The Chicago Football Classic: Simple idea turns into community-based initiative that has sent thousands of local students to HBCUs

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Three Black businessmen started the popular Chicago Football Classic 17 years ago and the event is still thriving today.

Larry Huggins, Tim Rand and Everett Rand are the founders. The high-energy football game, tailgating, and College Fair will be Sept.20 at Soldier Field. With the event only two months away, the Defender is sharing how it all began with a simple idea borne of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy that “…everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

Nearly 20 years ago, Huggins, the Rand brothers, friends and sports enthusiasts, discussed their mutual desire to give back to the communities, which had supported and nurtured them.

Co-founder Larry Huggins remembers it vividly: “When we looked around the neighborhoods where we lived and had grown our companies, it was obvious that they all had one thing in common – many of Chicago’s youth in these south and west side communities were full of promise, yet lacked a diverse range of viable outlets to harness their powerful potential,” Huggins said in a news release. “Sports was a natural and highly available outlet, while we considered educating future generations also vitally important,” he said. “At the same time, HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) were looking to expand their outreach to young Blacks who might not have considered them as a first choice for higher education.”

Co-founder Everett Rand added, “It was so simple, looking back on it now,” he said. “In many ways, each of us, Larry, Tim and I, live by the personal belief that it is better to give than receive and further, we share Dr. King’s mission of committed service to promote, protect and uplift our youth,” Everett Rand said. “In that moment, the idea for the Chicago Football Classic was born.”

Local entrepreneur and co-founder Tim Rand said, “The Chicago Football Classic is an extraordinary experience for people of all ages and as it has grown and successfully evolved over the years, it became clear by the tremendous response of the community that this is what we were born to do,” he said in the release.

Today, the Chicago Football Classic is a non-for-profit, helping students attend and graduate from HBCUs across the country. The Chicago Football Classic has as its primary mission promoting the long-term success of African-American youth, to achieve academic, personal and professionally oriented excellence, while attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities and throughout their future lives.

For more information on the Chicago Football Classic, call 773-874-8000, x.4024 or 773-734-1600. Go to http://www.chicagofootballclassic.biz / Like them at “Chicago Football Classic” on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @CHIFTBLCLASS.

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