Lifelong Chicagoan and Black United Fund of Illinois Board Chairman, Greg T. Hinton, died on Sunday, August 25, 2019.
Hinton grew up with his parents and six siblings on Chicago’s South Side in an area known as the “Low End,” or 35th and King Drive across from the Supreme Life Insurance building and the Victory Monument. In that area, the Hinton family’s name was legendary.
“Greg was a proud graduate of Phillips High School and the University of Illinois, and he loved Chicago, particularly Bronzeville—what we call the ‘Low End.’ He was a ‘Low End’ brother, for real, and had love specifically for the community that nurtured him,” shared Dr. Conrad Worrill, founding member of the Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI).
A board member of BUFI for 12 years, Hinton was recently elected as Chairman of the Board, succeeding political activist, Professor Robert Starks, and following in the footsteps of BUFI’s esteemed founder, Henry English.
Nicknamed “Mr. Chairman,” Hinton was “the stalwart of encouragement with a sincere heart for people and the global community. Even more than his prodigious talent, we will miss his friendship, his generosity, his exuberant personality, the extraordinary work ethic and dedication to philanthropy,” reflected BUFI’s Executive Director Carolyn Day.
In a press release announcing his chairmanship, Hinton expressed his goals for sustaining BUFI’s presence in the community in which it serves. “BUFI must meet the needs of the community through programming and advocacy.”
Hinton’s presence in the community was unmatched, and his foundation for serving his community was epic. In addition to his role at BUFI, he served on many boards, including: the League of Black Women, Chicago State University Foundation, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, Chicago Urban League Board of Advisors, the Chicago Association of Minority Recruiters, and Habilitative Systems, Inc.
Pierre Clark of Opportunity Communities, Inc. and a writer with the South Shore Current magazine penned a piece for the magazine’s July 2019 edition. In his interview with Hinton, Clark reminisced with Hinton about their upbringing on ‘the Low End’ and the influencers in Hinton’s life: education counselor and advocate Silas Purnell and Don Nash, former Coca Cola executive.
“Greg said that as he started his 38-year career as a pioneering, first-ever diversity human resources manager at seven Fortune 500 companies where he placed over 90,000 African Americans in jobs and ‘helped to feed over 100,000 families in a 38-year career’ at seven Fortune 500 companies and the DNC (Democratic National Committee)…he always remembered something Nash told him about dealing with people who came to him for help and support. Nash told me…find more ways to say ‘yes’ to people who ask for help and fewer excuses to say ‘no.’ That powerful philosophy, Greg said, became the cornerstone of his professional career…”
Hinton had 35 years of global experience working in corporate environments, such as U.S. Cellular, Abbott, Pepsi, Amtrak, and R.R. Donnelly as well as becoming the first chief diversity officer for the Democratic National Committee. He was also the CEO of the Gregory Group consulting firm.
A recipient of close to 60 awards and commendations for his contribution in the fields of diversity, leadership, community service, corporate social responsibility as well as change management, Hinton explained in the South Shore Current interview, that he took “a hands-on, rather than arm’s length approach” to assisting, inspiring and supporting others.
“Greg mentored hundreds of young people over the years and assisted them in their entrepreneurial enterprises,” stated Worrill. BUFI’s Day added, “It is difficult to express what his contributions to the Black United Fund of Illinois—both as a friend and colleague—have meant to us beyond our mission of Helping People Help Themselves and being a conduit for economic vitality and innovative development for future generations.”
Hinton’s large stature may have been intimidating to some, but many knew it as just a sheath over the heart of man who loved his community, his family and his friends in an enormous way.
“Greg holds a special place in our hearts and will forever be remembered as a genuine icon and pillar of the recent storied era in the history of BUFI. He lived by my personal motto: Inviting life…and embracing the human spirit. May all the ancestors of African descent welcome him and may his soul rest in eternal peace,” expressed Day.
Hinton is survived by his children: Christopher, Arifa, Gregory Howard and Kyle.
Services were held Thursday, August 29 at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.