International Men of Excellence now respected at a national level

Rich Weiss | 8/27/2013, 7:29 p.m.
From the moment they arrived at the black-tie, red-carpet event on Aug. 18 at the elegant Historic Academy of Medicine ...
Adam Morgan (left) and Johnnie Dent at the Nonprofit Trinity Awards in Atlanta, Ga., where their organization, The International Men of Excellence, was recognized for their work encouraging young, Black males to enroll in college.

The International Men of Excellence (TIME), a Northeast Ohio organization devoted to increasing the number of Black males attending college, was recently nominated for a prestigious Nonprofit Trinity Award (NTA) for their activity on issues relating to Trayvon Martin, the young, unarmed Black man who died at the hands of George Zimmerman in 2012.

NTA uses its awards ceremony, held this year in Atlanta, to gather and celebrate small nonprofit organizations and individual volunteers who have devoted their time helping and making a positive mark in the lives of others, and to attract those across the nation providing outstanding service within local communities to the event to exchange ideas and innovate.

“We went to win the award,” said Johnnie Dent, vice president of TIME, in a phone interview with the Call & Post. TIME was nominated for “The Charity Award,” one of six categories of NTA awards, including “The Religion Award,” “The Educational Award,” “The Literacy Award,” “The Amateur Sports Award” and “The Cruelty Prevention Award.” The leadership of TIME, including Dent, TIME vice president; Adam Morgan, TIME president and co-founder; and Kevin Heard, TIME executive director (and Managing Editor of the Call & Post), went to Atlanta for an award, but they came back to Northeast Ohio with a new designation as national thought leaders.

From the moment they arrived at the black-tie, red-carpet event on Aug. 18 at the elegant Historic Academy of Medicine in Atlanta, it was clear this event was not about winning and losing. Of those doing charitable work across the nation, TIME received enough nominee entries to land in the top-five highest for “The Charity Award,” earning TIME a place as a finalist.

Dent said reflecting, “The thing about the Trinity Awards…you actually can feel the kindred spirit of people who have come together to help people.”

He relayed the story of a 16-year-old girl who was nominated for a vision she has had since the age of 8: “She said, ‘I remember having some food and walking over to my mother and asking her, ‘some people don’t have food, can I give them mine?’ I heard her story and I thought…well, I want her to win!” He had that same feeling for every nominee in the room.

According to Dent, the real winners are the youth TIME is working to steer toward school. He said, “To be included in the larger conversation is greater than coming back with the award.” He added, “It’s different than for-profit awards.” He said laughing, “Eddie Murphy isn’t getting up and storming out…” Instead, Dent points out, “This provides national clout for the program. Our programs run on dollars – we rarely get local recognition, let alone national recognition.”

And the NTA was packed with clout and national recognition from start to finish, with TIME garnering several service recognitions and certifications, including a proclamation from the Atlanta Secretary of State naming the leaders of TIME “Good Will Ambassadors.”

But Dent found the greatest reward in dialoguing with the people doing the most good in communities all across the United States. “After the event you find yourself trying to network and involve the best practices of these organizations,” Dent said.

Dent took some time to reflect on the mid-August, whirlwind experience in Atlanta, and his Northeast Ohio organization’s rise to the national stage with the NTA and stated, “We are now alumni, respected at a national level.”