‘Blackish’ star Anthony Anderson and J.J. Watt lead star power at Driven to Achieve Awards

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Business Journal

Celebrities from Hollywood and the professional sports world, led by “Blackish” star Anthony Anderson and NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt, came out in force March 21 for the Donald Driver Driven to Achieve Awards that drew a sellout crowd to honor five local community leaders.

Check out the attached slideshow put together by Milwaukee Business Journal freelance photographer Mike Sharafinski to see photos from the sold-out event at The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

Driver, a former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, teamed with BMO Harris Bank to launch the awards program in 2014 to honor local and national community efforts. Five people were honored at the event and more than $200,000 was donated to various charities by Driver’s foundation. In all, Driver’s foundation has given away more than $700,000 through the awards program.

Other major sponsors included MillerCoors and Jockey International.

Click Here to View the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2016 Driven to Achieve Photo Gallery

Musician Brian McKnight, a 16-time Grammy-nominated record artist, performed at the event.

Among the other celebrities in the audience were Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd, former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Marco Rivera, actress Emily Wilson, who appeared in “General Hospital,” and her fiancĂ© actor Adhir Kalyan, who appeared in “Rules of Engagement.”

The community leaders recognized with awards were Kevin Mansell, chairman and CEO of Kohl’s Corp.; Michele Bria, chief executive officer of Journey House; Coreen Dicus Johnson, president of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s central market; Anthony McHenry, executive director of Silver Spring Neighborhood House; and Carmen Pitre, president and CEO of Sojourner Family Peace Center.

The event drew a large number of Milwaukee-area business executives and community leaders, including Gov. Scott Walker; David Casper, CEO of BMO Harris Bank; Debra Waller, CEO of Jockey International; Rick Schlesinger, chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Brewers; John Utz, Milwaukee market president for Associated Bank; Eve Hall, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce; and Milwaukee attorney David Gruber.

Anderson livened up the event with his non-stop comedic banter and his desire to get audience members to bid higher on auction items. He sold two trips for two to Los Angeles to see his hit TV show “Black-ish” for $22,500 to Kidd and $20,000 to Utz.