"The objectives of this corporation shall be: to provide guidance and educational programs and scholarships to youth of Orange County in order to achieve academic and vocational successes; and to develop and provide educational and scholarship needs for military veterans, with support to achieve academic and vocational successes along with career technical education and business and workforce investment assistance opportunities. These programs and scholarships shall be mainly supported by the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County."

Black Chamber Education Foundation works with community leaders and corporate partners to create economic opportunities that build a strong nation that embraces diversity, equity and opportunity. We believe that the Black Chamber provides the leadership, access and leverage resources that enable disadvantage groups to help themselves and each other. With our community partners, we help to provide the seeds to economic opportunity for disadvantaged groups, minority youth and veterans through community development activities that focus on improving educational success with businesses and community organizations to fulfill the American dream.

Orange County Black Chamber Education Fund Operational Overview 2015-2016

The Black Chamber Education Fund is responsible for operating two distinct programs throughout each fiscal year, but also maintains close ties with programs operated by other paid members of the Education Fund.

The BRICKS (Business Rich Interaction, Career Knowledge Support) and BRIDGES (Book Reimbursement Incentive, Degree Guidance Endurance and Support) programs are in-house activities supported by members of the OC Black Chamber and other organizations working to increase the number of college-eligible and college-ready African American students.

BRICKS is aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs by aiding them in composing business plans, developing business marketing strategies and providing assistance from SBA, SCORE or other groups to increase viability of proposed business activities/ventures. A maximum of two such opportunities are identified each year and BCEF contacts/members deployed to aid the young entrepreneurs.

BRIDGES is designed to increase the number of African American students who transfer to or graduate from Orange County post-secondary campuses. Students selected for this program are matched with mentors whose work backgrounds coincide with academic majors or career goals of program participants. Students may reapply annually until they complete undergraduate or graduate degree programs. BRIDGES is a leadership training module, participants are expected to attend three leadership development training sessions each year as well as participate in planning for the annual BCEF banquet. Students receive professional mentoring but also receive a $500 book reimbursement stipend each year they fulfill all program requirements.

The Council of African American Parents (CAAP) is a member in good standing in the Black Chamber Education Fund. One representative per year from this group is appointed to serve on the board of BCEF, to ensure there are organizational time conflicts and that BCEF members have abundant pre-registration access to the activities sponsored by this group.

In return for this organizational encouragement, BCEF provides support for the partnership as well by promoting partners on the website, disseminating information about their upcoming activities and programs, and by serving as members and co-chairs of activities initiated or sponsored by our affiliate members. In particular, BCEF supports the Junior/Senior Workshops, Personalized Academic Learning Systems program, and the Legacy Roundtable Accelerated Summer Mathematics Academy each sponsored by the Council of African American Parents. This support includes financial assistance, staff volunteers, and use of chamber facilities when necessary for meetings or other events.

The Orange County Black Chamber Education Fund is coordinated by a dynamic board and advisory board that include members from organizations with similar goals. This board provides the leadership for BCEF to deliver direct services to Orange County students from middle school to graduate school and to marshal support for these students from a wide array of companies, organizations and campuses. BCEF targets African American students, however, all students willing to complete registration procedures for the various programs are given serious consideration for inclusion into all BCEF programs and those sponsored by our affiliates and partners.