CBP Names Program After Minority-Business Advocate And Pioneer

Following the death of Ackneil M. Muldrow, II, the longtime businessman was remembered as “a tireless advocate for uplifting and empowering African Americans.” Muldrow’s long and storied business career included serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Development Credit Fund, Inc. Muldrow served as chief administrator of a $7.5 million loan pool formulated to provide low cost financial assistance to minority-owned businesses operating in the State of Maryland.

Ackneil M. Muldrow, II

Ackneil M. Muldrow, II

To help continue Muldrow’s rich legacy of supporting minority-owned businesses, Central Baltimore Partnership (CBP) has established The Neil Muldrow Business Development Fund. The Fund aims to support small businesses who expand or locate in Central Baltimore, particularly those who re-develop long-vacant properties requiring significant new investment.

Muldrow served as a CBP Board Member up until his death. The naming of its business development program after Muldrow was highlighted in December at CBP’s 8th Annual Honor Roll held at Motor House on North Avenue. The Honor Roll is an annual celebration of the unique collaborative effort that is transforming Central Baltimore.

Over 100 people attended the annual event, which recognized Innovative Partnerships and paid tribute to Muldrow. During the event, honorees were highlighted and presented with certificates.

“Mr. Muldrow was such a dynamic man,” said Baltimore Times publisher and CEO Joy Bramble, who attended the event. “We had the honor and privilege of having him on our staff at The Baltimore Times until his passing. We were so blessed to have him, and miss him dearly.

“His contributions to minority-owned businesses in Maryland and beyond is immeasurable. I applaud Central Baltimore Partnership for establishing a living memorial in his honor that will help to continue his mission of assisting black businesses.”

Ellen Janes is executive director of Central Baltimore Partnership.

“Given Neil’s concern about minority businesses, particularly those in the Charles Street corridor, this seemed like the perfect way to keep his memory alive,” said Janes. “He was a doer, and this Fund will have a practical impact. I admired him. He always had relevant, up-to-date information that he was always willing to share. This is our way of saying thank you to him for all the help he gave us. We felt this living memorial would be very appropriate for him.”

CBP is a ten-year-old nonprofit with over 100 partners who together achieve a comprehensive strategy for community revival in 11 Central Baltimore neighborhoods. According to CBP, the Fund was created to foster small business development in Central Baltimore, and is expected to be up and running this year. When finalized, the Fund will offer businesses without the financial capacity to qualify for a traditional commercial loan to support upgrades and tenant build-out plans.

According to CBP, the organization is often approached for financial assistance to help their businesses locate in, expand and/or make interior improvements. On many occasions the extent of deterioration of commercial property is a barrier, or the conditions in a lease make tenant build-out plans prohibitively expensive.

Smaller businesses often cannot obtain a conventional loan to undertake the needed improvements to support improvement or expansion plans. CBP received feedback from property owners that prospective tenants rarely have the finances or expertise to build-out a commercial space— and the property owners do not have the capital to perform the work, nor can they charge a rent that would compensate them over time for their investment.

According to CBP, this creates a vicious cycle of perpetuating the lack of meaningful investment in their commercial districts. In the Fall of 2018, CBP commenced a work group that included their partners from the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation, Baltimore Community Lending, Jubilee Baltimore, Latino Economic Development Corporation, and The Reinvestment Fund to help identify a financial assistance product that would foster small-scale commercial development in their commercial districts.

After many conversations with business owners, developers, community members, and stakeholders, the group recommended creating a business program that was modeled after the Southeast Community Development Corporation’s Tenant Fit Out Grant Program and the Great Street Initiative’s Retail Small Business Grant & Neighborhood Prosperity Fund in Washington D.C. Thus, The Neil Muldrow Business Development Fund was born.

“Neil was great at identifying barriers for minority-owned businesses, and coming up with strategies to overcome those barriers,” said Janes. “That’s what the Neil Muldrow Business Development Fund is all about. It is not easy to start up a business, and it is very difficult to thrive in an area that has been neglected. Mr. Muldrow understood that.”

