By Eric Moody, Philadelphia Tribune Correspondent

The Urban Affairs Coalition Networking Breakfast event celebrated its 48th Anniversary at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia and recognized the 2017 Urban Affairs Coalition Award honorees.

More than 800 guests who are all decision-makers in business, government and grassroots community organizations were in attendance as they celebrated and honored leaders in the community who helped inspire others through their dedication and accomplishments. 

Kenneth Frazier, Chairman, CEO and President of Merck & Co. Inc., was the recipient of the Doer Award. Created in honor of Edward G. Rendell, former mayor and governor, it recognizes an individual who has made Philadelphia a better place to live, work and play.

“I’m particularly honored to be in the company of so many people so committed to making our community a stronger better more forceful community,” Frazier said.

William Ewing, an attorney, activist and thought leader, received the Living Legacy Award. Inspired by Congressman Dwight Evans it is presented to a visionary policy/political leader who has committed to fostering the Coalition’s goals of improving life chances for youth and young adults; building wealth in urban communities; and strengthening the nonprofit sector.

“I’m really honored to received this award from the Urban Affairs Coalition partially because it’s named for [Rep] Dwight Evans who is a hero of mine,”  Ewing said.

The Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall Blake, President of Independence Blue Cross Foundation, received the Community Leadership Award. This is the 18th year for this award presentation. The Community Leadership Award is presented annually to honor a local community organization and its leader for its contribution to improving the quality of life for residents of the Greater Philadelphia region. It is named in honor of Ernest E. Jones, who has worked to support grassroots organizations.

“I am so proud and so excited,” said Blake. “But again, it’s not about me but all about our community in how we can help make it better and how I can be used to do that.