Vol. 4    No. 19
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 Archives

2009 Production Schedule


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   It is the commitment of those who have been wounded in battle who serve to inspire those who come behind
them towards victory. In its 41 years of history, many fine and outstanding people have served the Urban League
— and the community — on its board and as staff members and volunteers. Two of the presidents who served
with distinction, in my humble opinion, are Betty Franklin-Hammonds and Stephen Braunginn.
   I had the distinct honor of serving with Betty for eight years during the 1980s and early 1990s. Betty brought the
Urban League back from the verge of bankruptcy when it owed about $60,000 for which it did not have money to
pay. I remember the auditor asking me after the 1984 audit if we were going to be closing our doors. Within a few
years, the League had eliminated those debts and was resting on firm financial footing when the building on
Gorham Street was renovated and restored.
   During Betty’s tenure, the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast was established as well as the Outstanding Young
Person Award. Project Jamaa, the Pre-Employment Program and other youth development programs were
established that served as the predecessors for many of the League’s current youth programs. The report on the
academic achievement of African American students successfully challenged the Madison school district to
establish several race and equity programs. The list could go on and on.
   As she was leaving the Urban League, Betty took over The Madison Times and made it into a dynamic weekly
African American newspaper that was respected across the community. She was an educator in the University
of Wisconsin School of Social Work. Betty was a social worker, educator, entrepreneur, journalist and executive.
What a wonderful role model for young African American women.
   Steve Braunginn also brought the Urban League out of the red. I don’t know as much about Steve’s tenure, but
I do know Steve took the youth programming of the League to another communitywide level. He established the
Spring into Jazz fundraiser. The Single Family Rent to Own Program grew tremendously under her tenure.
   In addition to his work at the League, Steve was an educator, a business owner, a poet and a jazz aficionado
who spins jazz at WORT-FM on Sunday nights. What a wonderful role model for young African American men
growing up and trying to find their way in life.
   Being the president of the Urban League is no easy task. There is a tremendous amount of stress involved as
one tries to meet the overwhelming needs in communities of color with inadequate resources and deal with the
plethora of racial attitudes in our community. I can’t help but think that both Betty and Steve’s heath problems
were exacerbated by their tenure at the League. They have truly been the wounded in battle.
   As of today, the Urban League still needs to raise $200,000 by October 1 in order to qualify for a $380,000
Kresge Foundation grant. We have to close this gap in the next two weeks. I would like to challenge our readers,
especially those who knew Betty or Steve, and give a donation or pledge to make a donation to the Urban League
of Greater Madison’s capital campaign and designate it as a pledge to have a room named after Betty Franklin-
Hammonds and Steve Braunginn.
   In this issue, there is an insert for the League’s capital campaign, which includes a pledge/donation form.
Please consider making a pledge or donation today and write on the form that it be applied to the Franklin-
Hammonds/Braunginn Conference Room. If you have the funds now, write a check to go with the form. If you will
have the funds later on, fill out the pledge form and specify when you will donate the funds.
   But please designate in honor of Betty Franklin-Hammonds and Stephen Braunginn. If we do not honor those
who have gone before, who will?
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                          For Betty and Steve

Taking it Statewide
Spencer Coggs looks at 2010
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