Mission & Vision
The mission of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF) is to create opportunities for African American professionals by providing scholarship, leadership and career development. Our vision is to be a catalyst that prepares and develops emerging professionals, celebrates distinguished leaders and elevates our community.
Our Heritage & Origin
Created in 1977, the Black Professionals Association (BPA) was an organization dedicated to networking, professional growth and development in Greater Cleveland’s African American community. To celebrate the accomplishments of successful Black Professionals, BPA held the first Black Professional of the Year Gala in
1981. The goal of that first gala was to honor the accomplishments of Bertram Gardner, a banker, who served as a mentor for many, as well as for his contributions made to our community. The celebration was greatly received and thus the tradition of the annual Black Professional of the Year was established.
The Creation Of The Foundation
The legacy of raising awareness and supporting the development of Black leaders in our community is the primary purpose of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF). BPACF, an outgrowth of BPA, was established in October of 1985 after the gala revenues reached a significant return on investment. The leadership of BPA then determined the need to establish a charitable foundation, to raise and distribute charitable funds and assure that African Americans from Northeast Ohio with academic and leadership potential have an opportunity to advance to higher education and join the ranks of our region’s outstanding leaders and professionals.
Today, we remain committed to our mission of scholarship, leadership and career development. We continue the legacy of honoring the achievements of professionals who encourage others to strive for excellence. BPACF creates connections in our community and invests in tomorrow’s leaders.
Our vision for BPACF over the next few years is to expand our Career Connect Internship Program, increase the number and amount of scholarships awarded to deserving students and create a culture of professional excellence in Greater Cleveland’s Black communities. BPACF aspires to promote the many opportunities for professional development and career training in this region, to give our youth a competitive edge in the job market upon college graduation and to encourage more of our young professionals to remain in Northeast Ohio.
Why Support BPACF?
With the need for advanced education and training on the rise in the state of Ohio, we must invest in and prepare our community for the workforce shift that is impacting our region. BPACF has been committed to elevating our community of professionals for more than 30 years and will continue to serve in this capacity.
Economically disadvantaged, minority youth are often unprepared for college success, unsure of how to navigate the competitive job market and lack exposure to individuals who can mentor them and set a positive example for them to follow. BPACF exists to commit time, talent and resources to minority talent development
and retention in our region by providing scholarships to low and moderate income students from Greater Cleveland, creating unique opportunities for career advancement and shaping the quality of leadership and professionalism in this region.