Forty years ago a group of men and women calling themselves The Black Congress sat down to create an agenda and possible solutions for issues that affected the black community. Their think tank called for economic autonomy, to defend integrity and create unity, and to be the creative force in guiding that unity through peace and mutual respect. With a $15,000 loan from Bank of America, community leader Walter "Walt" Bremond and his group founded the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade in 1968. Its mission was and still is to build and sustain an institution that raises funds and resources from within the community, distributes those funds directly back into the community, and meets unmet needs.
Today, the organization is helmed by Bremond's daughter, Charisse Bremond Weaver, and the mission and goals set forth 40 years ago are steadily progressing under her stewardship. Her father's legacy is celebrated each year through the organization's annual fund-raiser, the Walter Bremond Pioneer of African American Achievement Award Dinner, which will be especially meaningful this year as the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary.
As part of its 40th year celebration, the Brotherhood Crusade is significantly enhancing its initiatives that focus on financial literacy, technical and vocational training, and year round after school and youth development programs.
The Brotherhood Crusade holds its Walter Bremond African American Achievement Awards dinner at 7:00 pm on Friday, November 7, 2008 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills. Each year, an individual is selected who best exemplifies the leadership and spirit of Walter Bremond and the founding members of the organization. This year, the event will honor Sandra Evers-Manly, vice president of Corporate Responsibility and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation, and feature R&B legend Stephanie Mills as the evening's entertainment.
"We are so proud to be able to create and provide these much needed programs with our strategic partners," says Charisse Bremond, president of the Brotherhood Crusade. "As an entity that seeks to enrich and assist organizations and individuals in underserved communities, we see the establishment of such services as a bridge to personal development for this population."
The financial literacy program teaches the basics of personal finance and helps those in lower economic brackets develop habits and attitudes about money that will influence them for the rest of their lives. Many of the tenets taught in this series include debt reduction and management, financial literacy education, savers and investment clubs and the Taking Financial Control Mentor program. It also features an individual development account component for 15-19 year old youth through which the organization matches every dollar they save with two dollars.
The advent of a coordinated, comprehensive year round after school and youth development curriculum provides continuity and educational enrichment to children. Says Bremond, "These programs are offered free of charge 40-48 weeks out of the year, 6 days a week. Not only do they significantly improve academic performance, commitment to school, and attendance, but they also deter incidents of violence, drug use and truancy. Our plan is for this program to work in tandem with our Jim Clemmons Books and Basketball Camp, Brother to Brother: Male by Birth, Man by Choice mentor-mentee retreat, and our Mother's-in-Action Annual Back to School event."
The re-launch of the technological center offers vocational training to level the playing field for careers in technology. It is designed to provide a career path for unemployed individuals, under-employed adult workers, and individuals seeking a career change to improve their economic condition, stabilize their financial situation, and facilitate their dreams and goals.
The Brotherhood Crusade is a non-profit institution that provides necessary resources, supportive services and a voice for advocacy to traditionally underserved communities. The Brotherhood Crusade supports families and individuals by:
¥ Promoting health and wellness;
¥ Providing and enhancing educational opportunities
¥ Cultivating economic growth; and
¥ Building community agencies and institutions.
Supporters of this year's dinner include: Bank of America, Microsoft, NBC4, Northern Trust, Northrop Grumman, Southern California Edison, Southwest Airlines, The Gas Company, State Farm Insurance, Verizon, Nielsen Media, Wells Fargo, and Ivie, McNeil, and Wyatt.
For more information and to purchase tickets, call (323) 846-1649 or visit www.brotherhoodcrusade.org. Sponsorships are available and the event is open to the public.