Big Table forges unlikely partnership

Jack Cullen | January 8th, 2019

When the right people are at the table, a lot of good can come from a brief visit.

Just ask Davenport-based community organizer Tracy White and Kent Pilcher, president and owner of Estes Construction. They first met during a meeting to promote the Quad Cities Big Table at Rock Island’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

White went to the meeting because she wanted to engage more members of underrepresented populations in the community-wide initiative. It encouraged her to host a Big Table forum at the Multicultural House on St. Ambrose University’s campus. Pilcher, who doubles as a Tri-Chair of the Q2030 Regional Action Plan, attended the discussion and the duo since has developed a working relationship.

In late November, White hosted the inaugural Embrace Race Luncheon, and Estes Construction sponsored it. The event introduced at-risk African American boys in the community to positive role models with the goal of forming mentoring relationships.

Proceeds from the event benefit Well Suited, White’s nonprofit organization that aims to help close the opportunity and achievement gaps for African American boys and develop strong leaders in the Quad Cities.

“Without this (Big Table), she and I would have never connected,” said Pilcher, who hopes White continues to grow Well Suited and its impact. “She (White) is doing a lot to change these young men and help them grow.”

Kent Pilcher, president and owner of Estes Construction and a tri-chair of Q2030, addresses the crowd during Well Suited’s Embrace Race Luncheon at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

According to a follow-up survey of the 5,000-plus people who participated in the Big Table last April, 36 percent of hosts said their tables broached the topic of equity and social inclusion. The following needs also were identified:

  • Develop an awareness of the challenges in the central city neighborhoods
  • Develop empathy for people from different backgrounds
  • Embrace immigrant families and the value they bring to the community

To make the Quad Cities a more welcoming and inclusive place to live, respondents called for the sponsorship and promotion of more cultural events that celebrate the area’s diversity, among other solutions.

For more information about Well Suited, contact Tracy White at or 563-499-5701.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.