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NCBW/Community Services Fund      

 

Founded in 1984, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women/Community Services Fund develops programs around the program priorities of its sister organization, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW). Those priorities are health, education and economic development, with leadership development and gender equity included as major components. In l998, it expanded its reach to include other women of color—Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino and Native. A not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, the Fund is governed by a board of directors.  The Fund used its first year to experiment with nationwide program development through its Women in Partnership program, a role-modeling, mentoring project for pregnant teenagers that was funded by the Commonwealth Fund. Fifty percent of the NCBW chapters have replicated this program, an outcome that demonstrates not only the success of the program but also the significant effect of a national-level initiative on program planning and action in a geographically dispersed, young network of autonomous chapters. In 1986, the Fund devised two strategies that helped to shape its five-year agenda: long-term program planning, which includes the components of national program recognition and institutional support from the private and public sectors, and the strengthening of the Fund’s national office. Its 1986 Colloquy, supported by the American Express, Gannett and Ford Foundations, enabled the Fund to implement the first strategy. It brought together prominent Black women from academia, business, law, government and the economic-development arena at the Aspen Institute in Maryland. The Colloquy proceedings produced a 20-year blueprint for action entitled Inheriting a Legacy of Leadership that has contributed to the program direction and priorities of both the Fund and NCBW.  In regard to the second strategy, a grant from The Ford Foundation in 1987 enabled the Fund to start the process of building a viable national office. This effort resulted in the hiring of an executive director and an executive assistant. The work accomplished during the grant period reinforced the Fund’s institutional framework and led, years later, to the hiring of additional staff members.

Today, the Fund maximizes its service capability via programming through 62 NCBW chapters in 26 states and the District of Columbia. The programs are administered, with the assistance of the volunteer NCBW leadership, by the Fund’s full- and part-time staff: executive director, two part-time program assistants, program coordinator and two part-time support staff. Among the many programs developed, implemented and funded are these: * Reproductive Health Rights Dialogue, 1991, examined issues related to the health problems endemic in the African American community.

  • Wealth, Markets and Social Change, l998–2000, addressed the position of women of color across the socioeconomic spectrum.
  • Nonpartisan Voter Education, 1993–94, supported free elections in South Africa.
  • Civil Institute for Women of Color, 1998–2002, is a leadership and public-policy initiative designed by women from four cultural groups: African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino and Native. The mission of the Institute is to enhance the well-being of women of color through leadership training, public-policy analysis and the development of new models of leadership and empowerment that are culture- and gender-specific. The Ford Foundation has invited the Fund to hold a funders’ briefings at its facility to solicit support for the Institute’s implementation.
  • Engendering A Gender Analysis, 1999–2001, addressed the gender aspects of economic, educational and health issues.
  • At-Risk Families, 1999–2001, provided educational seminars at the largest housing project in Harlem to children, aged 14–17, and their parents that focused on health care, leadership and skill development and self-advocacy.

The foregoing programs have been funded, respectively, by The Ford Foundation, the NCBW chapters, the Bank of America and American Express, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Shell Oil Company Foundation and the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation.

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