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International Men of Excellence nominated for Nonprofit Trinity Award

Rich Weiss | 8/15/2013, 7:49 p.m.
Now a full-fledged nonprofit organization, the IME has put together an impressive board of directors, including Cleveland Councilperson, Kevin Conwell; ...
Adam Morgan

Northeast Ohio’s own homegrown organization devoted to increasing the number of Black males attending college, The International Men of Excellence (IME), is nominated for the prestigious Nonprofit Trinity Award (NTA). Recently, the organization has been active on issues relating to Treyvon Martin, the young Black man killed by George Zimmerman in 2012.

Award winners will be announced at a black-tie, red-carpet event on August 18, at the elegant Historic Academy of Medicine, located at 875 West Peachtree St., NW Atlanta, Georgia 30309. The event will kick off at 4:30 p.m. with a red carpet walk, photos, “Mix ‘n Mingle” and Networking. The Awards ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The mission of NTA is to support, acknowledge and honor small nonprofit organizations and outstanding individual volunteers for their resilient work, passionate commitment and exceptional service within their respective communities. This year, The IME caught NTA’s eye from Ohio’s northeast corner.

“The IME assists young men on their journey to become men, and helps men become better men,” explained IME president and co-founder, Adam Morgan – a direct descendant of Garrett A. Morgan – in an interview with the Call & Post.

Morgan’s organization got its start when four young, Black, Northeast Ohio students saw how few Black males were on campus. He said, “It was started in 1986 at Kent State University (KSU) with 3 other men and myself: Bo Green, Elliot May and Nick Turner. At that time, it was called ‘Men of Excellence.’ We all lived together in the same apartment complex, and we were sitting around talking about how there needs to be something done as far as African American males going on to college, and we just came up with the Men of Excellence. That’s how it got started.”

Because the four students saw an issue in the number of African American males attending college locally, Morgan said, “We wanted to go back into the schools and talk to these young African American males about what it is to be in college.” The organization became an official KSU campus organization, and began scheduling appearances at area high schools, and reaching out to Black males, one by one.

After finishing up at KSU, the co-founders kept in contact, and Morgan became Assistant Principal of Hope Academy Broadway. There Morgan saw the challenges young Black men face on a day-to-day basis and worked with his partners to launch “The Journey” at Hope Academy Broadway. “It’s a journey to become a man,” said Morgan.

Morgan saw now an even greater need, at his school, for the work he and his friends had started at Kent as Men of Excellence. The group reformed as the IME, adding international and multicultural outreach to its proactive, not reactive, mission. “Our main focus is African American males, but we help other males as well,” Morgan elaborated.

Now a full-fledged nonprofit organization, the IME has put together an impressive board of directors, including Cleveland Councilperson, Kevin Conwell; Mayor of East Cleveland, Gary Norton; Mike Shomo; and KSU professors, Dr. Williams and Dr. Edward Crosby. Crosby was teaching at KSU in 1986 and helped foster the fledgling organization. Morgan credits him as a personal mentor to this day and said, “I call myself a Crosbyite!”