The Dayton Unit NAACP received one of the national office’s top awards at the civil rights organization’s 104th NAACP Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. this month.
The local chapter brought home the Thalheimer Award, which is the highest award that any unit can receive within the organization.
“We received first place inside of our category for our activities and programs that we do inside of the Dayton community,” said Derrick Foward, Dayton’s Unit president.
The award recognizes local organizations for outstanding work in the implementation of the NAACP’s strategic priorities and goals mandated by the National Board of Directors. Those priorities include building membership, enhancing advocacy, rebuilding legal capacity, criminal justice, civil rights compliance, civic engagement and enforcement by governmental and non-governmental entities, economic empowerment, educational equity, health advocacy and political empowerment.
“It makes all those days and nights that we’re sitting, meeting and strategizing and doing things worthwhile because now you are getting the recognition from your peers for the work you’ve done,” said Tom Roberts, the Dayton Unit’s third vice-president.
The Thalheimer Award is named after Ross Thalheimer, a philosophy instructor at John Hopkins University, a philosophy and sociology instructor at the University of Washington and President of the Thalheimer Foundation.
In addition to the unit’s award, Foward received the Rupert Richardson Memorial Leadership Award. This award is given to NAACP leaders who display excellence, commitment, professionalism, progress, innovation and youth development.
“Rupert Richardson was a former national president for the NAACP…If you look at her career in politics, it’s a very storied career,” said Foward, who was chosen out of 2,200 chapter presidents. He added that he was honored to receive the award in light of what he knows about Richardson.
The five-page nomination letter submitted by Roberts, Rev. Herman Branham, first vice-president and Rosa E.R. Smith, second vice-president, about Foward said, “Our local unit has evolved into a highly effective and tenacious grassroots organization that practices sound business management. This is due in large part to President Derrick L. Foward.”
The Rupert Richardson Memorial Leadership Award comes with a monetary award of $5,000. Half of this amount is given to the unit president and the other half goes to the unit’s operational budget.
Foward and Willie Terrell, the Dayton Unit’s Scholarship Committee chairman, were also recognized for their role in boosting the unit’s membership last year.
The Dayton Unit’s next community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Dayton Boys Prep Academy, 1923 W. Third St.