(From left to right: N. Scott Phillips; Edwin Avent; and W. Drew Hawkins)
A note from Founder, Edwin Avent:
It seems like only yesterday that a group of relatively young, ambitious and civic minded African American men gathered together for a fundraiser and conversation with the first elected Black mayor of Baltimore City, The Honorable Kurt L. Schmoke. The mayor challenged Edwin Avent, N. Scott Phillips, and Drew Hawkins to figure out a way to come together and organize so that there could be a more effective way in making things happen for our community. N. Scott Phillips and Edwin Avent left that meeting together and committed to each other that they would follow through on the mayor’s call to action. After a series of meetings with other men that were at the meeting, one of the others joined them, W. Drew Hawkins. Together, Edwin Avent, N, Scott Phillips, and Drew Hawkins incorporated Black Professional Men, Inc.
Over the 22 years that has followed BPM’s founding, nearly 500 different men have participated as members of our organization and we have mentored, nurtured or spoken to over 2,500 young people, mostly young African American males throughout the city. BPM started out by becoming mentors at Lombard Middle School in East Baltimore then we added Greenspring Middle School on the western side of the city. Since then we have spoken at over 20 schools, recreation centers, detention centers and camps. We’ve also advocated on behalf of boys caught up in the legal and foster care system.
We have partnered with numerous organizations whose mission it is to help the men of the city. We’ve donated time to do mock job interviews, resume preparation and motivational speaking. We’ve donated clothing to help men be prepared for job interviews. We’ve provided listening ears to those who needed to share their story and tried to provide comfort when support was needed.
Over 20 years ago, BPM started the Rays of Hope Awards and Scholarship Breakfast which led to the creation of the BPM Scholars Program led by our resident “Head Mentor in Charge,” Brother Rod Carter. We have recognized some of the most outstanding Black men in the city’s history with the Rays of Hope Awards. These men have been trailblazers and role models in their respective fields and it’s been an honor to let them know that their work has been appreciated. The Rays of Hope Scholarship winners who are now known as BPM Scholars have been some of the most outstanding young men that the Baltimore region has produced. From university valedictorians to Rhodes Scholars, we have been blessed with having greatness cross our awards breakfast stage.
In essence we have done our best to live up to our motto, “To Ensure the Future of the African-American Male.”