The Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan
Founded by the Honorable Alma G. Stallworth during her tenure in the Michigan Legislature while serving as Chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus; the Foundation was established as a 50l-c3 tax exempt organization dedicated to the creation and delivery of service programs which improve the economic circumstances and quality of life for Michigan’s African American citizenry. The Foundation’s creation evolved from a segment of social-economic and political history which continues to frame the advancement of Black America. At the base of this history was the understanding of a cross section of Black leaders that intellectual resources were needed to support research dedicated to the development and implementation of public policy initiatives critical to the well-being of Black people in America and around the globe.
Honorable Alma G. Stallworth, Founder of Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan
PRIOR TO 1983
When James J. Blanchard was elected Michigan Governor and Gary Owen was elected Speaker to the Michigan House of Representatives, the only African American staffers at the State Capitol were those working in the offices of Black legislators. During this time there were no African American policy analysts serving on the central policy staffs of the Michigan House or Senate; and with limited exception, only a meager number worked in State agencies, departments or in private sector governmental affairs capacities. Without policy perspectives developed specifically by African Americans; African American legislators, the legislature as a whole and the Executive Branch were limited in both policy perspective and resolution options regarding the challenges facing Michigan’s African American community.
Representative Stallworth, Senator David Holmes and Senator Jackie Vaughn, III with the assistance of KB Stallworth, a marketing & syndication executive for Scott & Fetzer Corp; and Steve Zimmerman, a senior partner in the law firm of Dykema Gossett; convened a meeting with a cross section of Michigans most successful and respected African Americans to formulate plans for what was to be the newly formed Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan. Among them was Jack Martin, the principle of the most successful African American accounting firm in Michigan; and Dr Karl Gregory, an economist and professor who had successfully created two African American owned financial institutions; Dr. Charles Tucker, one of the nation’s most successful sports agents and psychologists; Atty. Richard White, a principle from one of the nations most respected African American law firms; and Don Davis, a renowned music producer and song writer who was also the principle shareholder of Michigan’s only African American owned bank. In 1985, these individuals, working in collaboration with the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, organized the Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan’s Legislative lnternship Program to serve as a feeder system for African Americans interested in the pursuit of public policy related careers in state government. The program would also serve as a “front-line” research program charged with developing solutions to public policy initiatives that affected the black communities of Michigan.
REVOLUTIONARY IN ITS DESIGN
The internship program provided 12 academic credits to minority students recruited from Michigan State, Wayne State and the University of Michigan for one academic quarter of governmental affairs service, and or submission of a policy paper (with collaboration of a Black legislator) detailing solutions to an issue adversely impacting African Americans, State policies regarding the use of minority contractors, goals of minority procurement, lottery contract expenditure distribution, auto insurance, public and private sector African American appointments, tax reversion, adolescent teen pregnancy, drug and smoking prevention are issues that have all been impacted by Foundation initiatives stimulated by the lntern Program Research.
The Foundation’s internship model has been replicated in university systems throughout the nation. Its success in the 1980’s has opened the doors for governmental affairs occupations for African American professionals in the legislature, executive branch, fiscal agencies, state departments, and private sector. Now, more then twenty years later, the challenge continues for the Foundation to serve as a critical intellectual link between Michigan policy makers, business leaders, service organizations and the community. There remains a need to frame, refocus and remind decision makers of the critical need for ‘vertical integration’ of African Americans throughout the public policy process to ensure fair and equitable treatment. Nothing exemplifies this need better than the current absence of a single African American in the Capitol Press Corps during a time when media coverage of black experiences and perspectives are essential to improved race relations and equitably addressing Michigan’s social and economic woes.
The Foundation is dedicated to the development and implementation of programs and initiatives that effectively address issues such as these. Critical to these endeavors will be continued efforts to educate decision makers, both White and Black, to Michigan’s African American political history and advocacy for the Vertical Integration of minorities into business and government operations during the 21st Century.
To provide non-partisan, educational research, public policy development, and analysis of various issues of social and economic importance to Michigan’s Black Communities, and to implement associated programs and services which enhance the quality of life of children and families.
Commitment to Diversity
Serving Our Communities
The Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan (BCF), is committed to addressing the socio-economic issues that impact black communities in Michigan, consistent with its mission. The organizational values underpinning our work include a strong commitment to respect and valuing diversity. This value has been demonstrated in our collaborative approach and ability to work partner effectively with a wide array of organizations to drive improvements in the community. We recognize that the issues affecting black communities are a microcosm of the broader society and that the benefits we create likewise have a positive impact on society as a whole. The Board of Directors membership includes representation from diverse segments of our community including corporate, small business, education, organized labor, public officials and local community advocates. It is through this diverse set of perspectives that the Black Caucus Foundation has effectively developed and implemented programs and services for 21 years. The BCF staff over the years has maintained a balance of age, gender, and diverse professional backgrounds. We are a committed EEO employer and advertise openings through diverse communication channels designed to reach all segments of the community.
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