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The Urban League of Greater Hartford (ULGH) will host its 57th Equal Opportunity Day Celebration (EOD) on Thursday evening, December 2, 2021. The organization’s annual signature fundraising event will be held virtually this year, starting at 6:00 p.m. with a pre-event show sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The live stream telecast will feature the presentation of awards to dynamic local leaders, entertainment and empowering messages, and is available to anyone by going to live stream.

The annual Equal Opportunity Day Celebration honors the dedicated work of the staff and volunteers at the Urban League of Greater Hartford, acknowledges the generous contributions of the region’s corporate and community partners, and showcases the priceless accomplishments of the agency’s Hartford-area program participants. The 2021 EOD Honorary Chair is Greg Toczydlowski, Executive Vice President and President of Business Insurance at Travelers, the event’s Title Sponsor. 

“Themed A Season of Hope: Reflect. Reset. Restore, the 2021 event will recognize changes over the past year – here in Connecticut and across the nation,“ explains David Hopkins, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Hartford, whose programs and operations impact more than 3,000 individuals and their families every year in the areas of youth development, adult education, workforce development, economic enrichment, community health, and social justice. “Coronavirus vaccines are increasing the number of members of our community who can safely participate in reopening activities,” adds Hopkins. “Increased legal and legislative attention is being given to police reform and alternative responses to crises. And, corporate social responsibility is investing more in communities of color and looking inwardly at racial equity practices.” Hopkin notes, “As an organization, we clearly recognize the significant work that still lies ahead, while embracing the progress and optimism that is aligned with the Urban League Movement.”

“Our Equal Opportunity Day gala serves as a platform for our Urban League affiliate to celebrate the accomplishments of local leaders who demonstrate a commitment to equal opportunity and exhibit empowerment and social justice,” says Urban League of Greater Hartford Chair Jonathan W. Roberts. “We are as excited as ever about this year’s award recipients.”

The 2021 awards will be presented to:

  • Business Excellence Award – Jim Loree, Chief Executive Officer of Stanley Black & Decker;
  • Community Champion Award – Tiffany Young, Executive Director of the Hartford Yard Goats Foundation;
  • Cultural Heritage Award – Cheryl Smith (Posthumously), Co-Founder and Associate Director of the Artists Collective;
  • Trailblazer Award – Shawn Wooden, Connecticut State Treasurer;
  • ULGH Young Professionals’ Stewardship Award – Curtis Rodriguez-Porter, Program Manager of Capitol Region Education Council’s (CREC) Open Choice Program; and
  • William “Bill” Brown* Community Leadership & Service Award – Patricia “Pat” Kelly, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ebony Horsewomen, Inc.

*Bill Brown was the first hired CEO of the local affiliate, serving from 1964 until his retirement in 1983.


ESPN anchor Jay Harris returns for his second year as host. Hiplet Ballerinas, seen on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, will perform, and Judith Jamison, the iconic Artistic Director Emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will provide the keynote conversation. Proceeds from sponsorship and advertising opportunities benefit the Urban League of Greater Hartford’s programs and operations.

 Attendance to the virtual event is free, thanks to the generous support of major sponsors that include Travelers (Title sponsor), Pratt & Whitney and Comcast (Lead Sponsors), Stanley Black & Decker, Bank of America, Otis, Eversource, Webster Bank, Hartford Steam Boiler, Salesforce, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Liberty Bank, Key Bank, Hartford HealthCare, Zachs Family Foundation, Root Center for Advanced Recovery, NJ & Associates, Barnes Group, Accenture, Connecticut Convergence Institute, State Farm, Hartford Yard Goats, Horizon, and DoorDash. 

For questions about event sponsorships and advertising opportunities, visit or contact Lois Stevenson, ULGH Resource Development Director, at 860-728-4290 or 

To make a donation, go online to or text “ULGH2021GIVE” to 44321.

The Urban League of Greater Hartford, Inc. (ULGH) is a community-based, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to reduce the economic disparities in Greater Hartford’s communities through programs and services in the areas of youth development, adult education, workforce development and training, economic enrichment, health equity, social justice, and racial equality. Established in 1964 as the National Urban League’s 66th affiliate, the ULGH works locally to promote that nationwide organization’s “All In” campaign to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic by helping to inform communities of color about the vaccines so they can make the best, most informed decision about receiving the vaccine. For information about the Urban League of Greater Hartford, visit or call 860-527-0147. Follow us on social media @ulgh64. 

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the Urban League collaborates at the national and local levels with community leaders, policymakers, and corporate partners to elevate the standards of living for African Americans and other historically underserved groups. For information, visit