The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is a non-profit organization with the mission to advance the opportunities and the quality of life for African-American women, their families and communities. NCNW fulfills this mission through research, advocacy, national and community based services and programs in the United States and Africa. With its 28 national affiliate organizations and its more than 200 community based sections, NCNW has an outreach to nearly four million women, all contributing to the peaceful solutions to the problems of human welfare and rights. The national headquarters, which acts as a central source for program planning, is based in Washington, D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue, located between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. NCNW also has two field offices.
The NCNW was founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune, child of slave parents, distinguished educator, and government consultant. Mary McLeod Bethune saw the need for harnessing the power and extending the leadership of African-American women through a national organization.
The high-profile annual Black Family Reunion Program Celebration
Public education and advocacy for African Americans regarding Supreme Court and lower court nominees
Early childhood literacy programs designed to close the achievement gap
A new initiative and publication entitled African American Women As We Age, which educates women on health and finances
A national obesity abatement initiative
A partnership with NASA to develop Community Learning Centers targeting traditionally underserved students
Technical assistance to eight Youth Opportunity Centers in Washington, DC
Some of NCNW's recent international activities include:
Maintaining consultative status at the United Nations to represent the voice of African American women
Partnering with national women's organizations in Benin to deliver technology, literacy, microcredit and economic empowerment programs
Linking youth in Uganda, north Africa and the U.S. in a three-nation educational exchange.
Developing a small business incubator in Senegal
Partnering in the implementation of a large microcredit program in Eritrea extending small business loans and training to more than 500 women.
Serving as an umbrella organization for 39 national and local advocacy groups for women of African descent both in the U.S. and abroad, the National Council of Negro Women coordinates its activities with partners in 34 states. The Council also runs four research and policy centers in its efforts to develop best practices in addressing the health, educational, and economic needs of African-American women. Unfortunately, all of these centers take a lot of resources to run, and with administrative costs upwards of $4 million in 2007, there is comparatively little left over in the group’s approximately $6 million budget for programs.
Julie A. Gallagher. "The National Council of Negro Women, Human Rights, and the Cold War," in Laughlin, Kathleen A., and Jacqueline L. Castledine, eds., Breaking the Wave: Women, Their Organizations, and Feminism, 1945-1985 (Routledge, 2011) pp. 80–98