By AFRO Staff

The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) presented the 16th Annual Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards on Nov. 18 at the American Visionary Arts Museum. This award recognizes exceptional minority, women-owned and majority businesses and executives who nurture the development of minority and women-owned businesses in Greater Baltimore and Maryland. 

Bridging the Gap Achievement Award winners.

This event trailed the untimely death of Baltimore’s hometown hero, Elijah E. Cummings, who was an inspiration for the creation of the Bridging the Gap program and an advocate for minority and women-owned businesses.    

“I had the great pleasure and honor of serving with Representative Cummings in the Maryland House of Delegates and found him to not only be an inspiring colleague to work with on issues, but a man of his word. I have never known a more passionate legislator,” said GBC President and CEO Donald Fry. 

GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry speaking to attendees.

This year, the GBC planned a special tribute to the late congressman to pay homage to the man that they described as “one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time.” As a past recipient of the Howard “Pete” Rawlings Courage in Public Service Award, for his efforts following the death of Freddie Gray, the late congressman is no stranger to the GBC spotlight. For his impeccable service to the City of Baltimore and surrounding areas, the GBC presented the President’s Award to the Honorable Elijah E. Cummings. 

(left to right) GBC award presenter, Jennifer Cummings, daughter of Elijah Cummings, and GBC President and CEO Donald Fry accepting the President’s Award on behalf of the late congressman.

Jennifer Cummings, daughter of the late congressman, accepted the award on behalf of her father as attendees responded with a roaring applause and a standing ovation. Afterwards, Fry made a special announcement to the crowd, saying that from now on, the President’s Award will officially be renamed to the Elijah E. Cummings Leadership in Diversity Award

“He listened, demonstrated understanding, showed compassion, and gained the trust of those in the streets. He was that one person that all reached out to because they knew he had earned the respect of all.” GBC President and CEO Donald Fry said in a statement.