WASHINGTON—INROADS held its annual fundraising Benefit Gala, presented by Procter & Gamble, on May 3, 2023, at Union Station in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme was Breaking Barriers and Making History, which is fitting to recognize the accomplishments of individuals and corporate partners who uphold the INROADS mission.
The host and Master of Ceremonies, Symone Sanders-Townsend, was a barrier breaker and historymaker as well. She is the host of “Symone” on MSNBC and MSNBC on Peacock. Mrs. Sanders-Townsend is a seasoned political strategist and is the youngest presidential press secretary on record and member of Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election. The first fully in-person event for INROADS since the COVID pandemic, the black-tie event brought together alumni, students, corporate partners, and supporters who are all in the pursuit of equity and opportunity for all.
(L-R) National BDPA Vice President Timothy Butts, Sr., an INROADS Alumnus, stands with Forest T. Harper, Jr., INROADS President and CEO during annual Benefits Gala events at Union Station, Washington, D.C.
— Courtesy photo BDPA
The Benefit Gala presented various awards to INROADS alumni and trailblazers who exemplify the INROADS mission in their life and work. Angela Hill, Senior Producer of The Washington Post and INROADS alumna, was the night’s awards presenter.
Honorees included: Frank C. Carr Award: MetLife, one of the largest global providers of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs; Excellence in Leadership Award: Lisa M. Hamilton, President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Innovator of the Year Award: Tirrell D. Whittley, Founder and CEO of Liquid Soul; Social Justice Award: NBA Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to driving economic opportunity in the Black community through employment and career development; Alumni of the Year Award: Sekou Kaalund, Executive Vice President of U.S. Bank; and Rising Star Award: Clarence Stephens IV, INROADS intern and Morehouse student of the class of 2024.
“INROADS is committed to creating pathways for diverse talent and shaping the future of America’s workplace,” said Forest T. Harper, Jr., President and CEO of INROADS. “We are thankful for our sponsors, partners, and alumni for taking on our mission through sharing their time, talent, and treasures. We are delighted to celebrate the barriers we are breaking and the history we are making and invite others to join us on this mission.”
All proceeds from the Benefit Gala directly supports thousands of diverse, hardworking high school and college students with leadership training, coaching, mentoring, and career readiness through INROADS programs. Through these programs, INROADS continues to cultivate more prominent leaders who can contribute to the advancement of underrepresented talent.
INROADS is proud to have the support of Procter & Gamble, the presenting partner for this year’s Benefit Gala. Other sponsors include UnitedHealth Group, Zoetis, Dollar General, Lockheed Martin, Assured Guaranty, Bayer, MetLife, U.S. Bank, Southern Company, Daimler Truck NA, L3Harris, Foley Hoag, Husch Blackwell, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Patrice and Keron Graves, Blue Sky Collaborative Partners, Namaste Consulting, Truist, Ironwood, Meritage Homes, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bank of America, Georgia-Pacific, and our spirit sponsors: Pronghorn, Den of Thieves Whiskey, Ten to One Rum, and TCapri Tequila.
Founded in 1970, INROADS delivers innovative programs and creative solutions that identify, accelerate, and elevate the development of underrepresented talent throughout their careers. Through this development, students become equipped for corporate and community leadership that effects community renewal, social change and elevates economic status and quality of life. INROADS has more than 30,000 alumni, over 900 interns and serves 4,000+ students and 200 corporate clients. Learn more at INROADS.org and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn: @INROADSInc.
Top/cover courtesy INROADS photo from Union Station by Leticia Stallworth.
— Source and photos: INROADS and BDPA
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