The Equal Opportunity Awards Gala

October 27, 2022
5:30-9:30 p.m.
Knoxville Convention Center

Presented by


Celebrate community leaders and support the Knoxville Area Urban League at the elegant annual Gala. Honorees for Minority Business, Corporate Leadership and Whitney M. Young Jr. Lifetime Achievement Awards will be recognized for their service.

Expect delicious food, renewing fellowship and top-flight entertainment from “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul” Will Downing.

Downing has released 22 albums with signature interpretations of R&B classics, including “I Go Crazy,” “Wishing On A Star” and “I Try,” and original hits, “A Million Ways,” “Sorry I” and a duet with Rachelle Ferrell, “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This.”

The Gala is an opportunity to network with business professionals and elected officials. Invest in a corporate table to save a seat next to some of the most influential local leaders.

Reserve your ticket to the Equal Opportunity Awards Gala now. Proceeds help empower and change the lives of students, entrepreneurs and people of color.

Individual200.00 USD1 Ticket
Sold OutTable Sponsorship with recognition & 8 tickets0.00 USDTable for 8 with sponsorship recognition
Cannot attend but would like to donate.100.00 USDDonation
Your ticket and order confirmation will be emailed to you after payment to your email address.
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Check out the recap of our 2021 Equal Opportunity Awards Gala!

What an incredible night recognizing some of our communities most amazing people.  A great time was had by all during our "Party with a Purpose" to "Build Back Better"! 

Watch the video of the evening!
Corporate Leadership

Recognizes a company, governmental agency or entity that has shown sensitivity to diversity, employment trends and/or special program involvement and support of the Urban League and its mission.


2021: Brent Ball, FirstBank

2019: Debi Welch, Covenant Health

2017: Mintha Roach, Knoxville Utilities Board
2016: Mayor Madeline Rogero, City of Knoxville
2015: Randy Boyd, TN Commissioner of Economic & Community Development
2014: Pinnacle Financial Partners

Minority Business

Recognizes a minority-owned business that has made an economic as well as a social impact in the community.


2021: Boston Government Services

2019: Gam's Hair Fashions, Gary Gamble

2017:  B&B Services Inc., Baffin Harper
2016: Jarnigan & Son Mortuary, Beal Bourne
2015: East Tennessee Mechanical Contractors
2014: Marc Nelson Denim

Volunteer of the Year

Salutes an individual who has made a significant impact on the programs and services of the Knoxville Area Urban League and the community.


2021: Cynthia Finch, New Direction Health Care Solutions 

2019: John Nolan, Truist (SunTrust Bank)

2017: Dr. Joseph Kendrick

2016: Sanford Smith
2015: National Achievers Society Advisory Committee
2014: Nicholas Jones, Lonnie Jones Insurance

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Lifetime Achievement

The most prestigious of all Urban League Awards, this award is named to honor the fourth executive director of the National Urban League (1961-1971). Mr. Young worked tenaciously to forge new alliances and coalitions to build bridges of understanding among the races.


2021: Fran Ansley and Jim Sessions

2019: "The Clinton 12"
2016: Reverend Dr. Gordon and Mrs. Judy Gibson
2015: Theotis Robinson, Jr.
2014: Rita Geier


*2018: 50th Anniversary recognition of all Whitney M. Young Jr. Lifetime Achievement Awardees