Posted: Nov. 25, 2003

Calling it the most significant three years and five months of his professional life, this morning, Dr. Tony Allen, 33, announced his decision, effective January 9, 2004, to step down as President of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League (MWUL).  

In a prepared statement, Allen wrote, “After very serious consideration of the League’s current standing and my long-term career objectives, I have concluded that there is no better time to move forward.  The Urban League movement is a recognized leader on issues related to people of color, having reached a significant level of success for the constituents we serve, with a strong infrastructure for new and long-term growth.   We are poised to be taken to the next level.”  

Staying in the community, Allen is taking a position as an Executive Vice-President at MBNA.  MBNA America CEO Bruce L. Hammonds said, "Many of us at MBNA have known and worked with Tony Allen over the years, and we have admired his intelligence, drive and empathy.  It is with great pleasure that we welcome Tony to MBNA.”

Founder and current Chairman, Jim Gilliam, Sr., was supportive of his mentee and friend. “Tony has served the Urban League, Wilmington and the State of Delaware very well.  His tireless efforts were invaluable to implementing the mission of the movement in this community.  No one could have done more with such a combination of humility and substance than him.  As for the League, the show must and will go on.”  Gilliam indicated that an interim strategy will be in place prior to Allen’s departure and that a nationwide search process will commence at the start of the new year.   

Under Allen’s leadership, the League distinguished itself as the leading public policy voice for people of color; grew its membership to 700; doubled its budget and impacted an estimated 30,000 people, including 11,000 children and 15,000 small businesses.  Among its most significant work, the MWUL leveraged teaching scholarships for students; created the Delaware Parent School in collaboration with the Rodel Charitable Foundation; secured 1,200 businesses for its DelEXCHANGE web-based procurement matching service; developed and managed the racial profiling project for the State of Delaware; and commissioned three seminal research reports on handgun violence, family self-sufficiency and the status of people of color throughout the State of Delaware. 

In Allen’s view, the agency’s most significant success was its laser-like focus on positioning academic achievement disparities between students of color and their white peers as the next logical step in public education reform.  Allen added, “working with the likes of the Wilmington Neighborhoods Schools Committee, the Governor’s Council on Hispanic Affairs, the University of Delaware’s Center for Teacher Education, the Business Roundtable, local Superintendents, members of the State Board and many others, we have been a leader in the civil rights movement’s final frontier – every child’s access to a quality education.”