The son of a former state lawmaker, Dona-van Hudson has always longed to serve his community — just not as a politician.
Hudson found what he was looking for when in 2005 he joined 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, a group dedicated to helping youth through mentoring, academic and other programs.
“Nobody has the credibility the 100 Black Men does,” said Hudson, a lawyer and Southern University Law School graduate. “In too many of our communities, there are assets that are lacking that allow our young men to develop in the way that they should because there’s just nobody there grooming them. That’s where we come in.
“We know better than anybody else by our mere presence to share with them what is possible if they are willing to invest in the right types of choices. We don’t tell them it’s going to be easy.”
Hudson’s service role with the group didn’t get any easier this summer when he accepted the challenge as the 100 Black Men’s vice president of development, putting him in charge of the fundraising efforts.
Hudson said his task is not just about raising money but also about raising awareness of the 100 Black Men’s fine work and expanding programs in the community.
“We want to take ourselves to the next level of operation,” he said. “We’ve been effective, but we want to be on a more businesslike and corporate sort of philanthropic presence.”
To that end, Hudson has helped lead the charge of taking the needs of the city’s most desperate communities to boardrooms and corporations as part of the group’s “100 for 100” campaign. It is a funding model in which the 100 Black Men identified 100 corporate partners to participate in the group’s efforts to carry out its missions in the community.
“We are telling the community not only what we’re doing but how they can help, and help is not just financial,” he said. “We hope to create a template ... for not just black men but the entire community to join us in our efforts to uplift and make a real substantive difference.”
Time and money are needed, Hudson said.
“100 for 100 is a nice, catchy title. If we get 101, we won’t kick anybody out,” he said. “Reasonably, if we get 12 to 15 individuals or organizations to commit to helping us at $10,000 for three years, we’d be happy.”
The 100 for 100 campaign started around Labor Day and has “visits” until early in 2012.
“It’s been wonderful. We got insight into their passion and desire,” Hudson said. “CEOs with all they’re doing are extremely well-versed on what’s going on in the community.”
That Hudson is so passionate about the community service is not surprising. It’s a family tradition. Hudson’s father, Charles “Doc” Hudson, D-Opelousas, served in the Legislature from 1992 until his sudden death in 2004.
“My father believed very, very strongly in the community,” Hudson said. “He believed that if you helped anybody in the community, then the entire community was better and the worst thing you could do was betray public trust.”
The younger Hudson passed on the opportunity to run for his father’s seat.
“I decided rather than go for the office, I think it’s just as important for all citizens to appreciate that officeholders can’t do all things by themselves,” he said. “I could also feel like I could make a difference and it is by joining the 100 Black Men.”
To join the 100 Black Men’s efforts or get other information, call (225) 356-9444 or go to http://www.100blackmenbr.org.
Terry Robinson is a copy editor for The Advocate. He can be reached at (225) 388-0328 or at firstname.lastname@example.org