NCNW National Headquarters
The National Council of Negro Women is an “organization of organizations” (comprised of 300 campus and community-based sections and 32 national women’s organizations) that enlightens, inspires and connects more than 2,000,000 women and men. Its mission is to lead, advocate for, and empower women of African descent, their families and communities. NCNW was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist, and for more than fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height was president of NCNW.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole was elected Chair of NCNW in 2018, ushering in a new era of social activism and continued progress and growth for the organization. Today, NCNW’s programs are grounded on a foundation of critical concerns known as “Four for the Future”. NCNW promotes education with a special focus on science, technology, engineering and math; encourages entrepreneurship, financial literacy and economic stability; educates women about good health and HIV/AIDS; promotes civic engagement and advocates for sound public policy and social justice.
Mary Mcleod Bethune, Founder & President 1935-1949
Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, 1949-1953
She was also instrumental in establishing the Southeast Neighborhood House, an adjunct of the whites-only Friendship House medical center, to provide medical care and other community services to African-Americans in Washington, D.C. She served as the first medical director for the Mississippi Health Project, "a seven year program stands as one the most impressive examples of voluntary public health work ever conducted by black physicians in the Jim Crow South, touching thousands of black Mississippians at a time when they had virtually no access to professional medical care".
She served as the tenth International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority from 1939 until 1941. She then served as the second president of the National Council of Negro Women, from 1949 to 1953, succeeding its founder, Mary McLeod Bethune. She also served as the director of health services at Howard University Medical School from 1949 until 1968. From 1969 to 1972, Dr. Ferebee served at the national fourth vice president of Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
She was the first recipient, in 1959, of Simmons College's Alumnae Achievement Award. The college also awards several scholarships in her name each year.
Vivian Carter Mason, 1953-1957
Dorothy Irene Height, 1957-2010
Barbara Shaw, 2010-2012
Ms. Bethune always used her hand to illustrate her point, "with one finger she said, if I tap you, you may not even know that you have been touched.
With two fingers, she declared, you may well know that you have been tapped. But if I bring all of my fingers together and make a fist I can give you a mighty blow." That mighty blow was not a violent one at each other - it was a recognition that we have each other. We joyfully join together recognizing all the way we need each other and can do more as we are together. We can strike a blow at injustice everywhere.
Building on this council idea, you and I empower ourselves. Keeping connected to one another builds our strength and enhances our power. Today NCNW needs you to be connected and you need NCNW to be connected with women around the world. Our families and communities, and indeed, our nation need the talents and gifts we bring.
As we look ahead, will you think deeply of the value of being an active part or supporter of an organization that stands up for women? Will you stand up for yourself by joining hands with others? Whatever else it does, NCNW offers that opportunity.
The world we envision will be better for us all as we make the Bethune dream and tradition our own.
Ingrid Saunders Jones, 2012-2018
Earlier in her career, Ms. Jones worked with the Honorable Maynard Jackson, then Mayor of the City of Atlanta; served as a legislative analyst for the president of the Atlanta City Council; served as the Executive Director of the Detroit Wayne County Child Care Coordinating Council; and taught in the public schools of Detroit and Atlanta.
Ms. Jones is a board member of Clark Atlanta University, Woodruff Arts Center, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, The Ohio State University President’s Council on Women, and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. She also is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, the Society of International Business Fellows, and serves on the board of the national board of directors of Girl Scouts USA.
Recognition of her leadership and contributions include the National Council of Negro Women’s 2011 Uncommon Height Award; 2011 Jackie Robinson Robie Humanitarian Award; the 2010 Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America; the 2010 Corporate Responsibility Award from ESSENCE Magazine; the 2008 Executive Leadership Council’s Achievement Award; The President’s Award from Morehouse College; The Ohio State University Foundation’s John B. Gerlach Development Award; and the Georgia State University School of Business Hall of Fame — among others.
A native of Detroit, Ms. Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Michigan State University and a master’s degree in education at Eastern Michigan University. Michigan State University honored her with an honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree. She also received honorary degrees from Spelman College and Knoxville College.