SOURCE: The Council of Urban Professionals

The Council of Urban Professionals

April 08, 2010 21:00 ET

Top New York-Based Nonprofit Raises Funds to Empower Minorities and Women, Support Low-Income Students of Color

Gala Fundraiser Honors NBA All-Star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Other Eminent Community Leaders for Their Devotion to Minority Professional Development and Advocacy

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - April 8, 2010) - The Council of Urban Professionals ("CUP"), a nonprofit that advances the social, political, and economic interests of minorities and women, hosted its 3rd Annual Leadership Gala fundraiser tonight. CUP raised critical funds to support its wide-ranging programs and recognized several distinguished individuals whose work aligns with the organization's mission.

Among the honorees was Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who received the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award for his work to advance minority businesses. Additional recipients included Eva Moskowitz, Joel Greenblatt, and John Petry of the Success Charter Network in Harlem for their leadership in educating low-income students of color; and Janice Savin Williams and Christopher J. Williams, who were presented with the New York City Vision Award for their outstanding contributions to the community's civic, cultural and educational institutions.

"This evening's gala was a true testament to the importance of CUP's work to represent and advocate for the interests of minorities and women," said Chloe Drew, Executive Director of CUP. "More than 400 civic and business leaders came together with tremendous energy and purpose to support that common goal. The funds raised will enable our organization to build on its accomplishments to help create a better tomorrow for all minorities and women."

Entertainment lawyer, author, and TV producer Crystal McCrary served as Mistress of Ceremonies at the gala at Espace in Manhattan. Official presenters included New York City Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott, Goldman Sachs Partner James P. Esposito and American Express CEO Kenneth I. Chenault.

"I am truly encouraged by the interest in CUP's mission exhibited by the attendance and energy at tonight's gala," said Tarrus Richardson, Founder and Board Chair of CUP. "CUP has grown tremendously since its inception, which wouldn't have been possible without the support of our members, board, distinguished guests and funders. Thanks to your support, we will continue our work to ensure that all minorities and women have access to opportunities that will enable them, and our society, to succeed."

Tonight's gala fundraiser occurred as CUP's momentum has reached a high point in terms of programming and results. CUP now leads more programs than ever, creating a lasting impact in New York's communities. The organization is currently helping low-income students of color break the cycle of poverty; developing promising young minorities and women into powerful civic leaders; diversifying public and private sector boards; and helping level the playing field for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Thanks to fundraising and outreach efforts last year, CUP built on its foundation of advocacy for public and private sector diversity with a number of the organization's founding members achieving notable posts. They include David Hinson, National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and John Rhea, the new Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority. On the networking front, CUP hosted their 2nd Annual Wall Street Partners dinner as well as two unique Minority and Women Business Enterprise task force forums with Governor David A. Paterson. The forums were the first of their kind, linking public agencies with minority and women-owned businesses.

CUP's focus in 2010 is to expand its programming by emphasizing four major objectives: creating more leadership development and training, advocating for diversity and parity in leadership, establishing more networking opportunities and access, and encouraging a culture of board service.

About the Council of Urban Professionals:

The Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization whose members are leading minority and women professionals in finance, law, business, real estate, media and entertainment. CUP's mission is to develop diverse business and civic leaders, empowering them to exert their influence, achieve their individual goals, and create collective impact. More information is available at

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