Jesse White is Illinois’ much-revered Secretary of State, currently serving his fourth term of office after a landslide election in 2010. The state’s first African American secretary of state, White is an award-winning college athlete and former member of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Throughout the years, he has coached numerous youth sports teams and is currently a member of the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Mr. White was a gymnast as a child, eventually teaching college-level gymnastics and coaching for a local YMCA. His work with youth living in the inner city prompted Mr. White to form the Jesse White Tumbling Team in 1959. Since that time, more than 13,000 youth have performed with the team. Mr. White continues to volunteer with the team, serving as mentor, coach, friend, and—sometimes—surrogate father.
About the Author:
Perry Mandera is founder of The Custom Companies Inc., a full-service transportation company based in Northlake, Illinois. Mr. Mandera is a dedicated community leader who has contributed money and time to numerous charitable organizations. The Custom Companies is a supporter of the Jesse White Tumbling Team, and Mr. Mandera sits on the team’s board of directors.
The Jesse White Tumbling Team has become an internationally known group, making more than 1,500 appearances around the world every year. The team has appeared in several movies; in commercials for prominent companies such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Jewel Foods, and Coca Cola; and on popular programs such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Jenny Jones,” and “Good Morning America.”
Tumblers have had the distinction of appearing in two presidential inauguration parades, including President Barack Obama’s inauguration parade in 2010. Members and former members have toured with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Harlem Globetrotters.
Team members must adhere to a strict set of rules, including a minimum C grade-point average and avoidance of drugs and gang activity. The organization includes not only the tumbling team, but a training program, which develops tumbling skills; a tutoring program that assists students who need help maintaining the required grade-point average; and a scholars program that provides financial support for tumblers who plan to pursue higher education.
All donations to the Jesse White Tumbling Team are tax deductible. Donors can contribute several ways, including via PayPal at http://www.jessewhitetumblingteam.com.
About the Author:
Perry Mandera founded The Custom Companies more than twenty-five years ago. Since that time, the company has grown to a major transportation provider, offering services to companies of all sizes. Custom Cares Charities, an associated charitable organization formed by Mr. Mandera, supports a number of charitable organizations.