“NANBPWC understands that Black women are part of a larger African Diaspora, and we have responsibilities to each other and to women on the African continent as their sisters.”
-Jennifer Bryant, Executive Director, NANBPWC, Inc.
The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NANBPWC) was formed in 1935 by seven visionary African-American women. A national business and professional women’s organization already existed at that time, but since African-American women were not allowed membership, NANBPWC, Inc.’s founders decided to form their own. Understanding that, “I am because we are,” The NANBPWC is community-centered and has always prioritized community growth over individual progress.
The NANBPWC, Inc. has supported Africare’s work for more than two decades, and they recently decided to become Africare Life Members. NANBPWC, Inc. National President Marie E. Castillo and Executive Director Jennifer Bryant were additionally generous enough to share more about their mission and their dedication to the communities they serve.
Could you tell us a little about NANBPWC Inc.’s work?
Jennifer: NANBPWC has clubs all across the United States. We foster networking and capacity building opportunities for our approximately 2,000 members, and we seek ways to positively engage youth and other members of our communities. Our L.E.T.S. Institute hosts workshops for members to improve their leadership, entrepreneurial and technological skills. Also, the national organization collaborates with numerous partners, like the American Heart Association, the Black Women’s Agenda and the United Negro College Fund. Our clubs regularly engage in service activities for the betterment of our communities.
Africare’s projects are community based too. Could you tell us more about the inspiration for NANBPWC’s community-centered approach?
Marie: In addition to promoting the interests of business and professional women, our mission is to improve the quality of life in our local and global communities and to foster good fellowship. This is the reason for our community-centered approach to service. We can only improve the situation for the people we serve by being directly involved with them. We provide them with information and service designed to uplift them and help them to achieve their highest potential.
Your organization also has an International Affairs Branch. What is NANBPWC’s motivation for supporting international causes?
Jennifer: NANBPWC understands that Black women are part of a larger African Diaspora, and we have responsibilities to each other and to women on the African continent as their sisters. We therefore have an International Affairs Division to work with our sisters abroad and to develop and participate in philanthropic projects in Africa and the Caribbean.
NANBPWC has donated more than $23,000 to Africare since 1990. Are there reasons why you have entrusted your Africa-focused philanthropy to Africare?
Marie: We appreciate that your efforts improve the lives of the people in Africa for whom we have great concern. And we understand that 94 cents of every dollar donated goes to program activities in Africa that enhance the lives of its citizens. We trust that the work you are doing there is making life better for people in Africa.
The majority of NANBPWC, Inc. donations have not been restricted to particular development sectors such as health, food security or water. Rather, you have requested that your contributions be put toward wherever help is needed most. Can you explain why NANBPWC, Inc. opts for unrestricted support?
Marie: You are the ones in contact with officials in Africa who can tell you what the specific needs are at any given time, so we rely on you to provide for those needs with the donations that we and other individuals and organizations make.
Africare is proud to now call NANBPWC, Inc. an Africare Life Member. What compelled you to take that step?
Jennifer: Our decision was based on our focus across the board to strengthen our partnerships with the organizations we donate to and to demonstrate our dedication to those causes.
What are NANBPWC, Inc.’s hopes for the future?
Marie: Our hope is to see the citizens in Africa, especially its women, use the donated funds to become empowered and to be better able to sustain themselves and their families.
NANBPWC, Inc. has certainly demonstrated its dedication clearly. We are so grateful for the support you have provided us for more than 20 years, and we’re glad you share our hopes for the future!