John Lewis’ foundation announces inaugural gala

A foundation that U.S. Rep. John Lewis founded shortly before his death in July 2020, will hold its first event in May in Washington. It will serve as both a fundraiser for the organization and a gala celebrating Lewis' achievements as a civil rights activist and political leader. (AJC File photo)

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A foundation that U.S. Rep. John Lewis founded shortly before his death in July 2020, will hold its first event in May in Washington. It will serve as both a fundraiser for the organization and a gala celebrating Lewis' achievements as a civil rights activist and political leader. (AJC File photo)

Marking what would have been the late congressman’s 82nd birthday, the foundation John Lewis created to carry on his legacy on Monday announced its first public event.

The John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation — named for Lewis and his wife, who preceded him in death — will host an inaugural gala in Washington in May. The event will serve as a fundraiser for the organization as well as a celebration highlighting the civil rights activist and longtime political leader.

“When my dad thought of this foundation, it was his vision that it would support good work, inspire good troublemaking and do its part to make the world a better place,” Lewis’ son, John-Miles, said in a news release announcing the gala.

John-Miles Lewis will serve as an event co-chair alongside Arthur Blank, Georgia Power Chairman and CEO Chris Womack and actress Alfre Woodard. Woodard came to know Lewis as they oversaw the construction of the Navy ship that now bears his name, and she christened it in his honor last summer to mark one year since his death.

Lewis died in July 2020 after a monthslong battle with pancreatic cancer, and he conceived of this foundation shortly before his death.