Lottery Winner Miguel Pilgram to Use Part of $52M Prize to Revitalize Street in Fort Lauderdale’s Oldest Black Community

In a Sept. 29, 2017 photo, Miguel Pilgram stands outside of the property in the 1400 block of Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale that he plans to transform into a blues club. Pilgram won a $52 million lottery in Miami-Dade seven years ago. He’s set his sights on Sistrunk Blvd., buying a piece of land and preparing to purchase another. He says he feels a moral obligation to invest in the black community, which has a rich history of activism and passion. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP Mike Stocker)

by Brittany Wallman via miamiherald.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. A childhood in the black community of Memphis. A cruise line career that delivered him to a life in South Florida. And a lottery ticket he bought at a gas station. A winning lottery ticket. They are the factors in Miguel Pilgram‘s life that bring him now to Sistrunk Boulevard, a corridor the county calls the “historical heartbeat of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest black community.”

Pilgram, who won a $52 million jackpot using quick-pick numbers in 2010, is investing some of his winnings in Sistrunk in a way not seen in years. Pilgram said he wants to breathe new vibrancy into the boulevard, building on its rich history as a place that nurtured civil rights leaders and pioneers and attracted people to its lively nightlife and music. “I was raised in a similar environment,” Pilgram said. “There is a need, and in my mind, an obligation, to invest there.”

The 48-year-old Coral Springs resident and father of two is rolling out plans for a New York Subs and Wings restaurant with a Memphis Blues club upstairs, on one side of Sistrunk. On the other, his company, The Pilgram Group, plans a retail complex with a bank, Jamba Juice and other shops on the ground floor. On the second floor, a performing arts center will offer below-market rates for instructors of dance, arts, and music. “Do you know how impactful that is for a child from any of these areas, who is like me, to come out and see people actually painting in the window, or performing on a saxophone?” Pilgram said. “That creates a fire under most children. Now they say, wow, anything out there that’s creative, I can be. Whatever artist I want to be, I can be.”

Back in Memphis, Pilgram said he had role models who shaped him. His father was hard-working. His mother was a devout Seventh-day Adventist who had him in church several days a week. When he got older, he joined the Navy. Then he embarked on a career in the cruise line industry, climbing to a top position, and learning to work with large budgets like the one now under his own name.In his world travels, he said he visited cultures where people marveled at his “beautiful” brown skin. He said he wants children in Fort Lauderdale’s historic black community to experience that feeling of value as an African American. But he also saw what can happen when private investment is lacking, he said, and government comes in to rebuild.

In Memphis, he said, his grandmother’s apartment was razed, and the residents displaced. He feared it could happen here, and said that’s one thing that drew him to Sistrunk Boulevard. ‘It could be you’ Every week, Pilgram spent $20 on lottery tickets. But he wasn’t good about checking them. Then one night he ran to the Shell gas station in North Bay Village where he bought his tickets. He left chicken cacciatore and his girlfriend at home, and was in a hurry. He just needed a bottle of wine. David, the gas station employee, was insistent. Someone had bought the winning Florida Lotto ticket at that gas station, he told Pilgram, and “it could be you.” Pilgram got the tickets from his car, and one of them hit: 15-16-20-32-45-50. David started “jumping up and down,” Pilgram said.”$52,000?” Pilgram thought he heard through David’s Spanish accent. No, not thousand. 52 million.

Sistrunk Boulevard hasn’t had a nightclub with live music like Pilgram plans in at least 25 years, City Commissioner Robert McKinzie said. The boulevard was once vibrant. Now, vacant lots and empty buildings sit on many of the blocks. The city, a major landowner on Sistrunk, has worked for years to encourage private investment. McKinzie said the pieces are finally falling into place, and he’s “excited” about Pilgram’s role in it. “Now that we are reviving it,” McKinzie said of Sistrunk Boulevard, “his plan and concept fit right in.” Next to Pilgram’s planned performing arts center, on the north side of Sistrunk between Northwest 14th Way and 14th Terrace, the city recently agreed to spend $10 million building a new YMCA where the old Mizell Center is.

To read full article, go to: Lottery winner to use part of $52M to transform street | Miami Herald

CEOs Mellody Hobson and Judy Smith to Speak at 10th Annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit

The anticipation continues for Black Enterprise’s 10th Annual Women of Power Summitwhere power women across the nation will convene for three days of fellowship and networking. Added to the list of keynote speakers is the president of Ariel Investments L.L.C., Mellody Hobson, and the inspiration for Scandal‘s Olivia Pope, Judy Smith.

Hobson worked her way up from intern at Ariel Investments L.L.C. to president of the Chicago investment firm. Ariel is known as one of the largest African American-owned money management and mutual fund companies in the United States. In addition to her role as president, Hobson serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust.

REGISTER TODAY: Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary in Florida for 2015

Aside from her work at Ariel, Hobson is chairman of Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc., as well as the director of The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and Starbucks Corp. Hobson is nationally recognized as a financial expert and has contributed her expertise in investments to the Tom Joyner Morning ShowBlack Enterprise, and ABC’s Good Morning America. In 2010 she earned a spot on Black Enterprise‘s 75 Most Powerful Women in Business list, and in 2013 she was announced as one of Black Enterprise‘s Most Powerful Corporate Directors.

Smith, recognized by many as the real-life Olivia Pope, Smith has paved a career for herself as an author, television producer, and CEO of the crisis management firm Smith & Co.  Prior to founding Smith & Co., the Washington, D.C., native served in several high-profile roles including partner at a few Washington, D.C.-based nonprofits, and a White House position as special assistant and deputy press secretary to former President George H. W. Bush. She later broke into television as senior vice president of Corporate Communications at NBC, just to name a few.

Her work in crisis management for many notable cases including Monica Lewinsky, actor Wesley Snipes, and NFL player Michael Vick caught the attention of screenwriter and director Shonda Rhimes, who developed the popular television drama Scandal inspired by Smith’s work. Serving as co-executive producer of the show, Smith offers expert advice and insights on how to portray crisis management issues on-screen.

With exemplary resumes that have catapulted them to become nationally recognized businesswomen, Mellody Hobson and Judy Smith will offer advice and business tips on how to take charge of your career at Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit.

The 10th Annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit hosted by State FarmMarch 2–4, 2015, will be held at Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This executive leadership summit is designed to train, equip and encourage women to become industry leaders, learn career strategies, and discover proven work–life balance techniques. Register Now! http://www.blackenterprise.com/wps

article by Courtney Connley via blackenterprise.com