Shown above Johnny D. Johns, Felicia Lucky and Darlene Robinson
The Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) held its third annual Legacy Dinner on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham.
300 friends and supporters attended the fundraising dinner to honor Johnny D. Johns, President and CEO of Protective Life Insurance Company for their support of the work and mission of the Black Belt Community Foundation.
The Foundation’s work covers 12 Alabama counties that include Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Wilcox counties. A little over 212,000 hard-working, community-loving people live in these counties. The foundation’s focus is on improving education, economic development, health and wellness, and arts and culture.
Johns serves as head of the Protective Life Insurance Company that has made numerous grants to support the work of the BBCF.
John’s is active in the business and civic community of Birmingham including serving on the Boards of Regions Bank, Southern Company and Genuine Parts Corporation as well as the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama system.
Felicia Lucky, BBCF President, Darlene Robinson of Greene County, BBCF Board Chair, and Carnetta Davis, BBCF Board member and Dinner Chair welcomed quests. Sherri Jackson, News Anchor with WAIT-TV news served as Mistress of Ceremony for the event. Lucky reviewed a video of some of the recent community development work of the foundation with people and organizations in the Black Belt.
Hon. Circuit Judge John H. England, Jr., who serves on the BBCF Board, introduced Johns who serves with him on the University of Alabama Trustees.
In his remarks accepting the award, Johns lauded the work of the Black Belt Community Foundation in fighting poverty in the Alabama Black Belt. “The foundation uses an inside out strategy, not an outside in strategy in changing the Black Belt, which has been labeled Alabama’s third world region. The foundation gives local people and community leaders in the Black Belt the support and sense of hope that they need to do things for themselves,” said Johns.
“The Black Belt Community Foundation is a credible model for development. We need the poor in Alabama and around the world to succeed and have a fair shot at prosperity. Respecting the poor and helping them to change their conditions is a valuable benefit of the work of the foundation. This is why I and my company support the work of BBCF and you should consider helping as well, “ stated Johns.
Past honorees have included Judge John H. England, Jr., George Duncan Hastie McMillan, former Alabama Lieutenant Governor, Henry “Hank” Sanders, Alabama Senator, Julian H. Smith, Jr., retired vice president of Alabama Power, and Dr. Carol Prejean Zippert, a Black Belt community organizer and author. “Each of these leaders has a strong commitment to community and to upholding the belief that bringing many to the table to create solutions is the true mechanism for community change,” said Lucky.
Adding to her closing comments, Felecia Lucky said, “ We really feel that Johnny Johns is worthy of this honor and now you understand as well.”
Lucky urged others at the dinner to support the work and programs of the BBCF and suggested people could contribute by going to the website: www.blackbeltfound.org.