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Urban League Gala 2017

Urban League Honors Six Journey Award Winners and Announces Plans for New Innovation Center
CINCINNATI - It was an “Evening to Soar” for the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio (ULGSO) during its 29th Annual Gala and Silent Auction. More than 600 supporters attended the black-tie event at the Duke Energy Convention Center Saturday, September 23.

The evening was filled with music, dancing and celebration during which the Urban League unveiled plans for its new Social Innovation Center.

“The Social Innovation Center will be a place where people can share ideologies without judgement. There will be computers, meeting spaces and a community garden,” said ULGSO President & CEO Donna Jones Baker.

Gala guests were the first to hear the League’s plans for the new center. The center will be located inside the Buford Gaston Sickle Cell Center in the 3700 block of Reading Road and is part of the League’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

“The Social Innovation Center will be open to the community. We want residents to engage with one another. It will be a place for the community to make decisions to influence and direct what strategies and initiatives will drive change in their lives,” said Greater Cincinnati Urban League Executive Director Chara Fisher Jackson.

Gala guests were entertained throughout the evening. R&B powerhouse Miki Howard sang several of her hit songs including “Love Under New Management.” The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company also gave a crowd-pleasing performance. The evening opened and closed with music from The Deron Bell Band and Natural Progression band members.

The League also recognized six community leaders for their commitment to ULGSO. The 2017 Journey Award Honorees are Stephen Tucker, Cathy Lindemann, Ericka Copeland-Dansby, Carol Patton, Erin M. Hedges and Atlantis Thompson.

Stephen Tucker graduated from the ULGSO program, Solid Opportunities for Advancement and Retention (SOAR). He was recently named President & CEO of the Western New York Workforce Training Center, a 9,000 square foot facility in Buffalo, New York.

“It is really humbling as well as exciting to be selected as a Journey Award winner. For my success to really start, it really began at the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio,” Tucker said.

The owners of TriVersity construction Drs. Chandra and Melvin Gravely and Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval and his fiancé, Dr. Whitney Whitis served as Gala Co-Chairs.



The presenting sponsor was Mercy Health. The Platinum Sponsors were Southwest Airlines, TriVersity and UC Health. Money raised during the gala will help fund pivotal ULGSO programs including Youth Services and Workforce Development.

About the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio is the parent corporation for the Greater Cincinnati Urban League and Miami Valley Urban League. Our mission is to transform generations by promoting personal empowerment and economic self-sufficiency.