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Sharmain Matlock-Turner, the Urban Affairs Coalition CEO, and the event's MC Niki Hawkins. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News
Sharmain Matlock-Turner, the Urban Affairs Coalition CEO, and the event's MC Niki Hawkins. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

The Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) held its 53rd anniversary breakfast

Four honorees were presented awards for their work with the community and with the Urban Affairs Coalition.

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On Friday, Nov. 18, the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) held its 53rd anniversary breakfast. 

The annual event brings together hundreds of guests — including business leaders, government and nonprofit organizations, and various partners — to celebrate the work and impact of the UAC.

This year’s theme was “Empowering Dreamers & Doers,” which honors those who are dedicated to servicing the community and making a mark throughout the region. Four honorees were presented with awards for their work. 

This year’s UAC breakfast was MC’d by Anika “Niki” Hawkins, the Vice President of Community Engagement at 6abc. 

MC Niki Hawkins talks to the crowd. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News
MC Niki Hawkins talks to the crowd. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

The first award given was the Founder’s Award. This award “recognizes UAC partners for their distinguished, long-term service to the Coalition and its communities, rooted in the principals of its founders.” It was given to the UGI Corporation and presented to its President Roger Perreault. 

In his acceptance speech Perreault said, “The goals of UAC align well with UGI’s core values:  safety, integrity, perspective, sustainability, reliability, and excellence. It's these ideas that are ingrained in the culture of UGI and make working with a partner like UAC that much more special for our employees.” 

Perreault also noted that UGI has worked with UAC since the coalition’s start, and that the company’s president at the time served as UAC’s finance chair. 

The second award is the Doer Award, which “is presented to a leader who’s making things happen and creating opportunity for all.” The recipient was Ryan N. Boyer, the Business Manager of Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council. 

Boyer praised and thanked UAC CEO, Sharmain Matlock-Turner, for his award. “Sharmain is a gem in the Philadelphia area…Everyone talks about diversity and inclusion, but Sharmain actually walks the walk and talks the talk. I am deeply humbled that she chose me to give this award.” 

Kelly Woodland, Managing Director of Leadership Equity at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, was presented with the Community Leadership Award. This award recognizes “visionary leadership and commitment to foster the Coalition’s mission of improving life chances for youth and young adults, building wealth in urban communities, and strengthening the nonprofit sector.”

In his speech, Woodland mentioned that he had previously worked with Ernest Jones, UAC’s former Executive Director, and was honored to be given the award that was created in his honor. 

“UAC continues to be an anchoring institution that harnesses the talents of leaders to improve the quality of life for those in Philadelphia,” Woodland said.

He added, “I accept this award on behalf of the many individuals and leaders like me, who’ve been committed to equity, creating access and opportunity because it was the right thing to do.”

Kelly Woodland, winner of Community Leadership Award, gives his acceptance speech. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News
Kelly Woodland, winner of Community Leadership Award, gives his acceptance speech. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

The final award of the morning was the Living Legacy Award. The award is “presented to a local community leader whose exceptional contributions to the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region is making Philadelphia’s communities a better place to live, work, and play.” It was given to Susan Jacobson, the President of Jacobson Strategic Communications. 

In her acceptance speech, Jacobson said, “This year’s event is empowering doers and dreamers. And that does really inspire me and here’s why… to have big dreams for Philadelphia, we’ve got to be the doers, who have the drive to turn our dreams into a reality.”

“And we know that that takes courage. It takes determination. It takes grit. And actually it takes collaboration, which I think we’ve all become really very good at as a community here in Philadelphia. In fact, I hear it all the time, that Philadelphia during the pandemic, we all came together as a group more than any other of the big cities out there.” 

She added, “Together, we can be doers and dreamers who are committed to advancing the Urban Affairs Coalition's mission and vision to make Philadelphia communities a place where we can all live and work and play.” 

Susan Jacobson, winner of the Living Legacy Award, delivering her acceptance speech. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News
Susan Jacobson, winner of the Living Legacy Award, delivering her acceptance speech. Photo credit: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

The UAC was founded in 1969 as The Philadelphia Urban Coalition. The organization’s mission is to unite “government, business, neighborhoods, and individual initiative to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities, and solve emerging issues.”

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