Annual Luncheon

2018 Annual Luncheon

Call for Corporations to Hire More African Americans at Urban League’s Annual Luncheon

There was a round of applause as guest speaker, Reverend Mr. Royce Winters, Director of African American Pastoral Ministries at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, encouraged corporate leaders in attendance to hire and promote more Blacks to middle and upper management positions within their company.

Deacon Winters, who addressed the audience during the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio’s 69th Annual Luncheon, spoke to a crowd of 500 plus guests at the Hyatt Regency Friday, February 9. Winters challenged corporate leaders to “go back to your offices and talk about the Urban League’s mission” to end poverty in the Black Community.

Winters told senior leaders to not be afraid to share what happened at the lunch with their colleagues and to talk about racial disparities with other corporate leaders in the community. He said the goal is to level the playing field and give more Blacks opportunities to thrive in corporate America.

The 69th Annual Luncheon and Glorifying the Lions Ceremony was an opportunity to highlight the work of the Urban League in both Cincinnati and Dayton, while celebrating senior leaders who have dedicated their lives to helping others.

Long-time United Way volunteer and former Kroger executive Charley Milton called being recognized as a 2018 Lion a humbling experience.

“The work I’ve done in the community over the years has been done with the idea that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and that is to give back to the community that I came from,” said Milton.

Fellow honoree Gwendolyn West Wilder spent 35 years working in Cincinnati Public Schools and was the first African American education audiologist in Ohio. She said she grew up watching her mother volunteer. Her mother’s work helped her to understand how important it is to give back to the community.

“The Urban League is more vital than it was in the beginning. We all need to come together to make this work. We all need to step up and do what we can,” Wilder said.

Honoree, retired Northern Kentucky U.S. Bank President Dan Groneck, worked with other community volunteers to help the Urban League raise funds and secure the financing needed to build its current location at 3458 Reading Road in Avondale.

“I was asked by Ross Love and Jerry Grundhofer to help with the financing of this new building at the Urban League,” said Groneck. He was so impressed with what he found at the Urban League that he joined the board, eventually serving as board chair.

Don. G Black, publisher and co-founder of The Dayton Weekly News, Dayton’s longest running African American newspaper, was also honored as a Lion at the luncheon. Black’s history with the Urban League runs deep. He first got involved right out of high school and says the need for the League and its services are great.

“The Urban League is still a valued part of the community. The Urban League needs to be part of the continual stride toward economic empowerment,” Black said.

Since 1994, the Urban League has recognized leaders who are at least 65 years old, for their dedication and service to the community. The name, “Glorifying the Lions” comes from a Nigerian proverb: Until the lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter, meaning history isn't complete until both sides of a story are told.

WLWT News 5 reporter Alexis Rogers hosted the event.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact B. Cato Mayberry at (513) 487- 6532, or email:

View Lion honoree videos below.