The Equal Opportunity Awards Gala

This event is sold out!  Thank you everyone!


October 26, 2023
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 Morris Day & The Time! The legendary, "Pimpadelic Funkmaster" best know as the break out star of the rock movie sensation "Purple Rain"  will perform our past favorites "Jungle Love," "Get it UP," "The Bird," and some of his newer hits "My Ride," "Ain't a Damn Thing Changed," and "Two Drink Minimum."

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.


2022 Equal Opportunity Awards Gala Award Recipients!

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"! 

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.


2023: To be announced in October!

2022: University of Tennessee, Office of Diversity and Engagement

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.


2023: To be announced in October

2022: WJBE

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. This award is not given annually.


2022: Phyllis Y. Nichols

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