- 104th Annual Conference in Cincinnati, OH Makes Positive Economic Impact on the City
- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Delivered Rousing Opening Address July 24 to a Captive Audience
- More than 13,000 Participants Gathered for Empowerment Activities Focused Around ‘Jobs Rebuild America’
- Participants included Actor/Humanitarian Forest Whitaker, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky Gov. , Steve Beshear, Ohio Senator Nina Turner, UNCF CEO Michael Lomax, many U.S. city Mayors
- Presenting sponsors were P&G, Toyota, and Western & Southern Financial Group
July 30, 2014 (New York, NY) – The National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization, concluded its 2014 Annual Conference with record success and more than 13,000 attendees. The conference – the largest empowerment conference for African-Americans – was themed “One Nation Underemployed: Bridges to Jobs and Justice” and was held from July 23-26 in Cincinnati, OH at the Duke Energy Convention Center. In light of the country’s record high unemployment and poverty rates, the conference was a multi-day demonstration of the Urban League’s tireless commitment to fighting unemployment, underemployment and inequity in education, among many other key topics, across the nation.
For four days, recognized national political figures, including US Vice President Joe Biden, Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared at the conference, a testament to the influence of the organization and its innovative leader, President and CEO, Marc H. Morial. Policymakers, acclaimed scholars, respected business and community leaders, and other influencers and change agents participated in the more than 30 conference offerings. The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, led by its President & CEO Donna Jones Baker, served as the local host for the 2014 Annual Conference, helping to ensure its success.
“The 2014 National Urban League Annual Conference participants and attendees were invigorated by the collaborative spirit of the gathering, where different viewpoints on the best solutions for urban communities were discussed, debated and streamlined into focused solutions that can immediately be acted upon to build bridges to jobs and justice,” said Morial. “The participation of all of our supporters – our affiliates, corporate partners and volunteers – enabled us to have a vibrant annual conference that empowered thousands of people to return to their communities to make a positive difference. We now look forward to our 2015 Annual Conference in the host city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which will afford us unique opportunities to again make an unprecedented impact.”
The excitement about the 2015 Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale has already begun, including an interactive presentation shared by the Urban League of Broward County affiliate, which is located in Fort Lauderdale, during the 2014 closing black-tie Gala celebration.
The 2014 National Urban League Annual Conference attracted attendees from around the country who benefitted from the many conference offerings, including panel discussions, workshops, keynote speeches and several other related activities and events. The sessions tackled critical issues of housing, civil and criminal justice, education and economic equity and many other topics that are critical to Americans who dwell in urban cities. In addition to the sessions, there were special gatherings including the ‘Small Business Matters’ Entrepreneurship Summit that attracted more than 300 entrepreneurs; a Youth Summit that celebrated its 25th anniversary, with 400 young people participating at Xavier University; and the Young Professionals Summit, which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the National Urban League Young Professionals. There was also a heavily trafficked Career Fair where job seekers could find employment information, support and resources, and numerous Fortune 500 companies were represented, offering opportunities and leads for attendees who were seeking employment or career advice. As the primary focus of this year’s conference continued to be on “Jobs Rebuild America” – the National Urban League’s largest economic rescue mission to date investing $100 million over 5 years in 50 communities to address the nation’s employment and education crisis – the Career Fair and many other workshops and sessions were rooted in the theme of “One Nation Underemployed” to highlight the critical issue of unemployment, along with the emerging issue of underemployment.
One of the top conference highlights was the ‘N.U.L. Experience Expo Hall & Career & Networking Fair,’ which featured product and service offerings from numerous companies, including title sponsors, P&G, Toyota and Western & Southern Financial Group. An empowerment main stage with entertainment, celebrity and motivational speakers, which drew large crowds, was also featured on the Expo Hall floor, with renowned psychologist, Dr. Robin Smith, the Food Network’s Pat Neely and Bravo’s Bevy Smith among the presenters. Celebrities from entertainment and sports were also on hand for fun and fitness, and as health awareness was a major theme of the conference, free health screenings were available in a specially designated ‘Health Zone’ area of the Expo Hall. The annual ‘PowerWalk with Marc’ was also held, allowing attendees the opportunity to go on a power walk with National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial on the final morning of the conference. The products and services provided, as well as entry into the N.U.L. Experience Expo Hall, were all free of charge to the Cincinnati public.
The National Urban League Annual Conference has become a sought-after destination for newsmakers each summer, and the diversity of speakers and topics covered ensured that traditional national and local media outlets were engaged throughout the conference via media coverage, participation and attendance at the conference sessions. The National Urban League 2014 Annual Conference also engaged attendees offline and online, with an impressive showing of almost 20 million overall social media impressions.
The Urban League movement also led a service project that was featured in the Expo Hall’s ‘Volunteer Zone,’ where hundreds of attendees participated in a volunteer project that was presented to the city of Cincinnati at the conclusion of the conference. The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati’s Avondale Afterschool League and The Carl B. Lindner YMCA were the recipients of the 2014 Volunteer Zone project gifts: 1000 school supply bags, healthy snacks kits, fun and learning activities kits and hygiene/toiletries kits.
Entertainment also played a key role in the week-long conference activities, including celebrities on the Expo Hall’s Empowerment Stage, a movie screening of the James Brown biopic “Get On Up”; and the Urban League Live White Party at the Macy’s Music Festival, featuring Charlie Wilson, Chaka Khan and Robin Thicke. The conference concluded with a black-tie gala, where Actor/Humanist Forest Whitaker was awarded the National Urban League’s 2014 Living Legend Award.
For a full recap of the 2014 National Urban League conference visit: conf2014.iamempowered.com
About the National Urban League The National Urban League (www.nul.org) is a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization dedicated to economic empowerment in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League has improved the lives of tens of millions of people nationwide through direct service programs that are implemented locally by its 94 Urban League affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The organization also conducts public policy research and advocacy activities from its D.C.-based Washington bureau. The National Urban League, a BBB-accredited organization, has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top 10 percent of all U.S. charities for adhering to good governance, fiscal responsibility and other best practices.