Fifth Third Bank Celebrates Diversity & Inclusion Month
Sheila Morgan Donates Honorarium to Chicago Defender Newspaper!
edited by Kai EL’ Zabar
On a day of grace, 250 Movers and Shakers turned out for an early breakfast at the Cultural Center, hosted by Fifth Third Bank to recognize and award 8 for their outstanding leadership in Chicago’s Diverse Communities.
It was a fitting tribute to National Diversity and Inclusion Month. To each of the honorees, Fifth Third awarded a check for $5,300 to be given to the honoree’s charity of choice.
The occasion was a good time for lots of good causes!!
Andrew Hayes, Regional Marketing Director of Fifth Third Bank, says it perfectly: “We celebrate diversity and inclusion throughout the year and in everything we do,” explains Hayes, “We only pause in April, which is Diversity and Inclusion month, to host this annual breakfast as a way of publicly acknowledging the incredible contribution of our honorees, and announce that a $5,300 donation will be extended to each as a way for them to pay it forward, however they wish.”
He continued, “It’s a powerful way of both expressing our commitment to all the communities we serve, as well as inspiring others to get involved, make a difference, and celebrate both our differences and our
Andrew Hayes, Regional Marketing Director of Fifth Third Bank, says it perfectly: “The impetus for our Community Leaders program was to move away from singular monthly declarations, as we celebrate diversity and inclusion throughout the year and in everything we do,” explains Hayes. “We only pause in April, which is Diversity and Inclusion month, to host this annual breakfast as a way of publicly acknowledging the incredible contribution of our honorees, and announce that a $5,300 donation will be extended to each as a way for them to pay it forward, however they wish. It’s a powerful way of both expressing our commitment to all the communities we serve, as well as inspiring others to get involved, make a difference, and celebrate both our differences and our commonalities.”
Two hundred community leaders attended an early morning complimentary breakfast honoring the following eight leaders, chosen for the impact they make in diverse communities. Robert Sullivan, President & CEO, Fifth Third Bank Chicago, assisted in the presentations to:
Lori F. Cannon – LBGTQ Community Leader – 25+ years ago during the height of the AIDS Crisis, Lori founded the city’s ONLY food pantry and grocery center for those affected by HIV/AIDS at a time when people with AIDS were considered lepers and faced incredible discrimination. Lori was soon overseeing an army of 400 volunteers who would show up 7 days a week to deliver meals to 1200 suffering from AIDS. Open Hand (1988) remains open today and is now part of the Heartland Alliance Network… and today is the only network of food pantries to exclusively serve the AIDS community in US. Donating $5,300 to Open Hand’s food budget.
Julie Smolyansky – Women’s Community Leader – Becoming the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over Lifeway Foods at 27, she has since boosted annual revenue to over $130 Mil and expanded distribution throughout the US, Canada, and the UK . She has produced several documentaries, including one on three homeless teens, one on issues facing women in Muslim societies, and one on rape culture on college campuses. She founded the nonprofit organization Test400k, a campaign to resolve the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. and end violence against women both domestically and globally. Donating $5,300 to Test400K, the non-profit Julie started, which works to eliminate the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. and develop an innovative model of quickly and cheaply test rape kits for global implementation.
Danielle L. Green – Veterans Community Leader – Danielle Green inspires others through her story. She grew up poor on Chicago’s South Side and earned an athletic scholarship to Notre Dame, then joined the Army. She lost her lower left arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq and now serves as a Field Examiner for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Donating $5,300 to U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO Programs, which is designed to ensure equal educational opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race.
Billy Dec – Asian American, Pacific Islander Community Leader – Billy was appointed by Barack Obama to serve on the US Asian American, Pacific Islander Committee where he continues to give leadership to issues impacting this community. He’s a role model for many biracial youth, helping to address issues impacting them like bullying, discrimination, etc. Donation of $5,300 to be split between One Step Camp and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago.
Shelia C. Morgan – African American Community Leader – As leader of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Ms. Morgan is leading and inspiring new business opportunities for local African-American owned businesses. This inspires new job opportunities in our community that she hopes helps to stem the tide of senseless gun violence. Donating $5,300 to the Chicago Defender.
Omar Duque – Latino Community Leader. As the head of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Omar is leading the way for the communities benefit – helping to inspire new businesses and legislative representation. Donating $5,300 to The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship, which will use funds to help build the entrepreneurship pipeline in the Hispanic community through their youth entrepreneurship program ENTERpreneur.
Kathleen Henson – Entrepreneur of the Year … Henson Consulting. Donating $5,300 to Breakthrough Urban Ministries, which works to restore the broken networks of youth and families and empower adults in the community to achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago – Non Profit of the Year. Led by Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA, continues to foster new pathways and opportunities for women throughout the Chicagoland area.
Photos by Ed Gordon/Edge Graphics