Black Chicago’s Who’s Who will turn out and will look their finest at what many consider the event of the year, the Chicago Urban League’s highly anticipated 57th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner, on Saturday, November 3 at the Hilton Chicago.
With an expected 2,000 guests, the black tie gala is the organization’s largest yearly fundraiser. This year Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans is serving as keynote speaker.
Morial has a distinguished career as a legislator, entrepreneur, law professor, mayor and president of the U.S. Conference of mayors. Since assuming the leadership of the National Urban League in 2003, he has recharged its core mission through an Empowerment Agenda to increase its profile both locally and nationally.
For nearly a century the Chicago Urban League has opened the doors of opportunity for African Americans through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. The CUL is a leader in building strong sustainable communities and creating opportunities with the power to transform people’s lives. Its Golden Fellowship Dinner gala attracts guests from the business, political, and social circles from all over Chicago.
Hosted by famed Chicago comedian Damon Williams for a seventh year in a row, the Golden Fellowship Dinner draws more than 1,500 of the city’s corporate leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists, clergy and elected officials. This year’s theme, #CurrentSituation: Our Race to Equity, emphasizes the long-running economic and social disparities faced by Black communities in Chicago, as well as the League’s progress and ongoing efforts toward achieving equity for African Americans in several realms, including employment, housing and education.
The Chicago Urban League will recognize two civically active Chicagoans as it presents the Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Award to John W. Rogers, and the Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Individual Service Award to newspaper publisher Dorothy R. Leavell.
Rogers is the Chairman, CEO & Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments, headquartered in Chicago. The investment company, specializing in small and mid-capitalized stocks, was founded in 1983 and presently manages $13.6 billion in assets. The recipient of the Bill Berry Award is recognized as a leader who makes a mark locally and nationally through hard work, perseverance and creativity.
For Leavell, the event comes as she celebrates 50 years as the publisher of the Chicago Crusader and Gary Crusader newspapers. She assumed the role following the death of her husband, Crusader Founder and Publisher Balm L. Leavell. As a single mother with two children, and a female publisher in a male-dominated newspaper industry, Leavell overcame challenges, persevering and steering the two newspapers into award winning publications of the Black Press. Leavell is chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade organization of over 200 Black newspapers across the country. It is the third time she has led the organization as chairman.
The evening’s entertainment will showcase Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. The award-winning band was founded in 1970, in Philadelphia, by Frankie Beverly. The group signed their first contract with Capitol records in 1976. As popular as ever, Maze continues to tour in Europe and around the United States.
Host Damon Williams is a Chicago area comedian who began his comedy career at All Jokes Aside Comedy Club. He is noted for material that is universal, appealing to groups of all ages. Williams has worked with some of the biggest names, including Aretha Franklin, Chris Rock, and President Obama. Williams can be heard weekly on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.