On Saturday night, I had the pleasure of attending the Chicago Urban League’s Golden Fellowship Dinner – Centennial Edition to commemorate the organization’s 100 years of service to the community. Hosted by the hilarious comedian Damon Williams, the sold-out event raised a record-setting $2.65M and culminated with a phenomenal performance by the legendary Diana Ross.
Known as the organization’s largest annual fundraiser and one of Chicago’s premier fundraising events, the Golden Fellowship Dinner drew more than 1,700 of the city’s best-known business leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists and elected leaders. This year’s theme, Building On Our Legacy, pays homage to the community-based, economic empowerment organization’s founding 100 years ago to assist southern Blacks who migrated north to find housing and employment.
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 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. His speech moved and motivated the crowd. 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.
After the gala, attendees hit the dance floor and grooved to the sounds of Dj. Vince Adams
This is a MUST event to attend, awesome opportunity for networking and supporting a great cause!
About the Chicago Urban League
Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit www.thechicagourbanleague.org.