How Thomas Dortch Jr. taught Black capitalists to lead with heart

The mentor and light for many will be missed
How Thomas Dortch Jr. taught Black capitalists to lead with heart
(Photo courtesy of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.)

Thomas Dortch, Jr. left Atlanta, the South and the Black community in a better spot than he found it after he died at 72 on Feb. 16. Dortch, the accomplished businessman, was even more known for his mentorship efforts highlighted by becoming a chairman of 100 Black Men of America.

His work as a chairman was an example of his official mentoring, as 100 Black men is a non-profit organization focused on mentoring and providing scholarships for young Black men. Outside of 100 Black Men of America, Dortch mentored a number of Black business leaders across Atlanta and the world.

“We launched our newspaper, met him at an event and asked if he would meet with us,” On Common Ground News publisher Glenn L. Morgan said, according to OCG News. “I was surprised he gave me his number without any hesitation and set up an appointment. He was very down to earth and helpful. He is a giant who will definitely be missed. Rest well, Tommy. Thanks for all you did.”

Dortch was also a friend to modern Black business moguls like John Hope Bryant.

“Tommy Dortch was more than an influential business leader — he was also a man of man of impact with purpose and movement in the community,” Bryant tweeted. “My condolences and prayers go out to Carole, the family and all who loved him.”

In capitalistic society where all things are about the “bottom line,” Dortch recognized his purpose was larger than that. When he died, the Atlanta Public School Superintendent, Lisa Herring, paid her respects. He left a true mark on Atlanta’s youth and the Black youthful generation in large.

While Dortch worked with different business organizations throughout his life, he also raised nearly $100 million for 100 Black Men of America, according to GPB. The organization’s Atlanta office is headquartered on Auburn Avenue, and the building is named after him.

Dortch’s heart and passion for pouring back into the community cannot be separated by his ability to successfully do business. In helping Atlanta become the juggernaut it is today, it took Dortch’s ability to connect with others to get some of the deals he did completed.

“In matters of equity, not too much happened here that Tommy wasn’t involved in,” Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens said. “Tommy was a connector and a facilitator. He knew how to get the right people together to make something good happen for Atlanta.”

Dortch proved you can be respected in respected areas of professionalism while remaining a considerate human.

His funeral is set for 11 a.m. on Feb. 25 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest.

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