Muldrow retired from the Development Credit Fund in 2005, after serving for 22 years. During its existence, the Fund lent nearly $40 million for working capital, equipment and machinery.

In addition to Central Baltimore Partnership, Muldrow served on numerous other boards, which included Bon Secour’s Hospital, and Walters Art Gallery.

“We want to keep Central Baltimore affordable, attractive, and a place where everyone can thrive,” said Janes. “Our mission is unique. We have a great model for other communities. They can learn from what we have done, and are trying to do. We are hopeful that The Neil Muldrow Business Development Fund will also follow this model and be something other communities can replicate.”

For more information about the Fund, email Jack Danna, Director of Commercial Revitalization at jdanna@centralbaltimore.org or call 410-702-5193.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day 2019 in Annapolis

— Visit Annapolis and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the holiday weekend of January 19-21, 2019.

Maryland’s beautiful seaside capital has a history that prominently features African Americans. The city’s records from the 19th century state “they comprised one-third of the population in Annapolis.”

King became the inspirational leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement after delivering his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

Awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for advancing civil rights through nonviolent civil disobedience, King tragically lost his life four years later.

You and your family can spend Saturday and Sunday visiting the Banneker-Douglas Museum and Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial, along with the other usual Annapolis landmarks like the Naval Academy.

On Monday, get ready to be entertained during the 5th Annual MLK Day Dream to Reality Parade, which is hosted by the City of Annapolis and the MLK Parade Committee.

The parade starts at 12 noon on Monday, January 21, 2019— beginning on Amos Garrett Boulevard and continuing down West Street and Main Street, the parade will be a celebration of Dr. King’s life and equality for all Americans.

Ten Local Civil And Human Rights Activists Honored At 31st Annual MLK Jr. Awards Dinner

— The 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Reception and Dinner, the largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel County will be held Friday, January 18, 2019 at 6 p.m. at La Fountaine Bleue in Glen Burnie.

A highlight of the program will be the world premiere of the documentary film, “The Dream Revisited, Civil Rights in Perspective,” directed by award-winning filmmakers and partners in Imagyn, Inc., Charles and May Love based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The documentary pays tribute to Dr. King and discusses the struggle for civil rights that still exists to this day.

“I watched this beautiful film and was deeply moved by it,” said Dr. William Ferris, former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. “It is a powerful, timely reminder of how race continues to define our lives.”

Addressing guests at the dinner and reception will be Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman; Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley; Congressman Anthony Brown; and Steven McAdams on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan. Other speakers will include St. John’s College President Panayotis Kanelos and Captain Robert Dews of the United States Naval Academy. The Naval Academy Gospel Choir will also perform.

Designed to pay homage to the memory of Dr. King, the annual dinner honors local civil and human rights activists whose deeds, words and actions have helped keep his legacy alive. Proceeds from the event will be used to underwrite the annual Fannie Lou Hamer Reception and the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner to ensure their continued existence in the future, honoring Dr. King.

Midshipman First Class Aaron J. Lewis, Drum Major Award

Midshipman First Class Aaron J. Lewis, Drum Major Award

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Dream Keepers Award

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Dream Keepers Award

M. Eve Hurwitz, Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award

M. Eve Hurwitz, Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award

Congressman John Sarbanes, Dream Keepers Award

Congressman John Sarbanes, Dream Keepers Award

George Craig “Lassie” Belt, Peace Maker Award

George Craig “Lassie” Belt, Peace Maker Award

Alderman Marc Rodriguez, Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award

Alderman Marc Rodriguez, Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award

Najiba Hlemi, We Share the Dream Award

Najiba Hlemi, We Share the Dream Award

Patricia Cole, Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award

Patricia Cole, Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award

Vivian Gist Spenser, Drum Major Award

Vivian Gist Spenser, Drum Major Award

Wandra Ashley-Williams, Courageous Leadership Award

Wandra Ashley-Williams, Courageous Leadership Award

Remembering Ackneil M. Muldrow, II

It was the 1960s, and a Virginia State College student by the name of Harold Young was being recruited by a dapper, business-savvy, young professional who worked for Commercial Credit Company by the name of Ackneil M. Muldrow, II. At the time, Young was 22, and Muldrow, who was manager of the company’s Equal Opportunity Programs, was 28. Young vividly recalled how impressed he was with his future longtime friend he refers to as “Neal.”

