Invitation to N’DIGO Foundation Gala – Meet the Honorees

This year the N’DIGO Foundation Gala celebrates 20 years of service. We have sent nearly 300 deserving kids to college so far. Join us and support scholarships at A Jazzy Evening for Scholarships this Sunday evening.

Scholarship students have attended schools throughout the United States, like Yale, Harvard, University of Chicago, Morehouse, Spellman, Roosevelt University, Chicago State, University of Michigan, Northwestern, Alcorn and many many more. It is so rewarding to meet the graduates who are now pursuing their careers as doctors, lawyers, entertainers, journalists and bankers. Paying it forward is marvelous and we ask that you help us more than ever to send deserving students to college. Education transforms. Education is the economics of our lives. Help us share that gift with deserving students.

We have another tradition of recognizing Chicagoans that make a difference in our lives in the great city.

Watch the videos and meet this year’s honorees:

Karen Lewis

Karen Lewis is being awarded the N’Education Award. She comes from a family of teachers. She taught chemistry for 22 years at King College Prep and Lane Technical High Schools before becoming the president of the Chicago Teachers Union. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College where she was the only African-American woman in her class with a degree in sociology and music. She is nationally recognized as a union leader fighting for the rights of teachers and students. She is a committed formidable force for public education.

Pastor John Hannah

Pastor John Hannah is being awarded the N’Relgion Award. His congregation, New Life Covenant Church, is 19,000 strong, where the members are mostly under 35 years old. In his own words he says , he is unique. His worship service is life changing, dynamic and delivers a powerful message. He is known as the Pastor of “second chances and the unchurched.” He was the Youth Pastor of a local church before forming his own. He worked for years as a Juvenile Probation Officer. He hosted, “The John Hannah Morning Show” for Clear Channel for 13 years where it was Chicago’s top Gospel Program. New Life operates two multi-million dollars facilities on the South Side of the city. He is building a new church, “The Temple” which will host social services for the Grand Crossing Community at 78th & Dobson. Pastor Hannah travels the country with his dynamic youth message.

Alex Pissios

Alex Pissios is being awarded the N’Business Award. Alex follows his uncle Nick’s footsteps. Mr. Mirkopoulos was the founder of the Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto. Uncle Nick suggested to Alex that he should open a studio in Chicago as the real estate market was taking a downward turn. The idea changed his life. He opened Cinespace Chicago Film Studios by buying a steel-processing plant in one of Chicago’s dilapidated communities, in Lawndale. He purchased the site for $18 million and turned it into a Hollywood-like studio. He brought the movie industry to Chicago. Today, he prospers with a nearly $400 million dollar business where TV shows like the ever popular “Empire,” “Chicago Fire” Chicago PD are filmed. Some people opened up a business, Alex opened up an industry. He is community oriented and has literally walked the street taking people off the street and hiring them for jobs at Cinespace business and providing educational opportunities in the film industry to local youth.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is receiving the N’Media Award. He is the freelance journalist who sued the City of Chicago to get the Laquan McDonald shooting video released. He is a freelance new age journalist using social media and blogging as his media platforms. He is an independent journalist. As an activist journalist he was persistent and insistent in asking the right questions of the powers to be on the release of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was not allowed in a critical press conference on the subject because he did not have “proper credentials.” The judge ruled in Brandon’s favor and the video was released.


Learn more about the N’DIGO Foundation Gala CLICK HERE. N’DIGO Foundation is a 501(c)3 that sends Chicago kids to college.

Hermene Hartman

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