By James Posey, BPI Board Chair
Truly, the Black Parent Initiative (BPI) has much to be thankful for. We are so grateful for the unwavering support of so many community members, donors and friends. Please let us take this opportunity to update you on our progress and challenges.
Let’s start with the exciting additions to our board of directors which we have restructured to include a dream team of community members. Another strength is the addition of Antoinette Payne, a former BPI CFO and Multnomah County Finance Manager. Additionally, new board members Dr. Jay Klusky, CEO of Guiding Light Family Services, Bahia Overton, Director of Leading for Learning and Equity Initiatives, for the Chalkboard Project, Matt Tschabold, Assistant Director for Strategy and Policy for the Portland Housing Bureau, and Tasha Coleman, Former BPI Parent and Community Member. Mr. Chris Guinn III and Dr. Ann Beckett will continue as steadfast board members as we build for the future. And finally, I have accepted the privilege of becoming BPI’s new board chairman.
We have also created a BPI Advisory Board with Dan Saltzman, Portland City Commissioner, Lolenzo Poe, Former Chief Equity and Diversity Officer and Director of Partnership Development for Portland Public for Public Schools, Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of PCRI, and Nkenge Harmon Johnson, CEO of Urban League of Portland. Johnell Bell, one of the original BPI founders has also signed on as an adviser.
At the same time, Iris Bell will be taking over as our Interim CEO. Iris is the former Director of the Oregon Youth Development Council and has agreed to help anchor this dream team. Iris’s many years of government and community service assure confident execution of the mission and long term operational stability. We wish to thank Tara Cooper for stepping up and taking extraordinary measures to help focus and manage our existing community-based programs over the past months.
It would be an understatement to say that last year has not been a trial. However, the irony is that in many ways we are better for it. Management is more focused; we have put quality assurance measures in place; we are clear on our mission and expectations; we have built new and strategic relationships with our funders, and we can see over the horizon.
What is exciting is that we are more vested in keeping you informed and involved in all aspects of what we do. There is an intentional systems approach, characterized by emphasizing and building strong families through community engagement. So, we invite you to visit BPI, talk with staff and board members about our needs and aspirations, programs and services. And, by all means, get involved. We can do anything if we work together.
BPI has faced and persevered though many challenges, however we have been unyielding in our commitment to serving and uplifting Black families. Still, we rise! We work together to ensure that our children are served and our families protected. We are an organization that supports community and, as we move forward with this endeavor, we need your support more than ever!
We seek your donations and your continued support of BPI!