About Black Professional Association Charitable Foundation
  • President's Message
  • Executive Director's Greeting
  • Overview Of Who We Serve
  • Mission
  • History

President's Message


It is my honor to serve as the eleventh President of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation. With a well-reputed history and support base as connected as BPACF’s, I come into this role with confidence in our future as well as the conviction to create opportunities that enhance the lives of Greater Cleveland’s budding African-American professionals. 

Through our strategic plan, BPACF is coming into an era of greater organizational strength, and dynamic new community partnerships. I am proud to work with a Board of Trustees who all demonstrate strong leadership, high ethical standards, and professional excellence. We believe that the potential of our scholars, many of whom are “first-generation” college students, is limitless and will greatly enhance the civic, cultural and economic quality of life in Northeast Ohio.

We encourage you to join us in our mission to create opportunities for our scholars and other promising youth in the Greater Cleveland area. BPACF is looking for engaged African American professionals to coach and mentor our scholars. We seek unique internship and training opportunities from the business community, to open new windows of opportunity to our scholars for 21st Century careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Finally, we ask for your financial support, to develop innovative programs that will create a class of Black professionals in Greater Cleveland who not only fill our shoes when we are ready to retire, but fill our hearts with hope and our minds with a sense of pride in our culture and community.

In closing, it is with sincere appreciation that I thank all the volunteers, corporate sponsors and community partners. None of our progress as an organization would be possible without your time, talents and treasure. Please continue to invest in our mission, our vision and the future Black Professionals of excellence and distinction in Northeast Ohio by supporting BPACF.

“In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.” – Barack Obama


Ronald V. Johnson, Jr. President

Executive Director's Message

Dear Supporter's and Friends

A recent report conducted by Georgetown University revealed that by the year 2018, nearly 60 percent of all jobs in the state of Ohio will require training or a degree beyond a high school diploma. In Cuyahoga County, less than 30 percent of all residents hold a degree beyond the high school diploma. What we are starting to see in this community is an alarming lack of skilled and educated workers who are ready to fill the employment opportunities available.

BPACF stands ready to partner with local corporations, community organizations and small businesses that have a commitment to educate our future workforce and prepare them to enter the employment market.

Our vision for BPACF over the next five years is to create a college-going culture in Northeast Ohio’s African American community, to promote the many opportunities for professional development and career training in this region, to strengthen our career immersion programs and to encourage more of our youth to remain in Northeast Ohio.

More than 80 percent of our recent classes of scholars are first-generation college students. Like me, these young people will be the first member of their immediate family to graduate college. What an exciting time in their lives!

We need your help to academically, financially and professionally prepare these scholars to compete in the global economy.

To show your support of the mission and vision of BPACF, we ask you to consider a contribution to our scholarship fund or programming.

On behalf of our scholars, I thank you for believing in the power of a solid education, a strong professional network and amazing career development opportunities.

With you in your pursuit of excellence,


Marcella J. Brown, Executive Director


Overview Of Who We Serve

BPACF is a professional development pipeline initiative, in the form of an organization committed to excellence in Northeast Ohio. Our programs and services offer opportunities for success to students, young professionals, middle managers and top executives.

Students: BPACF works with Northeast Ohio high school and college students, to support academic excellence. Through our Scholarship Program and Internship Boot Camp, we encourage local students to commit to college completion.

Young Professionals: As graduates transition from college to career, BPACF provides opportunities for networking and career exposure through the Career Connect Internship Program.

Middle Managers: The power of networking opens windows of opportunity. Middle Managers and Young Professionals who participate in our professional development events and Nights Out can meet, share career opportunities and motivate each other to reach higher ranks in their fields of endeavor.

Top Executives: Our Black Professionals of the Year and Lifetime Achievers are Trendsetters and Trailblazers. Each year, we connect with some of the most accomplished professionals in the Great Lakes Region. Our events, programs and the Annual Scholarship Awards Gala enables connections in our community to happen.

Our Mission

To create opportunities for African American professionals by providing scholarship, leadership and career development.   

Our Vision

To be a catalyst that prepares and develops emerging professionals, celebrates distinguished leaders and elevates our community. 

Our Values

1) Professionalism: We believe in upholding a high standard of professionalism.
2) Leadership: We support the development of professionals into leaders.
3) Career Development: We create unique experiences for career development.
4) Innovation: We encourage innovation at every stage of a career trajectory.
5) Civic Engagement: We inspire civic engagement as a catalyst to professional development


Our Heritage & Origin

Created in 1977, the Black Professionals Association (BPA) was the predecessor of BPACF. The organization was dedicated to professional growth and career 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 future 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 scholarship funds and assure that African Americans from Northeast Ohio with academic inclination have an opportunity to advance to higher education and join the ranks of our region’s outstanding leaders and professionals.

Continued Growth

In the mid-1990’s, BPACF also established an endowment fund with The Cleveland Foundation. The endowment fund serves as a financial anchor to ensure that BPACF is positioned for perpetuity to achieve our goals of educational scholarships, programming, and leadership development.

Today, we remain committed to our mission of scholarship, education and leadership development, and continue the legacy of honoring the achievements of professionals who encourage others to strive for excellence. BPACF is poised to continue our commitment to professional excellence, scholarly achievement and creating connections in our community by investing 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.



Address : 2930 Prospect Avenue East,  Cleveland, OH 44115
Phone : 216-229-7110
Fax : 216-229-7120
Email : Info@bpacf.org