Trevor Noah honored at The Opportunity Network’s 20-year Anniversary Gala

Trevor Noah honored at The Opportunity Network's 20-year Anniversary Gala

Comedian, best-selling author, producer, and philanthropist, Trevor Noah; Anré Williams, CEO, American Express National Bank & Group President, Enterprise Services, American Express; and Blue Owl and Michael Rees, Co-Founder and Co-President of Blue Owl and OppNet Board Member, along with The Opportunity Network President & CEO, AiLun Ku, President and COO of Bad Robot and Co-Founder of The Opportunity Network, Brian Weinstein and The Opportunity Network Co-Founder, Jessica Pliska. The evening was MCed by NBA champion and analyst, Richard Jefferson. Special guests included Gayle King, Corey Gamble, Scott Mills, Jay Brown, Steve Stoute among others.

The Opportunity Network (OppNet) hosted its 20th Anniversary Night of Opportunity Gala to honor their students’ stories and achievements and celebrate leaders who have committed to expanding inclusion, opportunity, and access in critical ways.

More than 1,400 guests attended last night’s fundraiser raising over four million dollars to go towards OppNet’s mission of closing the opportunity gap that exists for students of color that have been historically underrepresented.

The night featured cocktails, dinner, and speeches from OppNet President & CEO, AiLun Ku, night’s honorees as well as a special award presented to two of their student fellowsas well as special micro-biopic about Funmi Joy Akinfenwa.

“One of my favorite ways to think of opportunity is a possibility to make progress,” says Trevor Noah, comedian, best-selling author, producer, and philanthropist. “How do we get better? To see yourself beyond yourself. Deconstruct yourself to your core parts, what makes you who you are, and find people like that because they will walk the path that you did.”

“I truly believe that there are many, many talented young people in the world, who just need access, opportunity, and inspiration to reach their full potential. I am a huge fan of The Opportunity Network, because this program makes a difference in the lives of talented young people who just need a network that backs them along the way” said Anré Williams, CEO, American Express National Bank & Group President, Enterprise Services, American Express upon receiving his honor.

“We are very proud of the success and hope to expand The Opportunity Network to other industries in the coming year” said Michael Rees, Co-Founder and Co-President of Blue Owl and OppNet Board Member. “OppNet fills this growing gap, and builds upon compounding headwinds and turns them into compounding tailwinds for these amazing young people.”

Trevor Noah honored at The Opportunity Network's 20-year Anniversary Gala

Since OppNet was founded in 2003, they have remained committed to igniting the drive, curiosity, and agency of underrepresented students on their paths to and through college and into thriving careers.

As a result, 92% of OppNet Fellows have graduated college – 90% of whom will be the first in their families to do so – and 89% have started meaningful careers or graduate study within six months of graduation, all far exceeding national trends.

Through its founding NYC-based Fellows program as well as its national capacity-building partnerships with 100+ schools and youth-serving nonprofits across the country, OppNet has helped more than 150,000+ young people chart their self-determined path to and through college and to a best-fit career.

For more information on The Opportunity Network visit https://opportunitynetwork.org/.

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