“Neal was an up and coming African American professional who attracted me to the company because of his personal approach and interests in things I could really relate to at the time,” said Young. “I was just blown away by his presentation, and as it turned out, it was an internship that rolled into permanent employment.”

Young added, “Neal recruited many young men and women from all across the country – mostly from the South. He helped to groom so many of us in that regard. Many of those he recruited did not have financial resources. He would put mattresses on his car, and household goods in his car, and literally move the person into their place of residence. He had a big heart and would go to any length to make one successful.”

Muldrow, who was 80, died of heart failure Oct. 25, 2018 at Sinai Hospital. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at the March Life Tribute Center located at 5616 Old Court Rd, in Windsor Mill, MD. The Family Hour will begin at 9 a.m., with a Memorial Service to follow at 11 a.m.

Young, who had known Muldrow for 52 years, described his longtime friend as “a tireless advocate for uplifting and empowering African Americans.” This sentiment resonated throughout Baltimore’s business and political communities.

“Mr. Muldrow and I were longtime friends and business associates,” said Stanley W. Tucker, president and CEO of Meridian Management Group, a company which manages funds that provide financing to minority and women-owned businesses in Maryland and around the country. “He and I worked closely together for a number of years sharing our passion for making capital accessible for minority businesses. We both realized that capitalism without capital does not work in America.”

Tucker added, “It was a tremendous pleasure to work with Neal. He was passionate about his commitment to growth and development for black businesses, which continues to be a major impediment in this state and around the country. We will surely miss Neal, his creativity, commitment, and love for growth and development. We will continue to see if there are any more Ackneil Muldrows out there. But he really can’t be replaced.”

At the time of his passing, Muldrow was employed with The Baltimore Times.

“Mr. Muldrow was more than incredible,” said Stacey Brown, a staff writer for the publication. “A real throwback who, in my short time knowing him, still reminded me how business should always be conducted: head held high, be firm, be honest and always maintain your dignity. He had great contacts and was a great resource for a number of articles I have written for The Baltimore Times. I only wish I knew him longer simply to tap into his great knowledge and because he was a good man.”

Muldrow’s long and storied business career included serving as the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Development Credit Fund, Inc. Muldrow served as chief administrator of a $7.5 million loan pool formulated to provide low cost financial assistance to minority-owned businesses operating in the State of Maryland.

Muldrow retired from the Development Credit Fund in 2005, after serving for 22 years. During its existence, the f und lent nearly $40 million for working capital, equipment and machinery. Among its many other attributes for helping minority businesses, the Fund managed a $4.0 million Empowerment Zone revolving loan fund for the federally funded Empower Baltimore Management Corporation, the Baltimore City recipient of a $100 million U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development grant. During its existence, the Fund employed over $39 million in loans through the Fund.

Former Baltimore City Housing Commissioner Daniel Henson worked with Muldrow at the Development Credit Fund, where Henson served as Chairman of the Board. The two met through the Baltimore Marketing Association, an organization Muldrow led as President and CEO from 2003 until 2005.

“He was a Southern gentleman,” Henson said of the Winston-Salem, N.C. native. “He had a Southern gentleman approach to everything . Even if he was mad, you wouldn’t know because he would be smiling. Even though he had been in Baltimore most of his life, the North Carolina in him never left.”

Henson is President of Henson Development Company, which develops distressed communities. He reflected on Muldrow’s willingness to share information he felt would help others.

“I pulled up a bunch of personal emails his emails he sent to me,” said Henson. “He loved to talk about and celebrate an entrepreneur who had gone on to greater things. These were people who he had helped, and he enjoyed talking about what they were doing now. He was proud of how they had taken off. He left a tremendous amount off successful businesspersons to celebrate his legacy.”

Muldrow had served or was serving on numerous boards.

