The Urban League of Greater Madison Board of Directors has announced the recipients of its 2015 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award: Jonathan Gramling and YWCA of Madison.

The award is the most prestigious given by Urban League Boards across the country. It’s given in honor of the great civil rights leader and former head of the National Urban League. Young is known for turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively worked for equitable access to socioeconomic opportunity for the historically disenfranchised. Young was an important adviser to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon and his push for a “domestic Marshall Plan” was partially incorporated into President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Jonathan Gramling, the publisher and editor of The Capital City Hues, has been involved in civil rights and other issues for the past 35 years. As a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Gramling made dozens of trips to rural Mississippi through Project Self-Help and Awareness. He worked at the Urban League of Greater Madison for 12 years, was the treasurer for the NAACP-Madison Branch for six years, and assisted the WisDOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program in developing a strategic plan. According to Urban League Board Chair Nia Trammell, “Jon’s life has been dedicated to the cause of civil rights. He is a fierce advocate for racial justice, and a tireless worker for the cause.”

The mission of the YWCA Madison is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA Madison was selected because of the exceptional race and gender equity work that they do on top of the housing and job training that they are most commonly known for. “This includes racial justice training for area businesses and organizations, restorative justice programs, women’s leadership development, and much more,” said ULGM Vice Chair of the Board Angela Russell. Earlier this year in Washington D.C., the national YWCA awarded YWCA Madison an “Excellence Award” in the field of racial justice.

Urban League of Greater Madison CEO Ruben Anthony will also present this year’s President’s Awards which recognize individuals and organizations in the community that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the Urban League mission. President’s awardees will include:

Madison Community Foundation – COMMUNITY CHAMPION
Percy Brown, Jr. – RISING STAR

The awards will be presented as part of the 3rd Annual Urban Cabaret on Friday, Sept. 25, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in downtown Madison. The Cabaret is expected to raise more than $100,000 to support Urban League empowerment, employment, and education programs.

Tickets are still available here or by calling (608) 729-1268.