Prep for Prep to Honor Kareem Cook, CMO of Naturade, at the 2023 Lilac Ball

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prep for Prep will honor Kareem Cook, Co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer of Naturade, at the organization’s 2023 Lilac Ball, Monday, June 12 at the New York Marriott Marquis. The gala is the signature annual fundraising and high school graduation event for the nonprofit, which prepares students of color for success in independent schools in the Northeast, colleges and universities across the country, and professions in a host of industries. 

Cook is the first Prep for Prep alumnus to receive this recognition in the event’s 37-year history. Influenced by the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in their own families, Cook and Naturade co-owner Claude Tellis are addressing the diet-related illnesses epidemic in underserved communities by providing high-quality products to cost-conscious consumers. The company’s plant-based meal replacement and nutritional shakes are distributed by Costco, Whole Foods Market, Target, Amazon, and 10,000 other retail stores.

“Kareem was chosen as this year’s honoree because of his entrepreneurial spirit, vision, contributions, and love of Prep for Prep,” said Ruth Jurgensen, the nonprofit’s Chief Executive Officer. “He personifies our motto: Excellence, Integrity, Commitment, and Courage. We admire him, we are grateful to him, and we appreciate him.”

“Nothing has had a greater impact on my life than Prep for Prep,” said Cook. “Some of the most important people in my life—individuals who played integral roles in navigating some of the challenges of life—have been people I met through Prep. My experience with the organization instilled a confidence in me and encouraged me to reimagine my place in the world. I can’t express through mere words how grateful I am for Prep for Prep.”

Cook is so appreciative of Prep for Prep that last year he leveraged his relationship with Costco to convince the big-box retailer to make a $197,000 donation to the organization. This represented 25 percent of the profits from the sale of Naturade at Costco during the 2021-2022 fiscal year and is the largest donation facilitated by a Prep alumnus in the organization’s 45-year history.

In addition to his work with Naturade, Cook is the Founder and Managing Director of Towerview Capital Management. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He currently serves on the Duke Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Prep for Prep Board of Trustees.

The Lilac Ball is supported by The Rothfeld Family Foundation (Harriet & Eric Rothfeld); the John and Barbara Vogelstein Foundation; Diógenes Brito; Lisa & Dick Cashin; McKinsey & Company (Gouri & Alexander Edlich); M. Robin Krasny; The Maher Family Foundation; Daniel M. Neidich & Brooke Garber Foundation; Kate & Bob Neihaus; Megan Sheetz & Trevor Price; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (Susan & Martin Lipton, Karessa L. Cain & Michael Hay, and Jeannemarie O’Brien & Yves-Achille Casimir); and many additional donors.


Founded in 1978, Prep for Prep is an educational and leadership development program that prepares and places New York City’s most promising students of color into independent schools and provides them with ongoing support and life-changing opportunities. More than 5,000 members of the Prep Community are living proof that the potential for academic and professional success exists in all racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes.

Since 1986, the Lilac Ball has served as Prep’s signature annual fundraising event. It honors leaders committed to education and youth and celebrates Prep’s graduating high school seniors. All funds raised through the Lilac Ball go directly to Prep programming; event-related expenses are underwritten by the Board. For tickets and additional information about the event, visit