Heed Magazine was in the house at the 2014 Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation Gala at the Chicago Hilton. Our Chicago entertainment and philanthropy correspondent Alisha Lola Jones has the scoop on the charity of the spring.

New Chicago residents and power couple Steve and Marjorie Harvey hosted an evening of empowerment and entertainment. Award-winning entertainer and talk show host Steve Harvey and his wife, philanthropist Marjorie Harvey endeavored to make a difference in the lives of youth nationwide illustrating the SMH Foundation’s Power of Three that they instill in youths: Potential, Passion and Purpose.

The gala was hosted by Steve Harvey and Michelle Relerford (WMAQ), the gala featured a live performance by Grammy-nominated artist KEM and his new Detroit-based artist L’Renee. The foundation will honor Chicago activist/Pastor Corey Brooks, philanthropists/entrepreneurs Magic Johnson and Cookie Johnson, movie executive Clint Culpepper, and executive/author Steve Pemberton, with the “Helping Hand Award.” Honorees were friends and colleagues, people who they have observed doing the work. They give the honor as their way of saying, “We understand and appreciate what you are doing.”

According to Steve Harvey, “For us this work is almost necessary, we really couldn’t see ourselves not doing it. Our parents raised us the same way. When God blesses you, you become a blessing. You can’t make money, get up at the top and not show anyone else how to do it. You can’t do that… The earlier you can capture people, the better you can have an effect. It seems daunting – the murder and violence rate is so high… Eventually, it will get done.”

When Heed asked Steve and Marjorie what can young powerful couples do to get involved in philanthropy?

Marjorie Harvey responded, “Anybody can give back. Even if you don’t have the money, you can give your time. It is a lot of work to be done. And if you are willing to do it, please understand that someone can benefit from it every single time.”

Steve added,  “Let me say this, people have to stop dumping the emphasis on celebrities because celebrities can’t be the foot soldiers – they don’t have the time. The real work is done by the ground soldiers who live in these communities. We get the press because we are famous. I get it. We can do a big event like this because we got some money. That’s all it is. The real work happens with the people on the ground. And I don’t want people to think that because they can’t throw an event like this that they can’t be effective. If every man that was a father would just be a daddy, there would be no need for this. That is not the case. And since it is not the case, those of us who are good men and women, raised by single parents reach back and grab these boys and girls teach them something else. Make a difference. We can all make a difference but we are all waiting for someone with money to throw a program.”

Heed was also able to get a sense from Brandi Harvey, who is the executive director of the SMH Foundation’s programming. They have been doing boys mentoring camp at Chicago State University for three years. The girls mentoring is expanding nationally in September. Brandi is committed to a family legacy of “service and meeting the needs of God’s people. Young people will have something to live up to and dream, strive, thrive, and become something wonderful. There are so many examples of what you can being that aren’t so wonderful. We want to expose our young people to the beautiful and successful things. You don’t have to be in entertainment. As long you are an upstanding citizen, you abide by the law, believe in a higher power, and the power of dreaming – potential, passion, and purpose.”

This year’s gala includes support from Influence Sponsor Coca-Cola, Empower Sponsor State Farm, Motivate Sponsors Essence, Neiman Marcus, Premiere Networks, Morgan Stanley, Endemol, Inspire Sponsors Walgreens, BET Networks, Hillshire Brands, Garrett Popcorn, Joan Boyce Ltd. Fine Jewelry, JRW Design, American Express, In-Kind Sponsors NBCUniversal, Monster Products, and more. Past “Helping Hand Award” honorees included Denzel Washington, Chris and Malaak Rock, Tyler Perry, Spike and Tonya Lee, BET’s Debra Lee, State Farm’s Pamela El, Harlem Children’s Zone’s Geoffrey Canada, NASCAR champs Richard and Kyle Petty, Capital Prep’s Dr. Steve Perry, and Ford Motor Company’s Alan Mulally.


For more information visit the foundation at www.smharveyfoundation.org.

All Photos © 2014 Getty Images