A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

As president and CEO of the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service, Marcellus D. Sommerville oversees day-to-day operations of the nonprofit organization, which provides services such as food, clothing, education, employment preparation and financial coaching to the Peoria community. He was directly impacted by the agency as a child and has always remained grateful. After a 14-year professional basketball career in the NBA and in Europe, he returned to his hometown and found a way to give back to the very organization that helped his own family through tough times.

Not only does Sommerville lead the Peoria Friendship House daily, he works after hours as executive director of Next Generation Academy (NGA) and the Sommerville Family Foundation. Founded by Sommerville, NGA is a basketball mentorship program that has expanded from a week-long camp to a full-service youth basketball organization that teaches life lessons both on and off the court to develop student-athletes and leaders of the next generation. The foundation works hand in hand to educate, inspire and empower students to make a difference in the world through education and basketball.

Outside of NGA and the foundation, Sommerville has been involved as a coach, instructor, speaker or mentor with numerous other basketball programs, including Shaun Livingston’s Pride of Peoria camp, the Mitchell “JJ” Anderson and Dana Davis Basketball Camp, Gametime for Life Youth Foundation and the Glory to God Basketball Series. Prior to his career in the NBA and overseas, he led Bradley University to the Sweet 16 in the 2006 NCAA Basketball Tournament and remains the 12th all-time leading scorer in Bradley history.

Sommerville has supported many other efforts to serve community members in need, including Hams for the Holidays, Turkeys for the Homeless and the Sugar Plum Project. He organizes the annual Back to School Bash and has been a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, Youth Empowerment Summit, Peoria Public Schools, South Side Mission and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. PM