Omari Rush and Ruth Ellis Center honored at Community Foundation Annual Meeting

Mackenzie Thompson
The Detroit News

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan honored the Ruth Ellis Center and Omari Rush at its annual board meeting.  

“We’re proud to honor Ruth Ellis Center and Omari Rush of CultureSource for their efforts to support inclusive, equitable, and sustainable organizations and programming in their respective spaces,” foundation president  Ric DeVore said. 

Omari Rush has served as executive director of CultureSource since 2017. CultureSourcehosts professional development arts and culture workshops and programs.

CultureSource's Omari Rush.

Rush also co-manages the COVID-19 Arts and Creative Community Assistance Fund and is consulting on the $100 million Wilson Arts and Culture Investment in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. . 

“I feel a particularly strong energy boost from this recognition, given the high caliber of leadership it embodies, from Mariam Noland's legacy to the array of past honorees,” Rush said in a press release. “I thank the Community Foundation for its ongoing partnership with me, CultureSource, and the arts and culture sector."

The Mariam C. Noland Award, named after the foundation’s first president, was awarded to Rush for his efforts to nurture creative and cultural expression and build inclusivity in southeast Michigan’s arts sector, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan said in a statement. 

Founded in 1999, the Ruth Ellis Center has been a place where LGBTQ+ young people of color can go for safety, support and help.  

The center in Highland Park offers outreach programs, safety-net services, skill-building workshops, housing, health and HIV prevention programs, according to its website.  The Ruth Ellis Center was awarded the Richard F. Huegli Award. 

“This honor belongs to all those who have held and continue to hold a singular belief, beginning with our namesake, that all young people, including LGBTQ+ young people, have the right to safe and affirming housing and health care, to live lives full of dignity, respect, love, and hope,” said Ruth Ellis Center interim co-executive director Mark Erwin in a press release. 

“Ruth Ellis’ legacy has never been ours alone to carry, and we thank the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan for standing with us, from the very beginning. We are here because you believe in our young people and you believe in us, and that is the greatest honor of all.”