Tag Archives: 100 Black Men of Madison

Project 3000, A Community Response to COVID-19

After receiving our club’s 2020 Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award in our November 18 meeting, our fellow Rotarian Floyd Rose spoke about Project 3000: A Community Response to COVID-19.

In response to the pandemic, most area schools last spring turned to virtual learning for the foreseeable future. This transition has presented significant challenges for children and parents, especially those limited-income families with little experience or access to computer-based education.

Dr. Rose explained that 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc., in collaboration with strategic partners in the community, launched Project 3000 to provide technical and conventional solutions to a targeted group of 3,000 low-income families in our community who have been particularly challenged by the abrupt transition to virtual learning. He noted that Rotarians Charles Tubbs and Willy Larkin serve with him on the organization’s board of directors.

100 Black Men of Madison has a legacy of helping youngsters start the school year right. Project 3000 grew out of the organization’s “Backpacks for Success” program, which has provided more than 38,000 free backpacks filled with school supplies to area at-risk youth over the past 25 years. Because of the pandemic, the organization enhanced the project by offering additional forms of support.

Through another program, partners 100 Black Men of Madison and the Urban League of Dane County already provide one-on-one mentoring and wrap-around support services for middle-school students. This year Project 3000 has applied this kind of assistance to kids from kindergarten through high school. The project works to serve the whole child in this special time, Dr. Rose explained, by providing technical support as well as mentoring and educational opportunities for parents. Nutrition is also a focus because school has long been a place where low-income children receive healthy meals.

The efforts of 100 Black Men are making a difference in our community. The Madison chapter helped area high school students win the national organization’s 2020 championship in the “Dollars and $ense” financial literacy program. Each participating student will receive a $4,500 scholarship for their first year of college.

In addition to virtual learning and financial literacy, 100 Black Men focuses on health and wellness for children and their families. Dr. Rose stressed the need for factual communication, and said the group has produced written and virtual communications by experts on such topics as: COVID-19 and high school athletics; talking to your kids about COVID-19; successful virtual learning; and the state of COVID-19 developments.

Dr. Rose said the work of 100 Black Men of Madison is predicated on the four pillars of respect for families, justice, integrity and spirituality. He said this is compatible with Rotary’s 4-Way Test and with the values of Rabbi Manfred E. Swarsensky, who wanted everyone to feel special, to feel they are valued and that they belong.

Our thanks to Floyd Rose for his presentation this week and to Andrea Kaminski for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/HdUALJNFij4.

2020 Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award Recipient is Fellow Rotarian Floyd Rose

Presented by Joyce Bromley – Nov. 18, 2020

Today we honor the memory of Rabbi Manfred E. Swarsensky, a beloved member of our Club until his death in 1981.  He was admired as a leader for inter-faith dialogue, religious tolerance, and civil rights.  Before coming to Madison he had a brilliant career as a Rabbi in Berlin where he was famous for his sermons, until the Nazis burned down his synagogue and sent him to a concentration camp.  Many of his family members and friends were victims of the Holocaust.  He was released.  At 39 years old and alone, he came to Madison and founded Temple Beth El.  We, as well as the Madison community, came to admire him and respect him for his dedicated leadership to peacemaking and forgiveness, for building bridges and reconciliation.  Each year we designate an award to someone who emanates the Rabbi’s ideals. 

This year’s Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award recipient is Dr. Floyd Rose. For decades his active voice in education in the Madison Community has been his avocation—always working in partnerships to help others do better for themselves.  As Dawn Crim stated, “his passion work is education and his support of the next generation.”  He seeks to find solutions with the Madison Metropolitan School District and families surrounding the persistent educational achievement gap between white students and students of color. 

As President of 100 Black Men of Madison, he sees that members of this organization are role models for the community.  They attend schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District on the first day of class to welcome students and their parents to the school year.  In preparation for school, for 26 years they have led the “Annual Back to School Celebration” campaign providing free backpacks AND school supplies for students from limited-income families.  When schools transitioned to virtual education, the backpack project promptly transitioned into Project 3000, which represents the 3000 local students in families with limited incomes.

The tasks before them were immediate.  Dr. Rose recognized that virtual learning at home requires more than a student and a laptop.  The entire family needs to be supported in their student’s academic pursuits.  Parents and caregivers require resources necessary to facilitate learning.  Families need technical and guidance support   Project 3000 works with families to ensure that each student has an internet installation and access—and a plan to sustain service and utilities.  When appropriate, parents, caregivers, and students are provided with basic computer training.  This support includes mentoring, educational coaching, and tutoring.  Dr. Rose recognized that this level of attention is important to ensure that all school-age students have the necessary educational support to be successful. 

This endeavor is in addition to the SOAR partnership with 100 Black Men of Madison and the United Way of Dane County that began in 2016.  This comprehensive program is designed to decrease truancy rates and increase high school graduation rates.  It begins with one-on-one mentoring of students in middle school and continues through high school.   These projects require a substantial commitment to the benefit of others—for the next generation.

I will conclude with a quote from Bob Sorge who wrote of Dr. Rose—he is an excellent embodiment of … the social justice advocacy, personal insight, and empathy reflected by the work and life of Rabbi Swarsensky. 

Our congratulations to Dr. Floyd Rose on receiving this year’s Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award.  Along with this award, a $2,500 grant is presented by the Madison Rotary Foundation to an agency of the recipient’s choice.  Dr. Rose has chosen our annual Community Grants Campaign to receive this grant.  

The Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Service Award was established in 1982 and identifies individuals who have, through their voluntary efforts, made a particularly outstanding contribution to the humanitarian service in the greater Madison community, in the tradition so well exemplified by the life of Rabbi Swarsensky.   The award-winning documentary video, “A Portrait: Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky,” that was created and produced by Rotarian Dick Goldberg with assistance by Wisconsin Public Television, provides background on Manfred Swarsensky and can be viewed on YouTube, and the Rotary office also has a copy of the video for any member wishing to view it.