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Charlie Wilson to Headline Chicago Urban League’s 61st Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner on November 5

Fundraising gala will honor Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, alongside local leaders

The Chicago Urban League’s 61st annual Golden Fellowship Dinner (GFD) will be held on Saturday, November 5 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, 301 E. North Water Street. Today, via an exciting social media video, Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson announced award-winning R&B singer, songwriter and musician Charlie Wilson (also known as “Uncle Charlie”) as the headline performer.

“We are excited about welcoming a very, very special guest. It is our own uncle. Your uncle, my uncle, everybody’s uncle…Charlie Wilson! He is promising to give us a night to remember,” said Freeman-Wilson, who also noted some of the performer’s top hits,  including “Burn Rubber on Me,” from his days as lead vocalist of the Gap Band, and “There Goes My Baby,” from his solo career.

Tickets are now on sale. Individual tickets are $600, and sponsorship opportunities are available as well. New this year, the After Party will also be open to individuals who do not attend the full gala. After Party tickets are $150 each. All tickets can be purchased at

GFD is the League’s signature gala, which raises critically needed funds to support its work to help people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences, and grow their businesses. The event is one of the most well-attended of Chicago’s gala season, typically drawing more than 1,500 of the city’s corporate leaders, human rights advocates, philanthropists, clergy and elected officials. This year’s gala theme is “The Fight for Equity Continues: Get in League with Us!”

“Once a year, we honor those making strides toward equity in the Chicagoland area and nationwide while also having an amazing time with some of the top performers” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “We invite everyone to ‘Get In League With Us’ and support the gala as we rally for equity for underserved communities here in Chicago.”

At the top of the month, the Chicago Urban League also announced this year’s honorees via social media. The Chicago Urban League will honor three exceptional individuals for their leadership and service toward advancing equity in the city of Chicago and nationwide. Chicago Community Trust’s immediate past CEO and current Spelman College President Helene Gayle will receive the Lester H. McKeever, Jr., Individual Service Award – named for long-time CPA, accounting firm principal and Chicago Urban League Life Director Lester H. McKeever, Jr. Walter Massey, President Emeritus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will be honored with the Humanitarian Award due to his never-ending support of the Chicago Urban League. The League’s highest honor, the esteemed Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award, will go to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones in recognition of her groundbreaking work on the 1619 Project.

Freeman-Wilson also acknowledged this year’s top sponsor, McDonald’s Corp. “We are going to do all of this because McDonald’s has stepped up to chair this event and lead the effort to make this one of our most successful fundraisers,” she said.

In addition to McDonald’s leading the charge to ensure the success of the Golden Fellowship Dinner, Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is also a top sponsor as well as iHeartMedia Chicago, who returns as the leading media sponsor for the gala.

Learn more about sponsorship packages here. All tickets can be purchased at “Get in League with Us!” and support our mission of economic equity.

About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.