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  • Chris Ilitch Accepts Role as Senior Corporate Chair
  • 68th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner to take Place June 25 

Continuing a 34-year legacy of supporting the Detroit Branch NAACP, Chris Ilitch, CEO,  Ilitch Companies, accepted the role of Senior Corporate Chair of the 68th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner at the Passing of the Gavel an event held earlier this week at The Roostertail. 

The Freedom Fund Dinner, the largest sit-down dinner in the world, will take place on June 25 at Huntington Place, culminating a weekend-long commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Walk, led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on Woodward Avenue in 1963.  

“I’m honored that my chairmanship occurs during the anniversary year of the Walk to Freedom. While much has been accomplished since 1963, we still have much more to do to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” said Ilitch. “I am excited about working together now – because this is our time to make progress and impact the lives of this generation and others to come.”

At the Passing of the Gavel event, Ilitch accepted the corporate chair’s gavel from outgoing Senior Corporate Chair, Gary Torgow, chairman of Huntington National Bank. Additionally, Charity Dean, president and CEO of the Metro Black Business Association, accepted the Senior Community Chair gavel from Ray Curry, president of the UAW., 

“We are excited to have Chris serve as Senior Corporate Chair,” said Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch NAACP. “Remembering the words of Mike Ilitch, ‘One person can have a tremendous effect on a team.’  As a leader in our community Chris will bring a high level of determination to ensure our team success for the Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner.”

Mike Ilitch, who, along with his wife Marian Ilitch, founded Little Caesars, held the Detroit Branch NAACP Senior Corporate Chair position in 1989, and the following year Little Caesar Enterprises was named a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Guests at the Passing of the Gavel event this week included NAACP board members, dinner committee members, elected officials and others. To underscore Ilitch Companies’ small business legacy, each attendee received a gift box featuring curated items from Detroit-based Black-owned businesses, including some of those who have partnered with the Ilitch organization to pop up at Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena over the past year. 

Tickets for the 68th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner will be available for purchase at https://www.detroitnaacp.org.