by Carmen Stone, Founding Member
Professionally, Michael Lange was an extraordinarily talented person. He was an educator, coach, mentor, counselor, actor, playwright, musician, lyricist, writer, artist, television host, civil rights activist, and humanitarian. He was also an eloquent gentleman who lived with integrity, compassion, and commitment for making life better for all people. He made significant contributions during his lifetime to social change, social justice, and peace, and counseled someone who needed help until just days before losing his battle with cancer on May 20, 2015. He was 66 years old.
On the day of his passing, his mother, Jerri Lange, called family and friends to gather at her home in Michael’s honor and to help her send him to heaven on a beam of love sealed with a champagne toast. Around 40 people, along with the entire cast of “Lord, Why Can’t I do Right?” a play Michael was producing, all came to show their love and support for the Lange family. Everyone talked about Michael’s remarkable life as well as his extraordinary accomplishments. That evening it was decided that creating a foundation in his name would honor him by carrying his legacy forward to serve his local community where he lived in Oakland, CA and the world which he considered his global community. The discussion turned into an idea, and the idea gave way to the birth of The Michael F. Lange Foundation five short months after his passing.
Under the leadership of one of Michael’s closest friends and Alpha Phi Alpha brother, Pettis Perry, mother Jerri Lange, and five other founding members came together as Incorporators to form the initial nucleus of the organization. In addition to Jerri and Pettis, the founders were Michael’s cousin Anita Smith, friend Carmen Stone, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Brothers Peter Bostic, John Cooke, and Darrell Ovid, as well as Jeffrey Slough a teacher and community activist from Bellingham, WA. Cheryl Perry-League, Doris Mangrum, Alpha Phi Alpha Brother Fred Jackson, and Cherif Sidialicherif were recruited to the Board of Directors shortly thereafter. With the help of many other friends and family members, The Michael F. Lange Foundation initiated its strategic thinking process, received its 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity designation from the California Secretary of State on October 19, 2015, and its Letter of Exemption from the IRS on December 30, 2015. Within one year, The Foundation Launched its website on May 20, 2016, the anniversary of Michael’s passing.