About the NBL
On June 19th, 2017, the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc., the nation’s largest African American chamber in the country, acquired and merged the National Business League (NBL), Inc., an organization founded by Booker T. Washington in 1900. Immediately following the acquisition and merger of the 117-year-old organization, the newly formed NBL Board of Directors relocated the headquarters from Washington, D.C., where they had been since 1966, to Detroit, Michigan, a city with more than 47,000 Black-owned businesses and the home of General Motors, FIAT Chrysler, Ford Motor Company and Toyota, just to name a few, with regional offices now in Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA. The NBL now comprises 365 leagues (chapters) across the country, creating a national platform with access to 2.5 million Black businesses in the United States.
The NBL is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian commerce-driven enterprise dedicated to the economic empowerment of Black businesses, communities and people. The NBL engages and advocates on behalf of Black-owned firms throughout the country and the Pan-African Diaspora. The NBL carries out its mission, purpose and motto through its 7 Pyramids of Prosperity: 1) Advocacy, 2) Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, 3) Connecting Access, 4) Practicing Cooperative Economics, 5) Resource Deployment, 6) Supplier Certification and Development and 7) Talent Placement and Acquisition. The NBL was founded on August 23, 1900, as the nation’s first and oldest business organization, 12 years before the US Chamber of Commerce. At the NBL’s height, there were over 600 chapters in 34 states. The NBL is focused on the expansion of the Black business sector for the growth and stability of the national economy, as well as the community’s socioeconomic conditions. The NBL national network includes leagues (chapters), a vibrant network of National Student Business Leagues (SBLs) started in 1974 and a national coalition of 30 associations and organizational affiliates that are organized as NBL’s National Council for Policy Review (NCPR). Since its inception, the NBL has developed a great number of business and trade associations, coalitions and institutions that support the development of the Black community, as well as operate as a vital part of the nation’s economy.
As a valued member, we welcome your continued participation in this historic organization. For those interested in membership, we are pleased for you to join the NBL as we expand and reenergize the vision of Booker T. Washington.
“At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence.”
- Dr. Booker Taliaferro Washington
William C. Brooks, Sr., was Chairman and CEO of BPI Communications, LLC and Vice Chairman of Netlinks LLC. He was past Chairman of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. He was Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, now the National Business League, Inc. and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was the former Chairman and CEO of United American Healthcare Corporation. He was also on the Board of Trustees of the Michigan Opera Theatre and a past Chair of the Music Hall Center for Performing Arts. William C. Brooks served as a board member for publicly traded utility companies, educational institutions and healthcare institutions. Prior to retiring from General Motors in 1997, William C. Brooks served as Vice President of Corporate Affairs, which included being Chairman of the General Motors Foundation and Chairman of the Board and President of Motor Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary of General Motors which was a specialized small business investment company. Mr. Brooks’ public service career ranged from serving in the U.S. Air Force, working at the Pentagon as an officer as well as appointments from Presidents Nixon, George H. Bush and Clinton. In the President Bush and Clinton appointments he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. William C. Brooks is a treasured leader in business, public service, civic and community service as well as the arts. The National Business League, Inc. cherishes the mentorship and leadership bestowed upon the organization and her members allowing us to honor his legacy in our service to the Black business community.
In honor of his lifelong commitment to the next generation of young people as well as Black business owners, The National Business League, Inc. has established the W.C. Brooks Endowed Scholarship Fund. This fund was begun with a generous donation from Dr William F. Pickard. Upon learning of the passing of William C. Brooks, Dr. Pickard graciously requested that we create a scholarship in William C. Brooks name offering to fund it for the first three years. Inspired by his example we have decided to create an Endowed Scholarship so that William C. Brooks' legacy will live on in posterity for generations to come.
The W.C. Brooks Endowed Scholarship of the National Business League, Inc. is available this year for 2 Detroit Public School students who have already begun their entrepreneurial journey. This ties together four very important aspects of Mr. Brooks' philanthropic work: (1) children, Detroit Public School along with charter school students (2) Black business owners (3) succession planning (4) mentorship. Each scholarship awardee will be granted a mentor in addition to their scholarship and membership in a supportive community designed to assist them in their journey.
The National Business League, Inc.has established a goal of raising $250,000.00 in the first year of the endowed scholarship. This will allow us to grant up to 5 students a scholarship along with access to programming and an assigned mentor in our first full year of 2019 to be awarded at the Sankofa Awards Gala November 2019.
Please contact our office if you are interested in contributing to this most worthy cause. Ivy Simmons, VP, Membership Services and Outreach will be your point of contact. We look forward to you joining us in this work in honor of William C. Brooks. Thank you in advance for your contribution.
National Business League, Inc.
1001 Woodward Avenue, Suite, 910
Detroit, Michigan 48226
The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce in downtown Detroit today announced it has acquired the National Business League Inc.
Fortified with new ownership and leadership, the 117-year-old National Business League Inc. is getting an extensive makeover for future growth.
Join us at our 31st Annual Supplier Diversity Golf Challenge. We look forward to seeing you there. Register now and get ready to play.
The Sankofa Black Business Awards Gala will be held at the Motor City Casino in Detroit, MI on Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.