The “100 Men Who Cook” black tie gala was established in 1984 by the regional director of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Vivian Kerr. The yearly signature event coincided with UNCF’s annual telethon to raise funds for scholarships for students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU’s). The highly recognized slogan from the early 1990’s, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” still resonates with the organizers today.
In 2004, after community encouragement to resurrect the highly successful fundraising celebration, Charles “Chuck” Moss, organized a committee to host the event. For several years, the affair was held under the umbrella of a local non-profit.
In 2012, the request was once again made to bring back this dynamic fundraiser. Chuck sought the support from colleagues he had worked with on other projects. He called on Norma Paige, who just happened to be the sister of Vivian Kerr, founder of the original 100 Men Who Cook. Consequently, they were granted permission to use the name, “100 Men Who Cook,” and moved forward recruiting members for the team.
Since its inception, the 100 Men Who Cook has been a premier black-tie gala, managed and staffed only by volunteers; many, whom have been with the gala since the mid 1980’s.
The 100 Men Who Cook has a solid reputation of being an elegant affair. The fact that this fundraiser is enjoyed by all attendees is just one reason for always presenting a “sold-out” event. Financial support is from ticket sales, sponsorships, table sales, souvenir program advertisement, and a silent auction/casino.
In 2013, the newly formed 100 Men Who Cook, Inc. established as a Colorado non-profit organization with the following mission: The 100 Men Who Cook, Inc. is dedicated to supporting Denver’s youth by helping grassroots community nonprofit organizations that have a proven track record of making a positive and significant impact on youth in the community by raising operating capital to sustain their goals and objectives.
Your donations will benefit three worthy grassroots organizations that have been selected based on the following criteria: Organizations with a mission that focuses on the education, support, and development of youth and their families.
- Based in the state of Colorado
- Minimum of 3 years proven operation
- Provide four (4) letters of recommendation for financial support
- Provide brief description of how financial support will impact the goals of the organization
Our primary beneficiaries this year are Athletics and Beyond, Music Leadership Institute and Vision Performing Arts Company. We support the activities of various community organizations that align with our mission throughout the year.
Donor support provides The 100 Men Who Cook Black Tie Fundraiser much needed resources to several local community organizations.
Our 2020 Beneficiaries
VISIONS PERFORMING ARTS COLLEGE PREP: Operates under the following mission: to prepare, thru rigorous curricula, African and Latinx student performers are prepared to complete, continue and compete in a college degree and the performing arts industry.
Visions Performing Arts College Prep (VPAC) strives to preserve, maintain and support the tradition of African and Latinx performing arts through education. VPAC is a school to ensure the next generation is honored and proud of their heritage in the performing arts. VPAC will equip students to execute equity throughout and accessible college experience for a successful career in the arts. In addition to their rigorous educational model they will host performances, establish mentorships, events and outreach to close education gaps in underserved communities.
VPAC hosts a youth talent showcase that is held quarterly with a $500 prize. This ensures that youth have a stage to showcase themselves and be celebrated and supported by community. This helps them achieve one of the goals of their organization to provide a safe place for the youth to show up and display their talents.
Athletics & Beyond assists inner city youth to become successful student athletes through the vehicle of sports. Their students compete in the best local and national tournaments/leagues gaining them exposure to all levels of collegiate athletic programs. Their students learn and understand the principles of being a dedicated student, productive citizen in the community and a hard-working athlete.
A&B prepares students for careers after athletics. Their staff inspires their students to be engaged in their communities. Students are offered tutoring, mentoring, life skills training, college prep and career exploration. They are able to shadow a number of professionals including coaches, educators and athletic trainers.
MLI (formerly known as Jazz C.A.F.E.) is operating under a new name but with the same commitment and foundation. Cultivating a Future of Excellence was and continues to be our guiding principle. The 2017-2018 season featured a keyboarding lab coupled with project-based leadership development. Expanding the program to meet the needs of the beginning musicians interested in this program by introducing them to music theory and keyboarding caught them where they were and helped them to develop a foundation for continued music development.
The leadership development program challenged students to work collaboratively in leadership challenges. The lessons were grounded in growth mindset concepts that built on the strengths of the individuals but capitalized on their collective strengths to accomplish a variety of leadership development challenges. Incorporated was a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts as the root of the lessons and projects. Leadership Development Director, Ms. Tracey Grant, introduced activities that focused on science and engineering concepts and then guided students to unpack the leadership lessons inherent in the challenges. Students rose to the occasion.