Russell Simmons "joined The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s board in 2002. He currently serves as Chairman.
"Mr. Simmons has long been associated with shaping the cutting edge of hip-hop – America’s most compelling cultural explosion of the latter 20th century. While a student at CUNY in 1977, Mr. Simmons began to promote his own shows, managing artists and producing records. By the early eighties, the roster of his Rush Artist Management included Whodini, Kurtis Blow and Run DMC. Over the years, Rush would help mold the careers of Will Smith, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.
"In 1984, Mr. Simmons co-founded Def Jam Recordings, which quickly developed into rap music’s premier label. Today, Island/Def Jam is wholly owned by The Universal Music Group. Russell Simmons retains the title of Chairman, Def Jam Records. In 1985, he was the Associate Producer of Warner Bros.’ “Krush Groove”, which lead to a string of profitable movies including “Gridlock” (1977), “How to Be a Player” (1977), and “The Nutty Professor” (1996).
"In 1991, Mr. Simmons began producing “Def Comedy Jam” for HBO. The show helped to revolutionize the American comedy industry and launched the careers of Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker and Jamie Foxx. His most recent venture with HBO was the launching of Def Poetry Jam in 2001, and it promises to do for poetry what Def Comedy Jam did for comedy. In 1992, Mr. Simmons founded Phat Farm, a sportswear brand that capitalized on the enormous fashion influence wielded by hip-hop teens, and has been dubbed the “Gap of hip-hop” by New York Magazine. Mr. Simmons recently was honored by the Israeli Consulate at the Jewish Community Relations Council/Jewish National Fund Annual Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., held at the home of Israeli Consul General Alon Pinkas." 
- Co-Chair, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network
- Recipient of a 2008 Hollister Award from the Temple of Understanding
- Advisory Board, Yele Haiti 
- Advisory, David Lynch Foundation
- Former Speaker, Chopra Foundation 
- Alexander Billet, "Is Russell Simmons Playing Politics With Hip-Hop?", Dissident Voice, April 26, 2007.