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2024 Launching Black Excellence Awards 

Nominations for the 2024 Launching Black Excellence Awards will be open from June 1, 2024, through June 15, 2024. This prestigious event aims to celebrate and recognize outstanding achievements within the community across various fields. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit their nominations during this period to ensure that exceptional contributions and accomplishments are acknowledged and honored. The nominees will be announced at the 2024 State of the Coast Conference on June 19, 2024.

The excitement will culminate at the Launching Black Excellence Awards Gala, which will be hosted on August 24, 2024. At this grand event, the winners of each award category will be announced and celebrated for their remarkable achievements. The gala promises to be an inspiring evening filled with recognition, empowerment, and the celebration of Black excellence. Mark your calendars and join us in honoring those who have made significant contributions to their fields and communities.

Award Information

The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Nonprofit Humanitarian of the Year Award is a distinguished accolade that celebrates the unwavering dedication and moral courage embodied by nonprofit organizations. Named after the pioneering civil rights activists Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore, this award honors those who, in the face of adversity, champion social justice and human rights. Each year, it recognizes a nonprofit leader that has made significant strides in addressing and combating oppression, demonstrating a profound commitment to nonviolent advocacy and the betterment of the community.

Requirements are:

  • Organization must be a 501(c)(3)

  • Has coordinated efforts to advance black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC) or the underserved interests within the space coast community 

  • Actively support legislative action designed to help advance black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC) or the underserved interests

  • Contributes to community-oriented projects 

  • Provide example(s) of adversity/challenges faced while helping others (examples of problems faced in the nominee’s nonprofit and the methods used to solve them)

The award serves not only as a commendation for past achievements but also as an inspiration for continued efforts in social justice. By recognizing and honoring these nonprofits, the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Nonprofit Humanitarian of the Year Award underscores the vital role that moral courage and community engagement play in fostering a just and equitable society. It encourages organizations to continue their invaluable work, knowing that their contributions are not only necessary and impactful but also deeply appreciated by the communities they serve.

The Crane Creek Business Start Up of the Year Award is a prestigious accolade that honors the legacy of Peter Wright, Balaam Allen, and Wright Brothers, three formerly enslaved men who, after the Civil War, laid the foundations of what is now the City of Melbourne. This award is dedicated to recognizing a startup company that has demonstrated outstanding business achievement within its first 1-3 years of full-time operation, with fewer than 25 employees. The award celebrates not only entrepreneurial excellence but also the rich history and resilience of BIPOC-owned businesses.

Requirements are:

  • Business must be a 51% BIPOC-owned establishment

  • Explanation of product or service offered (explanation of how the product or service fits a niche not being adequately addressed by the competition) 

  • Response to adversity/challenges faced while starting-up business (examples of problems faced by the nominee’s business start-up and the methods used to solve them)

By recognizing and celebrating these businesses, the Crane Creek Business Start Up of the Year Award not only honors the historical significance of its namesakes but also fosters a spirit of innovation, resilience, and community within the entrepreneurial landscape.

The Katherine Johnson STEM Innovation of the Year Award honors businesses or organizations that have made substantial contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Named after the trailblazing mathematician Katherine Johnson, this award celebrates entities that have pushed the boundaries of innovation through key research or the development of groundbreaking products, services, systems, or intellectual property.

Katherine Johnson's legacy is deeply rooted in her pivotal work with NASA, where she provided crucial mathematical calculations that were integral to the success of early space missions. Her contributions include the 1958 document "Notes on Space Technology," which was a compilation of lectures from the Flight Research Division and the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division. Johnson's trajectory analysis for the 1961 Freedom 7 mission, America's first human spaceflight, and her co-authored 1960 report "Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position," were groundbreaking. This report was particularly significant as it was the first time a woman in the Flight Research Division received authorial credit.

