Tony Clark honored as a DreamBuilder


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It was quite a lively and inspiring scene this afternoon at the non-profit A Better Chance's annual awards luncheon, held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City and emceed by CNBC reporter, Bertha Coombs.  Hundreds of supporters turned out to cheer on several worthy award winners, including high school-aged scholars and national business leaders, including MLBPA Executive Director, Tony Clark, the recipient of the DreamBuilder Award.

Before Tony received his honor, presented annually to a leader who has demonstrated a commitment to helping talented young people achieve their dreams, the crowd was awed by Ahmadu Simpson and Amari Dennis, a pair of high school students and A Better Chance Scholars on hand to be recognized for their perseverance and leadership.

Ahmadu and Amari were among several high school students being honored by A Better Chance this year.  A Better Chance is the largest and only national organization of its kind.  For nearly 55 years, it has worked to change the life trajectory of academically talented youth of color by providing access to rigorous educational opportunities through its College Preparatory Schools Program. 

When it was time for Tony to be honored, the work of A Better Chance took center stage, literally, as the award was presented by Xavier James, an alum of the non-profit's scholar program.  While growing up in New York, A Better Chance allowed Xavier an opportunity to leave the Bronx to pursue an education at a Massachusetts boarding school.  Today, Xavier is the founder and president of the James Group, a company that specializes in contract negotiations in the sports and entertainment industries.  Xavier also serves as a business and legal consultant for the MLBPA.

 “I can personally testify that Tony has a commitment to young people of color that is the essence of the DreamBuilder Award,” stated Xavier when introducing Tony. 

“I'm as excited as I've ever been to be a part of something as special as A Better Chance and what A Better Chance is doing,” remarked Tony upon receiving his award.  “This foundation, continuing to do what it has been doing, providing support to those who have dreams and aspirations as we all had as kids, make it exciting for us to be connected with them today and we look forward to being a part of it in the future.

“There's value and power in personal investment, especially when you listen to those kids who are directly affected, you realize how powerful and impactful A Better Chance has been. That level of support is what allows you as a kid to continue to dream and work hard toward a goal.  Oftentimes kids are not given that opportunity or the encouragement, so being here and seeing it and hearing it makes it personal to me and I'm excited about working with them in the future.”

Previous DreamBuilder Award winners include Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts; Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Tracy Chapman.

A Better Chance supports more than 2,000 academically talented students annually at 348 of the nation's most rigorous and prestigious boarding, day and public schools. Since 1963, A Better Chance has transformed more than 15,000 bright young people into our country's leaders in all sectors of industry, science and the arts.

To learn more about A Better Chance, please visit

To view more photos from the event, click here