Producer, Philantrophist and President and CEO of the Bernie Mac Foundation
HONOREE FOR TORCH FOR PHILANTROPHY
In 1974, at Chicago Vocational High School on the south side of Chicago, a young Rhonda Gore was introduced by a mutual friend to a young man who proudly professed to her, “Girl you better get on this train cause I’m gonna be rich and famous!” Unbeknownst to either, they were both looking at their future spouses and soul mates. A few years later, at the tender age of nineteen, Rhonda married Bernard Jeffrey McCullough and a short while later; she birthed their one and only daughter, JeNiece, and the rest, is as they say “history.”
Rhonda grew up on the south side of Chicago. She was raised in a nurturing, loving and faith-based home, with her parents and three sisters. Rhonda attended William H. Ryder Elementary and graduated from Chicago Vocational High School. She, along with her late husband Bernard, is a proud CVS alum. Rhonda put herself through nursing school to satisfy a career goal and to afford a better opportunity and lifestyle for her family. She received her nursing degree from Dawson Technical Institute in 1984 and began her career as a nurse. Nursing was a natural fit for Rhonda in large part due to her endless compassion for people who face challenges daily, whether those adversities are health or lifestyle related.
For a time in her marriage, she became the sole breadwinner of the family. Not only did she support her family financially, but she truly was also the backbone of the Mac family, supporting and nurturing both Bernard and JeNiece. She maintained a home while Bernie pursued his comedy aspirations, which he fulfilled via travel obligations throughout his career. Rhonda remained a dutiful and loving wife for thirty-one years and provided a strong sense of comfort for her family.
A consummate giver and contributor, Rhonda has been involved with many charities, giving donations anonymously throughout the years on behalf of herself and her family. A savvy and sophisticated woman of many talents, Rhonda understands that she has been blessed by the life she has shared with her late husband and that the best way to live is to be a blessing to family and others.
Rhonda continues the rich legacy of her late husband by serving as the President and CEO of the Bernie Mac Foundation. Guided by the McCullough family’s charitable spirit and with the help of established friendships and partnerships throughout the community, The Bernie Mac Foundation is dedicated to continuing Bernie’s legacy of humility, charity, and sympathy by promoting scientific research and awareness.
The Bernie Mac Foundation is aggressively working toward the prevention and treatment of Sarcoidois, focusing on the disadvantaged, who would otherwise not have access to resources. As President and CEO, she leads and works collaboratively with fellow board members, medical advisory board members, general counsel, executive director, administrative staff and volunteers. She is driven by the foundation’s mission, which is to promote awareness of and support of Sarcoidosis research by raising funds. Her passion stems from her close and personal knowledge of this dreaded disease and its effects on her late husband and countless people who are stricken with Sarcoidosis.
Rhonda has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Operation Push, under the leadership of Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. honored Rhonda with a “Humanitarian Trailblazer Award.” Janine Sarcoidosis Outreach Foundation bestowed recognition to Rhonda for her love and support of their favorite comedian Bernie Mac. Additionally, The Reaching Back Foundation recently awarded Rhonda the Phenomenal Woman of the Year in Philanthropy. 2013.
Rhonda holds the distinction of serving as keynote speaker for the following organizations and foundations: - Today’s Black Woman Expo, Chicago, Illinois - Super Wives Conference Celebration, Chicago, Illinois - Clara’s House - The Sanctuary - The Crisis Center for Women and Children South Suburban Family Shelter -Chicago Public High Schools - Stepping Out Against Sarcoidosis, Baton Rouge, Louisiana -Stepping Out for Sarcoidosis, San Francisco, California.
In 2012, as President and CEO of the Bernie Mac Foundation, Rhonda formed a partnership with University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System in establishing the Bernie Mac Sarcoidosis Translational Advanced Research Center. (STAR CENTER).
Rhonda remains a proud and active member of New Faith Baptist International Church, under the headship of Reverend Dr. Trunell Felder. Rhonda enjoys cooking for her family and friends, traveling excursions throughout the year. Most importantly, she enjoys spending time with family, friends and her granddaughter, Jasmine.