Citing its contributions to the community, the Madison Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has honored the founders of FoxValley365 with the Community Impact Award for 2019. The founders of the nonprofit community news site FoxValley365, covering communities of color throughout Northeast Wisconsin, also founded Madison365 in 2015. Madison365 will be honored during the Deltas’ 23rd Annual Heart & Soul Scholarship Ball on February 9.
In a letter to Madison365 CEO Henry Sanders, Chapter President Terri Strong wrote that Madison365, a nonprofit community news outlet, was being recognized “In honor of Madison365’s distinguished contributions to the Madison community and continuous support of our organization.”
Madison365 joins Women in Focus, which promotes educational excellence for children and youth of color in the Madison area, and Black Women Heal, an international movement started in Madison to raise awareness of the impact of sexual abuse on African American women, in receiving honors.
“Madison365 was chosen because of all of the hard work that the members in our organization have seen you all contribute to the Madison community,” Heart and Soul Ball Co-chair Tyler Henderson said in an interview.
“We look for organizations that complements the mission (of Delta Theta Sigma),” said chapter president Terri Strong. “Your organization was one of those that kind of rose to the top (because of) the work that it goes into this publication that you do every day. You guys are really very diligent in what you are doing. You want to get the information out there that’s going to benefit mostly people of color, but whoever else reads the publication. It’s a lot of work and we appreciate it.”
“Honestly, this is a very humbling honor,” said Sanders. “The Deltas truly embody commitment to community, so for them to recognize our contributions this way really touches my heart. We started Madison365 to create a space where marginalized voices could be heard, to build bridges between communities and to bring to light the many stories that take place every day in our neighborhoods, stories that hadn’t been told before. It’s truly satisfying for an organization like the Deltas to say, ‘We see you.’ We are truly grateful.”
“I know it’s a grind,” Strong said. “I’ve known (Editor in Chief) David Dahmer for a number of years and he’s a hard worker, he’ll do whatever it takes to get the story and make himself available,” Strong said.
Sanders cofounded Madison365 in 2015. Madison365’s news and analysis now reaches about one million people per month and it is the leading publication for people of color in the Midwest. The organization cohosted the first Wisconsin Leadership Summit in October last year to gather leaders of color from around the state to address issues important to workforce development and the state’s need to attract and retain talented people of color.
The organization also launched FoxValley365 on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, earlier this week, to cover communities of color in Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton, Green Bay and surrounding communities.
Madison365 will be honored during the Deltas’ 23rd Annual Heart & Soul Scholarship Ball, which will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 7 to 11 pm. It is taking place at Monona Terrace for the first time. Entertainment will be provided by Rick Flowers Trio and DJ Ace, also known as YWCA Madison CEO Vanessa McDowell, herself a Delta Sigma Theta member.
“It’s going to be beautiful and we want people to come out and enjoy themselves,” Strong said. “It should be good. People should be on the dance floor all night.”
Tickets are on sale now for $35 for students, $45 for individuals or $75 for couples. All tickets are $60 at the door. Proceeds will fund scholarships for Madison high school seniors going to college next fall. Organizers expect more than 200 people to attend and hope to raise as much as $10,000 for scholarships.
“Tickets are going fast, but there are still some available,” Strong says.