Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

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The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) conducts research on issues affecting African Americans, publishes a yearly report on key legislation, and sponsors issue forums, leadership seminars and scholarships. Although linked with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is a separate nonprofit group that runs programs in education, healthcare and economic development.

Established in 1976 by members of the CBC, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) began as a non-partisan research institute. Today, the Foundation is organized as a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy, research and educational institute with an office located near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., as well as a Board of Directors and two Advisory Councils. Rep. Chaka Fattah serves as the Chairperson of CBCF and A. Shuanise Washington serves as its president and chief executive officer.

Fundraising events and corporate partners support CBCF programs. The CBCF funds many of its activities by hosting the Annual Legislative Conference each September.[1] The Foundation often works with the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses, a group of wives and husbands of the African Americanmembers of the United States Congress.

The CBCF’s official website states that its mission is to “advance the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public.” In order to achieve this mission, the CBCF works to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information addressing critical issues affecting black communities, develop research and historical resources for the public, provide leadership development and scholarship opportunities, and develop programs and research to address social, economic and health disparities.

History[edit]

African American members of Congress established the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. In 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was established as a non-partisan research institute by members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other individuals looking to enhance Black involvement in the political process. The first official meeting of the incorporators of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was held on September 30, 1976. At this time, Yvonne Burke of Los Angeles (not yet a member of Congress) was elected temporary chairman of the CBCF. In 1981, expansion of the CBCF resulted from a change in the House Administration Committee rules governing caucuses.

The first Annual Congressional Black Caucus Dinner was held in 1971, before the creation of the CBCF.

A New York Times article that investigated the caucus’s connections to corporate interests reported that from 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions.[2]

The caucus says its nonprofit groups are intended to help disadvantaged African Americans by providing scholarships and internships to students, researching policy and holding seminars on topics like healthy living.

In 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation spent more on the caterer for its signature legislative dinner and conference — nearly $700,000 for an event one organizer called “Hollywood on the Potomac” — than it gave out in scholarships, federal tax records show.

The Dallas Morning News reported in August 2010 that congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson had awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide's two children using foundation funds. The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money, and all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member's district.[3]

The foundation's former chairman, Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., said that neither the foundation nor the Congressional Black Caucus "will allow unethical behavior in the awarding of scholarships or any programs that are designed to benefit the community." [4]

Programs[edit]

  • Center for Policy Analysis and Research
  • Leadership Institute for Public Service
  • Black Health Empowerment Project (BHEP)
  • SHOP for Wealth
  • CBCF/CITI Economic Empowerment Forums
  • Avoice: African Americans in Congress

Officers[edit]

  • Chairperson: Rep. Chaka Fattah
  • President & CEO: A. Shuanise Washington
  • Vice Chairperson: R. Donahue Peebles
  • Secretary: Kevin Brown
  • Treasurer: Marcus Sebastian Mason

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Congressional Black Caucus Foundation holds 35th Legislative Conference". Jet. October 17, 2005. 
  2. ^ Lipton, Eric; Lichtblau, Eric (February 13, 2010). "In Black Caucus, a Fund-Raising Powerhouse". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Gillman, Todd J.; Hoppe, Christy (August 30, 2010). "Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson violated rules, steered scholarships to relatives". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  4. ^ Gillman, Todd J. (August 31, 2010). "Black Caucus Foundation chair denounces Eddie Bernice Johnson, 'self-dealing' in scholarships". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 

Further reading[edit]

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