COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Local chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina is a local non-profit that provides money and mentorships for underserved students
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It started with a vision -- a mission to educate and empower underserved African American boys. In 1963, 100 Black Men of America, Inc. was formed by some prominent black men , including the late baseball great Jackie Robinson. The goal was to have 100 chapters across the country.
“They were dissatisfied with the way African American males were portrayed in the community and the lack of opportunities for them,” said Jerry Jackson, President of the 100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina.
Today, there are 110 chapters and over 10,000 members across the country and around the world.
Stan Hixon, a former NFL coach, Nick Rhodes, a retired management consultant, and Jerry Jackson, a former school superintendent and college professor, are members of the local organization. They each rose to prominence in their professions and now they want to be an inspiration to young people -- especially of color.
“What they see is what they would be,” said Stan Hixon.
The local non-profit organization starts the mentorship with middle school-aged children. The students can stay in the program until they head off to college.
“We help them out educationally, financially, take them on tours around campuses. We take them to visit New York. Also, the African American Museum in D.C. -- just give them an experience they can grow from.”
The group depends on membership dues and donations to fund the program. On Thursday, June 16, they will host a golf tournament at Castle Bay Golf Course in Hampstead. That event is now an annual event to raise money.
“To support the organization, we have to raise the money as a non-profit.”
Nick Rhodes, a former New Hanover County School Board member, says community support has been great including participation from large corporations.
“PNC Bank, Wells Fargo -- they are one of our corporate funders,” Rhodes said. “And we have a program called Hands-On Banking that’s funded by Wells Fargo and we teach financial literacy to our youngsters.”
Just last weekend the group held a breakfast -- also a fundraiser. The annual event is a way to honor the students in the program.
“We celebrate our students and send them with some money to help them when they go off to college.” said Rhodes. “And they’re all planning to go off to college. Not all are planning to go to a four-year college immediately, but they’re all planning on a post secondary education.”
The name might imply that its an all-black organization that only mentors African American students but that’s changed since the 501c3 organization was formed decades ago. Today, the group welcomes students of all races as well as mentors.
Jackson says the success stories speak for themselves.
“We’ve had youngsters who went to the University of Alabama on scholarships. One of our young ladies who happens to be Hispanic -- she just finished her freshman year at Northwestern,” Jackson said.
The group always welcomes financial support, but Jackson says they really could use more mentors, especially young ones.
“Not to put an age on it but we are older men and we’re looking for younger men who can relate to our young people a lot better than we do right now,” he said.
For more information on the organization, how to make a donation and how to become a mentor, click here.
For more information on the golf tournament June 16, click here.
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