Cleaver Invites Gates and Other Black Business Leaders to White House Meeting with Obama
December 16, 2011

Kansas City Congressman and Chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, Emanuel Cleaver, brought a group of black business leaders to the White House this week to talk about jobs.
Kansas City businessman Ollie Gates of the Gates barbeque restaurant chain and a long-time Cleaver supporter, was in the group.

He suggested changes to bring new interests and incentives for businesses and customers to come back into the urban core.

“The meeting went very well and the President seemed interested in what we all had to say,” Mr. Gates said according to the release.
“While other people in Washington are arguing about what to do concerning this economy and jobs, I appreciate that Congressman Cleaver is going out and trying to get it done.”

Cleaver’s office called the meeting “a first-of-its kind”, to talk about jobs and the economy.
Cleaver’s office says the meeting with the president lasted about 45 minutes.

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund Back on Steady Financial Footing
November 23, 2011

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, a charity for needy Kansas Citians is  back in good shape.

The fund, according to Mayor James’ office has $113, 000 currently, including ornament sales. That amount does not include  pledges yet to be collected.

In recent years, the fund has struggled to  raise the money to help Kansas Citians in need. At the end of the fiscal year 2010, its bank account was down to  $936. In FY 2011 the reserve fund is now listed as having  $40,000 in it. The fund does not include any taxpayer money.

At a news conference, Mayor James says they slashed the administrative costs of running the charity by 80%.  Donations have doubled since last year and  James  led a donation campaign by contributing or arranging for $10,000 himself.

The fund also enlisted some prominent Kansas City families to help this year as well.

The Mayors office says $5,000 contributions came from the families of Frank Ellis; Charles Garney; Ollie Gates; and Mariner Kemper. They also say the effort to raise money for gifts, food and gift cards has been underway for about four months.

They Mayor’s 100-foot Christmas tree will be lit at a  Crown Center ceremony that starts at 5;30 pm Friday.