“Mr. Muldrow was our board chair and Bon Secours’ biggest advocate and marketer,” said Dr. Samuel Ross, Chief Executive Officer of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System. “He was a tireless champion for our mission and he was a tireless advocate for this community. He held us all accountable for addressing Women and Minority Business Enterprise initiatives and health inequities. He was a gentleman, a scholar, and an inspirational role model for servant leadership. He made a difference and will be missed.”

Muldrow was not afraid to take a stand against injustice. In 1960, he was one of the first persons to participate in the Civil Rights sit-ins at Woolworth.

“I first knew Neil when he served as President of the Development Credit Fund,” said Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker Pro Tem of the Maryland House of Delegates. “I found him to be extremely business savvy and both professional and personable . He had a great sense of humor and was willing to do the mundane to the magnificent in assisting others. He will be truly missed by all who knew him.

Muldrow was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The prominent businessman was a 1960 graduate of North Carolina A&T.

“He was a dear friend,” said Ellen Janes, executive director of Central Baltimore Partnership. “He would send me things and introduce me to people. He always had an idea as to whom I could team up with. I loved that generosity and support. He was always of such good cheer. When the economy was good and when it was not so good, he stayed steadfast in his belief that businesses could thrive.”

The pioneering businessman also held board of trustee positions with the Walters Art Gallery, Arena Players, Inc., and the Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture.

“My relationship with Neal dates back to Commercial Credit as a CPA, referring a number of clients to his organization for borrowing purposes,” said Arnold Williams of Abrams, Foster, Nole & Williams, P.A, a minority-owned certified public accounting firm. “The clients wanted to borrow money, but he wasn’t an ordinary lender or banker. You could not borrow from them without getting a story, advice, and protection. They were not just lenders, they were also advisors. They took their clients under their wings.”

He added, “Neal was not shy about promoting minority businesses and diversity. He was a true advocate of minority business enterprises and getting them involved in the main sector. He was a leader that would not let his voice be void when it came to introducing diversity into mainstream organizations. His leadership helped develop future executives because of his wise counsel and engagement.”

Joy Bramble, publisher of The Baltimore Times said, “Mr Muldrow was one of the most connected people in Baltimore. It was a challenge to walk down the street with him or attend a gathering without being interrupted by people running up to him—some just to greet, others asking for advice, and some to remind and thank him for favors he had done for them. Always gracious, he would respond kindly even if he didn’t remember why he was being thanked. He was dedicated to helping entrepreneurs. He was the booming and constant voice advocating for minority businesses. Our office will not be the same without his presence. He was a treasure to us at The Baltimore Times.“

Muldrow is survived by his wife of 44 years, Ruth; two children, three grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.

Left-right: Denise McCray Scott, daughter; Ackneil M. Muldrow, II; Ruth Muldrow, wife: and grandson, Charles “Chaz” Scott.

Left-right: Denise McCray Scott, daughter; Ackneil M. Muldrow, II; Ruth Muldrow, wife: and grandson, Charles “Chaz” Scott.

Mr. Muldrow was the recipient of the Henry G. Parks, Jr Business Award by the Baltimore Marketing Association December 7, 2000. He is shown here with son, Ackneil M. Muldrow, III (“Trey”)

Mr. Muldrow was the recipient of the Henry G. Parks, Jr Business Award by the Baltimore Marketing Association December 7, 2000. He is shown here with son, Ackneil M. Muldrow, III (“Trey”)

Opening of the Charles Street office of Development Credit Fund (Front row, left to right): Daniel P. Henson, III: Diane Bell-McKoy; former Baltimore mayor, Kurt L. Schmoke; Ackneil M. Muldrow, II; Harold D. Young; and grandson, Charles “Chaz” Scott

Opening of the Charles Street office of Development Credit Fund (Front row, left to right): Daniel P. Henson, III: Diane Bell-McKoy; former Baltimore mayor, Kurt L. Schmoke; Ackneil M. Muldrow, II; Harold D. Young; and grandson, Charles “Chaz” Scott

While a student at A&T State University, Muldrow participated in one of the first student lunch counter sit-ins at a Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest segregation.

While a student at A&T State University, Muldrow participated in one of the first student lunch counter sit-ins at a Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest segregation.

