Making a Difference: Tony Mason

As we learn about community, we have an opportunity to meet some of our community leaders who are making a difference. Last week we were honored to meet Tony Mason, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Urban League.

"(Growing up) having people tell me about their experiences, helped shape my path and my direction. For me, it’s only appropriate to pass that on - pay it forward.”     

- Anthony "Tony" Mason

Tony Mason, Indianapolis Urban League with our summer campers

EARLY YEARS   
Anthony R. Mason was born on March 25, 1966 in Lima, Ohio (the Buckeye state). His parents, John and Dorothy Mason, both had an incredible influence on their children's lives. They instilled in them to be “nice about how you treat people.”  Anthony’s mother instilled in him a very strong sense of self and work ethic. “In her eyes you work hard and you try your best. You try to be 3 times better than the person you’re competing against or working with.  She really drove that home to myself, and my brothers.”

Anthony is the youngest of 6 children; he has one sister, and four brothers. Growing up Anthony had two favorite dogs, Blackie and Queen. Like most children, the chore Anthony liked least was taking out the garbage. However, he loved playing the game of ‘Life’ with his mother. Anthony, who is nicknamed Tony, loves barbecue chicken, greens, his wife’s sweet potatoes, and his mother’s lemon pie. His favorite colors are black and red.

HIGH SCHOOL and the INFLUENCE OF MENTORS                                                     
When Anthony was seven years old, his family moved to Evanston, IL. In school, history was Anthony’s favorite subject, and geometry was his least favorite. Anthony considered himself fortunate to have had a wonderful experience as a high school athlete at Evanston Township High School. He played basketball, and during his senior year, he was the team captain, with a winning record of 32-1. Through sports, he learned about building character, how to work as part of a team, perseverance and hard work.

Anthony was greatly influenced by Coach Herb Williams, and a few teachers around him. His math teacher, Ms. Kelly, was his favorite teacher because “she genuinely cared about her students and took extra time to ensure we understood the math lessons.” His brother, Renny “inspired me as I watched him earn his degrees from Yale and Case Western Reserves, and eventually open his own legal practice. He set an example for me. He showed me that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Having people tell me about their experiences, helped shape my path and my direction. For me, it’s only appropriate to pass that on - pay it forward.”                                                                     

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