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Chicago Urban League Celebrates Opportunity, Community and Impact at 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner

Chicago Urban League Celebrates Opportunity, Community and Impact at 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner

Jessye Norman and Clyde Ross accept Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Awards

CHICAGO (November 15, 2014) –Driven by the theme, Opportunity, Community, Impact: A Movement that Matters, the Chicago Urban League, along with many of the city’s business, civic and elected leaders, hosted its 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner tonight at the Hilton Chicago.

Committed to the success of Chicago’s African American communities, the Urban League hosts the Golden Fellowship Dinner to provide financial support for its programs, collaborations and advocacy work in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, housing, human capital, and workforce development.

Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League highlighted some of the organization’s success stories over the past year but challenged the crowd of more than 1,700 guests to do more to improve the lives of African Americans and all who are underserved.

“At the Chicago Urban League we have been taking on the tough fights and building a movement for change for close to one hundred years,” said Zopp. “We see the potential in people that they do not see in themselves. We understand the power of opportunity and know that one opportunity can have a profound impact across generations.”

This year’s gala was co-chaired by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of U.S. strategic community alliances and consumer engagement for Nielsen, and Stephen E. Thomas, area vice president of field operations for Comcast. Among the evening’s special guests were Governor Pat Quinn, Cook County Board President, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial.

One of the world’s most celebrated performing artists, opera legend and humanitarian Jessye Norman accepted the Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award at the dinner along with North Lawndale resident Clyde Ross, a civil rights and fair housing advocate and a founding member of the Contract Buyers League.

The award is named for Edwin C. “Bill” Berry, who led the Chicago Urban League from 1956-1969 and was a key leader in the civil rights movement in Chicago.  Both Norman and Ross were presented with the honor for making a mark on the nation through their hard work, perseverance and creativity.

The 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner was hosted by comedian/actor Damon Williams and culminated with a show stopping performance by multi-talented performer Vanessa Williams.

Legacy Sponsors for the 53rd Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner were Comcast, Loop Capital Markets and Nielsen. Advocacy Sponsors include: Boeing, Grosvenor Capital Management, ITW, McDonald’s, PNC Bank, and Walgreens.


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