(L-r): Ackneil M. Muldrow, III (“Trey”), Ackneil M. Muldrow and Ackneil M. Muldrow, II.

(L-r): Ackneil M. Muldrow, III (“Trey”), Ackneil M. Muldrow and Ackneil M. Muldrow, II.

Ackneil M. Muldrow, II Passes Away at 80

Prominent businessman and former president of the Development Credit Fund

The Baltimore Times is saddened to announce the passing of Ackneil M. Muldrow, II. A Memorial Service for Muldrow, who was 80, will be held on Friday, November 9, 2018 at the March Life Tribute Center located at 5616 Old Court Rd, in Windsor Mill, MD. The Family Hour will begin at 9 a.m., with a Memorial Service to follow at 11 a.m.

At the time of his passing, Muldrow was employed with The Baltimore Times. His long and storied business career included serving as the president of the Development Credit Fund, Inc. Muldrow served as chief administrator of a $7.5 million loan pool formulated to provide low cost financial assistance to minority-owned businesses operating in the State of Maryland.

Muldrow had served or was serving on numerous boards, which included the University of Maryland Medical System, the James Lawrence Kernan Hospital, the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, the Baltimore Marketing Association, and the University of Maryland Chancellor’s Advisory Board.

Muldrow was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The prominent businessman was a 1960 graduate of North Carolina A &T.

“In 1960, Mr. Muldrow was one of the first persons to participate in the Civil Rights sit-ins at Woolworth,” said longtime friend Harold D. Young, Esquire. “At the time, he was in his senior year at North Carolina A&T. His legacy growing out of that was his mentorship. He was beyond measure and had a lot of connections. Through his board affiliations— and he had hundreds of them, he was a relationship manager.”

Young added, “He could hook anyone up with opportunity. His bread and butter was helping youth.”

The pioneering businessman also held board of trustee positions with the Walters Art Gallery, Arena Players, Inc., and the Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture.

“Mr. Muldrow was an excellent manager,” said Ken Oliver, who worked for Muldrow at the Development Credit Fund. “He was a very good guy. His legacy is putting African Americans in business and watching their businesses grow.”

Muldrow is survived by his wife Ruth, two children and a host of other relatives and friends.

Ackneil “Neil” Muldrow II Passes, Aged 80

— Mr. Ackneil “Neil” Muldrow II, a Baltimore Times consultant and contributor, has unfortunately passed away on Thursday, October 25th, 2018.

A man who reached many hearts beyond the borders of Baltimore with his newsletter platform, “Neil’s Nation”, Mr. Muldrow, was always caring, jovial, and determined to see those who were like him succeed. He spent years devoted to the advancement of small businesses and local initiatives in an effort to build up his people, and the city he called home. Mr. Muldrow knew everybody, and everybody knew him as kind, knowledgable, wise and incredibly able into his old age.

A relic of what it meant to grow up African-American in the United States during the civil rights era, a man who took it upon himself, personally, to fight for the rights of each and every person of color in our nation today.

Here at the Baltimore Times, where he spent some of his final days making us laugh, teaching us, and doing anything he could to further advance those around him, we can confidently say, the world has lost a treasure of a human being, and he will be sorely missed by all of us here, for a very long time.

In Memoriam, Mr. Ackneil “Neil” Muldrow, II.

Baltimore Sailor Returns Home After Middle East Deployment

— A 2014 Mergenthalar Vocational Technical High School graduate and Baltimore native, is one of 1,200 sailors who recently returned to Naval Station Mayport after a six-month deployment aboard USS Iwo Jima.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarrell Gladden is a Navy cryptologic technician (technical) class aboard the Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship, who recently deployed to the Middle East and Mediterranean areas of operation. For more than half of the sailors aboard Iwo Jima, the six-month journey served as their first deployment, according to Navy officials.

Cryptologic technicians (technical) operate and maintain electronic sensors and computer systems to collect, analyze, exploit and disseminate electronic intelligence to leadership. They also provide technical and tactical guidance to warfare commanders and national consumers in support of surface, subsurface, air, and special warfare operations.

