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10TH ANNUAL CHUCK COOPER FOUNDATION AWARDS DINNER POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS

Scholarship awards and the acceptance of future scholarship applications have also been postponed until further notice.

The 10th Annual Chuck Cooper Foundation Awards Dinner, which had been scheduled for March 25 at the Jim Beam Left Field Lounge at PNC Park, has been postponed due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus. The rescheduled date for the fundraising event has not yet been determined. Notification of scholarship awards have also been postponed until further notice.

Honorees for the 10th Annual Chuck Cooper Foundation Awards Dinner will be Koppers Inc. President & CEO Leroy Ball (Chuck Cooper Foundation Leadership Award), Eckert Seamans (Chuck Cooper Foundation Trailblazer Award), the Boston Celtics (Chuck Cooper Spirit Award) and PNC (sponsor of Chuck Cooper Foundation Leadership Program). In addition, scholarships will be presented to graduate-level students in need at Pittsburgh-area colleges and universities to help them achieve their educational and professional goals.

“The decision to postpone the event was made based on the latest information available regarding COVID-19, recommendations from the CDC and local government leaders and our desire to be abundantly cautious,” said Chuck Cooper III, President & CEO of the Chuck Cooper Foundation. “We look forward to reconnecting with our sponsors, supporters and scholarship recipients in what we hope will be the near future.”

The 10th annual Chuck Cooper Foundation Awards Dinner will also celebrate Chuck’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which took place last September, and the 10th anniversary of the creation of the foundation by Cooper’s son — Chuck Cooper III.

About the Foundation

The Chuck Cooper Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is dedicated to honoring the life and achievements, and continuing the legacy of Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, Charles “Chuck” Cooper, the first African-American drafted into the National Basketball Association, by awarding graduate-level scholarships and providing leadership development programs, mentoring and networking opportunities to underserved students. Upon retiring from the NBA, the Duquesne University alumnus obtained his master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota at a time when African-American matriculation to graduate school was a rare achievement. Cooper’s son, Chuck Cooper III, is the founder and president of the Chuck Cooper Foundation. Since 2013, the Chuck Cooper Foundation has awarded more than $240,000 in scholarship support. The Boston Celtics and the NBA continue to be instrumental in helping the Chuck Cooper Foundation achieve its mission by providing financial support and highlighting Chuck Cooper’s ground-breaking basketball career.

Our goal is to propel our students to success in higher education in order to achieve their highest potential in their careers and ultimately, in life.

FOUNDATION’S PARTNERSHIP AND IMPACT

“What we are able to accomplish in our foundation would not be possible without the support and partnership of our corporate, university and community partners. I am so grateful to be able to honor my father’s legacy and to share his deep commitment and passion for education and community!” Chuck Cooper III

Chuck Cooper Foundation Mission

The Chuck Cooper Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to continue the legacy of Charles “Chuck” Cooper, the first African-American drafted into the National Basketball Association, by awarding graduate-level scholarships and providing, leadership development programs, mentoring and networking opportunities to underserved students. Upon retiring from the NBA, the Duquesne University alumnus obtained his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota at a time when African-American matriculation to graduate school was a rare achievement. In 1970, Cooper broke another barrier when Mayor Pete Flaherty named him the Director of Parks and Recreation, becoming the first African-American Department Head for the City of Pittsburgh.

OUR PROGRAMS

Our current Chuck Cooper Foundation Scholarship Program (CCFSP) focuses on distributing scholarships to high achieving African-American graduate students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by the applicant’s college or university and a commitment to helping undergraduate, middle and high school aged students. We have expanded the program to provide leadership development and mentoring opportunities for our CCFSP scholars as part of the Cooper Leadership Program.

The Chuck Cooper Foundation Leadership Program, presented by PNC, is a major component of the CCF programming and a mandatory one if receiving a Chuck Cooper Foundation scholarship. The leadership program includes a series of workshops, speakers, mentoring, networking and community outreach. The curriculum was developed with Dr. Mitchel Nickols who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, teaches doctoral classes at Point Park University, has a seasoned career as an NSA speaker, an administrative and executive coach and a leadership development consultant. Some of the specific leadership topics that have been covered in the leadership program include: visioning, emotional intelligence, integrity, humility, servanthood, caring for others, empowering others, developing others, goal setting, leading, modeling, team building, and shared decision making. A key workshop focuses on the participants’ vision for their future. As part of the curriculum, Chuck Cooper Foundation Leadership Program graduate scholars create personal vision statements that define their aspirations and bring focus and purpose to their life pursuits. These statements are shared with undergraduate scholars and participants in our Beacons of Light outreach program.

Our Beacons of Light Outreach Program provides opportunities for Chuck Cooper Foundation stakeholders, scholarship recipients and leadership program participants to work with students from elementary school to high school. Through these interactions, our college scholars have the opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills and gain a sense of accomplishment. Younger students gain relatable role models and peer-level connections with the college world, inspiring them to achieve. Through collaborations with local universities, community organizations and school districts, leadership program participants create and present workshops focusing on a variety of topics including financial literacy, college readiness and personal development.

Sponsors

CHUCK COOPER FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP AWARD

The Chuck Cooper Foundation Leadership Award recognizes a company and/or individual that has demonstrated exceptional leadership as well as a strong commitment to promoting diversity and outstanding contributions in the community.

  • 2011 Bill Nunn, Legendary Steelers Scout and former Editor of the Pittsburgh Courier
  • 2012 Bill Strickland, Founder and CEO of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild
  • 2013 Mike and Kiya Tomlin, Steelers Head Coach and wife
  • 2014 Frank Coonelly and the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 2015 Swin Cash, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, 5x WNBA All-Star, and Philanthropist
  • 2016 Charlie Batch, Former NFL Quarterback, and Philanthropist
  • 2017 Scott Lammie, CFO and Vice President of UPMC Health Plan
  • 2018 Dr. Kathy Humphrey, Senior Vice Chancellor University of Pittsburgh
  • 2019 Dr. Chris Howard, President of Robert Morris University

CHUCK COOPER FOUNDATION TRAILBLAZER AWARD

The Chuck Cooper Foundation Trailblazer Award recognizes a company and/or individual that helped to establish the Chuck Cooper Foundation or has partnered with us to develop new opportunities along the pathway of our current and evolving missions.

The recipients have been:

  • 2013 Zak Thomas, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
  • 2014 Matthew H. Meade, Esquire
  • 2015 PNC
  • 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2017 Duquesne University
  • 2018 Evan Frazier, Highmark Health
  • 2019 Huntington

We look forward to hearing from you!
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