Business

Corporations partner with Congressional Black Caucus

"Top class" is what many of the 38,000 who participated in the Congressional Black Caucus’ 33rd Annual Legislative Conference said. The leading African American political, civic, and church and media leadership came to Washington for events associated with issue forums and workshops to examine public policy issues facing Blacks. "Top class" is what many of the 38,000 who participated in the Congressional Black Caucus’ 33rd Annual Legislative Conference said. The leading African American political, civic, and church and media leadership came to Washington for events associated with issue forums and workshops to examine public policy issues facing Blacks. The Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) is sponsored by its Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. (CBCF) funding arm. The ALC is an All-American Conference. A $250 Million boon to the economy of the nation’s capital, the corporate presence among the primer gathering helped the CBCF generate over $37 million to support programs.

Hundreds of companies were paying participants in event fundraisers. Budweiser’s booth anchored the Exhibit Hall as it has for three-decades. For over 33 years, it’s been the corporate support of Black executives such as Anheuser Busch’s Henry Brown that has enabled the CBCF to host the annual gathering.

Since the (CBC) was formed in 1969 under the leadership of St. Louis Congressman William Clay, Black Market specialists from tobacco, petroleum, food, soft drinks, beer, liquors and wines consumer product companies, such as St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, have provided the financial underpinnings of the CBC’s Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). For over 30 years, Black corporate executives have been the impetus for the Black Caucus’ forums promoting subjects of importance to the Black community.

The ALC is comprised of issue forums, an exhibition hall, a National Town Hall meeting, a Job Fair and numerous social activities. Sponsorships through Black Corporate diversity and marketing specialists is a prime reason that the ALW has become widely recognized as the national forum to examine strategies and solutions to public policy issues facing African Americans.

The four-day conference of issue forums, workshops, and Congressional Braintrusts convened by members of the Congressional Black Caucus garners is designed to give voice to Black Americans’ concerns. Events such as the Annual Awards Dinner, Prayer Breakfast, and the CBC Spouses Annual Fashion Shows and Benefit Concert contribute to support the CBCF and its Congressional Fellows and Internship Programs, CBC Spouses Educational Scholarships, public policy research projects, and publications. According to CBC Chair Elijah Cummings, "Thousands of deserving young people have benefited from $6 million in scholarship assistance raised by these events".

The 39-member Congressional Black Caucus is increasing its profile in national politics. It has announced the launch of a weekly radio address to air over Black-owned American Urban Radio Network’s 450 affiliate radio stations. The CBC, with Fox News Channel, sponsored a historic Democratic presidential candidates' debate at Morgan State University. By taking a more aggressive posture articulating Black Americans’ concerns, the CBC could prove pivotal in 2004 presidential balloting.

Articulating greater visibility and upward mobility for Black Americans inside their corporations, Black marketers have helped gain underwriting for African-American organizational events since the 1950s. Black marketing managers, such as William G. Porter of Anheuser Busch, have bought exhibit booths and display and distribute company information and souvenirs to fund Black associations’ state and national meetings for decades. Representatives from companies like Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi were sponsoring breakfasts and luncheons, presenting awards to organizational leaders at such conventions, when other consumer products companies ignored Black issues and concerns.

Because of African-American executives’ work to impacting Black consumers, and their leadership, companies like BP Amoco, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, Texaco, General Motors, Ford, Nissan,

October 29, 2003
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