Thomas Dortch, Jr., Atlanta civic leader and businessman, died on Feb. 15 at the age of 72. Dortch was the former CEO of 100 Black Men of America and was highly influential in the African American community. For every Black person, there are a few things to know about Dortch and what he’s done.
1. Dortch made history as the first Black man to become the chief administrator for a U.S. Senator.
In 1990, Dortch became the state director and served as chief administrator for Sam Nunn. He was the first African American to serve in this capacity for any U.S. Senator.
2. He also became the first associate director of the Georgia Democratic Party in 1974.
The Democratic Party of Georgia is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is one of the two major political parties in the state.
3. Dortch served as the national chairman of 100 Black Men of America for six terms.
The mission of the 100 Black Men of America is to improve the quality of life by supporting and enhancing educational and economic opportunities for African Americans. The concept of “The 100” began in 1963 in New York City when a group of African American men explored ways of improving conditions in their communities.
4. Throughout his time, he raised nearly $100 million for the corporation over his 20-year tenure.
The majority of the funding for “The 100” comes from corporations, foundations, and individuals such as Dortch. The program also offers scholarships to scholars who are affiliated with the chapter.
5. The businessman founded the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Association Foundation.
The foundation is dedicated to sustaining and growing HBCUs through alumni recognition, scholarships, training and technical assistanc,e and programs to promote humanitarian involvement. Their goal is to advance the reality that HBCUs are valuable treasures and critical resources. Dortch believed in the aim deeply.
6. He co-founded the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.
The Association of Minority Entrepreneurs was founded in 1981 and stands as a local resource to all minority-led businesses and groups. They aim to reduce and eliminate discrimination against minorities.
7. He was also the co-founder of the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance.
The Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance was formed in 2000 as an educational tool to increase the business capacity of small, female minority-owned firms. The Alliance has become the premier communication, outreach, technical assistance and training program geared towards Atlanta’s construction company.
8. He also became an author, writing and publishing the book The Miracles of Mentoring: How to Encourage and Lead Future Generations.
In the book, Dortch shares what you can do to invest in America’s future by mentoring a child. He also outlines the how-tos of successful mentoring. The book was published on May 15, 2001.
9. He was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award was established in 1986 to honor a faculty member, administrator, or staff member for their service in keeping with the principles and ideals of Dr. King. It’s no surprise that the honor was bestowed upon Mr. Dortch.
10. He was also the recipient Concerned Black Clergy’s Salute to Black Fathers Leadership Award.
The Concerned Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta is the primary, proactive, and principle-centered organization comprising mostly of African-American ministers and laity. Their mission is to provide leadership, advocacy, and service to the homeless, helpless, and hopeless in the community. Dortch was a father of five — Bridgette, Mark, Thomas (Jeniece) III, Angel, and Mulu (Zelealem).
With all the work that Dortch had accomplished, awards and recognition came with it, but Dortch graciously picked up all of those accolades in route to his destiny as a pillar of the community and the cornerstone of building organizations, communities and the nation to enhance the quality of life for Black Americans and provide opportunities for addressing and advancing political and social causes.