About The Jazzy Holiday Benefit Gala

Each year the Gantt Center honors the work of individuals and organizations working to impact and uplift the community through arts, history and culture at its benefit gala Jazzy. Jazzy is a black-tie affair that celebrates all that makes the Gantt Center a cultural gem in Charlotte. Most of all, it is an opportunity for the community to support the programs that provide access for all to African-American arts, history and culture. Join us on December 1, 2018, as we recognize retired educator Dorothy Counts-Scoggins, Northwest School of the Arts and actress Karyn Parsons.

We look forward to hosting you for an evening of networking, artistic performances, dinner and cocktails as we honor the achievements of individuals and organizations whose work in the arts continues to have a lasting impact in the community.

Meet Our 2018 Jazzy Gala Honorees

Click names below to view bios

Community Award
Northwest School of the Arts

NWSA is enabling young artists to find their path in society by helping them define and hone their artistic talent. They are the only school in the county that offers a four-year high school diploma with an arts concentration and they have one of the highest high school graduation rates in CMS. NWSA students and teachers continue to make transformational and historical strides, continuously building on their foundation as a Magnet School of Excellence. In 2015, Corey Mitchell, an 18-year veteran at the school who leads the Musical Theatre program, won the first ever Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. Our partnership with Northwest School of the Arts has been a fundamental component in the Gantt Center’s ability to provide educational and artistic opportunities for both middle and high school students.

Equity & Equality Award
Dorothy Counts-Scoggins

“Nobody seemed to know her name, much less what she looked like. Then somebody pointed out the girl looking down from the top of the hill. Light-skinned enough that you couldn't tell from a distance if she was black. Tall, straight-backed, wearing that new dress.”
- Charlotte Observer

An icon at the age of 15, Dorothy Counts stood the test of time by being one of four students to integrate Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. On the morning of September 4, 1957, Counts made her way to the entrance of Harding High School as a crowd of white students surrounded and followed her every step, spitting on the new dress her grandmother had freshly sewn for her first day of school. With a look of conviction, she marched on. For over 60 years, Dorothy Counts-Scoggins has been fighting for equality and equity in the education of African-American students. Today, Counts-Scoggins continues to advocate for the integration of CMS schools, hindered by economic and racial factors.

Arts Award
Karyn Parsons

Parsons is an advocate for K-12 education and has presented “little known facts” about African-Americans who have overcome insurmountable obstacles through her nonprofit organization, Sweet Blackberry. She has committed to work with the Gantt Center to help the institution increase its caliber of educational programs by infusing a focus on history-based children’s films and filmmaking. Her work continues to help the Gantt Center educate future generations about black history—an element too often missing within our children’s’ textbooks today. With a lack of positive awareness in the media about African-Americans, her goal is to share untold stories of heroic African-Americans to help black children realize that their dreams are achievable.

Meet Our 2018 Jazzy Gala Co-Chairs

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R. Donahue and Katrina Peebles

Real estate investor and developer Don Peebles is recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the nation. As the Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, he spearheads a multi-billion dollar portfolio of projects around the nation, including the proposed Brooklyn Village development project in Charlotte, NC. His wife Katrina is an accomplished marketing professional uses her expertise to guide marketing efforts and promotions for the Peebles Corporation’s mixed-use developments.

Don and Katrina believe in giving back to the community and support a number of charitable organizations, including the YMCA of Greater New York, The United Way and The Women’s Cancer League. Their philanthropic activities have benefitted the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the campaigns of President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama and The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida.

Earl "Butch" and Roberta Graves

As President & CEO of BLACK ENTERPRISE, Earl G. "Butch" Graves, Jr. is responsible for the strategic positioning and overall profitability of the corporation which includes magazine publishing, television production, digital media, and business and lifestyle events. Under his leadership, BLACK ENTERPRISE has grown from a single-title publication into a robust multimedia company, delivering content across five platforms. His wife Roberta is the Executive Advisor to the Chairman, CEO & President of the United States Tennis Association where she serves as a liaison to international tennis federations for major tennis tournaments across the globe in support of American tennis. She is also the President of the Black Enterprise Bridge Foundation, which provides funding to those organizations that inspire underserved Black males, ages 18 and under to build futures, realize dreams and develop leadership skills.

Butch and Roberta both serve in leadership roles with non-profit organizations. Butch has been awarded for his work with Boy Scouts of America, is a national advocate for the importance of education and athletics and served as an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) head basketball coach for more than 15 years. Roberta works with the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program and Hearts of Gold, an organization for homeless mothers and their children. The couple resides in Westchester County, New York. They have four adult children including twin daughters, Erika and Kristin and two sons, Earl III and Theodore.


Charles and Mary Bowman

Charles Bowman is the Local Market Segment Executive for Bank of America's Major Markets. In addition, he is the Market President for Charlotte and State President for North Carolina. In these roles, he is responsible for delivering the company's resources and expertise to communities and customers in the largest and most complex markets in the U.S. including Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Miami. Bowman leads local teams that work with market presidents and leaders in the company's eight lines of business to foster business integration, encourage employee engagement and execute local market Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) activities in their respective markets.

A native of North Carolina, Charles has served on various civic boards including the United Way, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Mint Museum of Art, Arts & Science Council, Project L.I.F.T., Advantage Carolina, Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation and the Metro YMCA. He and his wife Mary reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have two adult sons.

2018 Jazzy Holiday Benefit Gala Committee Members

Tim Atwell
Ned Austin
Evette Beckett-Tuggle
Tonya Brandon
Dr. Karen Breach-Washington
J.H. Caldwell
Dikla Carmel
Keith Clark
Bobby Drakeford
Toya Everett
Herb Gray
Rob Harrington
Rhondale Haywood
Gerald Henderson
Jerri Irby
Thaddeus Jones
Josh Lanning
Robin Link
Michael Parkins
Mike Riley
Irina Toshkova
Eric Watson
Darrel Williams
DeAlva Wilson

A Thank You To Our 2018 Jazzy Holiday Benefit Gala Sponsors

Signature Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

Blackwood Finance & Accounting
Charlotte Country Day School
Eric Watson
Griffin Brothers
M&F Bank
Shook Kelley, Inc.
The Main Event

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