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Illinois Corporations, Foundations, Politicians Turn Out in Chicago to Support Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

Local leaders, celebrities, and citizens turned out in full force last night at the Chicago Dream Dinner to raise funds for the four-acre Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which will be built on the National Mall.



Washington, D.C. (Feb. 18, 2009) - Local leaders, celebrities, and citizens turned out in full force last night at the Chicago Dream Dinner to raise funds for the four-acre Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which will be built on the National Mall.  Boeing and the Exelon Foundation, which each donated $1 million to the Memorial, spearheaded the dinner at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Event participants included Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., CNN Contributor Roland Martin, and Emmy Award-winning ABC7 Chicago television anchor Cheryl Burton.  Multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans performed.  The Foundation also presented the Champion of Courage award to Roland Martin for his support of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and for his courage in speaking out in favor of the Jena 6 and other issues supporting the downtrodden.

"I thank Boeing and the Exelon Foundation for the generous time they placed into spearheading this event, bringing the Chicago community together, and for the equally generous financial donations they have made," said Harry E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.

Mayor Richard M. Daley served as the Honorary Chair.  Serving as dinner co-chairs were: John W. Rowe, Exelon Foundation Chairman and Exelon Corporation Chairman and CEO; Frank M. Clark, Exelon Foundation board member and ComEd Chairman and CEO; and James Bell, Boeing Corporate President and Chief Financial Officer. 

"At Boeing, we have a saying, 'What others dream, we do,' and tonight, we celebrate the realization of a dream to honor Dr. King as one of our great American leaders," said Bell.  With the construction of this Memorial, we'll have the opportunity to help others experience the legacy of Dr. King on the National Mall."

"The Exelon Foundation is pleased to support the Chicago Dream Dinner and to join the effort to create a memorial that will honor Dr. King's advancement of civil rights and contributions to justice and equality," Rowe said. "This worthy endeavor serves the Exelon Foundation's mission of increasing awareness of the civic and social benefits of diversity and the importance of understanding tolerance."

More than $4.5 million has been raised from entities throughout Illinois, including the $1 million donations from Boeing and the Exelon Foundation.  In addition to Boeing and Exelon, dinner sponsors included:  And 1 Basketball Company, Clear Channel Radio Chicago; YRC Worldwide Inc.; Abbott; BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois/HCSC; CNA; Global Hyatt Corporation; Tribune Company; Walgreen Company; Accenture; Alberto Culver Company; Baxter International Inc.; CME Group, Inc.; Ernst & Young LLP; Illinois Tool Works Inc.; Navistar, Inc.; Northern Trust Corporation; and Sidley Austin LLP. 

McDonald's and State Farm had previously each donated $1 million.  In addition to support for the Memorial through the Dream Dinner, the Chicago faith-based community has raised $300,000 for the Memorial.  Also, YRC Worldwide unveiled a special graphic on one of its Chicago trailers to raise awareness for the Memorial.  For the next year, the special trailer will be used on pickup and delivery routes serving customers throughout the Chicago area, encouraging citizens to visit and support the building of the memorial.

The Memorial Foundation has raised a total of $104 million out of the needed $120 million.  In addition to Boeing and the Exelon Foundation, major donors to the Memorial include: General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Walt Disney Company Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Motor Fund, Toyota, AARP, AFLAC, BP America, Inc., CIGNA, Credit Unions of the United States, DuPont, ExxonMobil Foundation, Fannie Mae Corporation, FedEx Corporation, GE, Ann and Joel Horowitz Family Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Sheila C. Johnson-Newman, Lehman Brothers, George Lucas, MacFarlane Partners, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, McDonald's Corporation, MetLife Foundation, National Association of Realtors (NAR), National Education Association (NEA), Nationwide Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pfizer Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., Shell Oil Company, State Farm Insurance, Verizon Foundation, Viacom, Wal-Mart and Morehouse College, among others.

About the Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
A Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be built on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a Memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, D.C. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on November 13, 2006 and the Memorial will be completed in 2010.  McKissack & McKissack / Turner Construction Company/ Gilford Corporation / Tompkins Builders, Inc. Joint Venture will serve as the Design-Build Team. McKissack & McKissack is the oldest minority-owned architectural firm in the United States.  For more information or to make a donation, please visit