Delaware Valley Organizations Help Build Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC

  • October 10, 2007

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The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. announced today that CNN's Soledad O'Brien will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies and Stephanie Mills will perform at a November 14th Philadelphia "Dream Dinner to support the building of a memorial to Dr. King on the National Mall.  The dinner, part of a series of Dream Dinners which have been scheduled nationwide, will take place at the National Constitution Center.

CIGNA has taken an active role in garnering support for the Memorial in the Delaware Valley and is taking a lead role in the Dream Dinner.  In January, CIGNA became the first Philadelphia-based major donor to the Foundation with a contribution of $1 million. 

"All of us at CIGNA are proud and gratified to help bring the 'Dream Dinner' celebration to Philadelphia," said H. Edward Hanway, chairman and CEO of CIGNA Corporation.  "We want to do all that we can to make Dr. King's dream a reality in our home city by honoring his legacy of equality, service, respect and strength of community."
 
In September, The Pew Charitable Trusts--also based in Philadelphia--committed $1 million to the Foundation for construction of the memorial and the Visitor's Center.

“We are proud to support this planned memorial honoring Dr. King's life and his many legacies as a civil rights leader and international champion for peace,” said Rebecca Rimel, President and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts.  “We hope others will join in supporting the endeavor, and that it inspires Americans to learn about Dr. King's commitment to social justice and equality for all.”

CIGNA's Chairman and CEO H. Edward Hanway will serve as the Dinner Chair.  The Honorary Host Committee includes:  U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, Mayor John F. Street, and Mayoral Candidate Michael Nutter.  Announcements regarding additional celebrity entertainment will be forthcoming. 

CIGNA is also taking a leadership role in a series of community-based events involving local organizations leading up to the November 14th Dream Dinner. The first one, hosted by the Main Line Adult Center, will take place in Bryn Mawr on October 17th; UrbanPhilly.com Professional Network will host an October 19th networking mixer at Haru in Old City; and Point Breeze Performing Arts Center will host a Jazz Night at IKEA Philadelphia on November 1st. These events are designed to raise awareness about the Memorial in the city of Philadelphia and to provide every member of the community with the opportunity to support this significant national and historic project.

The Philadelphia campaign for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial will also include “Philadelphia Young Dreamers”.  Dreamers are young people from across the Delaware Valley – facing overwhelming odds but inspired by the legacy of Dr. King and others like him – who are making a difference in the community.  Dreamers will be invited to sit with local business and community leaders to share their stories on a more personal level at the Dream Dinner, and select “Dreamers” will be invited to share their stories through short video presentations that will be shown throughout the evening.  For more information about the community dinners, Dreamers, or CIGNA's involvement, please contact Gloria Rosanio Barone at 215-761-4758.

To date, the Memorial Foundation has raised $84 million out of the needed $100 million for the Memorial.  Major donors in addition to CIGNA and The Pew Charitable Trusts include:  General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, NBA/WNBA, The Walt Disney Company Foundation, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Coca-Cola Foundation, The Ford Motor Fund, Toyota, AARP, AFLAC, BP America, Inc., DuPont, ExxonMobil Foundation, Fannie Mae Corporation, FedEx Corporation, GE, Horowitz Family Foundation, Sheila C Johnson, Lehman Brothers, George Lucas, MacFarlane Partners, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, McDonald's Corporation, National Association of Realtors, National Education Association (NEA), PepsiCo Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., Shell Oil Company, State Farm Insurance, Verizon Foundation, Viacom, Wal-Mart and Morehouse College, among others.

For sponsorship and ticket information, please call Stewart Berger at 1-800-951-9705.

Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
A Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be built on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.  Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a Memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, DC.  The Ceremonial Groundbreaking took place on November 13, 2006 and the Memorial is scheduled to be completed in 2009.  McKissack & McKissack / Turner Construction Company/ Gilford Corporation / Tompkins Builders, Inc. Joint Venture will serve as the Design-Build Team. 

CIGNA
As a Business of Caring, CIGNA (NYSE: CI) provides employers with benefits, expertise and services that improve the health, well-being and productivity of their employees. With approximately 47 million covered lives in the United States and around the world, CIGNA's operating subsidiaries offer a full portfolio of medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits and group life, accident and disability insurance.