All Hands on Deck: 100 Black Men of Madison

Enis Ragland (left), Chris Canty and J.R. Sims support and mentor our next generation of leaders.

When Madison native Chris Canty asked his father, Wayne, if he could join 100 Black Men of Madison, an organization devoted to making a positive difference in the lives of area youth, especially African American males, through mentoring and development programs, the response was direct and definitive: “Are you ready?”

A recent UW-Madison grad, Canty had grown up around his father’s numerous volunteer activities in the community and saw the positive impact firsthand. But it was the sense of responsibility his father and his peers shared in helping to shape the next generation of Madison men that begged the question of his readiness. Expectations were high, Canty recalls, but he was more than ready.

“I think we’re doing so many great and really positive things right now,” says Canty, who chairs the group’s annual Backpacks for Success program that gives away over 1,500 backpacks to school kids every August.

J.R. Sims says the opportunity to make a positive difference in even a single child’s life is what drew him to join “The 100,” as it’s known to its members.

Enis Ragland, who founded the local chapter in 1994 and helped establish the 100 Black Men of Madison Scholarship Fund at MCF, is thrilled so many organizations have stepped up to partner with The 100 in its efforts to close the opportunity gap.

“We have a motto, ‘What they see is what they will be,’ says Ragland. “So we try to be role models, mentors and tutors and set the example for our youth in our community.”

You can learn more about 100 Black Men of Madison here, or make a donation to the 100 Black Men of Madison Scholarship Fund here