News Releases

Jan 12, 2016

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to Headline 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast Jan. 18


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Former two-time Governor of Massachusetts and author Deval Patrick will deliver the keynote speech at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast on Monday, January 18, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

This is the 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast, which is organized in partnership by the General Mills Foundation and United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The annual breakfast is an opportunity to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy of service and inspire us to live out his dream of freedom and equality. Gov. Patrick will provide powerful messages on this year’s theme: “Civil and Right: Are You Living the Dream.”

Tickets for the breakfast are now available at As in the past, the breakfast will also be broadcast live on Twin Cities PBS at 8 a.m. CST.

“We are thrilled to have Gov. Deval Patrick share his experiences and insights as this year’s keynote speaker,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and chief executive officer of UNCF, who will introduce Gov. Patrick at the event. “For decades, Gov. Patrick has been an inspirational national leader, making significant contributions to the health and welfare of Massachusetts, particularly in the education and economic sectors. He has also made an impact on the national front in the civil rights and political arenas. As the first in his family to attend college, he is an inspiration for all of us for hope and action.”

Gov. Patrick was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Despite a challenging economic environment, he maintained a disciplined growth strategy of investment in education, innovation and infrastructure, while delivering timely balanced budgets. Gov. Patrick funded education at the highest levels in the history of the Commonwealth, achieved nation-leading student performance and earned the state the top spot in the National Race to the Top competition. His landmark 10-year, $1 billion program to promote the state’s life sciences industry has positioned Massachusetts as a global leader in biotech, bio pharmaceuticals and digital technology and a national leader in clean and alternative energy.

Gov. Patrick grew up in Chicago and came to Massachusetts on a scholarship to attend Milton Academy. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, the first in his family to attend college. He clerked for a federal judge and later had a successful career in law and business. Former President Bill Clinton in 1994 appointed him as assistant attorney general for civil rights, the nation’s top civil rights job.

In addition to Gov. Patrick, the MLK Breakfast features performances by Voice of Culture and Stephen Daniels and the Shiloh Gospel Choir.

Two long-time African American judges will also be honored with Lifetime Legend awards: U.S. District Judge Michael Davis and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

For the second year, the Corporate Community Service Coalition will help support those in need throughout the Twin Cities. The Coalition consists of hundreds of employees from 15 Minnesota Fortune 500 companies who are coming together to volunteer on MLK Day and throughout the week at food banks, homeless shelters, meals programs, community centers and more.

The Coalition is supported by HandsOn Twin Cities and participating companies include: 3M, Accenture, Ameriprise, Aveda, Best Buy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cargill, Ecolab, General Mills, Land O’ Lakes, Medtronic, Mortenson Construction, Target, U.S. Bank and United Health Group.

Finally, for members of the community who cannot attend the breakfast in person, the Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul will host free community breakfasts across the metro area and in Duluth and River Falls, Wis., to watch the live program on television. Visit to find a community breakfast near you.

For more information about the 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast, visit


The annual holiday breakfast began when UNCF and the General Mills Foundation joined together to host a community celebration to honor the legacy of Dr. King. What started with 800 guests in 1991 has grown so large that it reaches capacity seating at the Minneapolis Convention Center as one of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday breakfasts in the nation. Past speakers have included Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Rev. Joseph Lowery, the late Yolanda King, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Donna Brazile and Vernon Jordan.


UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent of African-American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. In its nearly 70-year history, the UNCF has raised more than $4.5 billion to help more than 400,000 students. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."® Learn more at


The mission of the General Mills Foundation is to nourish communities.  Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed more than $150 million to charitable causes in fiscal year 2015. General Mills invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that focus on alleviating hunger, advancing nutrition wellness and improving education.  In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer. To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook at or visit us at