2023 Clement Kern Award for Social Impact Honorees
We are excited to announce two of our Honorees for the Clement Kern Award for Social Impact. Dr. William Pickard and Laura Chavez-Wazeerud-Din.
Monsignor Clement Kern devoted his life to serving the city and its people, sepecially the poor and disenfranchised. He was known as “the conscience of Detroit” because of his passionate commitment to social justice. Father Kern founded Southwest Solutions in 1970 as a small community mental health agency in southwest Detroit, as area recognized as the most diverse neighborhood in Michigan. The agency has developed into one of Detroit’s largest and most impactful social service organizations. The Clement Kern Awards for Social Impact honor local and national leaders who embody Monsignour Clement Kern’s same dedication to help those in need, provide opportunities to succeed, and create a more equitable society.
William Pickard, PHD
Dr. Pickard’s 50-year entrepreneurial career began as a McDonald’s franchisee in Detroit, Michigan in 1971.He has served on numerous business and non-profit boards. In 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer awarded Dr. Pickard “The Michigan Lifetime Humanitarian Award. In addition, he was awarded “Michiganian of the Year” for his exemplary business success, civic leadership and philanthropy.
Laura Chavez-Wazeerud-Din is a 20 year volunteer of Southwest Solutions. Her work and dedication to the people of Southwest Detroit started at an early age realizing that there was a considerable lack of bilingual teachers in the Detroit educational system. She has dedicated 25 years to strengthening the BIPOC Community in Detroit, focusing on spreading resources about health, financial literacy, business basics and education. She bring topics like homebuyer education, neighborhood pride and beautification, legacy building and lifelong fundamentals to communities in need.
Laura has served as a community development liaison, and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Ambassador for previous employers. She is also on the board of many nonprofits including Detroit Chamber Music, W.A.Y. Academy, Bound Together, Michigan Chapter of Prospanica and Detroit Black MBA.
Laura is a role model and a positive example to the community, "With my leadership, experience and passion, I know I have what it takes to propel our community's forward." We are grateful for her and to be able to present this award to her for the work she continues to do.
If you would like to attend the Celebration of Impact Gala:
Visit our event page here. We would love to see you there.