UNITED BLACK FUND OF GREATER CLEVELAND was founded in 1981 by George W. White to raise and distribute funds to social organizations that served the AFRICAN AMERICAN community of Greater Cleveland. The organization was modeled after the United Black Fund of America, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, Sr. in 1969 to provide funding to black charitable organizations overlooked by the established social welfare agencies in Washington, D.C. With a distinguished record of public service in politics and law, White organized the United Black Fund in collaboration with two local groups, Blacks Organized for Social Services (B.O.S.S.) and the Negro Community Federation, to direct the financial resources of African Americans in the Greater Cleveland area to social service organizations in their communities.

The United Black Fund has funded more than 90 local nonprofit agencies and sponsored research into social service needs in Greater Cleveland. The organization has relied on community contributions and the United Way Services to fund its work. It also annually celebrated an anniversary gala and a Celebrity Soul Food Cook-Off to raise funds. Working to promote the social and economic welfare of African Americans in Greater Cleveland, the United Black Fund aided social, educational, and cultural arts programs as well as those that aid elderly homeowners, families of prisoners, and juveniles in trouble.

Affiliated with UNITED WAY SERVICES (since 1984) and the United Black Fund of America, in 2009 the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland was the largest black charitable organization in the state of Ohio. The organization hosted the lecture series "An Evening With..." to inspire and empower people to better their lives, and an annual "Jazz Portraits" event to showcase African-American and Latino music and art. As of 2009, Ruby L. Terry served as the executive director of the organization.

In 2011 the United Black Fund selected Cecil J. Lipscomb to serve as the executive director. Under his leadership the UBF continued to partner with over eighty community-based organizations per year and in 2017 they gave out more than $450,000 in grants with a focus on three distinct areas: education, workforce development, and basic needs.

Updated by Leonard Moore.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland Records, WRHS. 


Article Categories