The Breakfast Club was founded in 2007 by Harvard Men’s Basketball Coach Tommy Amaker and Harvard Law Professors Charles Ogletree and Ron Sullivan. This community of educators, students, and thought leaders across sector meets regularly to discuss consequential topics like advancing equity and social justice, and to build greater understanding of and respect for different perspectives and experiences.
In 2007, Tommy Amaker arrived at Harvard as the university’s only Black head coach across more than 30 varsity teams at the time.
Renowned Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree – a respected attorney, legal commentator, author, and founder of Harvard’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute – took Coach Amaker under his wing to ensure he felt at home with the Crimson. He assembled a group of Black leaders, mostly Harvard faculty, for an informal networking group that they called Tommy’s Kitchen Cabinet. This small community would become a place for Coach Amaker to build relationships, share ideas and, over time, inspire his athletes.
Tommy’s Kitchen Cabinet evolved into The Breakfast Club, a place for not just Black leaders at Harvard, but for student athletes and the broader community, as well. The Breakfast Club now meets monthly, bringing together powerful and influential voices to discuss important topics like race, diversity, criminal justice, education, and more. Usually housed in a private room at Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge, The Breakfast Club has attracted notable business leaders and social activists, including President Barack Obama, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and former Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards.
“[Amaker] wants the team to reflect Harvard’s~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
best efforts to show diversity. That has a big effect on
other schools, which in turn has a big impact on society.”