Who We Are
The Chesapeake men for Progress was founded in 1963 by a group of community leaders driven by the desire to see the “new city” reach its full potential. The city of Chesapeake had just formed by virtue of the merger of Norfolk County and the city of South Norfolk. It was evident to many that if the Chesapeake would grow to be a thriving, vibrant and inclusive city, it would need to embrace the ideas of the African American communities. Hence, the Chesapeake Men for Progress was founded. Its primary focus was to provide leadership and direction to young African American males.
The organization was instrumental in getting African Americans appointed to major boards and commissions, provided scholarship and mentoring students, and positively influenced the political climate in Chesapeake. On January 13, 1970, Chesapeake’s first two African American, William P. Clark, Sr. and Dr. Hugo H. Owens were elected to Chesapeake’s City Council. Since then, other members of the organization have been elected to City Council, and the City’s School Board, and have served on many of the City’s boards and commissions, even have streets and public building named in their honor.
In 2005, the organization was reorganized as the New Chesapeake Men for Progress”, and in 2012 the organization was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a non-stock corporation. While the Name changed, the mission remained the same. The motto speaks resoundingly about what the member are about. The New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Inc. believes that “Progress is not an accident. It is an attitude”. An attitude that that is bringing about progress that make Chesapeake an excellent place to live, and where all citizen enjoy a quality life.
What We Do
The New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Inc. has been a force for progressive change and inclusion in the City of Chesapeake since 1963. The organization provides a variety of programs, initiatives and is a voice for racial justice, diversity and inclusion and educating the community on issues affecting our city and state. Specifically, the Organization:
- Endorse Political Candidates
- Sponsors General Assembly Visits
- Host political Candidate Forums
- Host Educational, Law Enforcement, and Community Relations forums
- Sponsor Black History Month programs
- Provide Food Baskets for the Needy
- Provide and Support mentoring Initiatives
- Advocate for Quality of Life issues, Flood Prevention and Control and Diversity and Inclusion
The following Standing Committees carryout the work for the Corporation. Members are encouraged to serve on at least one committee where they can make the greatest contribution to achieving the mission.
The Publicity Committee: Shall publicize all regular meetings and special events on television and radio stations and in the local and state newspapers. This committee shall be composed of persons appointed by the President.
The Membership Committee: The Membership Committee Shall be responsible for the plans to secure new members and retain current members. The Membership Committee develops ideas on attracting new members, create strategies for retaining existing members, and getting members involved in the mission of the Corporation. Other responsibilities include organizing member-get-together campaigns using direct mail, conducting membership surveys and enhancing members.
The Program Committee: The Program Committee shall oversee new program development; monitor and assess existing programs; initiate and guide program evaluations; and facilitate discussions about program priorities for the agency.
Budget and Finance Committee: The Budget and Finance Committee shall prepare and implement the budget, obtain audit reports, prepare an annual report to the organization and recommend revisions to the responsibilities of the committee. The Finance Committee shall consist of the Treasurer, Financial Secretary and Vice President. The President may appoint other members to the committee.
Fundraising Committee: The Fundraising Committee shall coordinate fund raising projects to support the organization and its programs. This committee shall be responsible for documenting the year’s accomplishments and submit a progress report that will contain the year’s programs with meeting dates, time and places. This should be in the hands of all the members, not less than two (2) weeks before the annual meeting in June.
Political and Legislative Committee: The Political and legislative Committee work to solve problems and improve the community. It will engage in collaborative, sustained actions focused on changing underlying structures or removing barriers, be they political, social, economic, environmental, or cultural, with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of individuals or groups subjected to disparate, discriminatory or oppressive conditions. The Committee will collect data, evaluate information and situations, prepare proposals and develop strategies to alleviate and or eliminate oppressive and or discriminatory situations or conditions.
Board of Directors
Clifton L. Randolph
Clifton is a native of Baltimore Maryland and was raised in Newport News, Virginia. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree and Masters of Arts degree from Norfolk State University. He is a 17 year veteran of the United States Air force, and a retired Chesapeake Public Schools Secondary principal with 34 years of service. He currently serves as Education and Scholarship committee for The New Chesapeake men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc., and I a founding member of the L.D. Britt Scholarship Committee. Clifton has one son, Clifton Jr. (Angie) and two granddaughters. Clifton state “Chesapeake is my home, and I want to help make it the best I can”.
Lessie (Les) Smith
Les Smith is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, and he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from St. Paul College, Lawrenceville, Virginia. Les received his Masters of Science degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Richmond. He served as a Deputy Lieutenant with Chesapeake Sheriff’s Department for 28 years before his retirement. He volunteers his time with the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, and The New Chesapeake men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc. He is the founder of Ground Zero Development, a nonprofit male mentoring program, and former chairman of the Chesapeake Democratic Committee. He is also a former president of The New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Inc. Les is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; Fraternal Order of Police; National Association of Black in Criminal Justice; member of Chesapeake Sport Club; member Chesapeake Unit NAACP; and member of the Hampton Roads Democratic Business Alliance. He is currently employed as Consultant, with the World Financial Group in Chesapeake.
