*NEW YORK — Over 1,000 festively dressed guests attended the National Urban League’s (NUL) 57th annual Equal Opportunity Day (EOD) awards dinner on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York which was presented by Comcast/NBC Universal and emceed by NBC4 New York David Ushery, anchor/reporter & host of The Debrief, and Caroline Clarke, executive editor/host of Black Enterprise Business Report.
On behalf of Wells Fargo, longtime NUL supporters, Jon Campbell, executive vice president, director of social responsibility group, Wells Fargo, and Denise Miles, vice president, manager/national partnerships, strategic philanthropy & partnerships, Wells Fargo, filled the room with joyous applause when they made an unexpected $4.1 million check presentation to NUL’s President & CEO Marc H. Morial for the League’s housing counseling work and Entrepreneurship Centers.
This stellar black-tie gala is one of the organization’s major fundraising events and serves as a platform for the premier organization to award its highest commendation to those individuals and corporations that demonstrate a commitment to equal opportunity and exhibit leadership for the cause of equal rights.
Proceeds from the evening — which was chaired by David L. Cohen, executive vice president, Comcast Corporation — enable the NUL to serve over 2.8 million people annually through its network of 95 professionally staffed affiliates nationwide
“The people and organizations that we honor at the Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner exemplify the National Urban League’s commitment to service and the revitalization of communities across America,” said President Morial. “This year’s recipients display extraordinary leadership encouraging empowerment in all aspects of our society.”
During the festive award program, President Morial presented actress, philanthropist and advocate Cicely Tyson with the coveted arts award for her tremendous achievements in the area of arts and culture.
Gregory D. Wasson, president & CEO, Walgreen Co. (via video) and Steve Pemberton, vice president, diversity & inclusion, Walgreen Co., accepted the corporate leadership award for Walgreen’s generous support of the NUL’s efforts to provide critical resources and information about health disparities that permeate urban communities nationwide.
Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president & CEO, TIAA-CREF, received the leadership award for demonstrating exemplary leadership as one of the top corporate executives in America.
John D. Hofmeister, founder & CEO, Citizens for Affordable Energy and NUL board chair, received the president’s award for his high standard of leadership and commitment to service as chair of the NUL board of trustees.
Kurt M. Landgraf, president & CEO, education testing service, received a special award for improving quality and equity in education for underrepresented students.
NUL also inducted its 2013 “Million, Five Million and Ten Million Dollar Hall of Fame Class” recognizing organizations that contributed $1 million or more to advance the work of the League.
This year’s $1 Million Hall of Fame award was presented to Sodexo and accepted by George Chavel, president & CEO, Sodexo North America.
The $5 Million Hall of Fame award was presented to Enterprise Holdings and accepted by Andy Church, vice president and general manager, Enterprise New York/New Jersey.
The 2013 $10 Million Hall of Fame award was presented to Citi and accepted by Michael L. Corbat, CEO, Citigroup.
The evening’s electrifying entertainment was provided by Motown the Musical cast member and two-time Grammy nominee Ryan Shaw. The National Urban League is currently partnered with Comcast Corporation to promote access to broadband in underserved communities. (Photos by Brian Branch Price)
*WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Thurgood Marshall College Fund Board Chairman and Gala Chair Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of the polling company Gallup, and his wife Susan made a surprise donation of $1 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) at the organization’s 25th awards gala at the historic Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC on Veteran’s Day, Monday, November 11, 2013 raising the evening’s take to an impressive $3.8 million.
The gift will create new TMCF programming and endow 5 scholarships per year for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) students. “Giving can come is so many forms and having these individuals give their time to support an organization that does so much to help so many is commendable,” stated Clifton.
TMCF’s President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. joined the Cliftons on stage for the generous gift presentation as some 1,400 distinguished guests – including HBCU presidents/chancellors, alumni and students, Congressional Members, Fortune 500 executives, government agency leaders – engagingly looked on.
“As Benjamin Franklin once said, an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” added Clifton. “Susan and I are very much committed to higher education and to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. We want ensure that students who want a higher education at an HBCU will have an opportunity to do so.”
What a wonderful housewarming gift for TMCF having moved its corporate office from New York City to the nation’s capital. “Moving the office and the largest fundraising event of the year to DC will better position TMCF as the place “Where Education Pays Off” stated Taylor.
The first-time ever DC gala event opened in grand style with a salute to our Nation’s veterans including General Dennis L. Via and Lt. General Arthur J. Gregg (Ret.) during the presenting of the Color Guard followed by a distinguished program and a delicious dinner.
The awards gala, themed “Developing Minds … Delivering Dreams,” paid tribute to the achievements of the country’s foremost visionaries who have used their status to support education and positively impact the lives of students attending HBCUs.
The 2013 TMCF distinguished awards were presented to Janice Bryant Howroyd (CEO of the year award), Larry Waters (community leader of the year award), Wayne D. Watson, Ph.D. (educational leadership award) and Johnson & Johnson (corporate leadership award).
Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor, Dr. Bill Cosby served as host and Tony and Grammy Award-winning vocalist and Broadway’s original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday gave an unforgettable performance.
“This year’s 25th Gala is perhaps our most important ever because of the unprecedented challenges facing students attending HBCUs. The college access battle is no longer a legal one; it is a purely financial one,” stated Taylor. “We believe that Dr. Bill Cosby’s lifetime body of work involving educational activism makes him a uniquely ideal host for the evening.”
Proceeds from the event enable TMCF to continue its programmatic and capacity building work as a critical link between students getting the most from their education and the opportunity to become a part of a new generation of global leaders.
Gallup served as presenting sponsor of the black-tie event. Other sponsors and supporters included MillersCoors, the Charmer Sunbelt Group, Costco, Walmart, Altria, Wells Fargo, the NBA, The Hill, Moet Hennessy, News Channel 8 and the Hershey Company.
“Our scholars are living proof of why higher education is such a good investment,” said Taylor. “The generosity of our gala attendees, corporate sponsors, individual donors, and media partners will allow TMCF to continue ‘Developing Minds, Delivering Dreams’ for HBCU students.”
“The success of this year’s event certifies that Washington, DC is the place to be,” Taylor continued. “I am positive that this black-tie gala has surely surpassed the city’s expectations and will become one of its staple, must-attend events from this day forward because the word is already out for 2014!”
“The TMCF Gala is always an exciting time but this year was very special,” said Clifton. “Moving this event to the Nation’s Capital where the spirit of Justice Marshall lives was the right thing to do so that we can continue to advocate and raise funds to support public HBCUs and the 300,000 students attending our 47 member-schools.” (Photo courtesy TMCF)
New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets. Contact her via: [email protected]