Hollywood Casino announces $25,000 contribution to Toledo NAACPWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives of Hollywood Casino Toledo and Toledo NAACP were on hand March 1 for the announcement of a $25,000 contribution from the casino to Toledo NAACP.
Rev. Kevin J. Bedford, president of Toledo NAACP, accepted a check from Hollywood Casino general manager Richard St. Jean and assistant general manager Mike Galle during a brief presentation at the casino near Downtown Toledo.
The donation will benefit three local NAACP initiatives: ACT-SO (African-American Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics), a yearlong youth achievement program designed to encourage academic and cultural achievement among minority central city high school students; the launch of a local Financial Freedom program; and a Membership Recruitment and Voter Empower Campaign.
“On behalf of the members and supporters of Toledo NAACP, I thank Hollywood Casino for its generous contribution that will support these signature programs that are helping to make a difference in our community,” Bedford said in a news release.
The bulk of the donation — more than $20,000 — will be used to fund scholarships for the ACT-SO program, Bedford said. Toledo NAACP sponsors numerous students at local and state ACT-SO competitions and annually sends up to eight students to nationals, including lodging and airfare. More than 1,120 students have participated in the program since 1978, according to the release.
At last year’s national competition in Los Angeles, Johnathon Bush of Toledo received an entrepreneurial award for his baked goods company, Not Just Cookies. Bush received a scholarship from Hyundai Motor Company and a year of mentoring from the makers of Famous Amos Cookies as part of the prize. Bush’s products are sold at several local stores and may be sold at the casino gift shop, Bedford said.
“What is most important with the kids is that it provides them with professional-level mentors,” Bedford said of ACT-SO. “It gives the kids national exposure they may not otherwise receive coming from some of the poorest of the poor communities. Any time you can take a kid from a very poor environment and have that kid actually have a mentor … that’s priceless. So this investment helps us do that at a larger scale.”
For the local Financial Freedom center, tentatively set to launch in late 2012, NAACP plans to partner with local banks, including Fifth Third, to help central city residents become “fiscally aware and financially empowered,” Bedford said. Future goals include distributing flash drives and helping residents understand the electronic job application process. NAACP launched its first location in April 2011 in Washington, D.C., Bedford said.
The Membership Recruitment and Voter Empower Campaign has a goal of registering 2,000 new voters and expanding chapter membership, according to the release.
“From the beginning, Hollywood Casino Toledo has pledged to be a leader and contributor in the local community,” St. John said in the release. “This contribution reflects Hollywood’s commitment to share our financial resources and the talents of our team members to boost the economic and cultural vitality of the region.”
The full-service, $300 million Toledo Hollywood Casino is being developed by Penn National Gaming and is scheduled to open in May.
For more information, visit toledonaacp.org and hollywoodcasinotoledo.com.