Black United Fund of Illinois
Black United Fund of Illinois Celebrates 30 Years of self-help
with a “Virtual Gala”
The Black United Fund of Illinois, Inc. (BUFI) has a stellar record of raising funds to financially support iconic Chicagoland social service and cultural arts organizations that provide critical services to residents. The organization’s annual Living Legends/Passing the Torch Gala, held each October for the past 14 years, highlighted the work of BUFI while raising needed funds for services. This year in place of an IRL (in real life) Gala, BUFI will launch a 30 day-long Virtual Gala beginning Thursday, September 17. The event will allow BUFI to tell wonderful stories of “helping people help themselves” while raising funds for youth programs, grants, job training and other support for which it is known.
BUFI invites you to participate in the “Virtual Gala”. It will be a celebration of accomplishment and self -help, and a look at how, through BUFI’s efforts, dollars are being used to build communities and change lives.
The “Virtual Gala” is social media based making it easy for anyone to participate and lasts 30 days. Visit www.bufi.org and click on donations. Videos of BUFI Living Legends and Pass the Torch honorees with a legacy of philanthropy are available for viewing on the site as well. It’s a Sankofa campaign, with the goal to retrieve the giving spirit within our community and tap into the truth that we can and do give and help ourselves – we are the philanthropists. BUFI is looking to families, young communicators, leaders and entrepreneurs who have been touched or trained by BUFI to spread the word about the value of legacy and our future, “helping people help themselves.”
“It’s exciting,” says BUFI CEO and President Henry L. English. “We’ve listened to our staunch supporters, young entrepreneurs and corporate executives who assure us that with our history, and through this innovative approach, we can raise needed funds while creating an awareness of BUFI’s giving history. Most importantly we can continue our giving to those institutions that need it, especially now when government has failed to deliver on its commitments.”
BUFI Virtual Gala
30 years ago the Black United Fund waged and won a legal battle for the right to enter federal, state, city and county work places soliciting workers’ to pledge a portion of their payroll dollars to causes in their community they wanted to support. The action also opened the door for other organizations to participate. The result was the building of a financial fund, raised mostly from African American donors, that supported new and established organizations and cultural institutions. BUFI used funds generated to provide and grants to these groups assisting hundreds of organizations, some for more than 27 years. Many of those organizations continue to flourish today including The DuSable Museum of African American History, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Clara’s House, MUNTU Dance Theater, Black Ensemble Theater and Jackie Robinson West Little League.
Now celebrating 30 years of “self-help,” BUFI is increasing the awareness of their track record with the help of some of the area’s most innovative media and social media communicators. The energy is reminiscent of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, where African Americans and fair-minded people came together to create a level of awareness that moved people to action and encouraged important conversations. BUFI hopes that those conversations will create a buzz in communities around self-help and motivate participation in the “virtual gala.”
Research tells us that donors respond to a movement centered on self-help. Additionally, those who support BUFI’s efforts are all over the country, so this 30 day-long Virtual Gala will reach far beyond Chicago, telling a story that includes BUFI’s innovative Safe Passage program, work with returning citizens, success in providing training for youth and adults, getting trainees from program to union memberships, and increased earnings from skills developed in BUFI training programs.
According to English, funds raised at the “virtual gala” will support more youth employment, programs and grants to organizations, a more aggressive and energized approach to funding programs, skill-based and entrepreneurial training that will lead to jobs or new business being created. “This is our track-record. This is our future. It’s going to be an exciting 30 days, and an awesome finale. There’s more to come.” Check your email, twitter and Instagram! www.bufi.org. Follow the Virtual Gala using the hashtag #bufi3030vision.