Every year in the month of December I’m invited to some of the best events in Chicago. The holidays brings a lot of people together for fun, music, dancing, and tons of catching up as most of us are typically busy throughout the year so December is kinda like the perfect month to socialize.
One of those events–The 100 Black Men 14th Annual Holiday Party & Toy Drive–has been on my calendar every year for the past 3 years.
This year the event was held at the Old Crow Smokehouse in River North downtown Chicago, IL. The downstairs portion of the restaurant hosts a bar and the main seating area for people that want to come in and dine, but when you walk in and go upstairs there is a ballroom-like space on the 2nd floor that is absolutely beautiful.
An enormous and spacious party room with leather couches, booths, 2 bars, 2 DJ booths, a dance floor, and a VIP area. The upstairs venue was perfect for this years annual event. Last year the holiday party was held at Castle nightclub, which closed recently so the organization had to find a new venue for the event.
Over 900 people packed the Old Crow Smokehouse to capacity for this years event.
The party was jammed pack with some of Chicago’s finest movers and shakers. It was a great atmosphere for meeting new people, catching up with friends, old and new, and making professional connections.
Walmart and Miller Coors were this years sponsors for the 100 Black Men 14th Annual Holiday party & Toy Drive
The purpose of this event is to celebrate the holiday season but more importantly the 100 Black Men of Chicago are primarily focused on raising proceeds and asks for toy donations from the events patrons. These donations go towards providing toys for youth 8-18 and their families for the holiday season.
As a result the 100 Black Men of Chicago have a very robust list of organizations that they partner with in giving donations.
The charity list includes:
· Grand Lodge
· Englewood CBC
· Joshua Johnston
Pictured here on left is Carl H. Tutt Jr., President, 100 Black Men of Chicago.
The new president Carl H. Tutt Jr. was installed in January. He was the former VP of Operations for the 100 Black Men of Chicago and replaces Jourdan Sorrell as the outgoing President. He previously held a corporate position with an extensive career at McDonalds Corporation. Additionally, he is also an entrepreneur at heart and his selection as President fits well given his background.
The one thing to understand about these annual events is that every year they are ran on an all-volunteer staff. No one get’s paid to organize this holiday party. These men and women are giving time of themselves from their professional jobs and their families to make the event happen.
Sharron Troupe, volunteer manager for The 100 Black Men of Chicago 14th Annual Holiday party and Toy Drive.
Overall, The 100 Black Men of Chicago has done a really great job at attracting very accomplished and polished men of color. There are other black professional organizations that do good work in this space as well, but the The 100 Black Men of Chicago has mastered the art of attracting the kind of men that people don’t think exist in large numbers amongst the ranks of men of color.
The 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. is part of the 100 Black Men of America–the national umbrella of the organization.
There are 102 chapters in the United States with a total of 10,000 members across the network. For the Chicago chapter there are an estimated 100 members in total. The 100 Black Men of Chicago not-for-profit organization has been in Chicago since 1991 and incorporated since 1995.
For those that want to get involved as volunteers their primary mission is to conduct mentoring at schools, universities, and college sites throughout the community.
They also host the largest all-volunteer college scholarship fair in the midwest. They have partnerships with the University of Illinois Chicago where they have the Collegiate 100 program that services other programs on the UIC campus.
This years event got a push by iHeart radio in getting the word out. 100 members Nathaniel Ward and Jefferson Moody worked with iHeart radio and were responsible for helping with the media exposure. Jeff Beckham, CEO and Founder of Black Box Creative, who is also a member of the 100 Black Men that helped to make the event a success this year through social media and email marketing.
You can see the full photo album here on my Facebook page