Leon Tupper and Dan Krichbaum used to run together in their Detroit neighborhood. They also car-pooled.
“I miss Dan terribly,” says Tupper. “Hardly a week goes by that I’m not thinking of him for one reason or another.”
As Tupper speaks of his friend, it is clear that he left a personal hole in Tupper’s life, and a hole in the community.
“He had a keen sense of justice and fairness,” says Tupper. “In all aspects of his life, he demonstrated that calling and that commitment.”
As director of Detroit’s parks and recreation department under Mayor Coleman Young, Krichbaum worked to make sure that the city’s recreational resources were distributed evenly across different areas of the community. And he was vocal in ensuring that youth employment programs were made available to underserved kids.
“The state and city have benefitted from his work,” says Tupper, who was recruited by Krichbaum to serve on the board of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion (MRDI), when Krichbaum was serving as President and CEO of the organization.
A long-time civil rights and interfaith activist, Krichbaum served as director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and was an ordained Methodist minister, as well as a member of the IFLC board.
“The award came about almost simultaneously by myself and Bob Bruttell,” says Tupper, “as we spoke of how much of a loss Dan was to the IFLC and the need to honor him for his work, not only for our organization, but for the community over a lifetime.”
“We decided to rename the Visionary Leadership award to reflect who Dan was. We believe he was a visionary leader. The intent is to memorialize his work annually and to use his life as an example for all of us to drive for an inclusive and tolerant community,” says Tupper.
“He was a remarkable man who deserves to be recognized for as long as we’re able to recognize him. I want to make sure this award reminds people of a very gifted man who dedicated his life to the betterment of the Detroit area.”
“He’s such a modest guy,” says Tupper, noting that if Krichbaum could hear him talking about him, he would say “I’m not all that.”
This year the Dan Krichbaum Visionary Leadership award will be presented to Shirley Stancato, President and CEO of leadership forum and advocacy organization New Detroit, Inc.
“She has been on the ground, focusing on some of the poverty driven problems – access and quality of education, jobs, resources of the city and state,” says Tupper. “She’s been very, very vocal in reminding the community that problems are a result of policies that denied African Americans access to quality housing, jobs and education.”
“Shirley has the same passion for justice,” says Tupper, of why she was chosen to first receive the renamed award.
“He’s part of me and part of who I am and someone I’ve looked up to,” says Tupper. “He’s just one of those individuals on your journey that God has given you the good fortune to run across and you’re ever thankful for that experience.”
The award will be presented at this year’s InterFaith Leadership Council annual dinner at the Shriner’s Silver Garden in Southfield on Wednesday, October 14 at 6:30 pm. Discount tickets are available for $50 through July 31. Click here to buy tickets. Click here to purchase an ad in the dinner program.