"100 Black Men" Gala Honorees Reflect Mentoring Philosophy
CHICAGO -- The 100 Black Men of Chicago honored community and philanthropic leaders Rev. Richard Tolliver, Rector of St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church; Tim King, Director of the Urban Prep Academies, Mike Lewis, Executive V.P., Harris Bank; Lawrence Oliver, Chief Counsel of Investigations, The Boeing Corp.; and Ron Lofton, President, McDonald’s Owners/Operator Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
All of the honorees, who through their work have changed the lives of individuals and communities throughout Chicago, reflect the motto of the 100 BMC - “What They See, Is What They Will Be.” A number of mentees who were in attendance showed the invaluable work of the 100 BMC, some with aspirations ranging from careers in politics and business, to aeronautical engineering, with one particular mentee already logging over 10 hours of flight lessons while training for his pilot’s license.
The 100 BMC’s newly installed president, Donovan Robertson, a successful entrepreneur who overcame hardship as a child, reinforced the organizations commitment by saying, “I want to thank our members for their hard work and diligence, our work is even more vital and relevant than ever.” Robertson also noted, “Graduation rates continue to be disappointing, and access to role models is still a challenge, but we will continue our work while seeking more corporate partners that are mindful of the value of corporate social responsibility.”
The gala event, co-chaired by Curtis Cooper and Thomas Henderson, benefits thousands of Chicagoland school children, and is the organization’s most prominent fundraiser of the year. It also serves a precursor to the organization’s College Scholarship Fair where they provide free ACT/SAT practice exams and college campus visitations, and ultimately place hundreds of CPS students into colleges or universities across the country. The CSF is normally attended each year by some 5,000 students and parents, with over 120 colleges and universities present.
Mentoring is the organization’s main focus, where 100 BMC employs a “mentor-network” or “mentor-team” model; they also focus on health and wellness, with seminars such as “For Men Only Health Fair” serving some 400 men each year; and economic development through partnerships with corporations such as Walmart and Edward Jones, in providing financial literary education.
The mission of the 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc., is to help improve the quality of life and enhance educational opportunities for all young people throughout the Chicagoland area. They accomplish this by mentoring at-risk youth, programs and scholarships.