“The best part about my job and being on deployment is the trust and responsibility factor on the ship so all are safe,” said Gladden, who credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Baltimore. “The one thing I learned, is to let nothing hold you back from your goals.”

Iwo Jima made port calls in Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus; Aqaba, Jordan; and Malaga, Spain. The visits helped grow the strong alliance between the U.S. and its partner nations as well as providing an opportunity for the crew to experience cultures from around the world, according to Navy officials.

Deployed since February 7 as part of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), the ship participated in exercises Juniper Cobra and Eager Lion. It also hosted a 10-day embarkation of Egyptian naval officers to discuss concepts of amphibious naval operations and strengthen partner nation capabilities.

“This deployment was the most high-tempo one I’ve experienced in my 25-year naval career,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, Iwo Jima’s commanding officer. “The entire Navy and Marine Corps team performed extraordinarily well in an incredibly dynamic environment throughout deployment. The sailors and Marines working on equipment, launching aircraft on the flight deck, conducting amphibious operations, navigating the ship and standing watch down in the plant were all at the absolute top of their game. This is an amazing group of sailors and Marines, and I am honored to serve with them.”

Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Gladden is most proud of completing the deployment without any mishaps.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Gladden and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means being that one percent in the nation that are in the military, and in a moment’s notice being called to defend our country,” Gladden said.

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, dead at age 80

CNN

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, dead at age 80

18 AUG 18 13:40 ET

By Laura Smith-Spark and Richard Roth, CNN

    (CNN) — Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, and was the first to rise from within the ranks of the United Nations staff.

He had also been a member, since 2007, of The Elders, a humanitarian group of a dozen leaders and activists of worldwide stature formed by Nelson Mandela. In 2013, Annan became its chairman.

The Kofi Annan Foundation confirmed his death with “immense sadness” in a statement posted on Twitter.

Annan passed away peacefully Saturday morning after a short illness, with his wife Nane and their three children by his side during his final days, the statement said.

The foundation paid tribute to Annan as a “global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer, more peaceful world.”

“During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations, he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.”

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the United Nations in 2001 “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”

Despite his many achievements, Annan’s record was not unblemished. He was head of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations in 1994, when some 800,000 people were killed in the Rwanda genocide, and in 1995 when thousands of Muslim men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica.

Annan would later say that he should have done more to prevent what unfolded in Rwanda, and that events there and in Srebrenica had reshaped his global thinking.

Tributes pour in

As news of Annan’s death has spread, many are paying tribute to a man who became a global figure as head of the United Nations but was also known by those close to him for his warmth, style and charm.

Current UN Secretary-General António Guterres told CNN that Annan had been “an enormous source of inspiration” to him, adding that the late leader had been committed to his principles and values even if he had to pay a heavy price for them.

“He was not only a statesman, he was not only a leader, he was a warm person who would support his friends in difficult moments. He was a true colleague and a true friend,” he said.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Annan “worked tirelessly to unite us and never stopped fighting for the dignity of every person.”

“Kofi Annan devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful place through his compassion and dedication to service,” she added.

The UN Migration Agency tweeted: “Today we mourn the loss of a great man, a leader, and a visionary.”

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was “grief-stricken” over Annan’s death. “Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace,” he said. “In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful.”

A statement from The Elders said its members were “shocked and deeply saddened” by his death. “Kofi was a strong and inspiring presence to us all, and The Elders would not be where it is today without his leadership,” said deputy chairman Gro Harlem Brundtland, adding that the group was resolved to continue to uphold Annan’s values and legacy.

NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that the world had lost one of its giants. “His warmth should never be mistaken for weakness,” he said. “Annan showed that one can be a great humanitarian and a strong leader at the same time.”

Carl Bildt, co-chairman of the European council on Foreign Relations and former Swedish Prime Minister, described Annan as “a man of courage, wisdom and friendship” and urged people to read his 2001 Nobel Peace Prize lecture.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo extended condolences on behalf of the entire nation and said the Ghanaian flag would fly at half staff across the country for a week, starting Monday. As the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to become UN Secretary-General, Annan “brought considerable renown to our country,” he said.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said he had met with Annan only a few days ago. “A rare breed of diplomat; soft spoken but unshakably firm. He had great love for world peace & democracy,” he wrote on Twitter. “Go well son of Africa, Champion of the world!”

