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, 501c3 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-modelling, mentoring project for pregnant teenagers that was funded by the Commonwealth Fund. Fifty percent of the NCBW chapters replicated this program, an outcome that demonstrated the success of the program, the significant effect of a national-level initiative on program planning and action in geographically dispersed chapters.
In 1986, the Fund devised two strategies that helped to shape its five-year agenda: long-term program planning, which included 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 1987 grant from The Ford Foundation enabled the Fund to start the process of building a viable national office. This effort resulted in the hiring of professional staff.
The initial programs were funded respectively by The Ford Foundation, the NCBW chapters, the Bank of America, American Express, The W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Shell Oil Company Foundation and the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation. A synopsis of some of NCBW’s programs includes:
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, was 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 was to enhance the well-being of women of color through leadership training, public-policy analysis, the development of new models of leadership and empowerment that are culture and gender-specific.
- 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.
- Since 2002, programming expanded and focuses on:
- Legislative analysis and voter education
- Economic development & wealth building
- Personal and professional development
- Mentoring projects
- Influencing and shaping public policy
- Teen pregnancy & HIV-AIDs education
- Gender gaps in education and health
- Access to higher education
- Elimination of gender-based violence and discrimination against women worldwide
Today, the Fund maximizes its service capability via programming through 60 NCBW chapters in 28 states who work on the ground. The programs are administered with the assistance of the volunteer NCBW leadership and professional staff.
With a strategic plan currently under development, the NCBW Agenda and priorities will focus on:
- Economic Empowerment
- Strategic Alliances
- Civic Engagement