Requirements are:

  • Uniqueness of the individual’s research

  • Product or service offered (explanation of how the product or service fits a niche not being adequately addressed by the competition) 

  • Provide example(s) of adversity/challenges faced during the innovation period (examples of problems faced by the nominee’s and the methods used to solve them)

In the spirit of Katherine Johnson's pioneering work, the award seeks to recognize those who have made a lasting impact on STEM fields. Whether through innovative research, the creation of transformative technologies, or the management and development of new intellectual properties, recipients of this award embody the ingenuity and perseverance that Johnson exemplified. This recognition not only honors their contributions but also inspires future generations to pursue excellence and innovation in STEM.

Rudolph “Rudy” Stone Entrepreneur of the Year Award highlights a remarkable figure whose contributions to civil rights, education, community service, and business have left an indelible mark on the Space Coast community. As a trailblazer, Rudy's legacy is not only evident through his personal achievements but also through the enduring influence of his family. His election to the Cocoa City Council in November 1993, followed by his appointment as Deputy Mayor in 1995, underscored his commitment to public service and his dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of Cocoa's residents.


Rudy's journey was paved by the foundational efforts of his father, Richard Enoch Stone, who established a business a century ago on what was then Magnolia Street. This business [Stone Funeral Home], which eventually moved to its current location on King Street, became a cornerstone of the community. The renaming of Magnolia Street to Stone Street in honor of the family is a testament to the lasting influence and respect of the Stone family. This legacy of entrepreneurial spirit and community involvement has been a source of inspiration for many.

Requirements are:


  • Business must be 51% BIPOC-owned establishment

  • Product or service offered (explanation of how the product or service fits a niche not being adequately addressed by the competition) 

  • Volunteer efforts to advance entrepreneur interests within the Space Coast community 

The award recognizes outstanding business achievement among small business owners, founders, or co-founders aptly honors individuals who, like Rudy and his father before him, demonstrate exceptional dedication, innovation, and success in their ventures. Such an accolade not only celebrates their business acumen but also acknowledges their integral role in fostering community growth and development. Rudy Stone's story is a powerful reminder of the impact that committed individuals can have, both in their immediate surroundings and beyond, through perseverance, vision, and a steadfast commitment to service.

The Andrew Jackson Gibson Business of the Year Award is named in honor of a pioneering figure in Brevard County's history. Andrew Jackson Gibson, the fourth of nine children born to a mulatto slave named William Gibson and an unnamed African female slave, made remarkable strides in both business and public service. As the first black businessman in Titusville, he broke racial barriers by opening the town's first barbershop, a hub not only for grooming but also for community gathering and support. His entrepreneurial spirit extended beyond his barbershop, as he became Brevard County's first jailer and took on the vital role of supervising the only public road in the county. Gibson's dedication to his community was further demonstrated through his simultaneous service in two public offices, showcasing his unwavering commitment to public welfare and civic duty.

The award celebrates small businesses that emulate Gibson's exemplary leadership and community engagement. Recipients of this award have demonstrated a profound commitment to addressing the needs of their communities, much like Gibson did in his time. These businesses have gone above and beyond to serve their customers, employees, and neighbors, creating a positive impact that resonates throughout the community. Whether through innovative practices, charitable endeavors, or fostering inclusive environments, these businesses embody the spirit of service and leadership that Gibson championed.

Requirements are:

  • Business must be 51% BIPOC-owned establishment

  • A substantiated history as an established business

  • Growth in number of employees 

  • Increased employment opportunities for members of the BIPOC community

  • Product or service offered (explanation of how the product or service fits a niche not being adequately addressed by the competition) 

  • Volunteers efforts to advance black, indigenous people of color (BIPOC) business interests within the Space Coast community

In recognizing these outstanding small businesses, this award not only honors Gibson's legacy but also inspires others to follow in his footsteps. It serves as a reminder of the power of dedication, resilience, and community spirit. By highlighting businesses that make a significant difference in their communities, the award encourages a culture of excellence and service that benefits society as a whole.

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