Former Kenyan Prime Minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga paid tribute to Annan’s “tireless work in stabilizing the world and encouraging Africa to aspire to higher ideals of democracy, respect for human rights and sound governance.”

Annan was remembered in Kenya as the man who “saved the country from collapse following the 2007-2008 post-election violence,” Odinga said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Annan’s efforts to build the United Nations’ peacekeeping potential in a telegram to Guterres, cited by Russian state news agency TASS. “I was lucky to personally interact with Kofi Annan. I have been in genuine awe of his wisdom and courage, of his ability to make informed decisions even in the most difficult, critical situations,” Putin said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he was extremely saddened by the loss of an “unwavering champion for peace, justice and rule of law” and a “dear old friend.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the world had lost “not only a great African diplomat and humanitarian but also a conscience keeper of international peace and security.”

The director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, praised Annan as a “great leader.”

Former US President Jimmy Carter, also a member of The Elders, said Annan “was a cherished personal friend and an inspiration to all who knew him.”

What shaped his global thinking?

Annan was descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family. After studying in Ghana and at Macalester College in St. Paul, in the US state of Minnesota, he joined the United Nations in 1962 as a low-ranking officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva.

He thought he would stay only a few years but ended up spending almost his entire working life with the organization.

While leading the UN’s peacekeeping operations, Annan was involved in decisions that were potentially career-ending but which he managed to survive.

In 1994, the UN Security Council and others including Annan were accused by the UN field commander in Rwanda of ignoring his warnings, which resulted in the world’s reluctance to send troops in and the estimated 800,000 deaths.

Speaking in 2004, Annan said: “I believed at the that time that I was doing my best, but I realized after the genocide that there was more that I could have and should have done.”

The next year, another moment came with the thousands of Muslims who were massacred in Srebrenica as Bosnian Serbs overran a UN “safe zone.”

The Secretary-General at the time, Boutros Boutros Ghali, took the heat for UN failings in two of the darkest episodes of its history. Subsequent UN reports about the body’s handling of the massacres were critical of Annan’s leadership.

Champion of human rights

On taking the helm as Secretary-General in 1997, Annan became a high-profile figure who championed human rights and urged the United Nations to protect civilians if their own governments turned on them.

His first term was highly-rated but his second term, which coincided with the US invasion of Iraq, was not as smooth.

Annan would later call the assault illegal. “I think the worst moment of course was the Iraq war, which as an organization we couldn’t stop — and I really did everything I can to try to see if we can stop it,” he said, speaking in 2006.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Annan a “truly great” Secretary-General.

“It was an honor to work with him in his efforts to reform the UN, strengthen global health and peacekeeping, and reduce poverty. He made the fight against AIDS and the responsibility to protect civilians in conflict zones true priorities for the UN,” they said in a statement.

“After he left office, he continued his leadership on poverty, environmental, and peace issues through his foundation.” they wrote. “In every phase of his life, he held fast to his Ghanaian roots and set a powerful example of determined leadership while always treating others with respect and dignity.”

Former US President George W. Bush, whose pursuit of the Iraq war often set him on a collision course with Annan, paid tribute to him as “a gentle man and a tireless leader of the United Nations. His voice of experience will be missed around the world.”

Former US President Barack Obama said Annan “embodied the mission of the United Nations.”

“His integrity, persistence, optimism, and sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations,” Obama said.

In February 2012, the United Nations appointed Annan the UN and Arab League joint special envoy to Syria. Only six months later, he quit, citing increasing militarization in Syria and “the clear lack of unity” at the UN Security Council.

In a statement released by the United Nations, Guterres described Annan as both a personal mentor and an inspiration to all.

“He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world. In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.”

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A Small Gift Can Leave A Lasting Legacy When You Invest In HBCUs

Earlier this year, a man named Jack Weldon Patrick passed away in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. A long-time lawyer, Patrick was remembered as a family man, an advocate for social justice, and a respected community leader.

