Our History

The Bay Area Black United Fund (BABUF) was founded in 1970 to serve the Black community of the Bay Area. In forty years BABUF has evolved from advocate agency and conduit of support to organizations seeking to reduce poverty, hunger, homelessness in the Black community, to a leader in the development of health focused services and programs that reduce health disparities in the nine county region of the Bay Area.

After the 1965 Watts Riots, a group of African-American community activists created the Brotherhood Crusade to raise funds for community rebuilding, support neighborhood organizations, and empower Watts’ residents to improve their social-economic status. This was the catalyst that begat the national organization, the National Black United Fund (NBUF). It opened up America’s workplaces for fundraising by African-American organizations and support the establishment of other Black United Funds (BUF) throughout the country. For more than 40 years, NBUF pursues access to work-site charitable payroll deduction plans of the federal government and private employers so the funds can flow back into the local African-American community. Today, there are 15 affiliate BUF organizations throughout the United States.

In 1970, members of the Bay Area’s African-American community grew concerned about their community’s reliance on others to address black issues. Pastor Emeritus of the Allen Temple Baptist Church, Dr. J. Alfred Smith (http://www.jalfredsmithsr.org) and community activist, now U.S. Congresswoman, Barbara Lee (http://lee.house.gov), along with other community leaders, founded a local chapter called the Bay Area Black United Fund (BABUF) to focus its efforts on increasing self-sufficiency in the African-American community.

BABUF served as an advocate and conduit for resources for the community by supporting non-profit organizations that provided food for the hungry, housed the homeless, provided health services, youth education and leadership development, created stronger families and neighborhoods and supported the arts.

In 2003, BABUF refined its mission to focus on African-American wellness. It created the Critical Mass Health Conductors, now more than 1,000 members strong, to model healthy living in the community. It began a bi-annual African-American Health & Wellness Summit, a 2 day event combining a conference, free health screenings, and a public Health Expo where thousands of local community residents receive health education, resources and screenings. Each year, BABUF activities touch the lives of 15,000 local African-Americans by serving as a conduit for giving, convening conferences and workshops, and advocating for community health and wellness.

BABUF continues to focus its efforts on self-help and empowering the community to take better care of itself through philanthropy and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.