On February 22, Tougaloo College will hold its annual Business Luncheon at the Jackson Hilton and Convention Center. It will mark the event’s 20th anniversary, and backers of the program know why it has become a mainstay of business calendars. More than 500 business, professional and political leaders attend the luncheon each year.
“It’s just a great program,” says Kimberly McMillan, executive director of the Minority Capital Fund of Mississippi (MCFM), one of the many patrons of the event. “We have participated each year for quite some time now because the program highlights great things going on in the business community.”
Eric Stringfellow, president of 100 Black Men of Jackson Inc., another luncheon patron, says his organization supports the show because “it brings attention to business, and emphasizes the importance of business as the backbone of our economy. And, Tougaloo is just a great institution — we want to support them.”
The biggest draw of the Business Luncheon is the success stories that are shared. The event has two main components — presentation of the Outstanding Leadership Award and the induction of donors into the Tougaloo College Society of Corporate Philanthropists.
The Outstanding Leadership Award was established in 1996. It recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact on Tougaloo as well as the State of Mississippi. The Tougaloo College Society of Corporate Philanthropists was also established in 1996.
This year, the featured speaker will be Charles A. Harvey, president of the Johnson Controls Foundation and corporate vice president of Johnson Controls Inc, a Milwaukee, Wis.-based provider of automotive interiors.
All of the patrons and sponsors say they are supporting the Business Luncheon and Tougaloo College because the college gives so much to the community. BellSouth was one of the founders of the luncheon, and it is still involved today as AT&T.
During the event, AT&T will present Tougaloo with a $200,000 donation. The gift represents the final installment of a $1-million commitment made five years ago on behalf of Mississippi attorney Reuben Anderson, who is a member of AT&T’s board of directors and a Tougaloo graduate. The contribution is earmarked for the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Society at Tougaloo College.
Mayo Flynt, AT&T Mississippi president, says, “We support education institutions such as Tougaloo to ensure that the abundance of technology available today is turned into an abundance of learning. It’s important to AT&T and important to Mississippi that Tougaloo continues to educate the next generation of Southern innovators — the scientists, creative thinkers and policymakers who will lead us forward.”
This year’s sponsors are Entergy Mississippi Inc., Jackson Consulting, Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Mississippi Development Authority’s Minority and Small Business Development Division and the Kroger Company Delta Marketing Area. Patrons include: Sanderson Farms Inc.; BancorpSouth; BankPlus; Catching Insurance Agency; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; MCFM; My Joy Inc.; Neel-Schaffer; New Hope Baptist Church; Salt and Pepper Mens Club; Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Inc.; Trustmark National Bank; 100 Black Men of Jackson; National Coalition of 100 Black Women; Celebrity Civic and Social Club; Gray & Associates Inc./Learning Curve; Liberty Bank; Metro Counseling Center; Coca-Cola; and, Copeland, Cook, Taylor and Bush, P.A.
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