One day a check arrived by mail for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) in memory of Jack Weldon Patrick. A few days later, another one arrived, and a few weeks later, another check. Individual donations kept coming to support the work of TMCF and our publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in honor of Jack. His obituary read, “in lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial donations in Jack’s name to causes he cared deeply about.” One of those causes was TMCF.

So many of us outside of TMCF headquarters and Menomonee may have never known Jack as a stalwart of access and opportunity for students attending black colleges. Many of us aren’t even aware that Jack was part of the reason why in 2016, private giving and contracts earned by HBCUs increased for a second straight year, posting a four-year high of $320 million. But we do know he was a living embodiment of the famous quote by Nelson Henderson: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

While philanthropic anonymity is honorable, philanthropic leadership helps organizations like TMCF reach new supporters, encouraging new donor circles to give. Showcasing the faces and stories of those who give is an important tool in cultivating similar donors, encouraging a culture of giving around our campuses. This is a critical strategy that grows an organization’s base of support every year. For non-profit organizations, individual giving is the largest type of charitable gift– four times the amount as the next largest category in 2015, according to Giving USA.

Organizations like TMCF thrive due to the generosity of individuals who believe in our work and want to expand our impact, through monthly and annual donations, as well as the legacy gift.

TMCF combines these individuals’ gifts with foundation grants and partnerships with major corporations and government agencies to provide the funds that allow us to transform lives. It takes a philanthropic village to develop young minds, and we are humbled to be good stewards of the resources that our donors and partners entrust to us.

TMCF, its 47 member-schools and the nearly 300,000 students attending them each year, want to play a role in redefining HBCU philanthropy and support. The data on finances and the number of degrees we produce in areas like STEM, education, social sciences and criminal justice already show just how productive HBCUs continue to be in graduating black students. Seventy percent of our publicly-supported HBCUs attendees are first generation college students (like I was) and eligible for Pell Grants. In comparison, the national average is only 37 percent for all public schools. By providing this quality education, students transform their lives and prepare to enter economically sustainable careers. Now TMCF wants to illustrate that same culture within our giving networks.

Anyone believing in the power of education to transform lives should invest in HBCUs. This includes alumni who want to have a tangible way to support their schools. All people in our networks at work, at church, in our communities, fraternities and sororities, and other circles of activity are worthy of soliciting for support. Age, earnings and personality are not elements for disqualifying those who might be willing to give, or those who have the capacity to do so.

TMCF member-schools like North Carolina Central University are experiencing record gains in gifts secured from younger donors. Texas Southern University recently raised more than $1M at its annual Maroon and Gray gala, an event which just in its second year which has cultivated new supporters for the university and has raised nearly $2M for student scholarships and institutional support.

So today, we honor one man—Jack Weldon Patrick—and his commitment to HBCUs, and we thank his friends and family for their continued investment in the work of TMCF. We hope his example encourages others to consider impacting people’s lives by supporting our nation’s HBCUs.

Harry L. Williams is the president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. Before joining TMCF, he spent eight years as president of Delaware State University. Follow him on Twitter at @DrHLWilliams.

The Angel Brown Affect

The infectious laugh, captivating smile, and endearing compassionate spirit of Angel Brown make the 5’2 real estate mogul a surprise to all who meet her and hear her story. Typically, people who have achieved her level of success make little time for heartfelt hugs, tears, prayers, wise counsel, and victory dances but these expressions are the distinct hallmark of an encounter with Angel Brown, also known as the Angel Brown Affect.

Raised on the harsh west side streets of Baltimore Maryland, Angel overcame many of the unendurable obstacles that plague our inner cities. Despite the many challenges she faced early in life, Angel Brown has triumphantly amassed an empire that is impressive by any standards: owning more than 40 properties throughout Baltimore city, renovating an average of 100 properties annually, as well as managing her company Blue Angel Construction. Angel is on a divine mission to build a Better Baltimore “brick by brick, block by block”.

Register for the next event now!

Learn more about Angel’s work in the city at www.theangelbrownaffect.com.

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The Angel Brown Affect