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee

The Cristian Rivera Foundation welcomed two new members to its high-profile Committee actress Miriam Colon and Khaliah Ali, daughter of Mohammad Ali. Colon is a veteran of stage and screen, having appeared in Scarface, All the Pretty Horses, soap opera Guiding Light and HBO’s How to Make it in America. She is also the founder, artistic director and head of the board of directors at Manhattan’s Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. Ali is more than just the child of a sports icon. She’s a fashion designer, former Ford model, and Emmy Award-nominated talk show host. Ali wrote Fighting Weight, a book about her quest for the perfect weight through gastric lap band surgery, and helps othe rs going through the same thing as the spokesperson for New Jersey’s Banding Centers of America.

Jim Jones Joins Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee

Jim Jones, the American rapper born Joseph Guillermo Jones II is the latest member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation Committee. Jones has made many appearances on the Billboard charts since releasing his first solo album in 2004, including his biggest hit “We Fly High.” That song famously inspired a dance emulated by Michael Strahan and Plaxico Burress on Monday Night Football. Jones is co-CEO of Diplomat Records, has his own freestyle rollerblading team, Dip Skate, and is an acclaimed video director who has worked with Cam’ron, Remy Ma and State Property. Jones will be joining the rest of the Committee, as well as special celebrity guests, at tonight’s Cristian Rivera Foundation Gala.