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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

Call & Post Managing Editor, Kevin “Chill” Heard, is now the organization’s Executive Director. Heard credits IME outreach methods for his organization’s growing impact, and the national attention represented by the prestigious NTA nomination. He said, “It’s more of a grass-roots organization that gets right to some of the issues plaguing the inner-cities and urban families.” Heard added, “We deal directly, in most cases, with the kids and the parents – it’s more of a hands-on approach in dealing with the problems plaguing our youths, directly.”

Edgar Baines, Production Manager for the NTA, referring to the entire slate of nonprofit nominees, including IME, said, “We need more of that energy. You can see what’s going on out there – we have more organizations and individuals to assist and under gird our youth, our people as a whole. It doesn’t matter the color, it doesn’t matter the religion, it doesn’t matter; just people as a whole.”

Though Baines is a self-described “nuts and bolts kind of guy,” he brings a scientific attitude to this new, national award platform: “If we find out that there are more people that will be able to assist and help make this a better world, eventually it will become better. If we don’t then encourage those to elevate their minds, to elevate the things that they do, then this could be a much worse place in which to live. So we want to make this a better – a much better place. That is the goal, in a nutshell.”

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Johnnie Dent, Jr.

Johnnie Dent, author of “Sugar Boy: A Journey Into Manhood,” an autobiography, and most recently, “The Promise of Being Black: The Conversation we need to have,” is IME’s Vice President. He spoke to the group’s recent activity regarding the events surrounding the death of Treyvon Martin. Dent said, “There’s a Black think tank located here, in Cleveland, Ohio, called ‘The Sounds of the Genuine,’ and we held three panel discussions on the tragedy of Treyvon Martin and the tragedy of the George Zimmerman verdict that happened afterward.” The first panel was held at Cleveland State University, the second panel was at St. James AME Church on Cedar Road, and the third panel was held at Nobel Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. According to Dent, “When it first started there was a lot of anger, but we needed to discuss the issue so that we can resolve some of the fears and notions of people, and also for our own inner-healing.” Dent conceded, “Of course, you can’t resolve every issue in three panel discussions, but you can provide healing for the community and a new sense of optimism for the future.”

On the NTA nomination, Dent said, “The Bible said it this way, in Zechariah 4:10, ‘Who dares despise the day of small things…’ It speaks to people who are not grateful for the beginning of small endeavors.” He added, “Even though our nonprofit is a small group, we consider it more of a comprehensive model that deals with some of the real issues that we believe at-risk youth and young adults will face at some point in their lives.” For this reason, Dent takes particular pride in IME’s nomination. “When you get a nomination at a national level, it means that a larger peer group is beginning to embrace the philosophies and strategies of our organization,” he said. “So it is an excellent sub-point for people to take a look at you and say, ‘we like what you’re doing and at some point we want to model it,’ or at least invite us into a larger conversation so that we can dispense some of these philosophies to other communities.” Dent concluded, “And it is an excellent example of recognition for our service leadership model we employ.”