Founders Honor - Harvey Johnson
Harvey C. Johnson has spent his entire life in South Jersey working to make it a better place for people to live. He was educated in the Lindenwold public schools and at Overbrook High School where he was a High School All-American football player. He did his undergraduate study at the University of Delaware where he was a member of the 1963 Football National Championship Division I-A football team. He was a classmate there with former Vice President Joseph Biden and former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John Wallace. He spent his summers of 1967 and 1968 working in the South for the Office of Economic Opportunity assisting community organization in the operation of Head Start programs to educate children.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1969 he came to work in Camden as the President of the Black People’s Unity Movement Economic Development Corporation. That entity was one of the first community economic corporations in the country. It operated a corrugated box factory, a pallet factory, two Burger King Restaurants, a Chicken George Restaurant, and three day care centers. Harvey was the campaign manager for Randy Primas who became the first Black Mayor of Camden. He also managed the re-election campaign of Camden Mayor Gwen Faison in 2005.
Harvey and the love of his life, Fern Mills, have a blended family of 7 children and 9 grandchildren. Harvey is a Partner in the Duane Morris Law Firm which has 800 lawyers in 29 offices around the world and he is a member of the Board of Directors of 1st Colonial Community Bank. He also served as the municipal court judge of Lawnside for 12 years and as the municipal solicitor for Chesilhurst and Deptford Township.
In 2005 Harvey had a vision to start a foundation for the schools in Camden, similar to those supporting schools in the wealthier surrounding districts. Today, thanks to his vision, the Camden Schools Foundation has distributed over $1 million in scholarships and grants to the students and schools in Camden. We are excited to honor Harvey with this special award.
Hall of Fame Honorees
Scott "Big Scott" Shepherd
Scott Shepherd is the founder of Big Scott Entertainment. His mission is to promote sports, entertainment, and fundraising events that would stimulate the economy and enhance the image of the South Jersey area as an event destination. His experience also encompassed strategic planning, marketing, fundraising, and communications, so he relied on his strong work ethic to make Big Scott Entertainment a huge success. Scott is responsible for bringing some of the biggest A-list celebrities, athletes, entertainers, and philanthropist to the South Jersey area. His client list for events includes, DJ D-Nice, Jay Z, Kid & Play, Snoop Dog, Kid Rock, and more.
“Big Scott” as he’s known in the industry, is a well recognized name not only among circles of celebrities in the sports and entertainment industry, but also among community, civic leaders and corporate America. In the Camden community, annually he organizes an NBA and NFL All Star events, Thanksgiving food drives, holiday toy drives and is a member of the CAMCare Health Corporation Board of Trustees.
Valerie Still was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey and received a basketball scholarship to the University of Kentucky. She led UK in becoming one of the nation’s top programs and nationally ranked. Valerie was a three-time All-American and still holds the University of Kentucky career records (men and women) in scoring and rebounding. She was also a member of the USA National team. She received BS in Animal Science/Pre-Vet degree at the University of Kentucky and at The Ohio State University earned a Master Degree in African and African American Studies and is completing her doctorate dissertation for a Ph.D. in Sports Humanities.
Valerie was one of the most dominant basketball players in both Italy and the United States. She was a 9-time all-star in the Italian women’s professional league; Won two world championships in the American Basketball League with the Columbus Quest and named MVP for both championship series. After the ABL folded she joined the WNBA, playing with the Washington Mystics and later became a WNBA assistant coach with the Mystics and Orlando Miracle.
Valerie is a philanthropist, an author and member of an African American Legacy Family with a passion for serving others. In 1998 she founded the Valerie Still Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists youth in their development, and in particular, helps young girls grow into mature women through innovative programs.
Today Valerie is the founder and CEO of STILL Java, a socially-conscious specialty coffee company that partners with non-profit organizations.
Aletha R. Wright (Posthumous)
Aletha Rosalie Wright was a long time resident of Camden, New Jersey. She was one of ten children raised on a farm in Winslow, New Jersey. She became the wife of the late Frances Wright and mother of three children, Phillip, Keesha (deceased) and Kelli. She took great pride in being a mother which helped her understand the importance of quality education specifically in early childhood. Aletha’s personal experiences led her to choose a career that provided a platform for her to use for voice for advocacy efforts.
Aletha held many prominent positions throughout her career. She was sworn in as a Freeholder in Camden County in 1994. Prior to this profound achievement, she served as an Assistant Director of the Division of Family Development for the New Jersey Department of Human Services and Director of the Office of Child Care Development. She also served as a Director of the Camden County Division of Children Services, Executive Director of the BPUM Child Development Centers and Project Manager for the New Jersey Statewide Child Care Clearinghouse Office of Policy Planning and Support of the Division of Youth and Family Services. She was elected to the Camden City Board of Education, serving as the Board President for three years. Aletha had a love for people and lived by the phrase “Don’t down the one who’s is down today, help them in their sorrow. This old world is a funny old world, you may be tomorrow.”