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Chaka Khan to headline Chicago Urban League fundraiser

Crusader Staff Report

Sweet thang. With her sass and funk, Chicago’s Chaka Khan will return home to headline the Chicago Urban League’s Golden Fellowship Dinner. The 58th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019, at the Hilton Chicago. The black-tie gala will begin with a Champagne Reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m., and an After-Party at 10 p.m.

Interim President and CEO Barbara Lumpkin made the announcement September 17 on Facebook Live.

“There is always a lot of buzz and speculation around who our entertainment will be, so we wanted to share the news as soon as possible with our supporters,” Lumpkin said. “We thought Facebook Live was a fun and innovative way to do that.”

One of the most highly anticipated events in Chicago, the Golden Fellowship Dinner draws more than 1,500 of the city’s corporate leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists, clergy and elected officials.

The theme for this year’s gala is “Getting to Equal Together.” This builds on the League’s message from its 2019 SUMMIT Luncheon, where the organization released its State of Black Chicago report.

“I know firsthand that the Chicago Urban League cannot achieve its mission of racial equity alone,” Lumpkin added. “It takes a powerful collective of voices paired with action to earn our rightful seats at the table. Our work continues thanks to corporate and foundation partners who share and support our vision of stronger African-American communities leading to a better Chicago. We are planning a fantastic evening to celebrate partnerships that enable our mission.”

Lumpkin also announced that the League will bestow the coveted Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Award on Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Jarrett’s extensive career includes both business and politics in Chicago, where she held positions in the administrations of Mayor Harold Washington and Mayor Richard J. Daley and served as CEO of the Habitat Company, known for real estate development and management.

Named for Bill Berry, CEO of the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969 and a key activist in the Civil Rights Movement, the award is given annually to leaders who make a mark locally and nationally through hard work, perseverance and creativity.

The League will honor Melody Spann Cooper, chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, with its Lester H. McKeever, Jr., Individual Service Award.

Named for long-time CPA, accounting firm principal and Chicago Urban League Life Director Lester H. McKeever, Jr., and created in 2016, the award recognizes an individual who embodies excellence through service and has demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the quality of life for African Americans in Chicago.

Chicago Urban League Board member and retired chairman of Northern Trust Frederick H. Waddell will receive the newly created Humanitarian Award for his longstanding support of the organization.

The 58th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner co-chairs are East Lake Management & Development Corporation President and CEO Elzie Higginbottom and his wife Deborah, along with Illinois Tool Works Chairman and CEO E. Scott Santi and his wife Nancy.

For tickets or more information about the Chicago Urban League’s 58th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, visit For sponsorship information, contact Karen Coleman at 773-451-3526.

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