Tickets are now on sale for the Black Diamonds and Pearls Dinner

CLEVELAND, OH, MAY 22, 2023: A celebration for our community and those who work tirelessly to improve our society and create opportunities for Clevelanders.

On Thursday, June 22, the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center (Delta Foundation) will host the second annual Black Diamonds and Pearls Dinner at the Cleveland Marriott East Hotel located at 26300 Harvard Road in Warrensville Heights. The awards dinner will begin with a reception and cash bar at 6 p.m. The program starts at 7 p.m. Business attire is required. This year’s theme is “Working Today to Change Tomorrow: Community, Collaboration, and Commitment.” The Honorable Michael L. Nelson of the Cleveland Municipal Court will deliver the keynote address. WEWS News 5 Cleveland anchor/reporter DaLaun Dillard will serve as master of ceremonies.

“We invite you to join us for an evening of fun and philanthropy at the Black Diamonds and Pearls Dinner,” said Kathi Howard-Primes, President of the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center. “By supporting this event, you are helping to empower individuals and families in our community to build a brighter future. Together, we can make a meaningful difference and create a stronger, more vibrant Cleveland.”

During the dinner, the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center will present awards to the heroes among us, community leaders and advocates, athletes, students, educators, and entrepreneurs. This year’s honorees include the Trailblazer Award recipient who will be surprised with the honor as well as the following:

  • Black Diamonds and Pearls Shining Star Award recognizes an individual who has had a significant impact on the community through leadership and service. This year, two business leaders will receive the Shining Star Award.
  • Pamela E. Smith is the CEO of Smart Pedagogic, LLC. Her education consulting company received national recognition for being at the forefront of school innovation. Smith is also the National First Vice President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Michael Beedles is the Senior Vice president and Chief Financial Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He leads financial support services, enterprise risk management, business continuity, and innovation.
  • Black Diamonds and Pearls Emerging Award recognizes new leaders who have made significant contributions to the community and have demonstrated the potential for leadership and continuing service. This award will be bestowed upon business entrepreneur and Cleveland Heights High School senior, 18-year-old Taylor Evans who educated young people to start businesses. Cleveland Browns Cornerback Denzel Ward will be honored for his work to save lives through his foundation, Make Them Know Your Name (MTKYN). MTKYN provides resources to educate people about heart health.
  • Black Diamonds and Pearls Unsung Award recognizes those who selflessly contribute to their neighborhoods every day and often go unnoticed or without praise. This year’s awardees Karamu House, Inc. President and CEO Tony Sias and Donna Dabbs who is the Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival. Both Sias and Dabbs have spent decades inspiring our community through artistic expression.
  • Black Diamonds and Pearls Community Partnership Award recognizes a promising working relationship between a person and/or organization that benefits the Greater Cleveland community. This award will go to four notable Clevelanders:
  • Ginn Academy founder Ted Ginn Sr.
  • Dana Capers serves as Vice President, Director of Community and Economic Development at Fifth Third Bank.
  • Calhoun Funeral Home President W. Byron Calhoun and his wife, Alison Graves-Calhoun, Ph.D. who is a Biomedical Engineer with Medronic, Inc.

“We are thrilled to recognize these exceptional individuals who have selflessly given their time, talent, and resources to make a positive impact in our community,” said Dr. Heather Burton, Vice President of the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center and Event Chair. “Their dedication to serving others is an inspiration to us all, and we are grateful for their contributions to building a stronger, more connected community. It is through their generosity and compassion that we can create a brighter future for all.”

In addition to an awards presentation, the night will feature an introduction of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Leadership Academy Class of 2023. This year’s class of young women and men in grades 9 – 12, learned goal setting and developed leadership and interpersonal skills during monthly enrichment and mentoring sessions.

Tickets are now on sale for the Black Diamonds and Pearls Dinner. Admission is $75. Proceeds will benefit the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center. The Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center is a 501C3 organization that addresses the health, educational, cultural empowerment, and public service needs of the Greater Cleveland community, with a special focus on our low – and moderate-income neighbors. Community outreach initiatives include a mobile food pantry, back-to-school supply giveaways, health awareness webinars, and more.

“Great things are never achieved alone,” adds Howard-Primes. “Through the Delta Foundation, we are proud to witness the power of community initiatives in action, bringing hope and making a positive impact in the lives of those we serve.”

For tickets and more information about the dinner or the Delta Foundation, visit To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Dr. Denise McCray-Scott at (216) 235-6667. For additional questions contact Monique Patterson-Ceasor (216) 389-6590.