Since 1977, the Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL) has been working for the benefit of African American and other residents focusing on issues such as employment and economic development, education, housing and health. It is one of 95 local affiliates of the National Urban League, which traces its roots to three organizations founded in the early 20th century to improve working conditions, employment prospects and basic civil rights for Black Americans.
Two and a half years ago, PCUL branched out to serve Pasco, Hernando, Sumpter, Lake, Seminole and Marion counties, further broadening its scope and service.
Today’s PCUL is an influential member of the local nonprofit community, well respected for its programmatic reach, its 41 years of impeccable financial stewardship, and the trusted leadership of its longtime president, Rev. Watson L. Haynes II.
To mark its fortieth year of service, the PCUL undertook a thorough evaluation of its operations and organizational capacity, using the well-regarded assessment tool, the iCAT. The iCAT survey measured the PCUL’s finances, technology capabilities, marketing, human resources and succession plans. The assessment was made possible by a Capacity Building grant from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.
Now the Foundation is following up that investment with an additional $450,000 “Transformative Grant” to help the PCUL to increase the effectiveness of the organization and strengthen its impact in such crucial areas as equitable economic development, employment and leadership development. This type of unrestricted organizational support is not the norm in the nonprofit sector and is the first grant of its type for the Foundation. However, it speaks to the confidence and trust that PCUL has earned in the community over decades of service.
“Our organization is on a very sound and successful footing currently, but we want to build for the future. That means implementing a strategic plan, strengthening our systems and technology, and–most importantly– building a staff that is ready for leadership well into the 21st century,” said PCUL president the Reverend Watson L. Haynes II said.
“Everywhere you look in Pinellas County, the PCUL is at work providing opportunities, looking out for the disadvantaged and empowering communities,” said Randall H. Russell, president and CEO of the Foundation. “Equitable economic development is one of the Foundation’s top priorities in the coming years and the PCUL is an indispensable partner in this work, through participation in the Grow Smarter Initiative and other regional economic development efforts. We believe that a grant to support their organizational capacity and growth is a sound investment.”