The question to many of you is Who is Donald S. Carter? Carter was a deputy director at the Small Business Administration who died, but his sense of commitment still lives on.
Don also is one of the unbelievable numbers of people across this nation who are not household names, but did an incredible job in making it possible for Blacks, Whites, women and all minorities to have a share in the American Dream of being successful entrepreneurs.
Don was the kind of person who never saw his role as a job, but a mission and he would go above and beyond to help a business succeed and hopefully grow to a larger business.
Don had been bypassed by the system when the director position became vacant and it was natural that he was disappointed, but it never affected his deep commitment to helping those who needed his expertise.
I was fortunate in 1996 to meet Don and we became friends almost instantly because it was apparent to me that he possessed the three qualities that I loved—caring, concern and committed to action.
On Oct. 2, I was extremely proud to receive the Donald S. Carter Lifetime Achievement Award and there was a wonderful turnout. It would be impossible to name all the people who had expressions of gratitude for Don for a job well done, however I would be remiss if I failed to mention three people, who in conjunction with others, were the driving force for the affair. They are Barbara Fisher, newly appointed deputy director of the SBA; Ed Green, Allegheny County Port Authority and Benjamin W. Butler, executive director of MBOC (Minority Business Opportunity Committee).
The keynote speaker was Chuck Sanders, a local success story, who delivered an inspiring message. He spoke about his deceased father who was a legend in the trucking business and how inspirational his father was to him. Secondly, he focused on the overwhelming importance of giving back, and he concluded his message by addressing a number of youths in attendance by reminding them that all things are possible and to allow no one to define you.
One thing at the event that stood out was the fact that a number of women presented me with their business cards and explained their business function. There was only one male and he and his wife were partners in an electrical company. The question that I am compelled to ask are women becoming more entrepreneurial than men?
For example, I happened to run into Shirley Muhammad, the founder and executive director of “Your Sister’s Project.” I asked her that question and she hesitated for a moment. Her answer was that she really could only answer for herself and that she has an overwhelming sense of concern and urgency for her people and she is driven to improve their quality of life. Shirley continued by explaining some of the functions of “Your Sister’s Project”. It teaches males and females how to do taxes and get paid. Their most recent project will be held Oct. 12. It is a double workshop on how to obtain a 501(c3) and if you already have a one how to share in the $780 billion from President Obama’s Stimulus Recovery. She concluded the conversation by providing me with a card with the phone number 412-377-3358 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)