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BUFI History

In 1985, the Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI) became the sixteenth independent affiliate of the National Black United Fund (NBUF). BUFI has continued to develop the idea of charitable fundraising in African American communities; an old and honorable tradition dating back to the Prince Hall Masons.

 The current President/CEO, Nkrumah English, is supported by a board consisting of nineteen (19) members and lead by its Chairman, Robert Starks, Ph.D. The board represents a cross section of the African American community.

 BUFI’s purpose for existing is to provide philanthropic support to projects and programs that address their efforts to the critical needs of African American communities. Among these needs are the effects of federal, state, and local budget cuts in Chicago and across the state. These cuts have devastated many communities turning them into economic and social disaster areas; African American communities are often the hardest hit.

 The National Black United Fund (NBUF), headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, is a non-profit, tax exempt federation of affiliates which started more than thirty years ago. It has grown from eight local Black United Funds in 1975 to twenty-three affiliates located in several major cities throughout the United States. They are:

 Independent Affiliates
Arizona Black United Fund (Phoenix)

Bay Area Black United Fund (Oakland, CA)
Black United Appeal of Kansas City (MO)
Georgia Black United Fund (Atlanta)
Black United Fund of Michigan (Detroit)
Black United Fund of New Jersey (East Orange)
Black United Fund of New York (New York)
Black United Fund of Oregon (Portland)
Black United Fund of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
Black United Fund of Texas (Houston)
Brotherhood Crusade (Los Angeles)
Black United Fund of Illinois (Chicago)
National Black United Fund (Newark, NJ)  Under Development
African American Charities (Cleveland Heights, OH)
Black United Fund of Central Ohio (Columbus)
Black United Fund of Hampton Roads (Norfolk, VA)
Black United Fund of Maryland (Baltimore)
Memphis Black United Fund (TN)
Metropolitan Denver Black United Fund (CO)
Painter Black United Fund (VA)
Sacramento Valley Black United Fund (CA)
Black United Fund of Greater Birmingham (AL)
Black United Fund of Massachusetts (Boston)
Subsidiary Organizations
National Black United Federation of Charities (D.C.)
New Jersey Federation of Black Charities (East Orange)

 The NBUF movement was organized officially and formally in 1972, when a group of nationally recognized African American leaders (Leon Sullivan, Dorothy Height, Lucius Walker, and Leroi Jones) incorporated the organization in the State of Delaware. Since its inception, the National Black United Fund has continued to attract highly motivated African Americans to its governing board.

 The Founder, Walter Bremond, later became the first Executive Director and then President of the National Black United Fund from 1972 until his death in 1982. Bremond was followed by Earland L. Jaggers and Dana Alston. In 1987, William T. Merritt became its fourth and current President/CEO.

 The first chairman of the National Black United Fund was Dr. Jim Joseph, former Undersecretary of the Department of Interior. Prior to his appointment as Undersecretary (during the Carter Administration), Joseph was Vice President of Cummins Engine Company and President of its foundation. After Joseph, Dr. Carlton Goodlett became chairman of NBUF. Goodlett is an internationally known physician and newspaper publisher. The third NBUF chairman was Negail Riley, Associate General Secretary for the United Church of Christ. Other well-known members of the board included Hank Aaron, Lerone Bennett, Julian Bond, Maynard Jackson, Quincy Jones, Don King, Whitman Flayo, Ophelia Mitchell, Congressman Parren Mitchell, Charles Rangel, and Gloria Toote. The NBUF board consists of members drawn from such diverse fields as education, religion, manufacturing, sales, law, medicine, insurance, music, arts, and the media.

 The National Black United Fund's mission is to create, support and sustain African American social, economic, cultural, and educational institutions through the enhancement of African American philanthropy.