James (Ervin) Young
James (Ervin) Young, is a life-long resident of Chesapeake Virginia. He matriculated through the Chesapeake Public Schools, graduating from Indian River High School in 1978. Ervin continued his educational experience at Norfolk State University on an athletic scholarship and he later gained employment under the Apprentice Program with the federal government at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After completing the rigorous coursework in trade theory, Ervin established his professional roots in the Lifting and Handling Department. Through his strong work ethic, Ervin rose to the rank of supervision and retired as a Project Manager after 36 years of federal service. Ervin met his wife, Tracey, and through this beautiful union, God blessed them with a wonderful son, Jordan. Ervin has always been an ardent community servant. Through the years he has routinely answered the call to participate in local community service initiatives such as Food Drives, Paint Your Heart Out, Clean the Bay, Voter Registration Drives, etc. He also began volunteering in the Chesapeake Public School system in 1995 where he has coached in the ladies basketball program at several Chesapeake High Schools. His philosophy is “Prepare Yourself To Be The Best That You Can Be”. He believes that if a young adult applies this philosophy on the basketball court, it will transition off the court as well and they will be a productive citizen of our society. Ervin sets a fine example of this philosophy. He gives back to his community as an active member of the Chesapeake Home, Inc. (Vice-President), Chesapeake Preservation Commission, Chesapeake Board of Historic and Architectural Review, Cornland School Foundation, Inc. and The New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc. / Education and Scholarship Committee.
Donald Larrimore was born and raised in Gloucester, VA. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology from Norfolk State University. I have done additional studies at Monmouth College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University. I was a US Army Master Instructor in the Radar Division. I have held several technical and management positions in the private manufacturing sector to include Production Manager, Quality Assurance Manager and General Manager. I am a self-starter who will give 100% effort to whatever task or position, he is assigned to.
Wardell M. Nottingham
Wardell Nottingham is an investment advisor located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Currently an investment advisor with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, Nottingham has an impressive 47 years of experience as an investment advisor. Nottingham has Series 63 and Series 65 licenses, which qualify the advisor as both a securities agent and an investment advisor representative. Nottingham can work with clients based out of Virginia. Their career trajectory has included roles at Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation and Nottingham Insurance Agency, Inc.
Edward R. (Ted) Hicks
Edward R. (Ted) Hicks, is a native of Norfolk, Virginia and a product of the public schools of that city. Graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, attended Norfolk Division of Virginia State College, now Norfolk State University, transferred to Virginia Union University and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. Did further study at Hofstra University and Old Dominion University. Retired from the Virginia Employment Commission after 35 years of service and held a variety of positions from Employment Counselor to Job Service Manager of the Suffolk Office. Ted is a Lifetime member of First Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.
Retired National Football League football player; Executive Producer, Unspoken Documentary; Founder, The Don Carey REECH Foundation, Inc.; Board Member, Food Bank of Southeast Virginia and Eastern Shore; President, The New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Inc.; Member, The New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc.; 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee, Norfolk State University Sports Hall of Fame; Board Member, Norfolk State University Graduate of the Last Decade; Board Member, Toyota Charity Bowl; Member, Chesapeake Rotary Club; Member, Southeast Virginia Community Foundation, and Member, Chesapeake City Council.
Sargent at Arms
Ernest Lowery is a native of Chicago, IL and a Navy veteran. He is a Board member of the New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc., the Chairman of the Historical Committee, member of the Publicity and Public Relations Committee, recipient of the President Award. He is also a member of the Chesapeake Men for Progress Inc., and photographer for both organizations. Ernest retired from the Ford Motor Co. He taught Sexual Harassment plant wide, was Chairman of the Civil Rights Committee, Community Action Program, a staff writer for the local union paper, a member of the Women Committee and served as a union representative. Ernest loves working in the community, he volunteers for the New Journal and Guide as a writer and photographer, and is a member of the Chesapeake Democratic Women Organization. Ernest is the founder of Juneteenth.Love… “we look through the lens of history and bring forward understanding and teach truth about the greatness of our misunderstood culture on June 19th.” He is also the owner of Lowery’s Video and Photography, and he has videotaped and photographed many people of interest in politics, music, and organizations throughout the United States, the Virgin Islands and West Africa. He has received many awards and produced several documentaries. As a member of the Southeastern Virginia Arts Association (SEVAA), Ernest was awarded first place three years in a row for best photography and has covered AFR’AM FEST history through photography and video. Ernest is a member amd lead trustee for the Way, the Truth and the Life church in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Herman L. Ward
Retired from Measurement Specialist Operation Center, General Electric Company, and the U. S. Army. Herman Ward is an active member of the following organizations: The New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc., The New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Inc.(Publicity Director); Prince Hall Masons (Officer); Norfolk State University Alumni Association, and East Suffolk High School Alumni Association. He is also a Door Keeper at his church, The Mount.
George F. Reed, Ph.D.
George is President of G. and L. Associates Consulting where he continues to work with nonprofits organizations to establish nonprofits and provides nonprofit board training. He retired in 2002 from Norfolk Public Schools as an Alternative School Principal. Throughout his career he has worked as an Employment Counselor, Classroom Teacher, and Management and Procedures Technician. He has served four years in the United States Air Force, and was honorably discharged May 20, 1969. He currently works with various nonprofits as a board chairman, Executive Director, board member and consultant. George is a life member of The Virginia Congress of Parent and Teachers (PTA) and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. George currently serves on a number of community organizations, boards and foundations. He is a current member of The New Chesapeake Men for Progress, Inc.; secretary, The New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation, Inc.; former president and current member, NAC-Save Our Youth Foundation, Inc.; board member, Boys and Girl Club; and Board Chairman Emeritus, STOP, Inc.