On Sunday night nearly 1,700 supporters of the Chicago Urban League gathered at the Chicago Urban League’s Golden Fellowship Dinner – Centennial Edition to commemorate the organization’s 100 years of service to the community. On Nov. 29 hosted by comedian Damon Williams, the sold-out event raised a record-setting $2.65M and culminated with a phenomenal performance by the legendary Diana Ross.
Chicago Urban League President and CEO Shari Runner challenged the crowd of business leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists and elected officials to have serious conversations about racism in order to change its false narrative about African Americans and create a more equitable Chicago.
“The League has never shied away from leading difficult conversations or defending the rights our ancestors fought and died for, and we never will, no matter how insurmountable the odds may seem,” said Runner. “We’ve arrived at the apex, facing our racial moment of truth – are we going to continue providing an alibi to the historical and current role of racism, or are we going to finally tear it up from its roots?”
The night was filled with other unforgettable moments including the presentation of the Bill C. Berry Award to longtime Chicago businessman and civil rights activist Spencer Leak, Sr. of Leak and Sons Funeral Homes. Past League Presidents James Compton, Cheryle Jackson and newly appointed Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp were recognized for their roles in moving the League’s mission forward.
A newly created individual service award was presented to and named for long-time Chicago Urban League board member, volunteer, and civic and business leader Lester H. McKeever.
As chronicled in a feature video featuring several clients, funds raised from the dinner will support the Chicago Urban League’s programs, which serve more than 10,000 Chicago residents annually, including Student Development Center, Workforce Development, Human Capital, Housing and Financial Empowerment, Entrepreneurship and IMPACT Leadership Development.
“As I look around at this gathering of friends, Board members, colleagues, partners and passionate advocates for a stronger African American community and a better Chicago, there can be no clearer certainty that change comes because people make it happen,” said Runner.
This year’s Dinner Co-Chairs were Anne R. Pramaggiore, President and Chief Executive Officer, ComEd, and Frederick H. Waddell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Northern Trust Company. Serving as Dinner Host Committee Chair was Joe Moore of Shell Oil (retired). Lead dinner sponsors included ComEd, Northern Trust, Boeing, Kirkland and Ellis LLP, Abbott Laboratories, BMO Harris Bank, Comcast, GCM Grosvenor, Hilton Chicago, ITW, Loop Capital, McDonald’s, NBC 5, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, PNC Bank, PwC, Skadden, Tyson Foods, United and Wintrust.
For more information about the Chicago Urban League centennial, visit CUL100.org. For general information, go to www.TheChicagoUrbanLeague.org.
To see photos from the gala visit photos on the Chicago Crusader home page at www.chicagocrusader.com.