Our Heritage & Origin

Created in 1977, the then Black Professional Association (BPA) was an organization dedicated to networking, professional growth, and development in Greater Cleveland’s African American community. In 1985, we embarked on a journey with a vision—a vision to empower, educate, and elevate the lives of young individuals in our community through the creation of a Black Professional Association Charitable Foundation.

Today, we stand proud and humbled by the remarkable legacy we have built together since 1977 when the BPA was conceived in a basement meeting room at Karamu House. 

To date, our commitment to providing opportunities for higher education has touched the lives of almost 1,000 scholarship recipients. Through our collective efforts, we have awarded $3.7 million in scholarships, in combination with programming creating pathways to brighter futures and opening doors of possibility. Together, we have transformed lives and nurture the community. 

The Birth of a Movement

The Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF), an outgrowth of BPA, was established in 1985 after the gala revenue reached a significant return on investment. With the goal to raise awareness and support the development of Black leaders in our community, the leadership of BPA decided to establish a charitable foundation to raise and distribute charitable funds to African Americans in and around Northeast Ohio. The sole purpose of these funds was to create opportunities for advancement to higher education and develop rising talent to join the ranks of our region’s most outstanding leaders and professionals.


Nancella Harris

Arthur Baker Jr.

Tanya Allmond