For many years now, The Black United Fund of Illinois, led by Henry English, president and CEO and Robert Starks, Chairman of the Board, has lived up to its mission to be a social movement designed to improve the quality of life for African Americans through reliance on self-help at the local community level. They know how to create systems, opportunities and secure resources to help the community.
The organization celebrated 28 years of service this past weekend as it honored five extraordinary Chicagoans at its 13th Annual Living Legends/Passing the Torch Awards Benefit. The celebration took place at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 East 56th Place. The evening’s activities included a reception, silent auction and entertainment.
BUFI’s purpose for existing is to provide philanthropic support to projects and programs that address their efforts to the critical needs of African American communities. For the past 13 years, the organization has recognized Living Legends who make a difference.
With the 2013 theme being The Year of the Ancestors, the organization honored posthumously Valeria and Cleophas Barnes for passing the torch to their daughter,Dr. Kyra Barnes, a dentist and member of the State of Illinois Board of Dentistry;Katherine and Elzie Higginbottom Sr. and their sons Elzie Higginbottom Jr., founder and CEO of East Lake Management & Development Corp., and Eric Higginbottom, entrepreneur; Eunice and John H. Johnson and their daughter,Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Johnson Publishing Co.; and Jewel Lafontant and her son, John W. Rogers Jr., chairman and CEO of Ariel Capital Investments.