Urban League for Bergen County has come a long way in its 94 year history.Today, it is one of the county’s largest service organization, assisting more than 2,000 people a year through a variety of programs.
But while the organization has grown in terms of its structure, its budget, the scope of its activities, and the issues it addresses are the same as it faced in the beginning: housing, jobs, education, health and social inequalities.
As it was in the beginning, ULBC is dedicated to the idea of an open, pluralistic, integrated society, with economic opportunity a reality for all. ULBC’s origins go back to September 1918, when ULBC for Social Service Among Colored People was started to help newly-arrived black immigrants who had left the ravages of poverty and segregation firmly entrenched in the south.
During its formative years, ULBC implemented forums in education, housing, employment, health and welfare. After World War I, ULBC began to operate night school to train people in the basic skills of reading and math.
ULBC also promoted the idea of rehabilitation and development of blighted areas of the city. At the same time, it initiated Negro Health Week, beginning in 1920, and sponsored bimonthly public forums on health-related issues.
ULBC’s first recorded job placement was listed in 1919.
In 1930, the organization’s name was changed officially to the Englewood Urban League. A Worker’s Council that served as a clearing-house for job opportunity and training for the unemployment was established by the League in 1934. ULBC became affiliated with the National Urban League in 1936.
ULBC became incorporated as an independent entity in 1943. Three years after that, it organized and incorporated the Englewood Urban League Federal Credit Union to assist residents in obtaining low interest loans.
In the mid-fifties, ULBC expanded its activities to include a job skills bank; conducted surveys on hiring practices; promoted fair housing; placed the first black teacher in the local high school; and published a guidebook for college bound students.
In 1964, ULBC became known as the Urban League for Bergen County. The socially tumultuous mid-sixties to early seventies was an especially active period for ULBC. It pressured the school system to hire African Americans as well as to include African American history in their curriculum. It helped form the Englewood Housing Authority and also received a $150,000 job training grant from the local Manpower Development Foundation for three job opportunity centers. lt also created a Housing Development Corporation and built three affordable housing units in Westwood.
For the past 35 years, ULBC has continued to expand its services and advocacy programs. With more than $60 million raised from non-traditional funding sources, ULBC has been able to continue programs providing guidance and counseling in Housing Development and Foreclosure Prevention, Youth and Family Services, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Education, and Job Training and Placement.
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If you have questions, want to voice your concerns, need assistance with our programs, need to register for an event, or just want to get in touch with us, contact us — we want to hear from you! We’re also on Facebook and Twitter if you want to connect.