More than $65,000 was collected at the Youngstown 'Sky Show.'
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A nationally syndicated radio show host brought his high-energy party to Youngstown with a purpose: raising money for black colleges and other issues in the black community.
Tom Joyner and his radio crew conducted a live "Sky Show" broadcast Friday from Edward W. Powers Auditorium with singer James Brown as the featured guest.
More than 2,000 Mahoning Valley residents took in the free show and the Tom Joyner Foundation took in the donations, many from local businesses.
Corporate sponsors holding large cardboard checks of varying amounts took to the stage throughout the broadcast. Tom Joyner Jr., head of the foundation started by his father, said more than $65,000 in cash, four computers and five sets of Goodyear tires were donated at the Youngstown "Sky Show."
A different college or university is selected each month by the foundation. Funds from Friday's "Sky Show" will go to students at Cheyney State College, Cheyney, Pa.
Michael May, manager of Boardman Red Lobster, and his wife, Kathy, manager of the Niles Red Lobster, were on hand with a donation of $5,000 from local Red Lobster restaurants.
Michael May said the company donates 50 cents from certain entrees sold in the restaurants at different times of the year for charitable events.
Herb Washington, owner of 21 McDonald's restaurants in the area, said sponsoring the show's visit and making a donation was necessary because of what the show represents. He donated $5,000.
"I think that what Tom Joyner represents and brings to the community is exactly what we need here in Youngstown," he said.
Besides raising money for black colleges and universities, the show has expanded to address other needs in the black community such as voter registration and health care. Joyner said the objective is to address as many needs as possible in the community.
The expansion into health issues is what prompted Humility of Mary Health Partners to make a $5,000 donation. Efforts made by the show are essential in dealing with disparities in black health, said Elaine Wilson, HMHP representative.
"We are making this donation because Tom Joyner is focused on issues concerning health care and closing the health gap facing African Americans and other minorities," said Michael Rowan, HMHP president and CEO.
Joyner said his "party with a purpose" weekly broadcast is a throwback to what black radio broadcast did in the past. He said modern technology has allowed him to take his cause around the world.
The foundation raises between $2 million and $3 million annually for various universities and colleges.