Cecil Lipscomb is executive director of the United Black Fund (UBF), Ohio’s only Black federated human services organization. UBF partners with other financial institutions, such as Fifth Third Bank, PNC Bank and Key Bank, with other bank relationships coming online soon.
Since 2016, PNC Bank has contributed over $200,000 to support UBF’s Richmond Heights Coders Program, introducing students to computer science, coding concepts and other career readiness opportunities. Perhaps more importantly, UBF helps small nonprofit organizations ensure they are operating according to clearly defined values, including: maximizing resources and results; following a clear mission; positioning correctly within a sector with the right size and impact; and achieving excellence. UBF evaluates organizations on basis of operations, finance, governance, talent and programming.
In addition, Lipscomb and his staff have expanded their traditional model of grant writing to address issues of social justice.
Adrienne Sims of UBF says Lipscomb, “creatively leads our organization and helps build capacity and offers direction and advice for our grantees.”
Lipscomb says he would like to see a 20% increase in African American small- and medium-size business ownerships in the next five years.
“Service to the nation, advocating for the disadvantaged and empowering the diaspora of Black people around the world is a significant part of my heritage,” says Lipscomb. Along with UBF Grants Manager Celeste Terry, they have trained over 300 people in their grant writing course.
LaToya Smith, UBF board of directors chair and human resource committee member, as well as vice president of talent acquisition manager at Fifth Third Bank, lauds Lipscomb’s work.
“I’ve been an active board member of UBF for a little over seven years,” she says. “It’s been an extreme pleasure to work alongside a change agent, visionary, thought leader, conscious contributor to the community, disrupter for change and a man of faith.
“Cecil helps our organization maneuver through many obstacles by making the best strategic decisions for the growth of UBF and the communities we serve, ensuring our voice is heard in the community,” Smith adds.
In addition to his work at UBF, Lipscomb serves as the first vice-chair of the Eliza Bryant Village board of trustees and executive committee member of the Soul of Philanthropy-Cleveland (TSOP). TSOP is a collaboration of civic and community leaders, volunteer activists and philanthropists in Greater Cleveland.
Eliza Bryant Village was the first nonreligious institution sponsored by African Americans in Cleveland. It educates and informs audiences about the rich history of African American charitable giving. With Lipscomb and TSOP adding a twist, a presentation of the institution is on display at Cleveland Public Library.
“Cecil strikes a great balance between aspiration, execution and innovation,” says Teleangé Thomas, executive director of TSOP.
Lipscomb says he’s focused on changing the future for Black Cleveland.
“A component of our mission that you will see more pronounced going forward is that of economic self sufficiency and empowering people by directing income into the community,” he says.