The U.S. Dream Academy, a national after-school program that seeks to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration, will hold its annual fundraising gala on Tuesday, June 6 with a lineup of special guests that includes celebrity co-hosts Larenz Tate and Michelle Williams and the academy’s founder, Grammy-nominated gospel singer Wintley Phipps.
The 16th annual “Power of A Dream” gala with the theme “Igniting Dreams” will take place at the Washington Renaissance Hotel in Northwest under the direction of co-chairs Candace Matthews, region president, The Americas at Amway and Muriel Garr, vice president, Sun Trust Bank.
Special musical performances will feature Phipps, the Takoma Academy Chorale and the DreamKids from Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.
Since its founding in 1998, the mission of the Dream Academy has remained empowering children at risk of future incarceration to maximize their potential by providing them with academic, social and values enrichment through supportive mentoring and the use of technology. With locations in seven U.S. cities, Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., the program challenges over 700 youth each day, equipping them with the tools they need to make their dreams a reality with the core values of faith, freedom, inspiration and integrity.
This years’ honorees have shared their gifts to improve the lives of youth in their respective communities, also establishing themselves as advocates of science, education and philanthropy.
The 2017 U.S. Dream Academy Award recipients include the following: France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) who will receive the President’s Award for her work advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education; Dr. David R. Williams, Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University who will receive the Legacy Award for his innovative work in public health and sociology; and Wanda “Mama” Durant, mother of NBA superstar Kevin Durant who will receive the President’s Award for her national philanthropic community work with families and non-profit organizations.
Sponsors for the gala include: Amway, Southwest Airlines, MarkerMan, Britt Worldwide, IBOAI, QTS, Protiviti, Matthew Family Trust and Lois and Leroy Peters. Since 2001, the annual gala has raised more than $17 million to assist with the provision of high-quality after-school programs specifically tailored for children living in high-risk communities.