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The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Scholarship Committee of Cleveland, Ohio is an independent, tax-exempt, grass roots organization of volunteers who live and work in the Greater Cleveland and communities beyond Northeast Ohio .

The mission of the MLK Holiday Scholarship Committee is to encourage and to facilitate the celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to pass on his legacy to the next generation, to highlight the creative genius of our youth, and to honor an adult whose work in and commitment to the Greater Cleveland Community brings us closer to Dr. King’s ideal of “The Beloved Community”.

This mission is implemented via the Community Breakfast Celebration and student initiatives. Members of the Greater Cleveland/Northeast Ohio Community are invited to attend the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast Celebration™, held on the third Monday in January. The highlights of the Breakfast are

  • the presentation of the “MLK Holiday Scholars”
  • the “In the Footsteps of Dr. King”™ Adult Honoree
  • the Keynote Address.

The “MLK Holiday Scholars” are students in Grades 1-12 who entered the “Happy Birthday Dr. King!”© Birthday Card Contest and won their grade category. More than 12,000 students have participated in this contest during the past seventeen years, and have created birthday cards in honor of Dr. King.

During the Breakfast, the MLK Scholars are presented to the Community and awarded scholarships, trophies and other prizes. The “In the Footsteps of Dr. King”™ honor is awarded to an adult whose life and work make the Greater Cleveland Community a better place in which to live and work. The Corporate and Business Communities of Cleveland are invited to participate in the Breakfast Celebration by serving as Corporate and Advertising Partners of the MLK Committee.

Proceeds from these donations are used to fund the MLK Scholarships and make donations to community organizations. Recipients of MLK Committee donations include

  • American Sickle Cell Anemia Association
  • The Barbara Byrd-Bennett Foundation for Cleveland's Children
  • Extended Family Program
  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
  • The First Tee of Cleveland
  • Friendly Inn Settlement, Inc.
  • Friends of the Cleveland Library
  • The Hampton School of Business
  • Hurricane Katrina Relief Funds
  • Karamu House
  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, in Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Sara J. Harper Leadership Academy
  • The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund
  • The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project
  • The YWCA of Cleveland/Teen Services

Based on Committee recommendation, donations are given to organizations that work to improve the quality of life, especially for children.

Past Keynote Speakers of the Annual Breakfast include:

  • James-Michael Johnson - Linebacker, Cleveland Browns.
  • Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Dr. Julian M. Earls, Director of NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Ms. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland (Ohio) Municipal School District
  • Rev. Edward P. Harding, Jr., Pastor of Prince George’s Community Presbyterian Church in Springdale, MD
  • Rev. Otis Moss III, Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia
  • Rev. William E. Flippin Sr., Pastor of The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA
  • Ms. Danita Harris, Anchor, NewsChannel 5/ABC – Cleveland.

The theme of the MLK Committee is “Celebrating the life, work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”™

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