In September 1999, the Society of African American Professionals (SOAAP) was formed by 12 experienced, committed professionals in Saint Louis, MO to create national and regional forums for networking and mentoring while promoting career development and recognition.
The founding members of SOAAP are -
Mr. Robert Clay, formerly BGC SW of Missouri
Mr. Gregory Coles, formerly BGC of Cleveland
Mr. James Cox, deceased
Mr. Lou Dantzler, deceased
Mr. Lincoln Ellis, fomerly BGCs of NW Indiana
Mr. Robert Hassin, deceased
Ms. April Janney, formerly BGCs of Chicago
Mr. Carl Lavender, formerly BGCs of the Suncoast
Mr. John Miller, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Mrs. Judith J. Pickens, formerly Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Mr. David A. Smith, BGCs of Greater Kansas City
Mr. Calvester R. Stanley, BGCs of Oakland
SOAAP was designed by the founders to enable its members to receive informed support from peers and discuss key issues in an open, constructive environment. SOAAP was incorporated as a 501(c) 3 organization in June 2004.
As Boys & Girls Club Movement’s strategic directions focused on increasing Club capacity to reach more youth while achieving more quality outcomes, the Report of the National Planning Commission also set forth the Movement “continue to value diversity at all board and staff levels, paying particular attention to and improving the recruitment, development, advancement and retention of women and people of color.”
To actively promote and advocate for the equitable and sustained participation & development of African Americans as senior level managers and executives in the Boys & Girls Club Movement.
A society of African American Boys & Girls Club professionals organized to provide counsel, advice and support for the advancement of African American professionals for the general good of the Boys & Girls Club Movement.
SOAAP takes an active role in leveraging Boys & Girls Clubs national and regional events and platforms to promote the mission and purpose of the Society by -
• Hosting a reception and breakfast at the Boys & Girls Club national conference;
• Featuring keynote speakers at the SOAAP breakfast at the national conference;
• Presenting historical workshops at the national and regional conferences;
• Hosting receptions and/or sessions at regional conferences;
• Conducting local, regional and national workshops and trainings on issues relevant to Club professionals;
• Marketing SOAAP via the SOAAP booth at various Boys & Girls Club forums;
• Encourage individuals to engage in BGCA initiatives and opportunities for professional and career development
The vision and mission of SOAAP are fulfilled by the work of SOAAP national officers and regional chairs along with the vital work of SOAAP Committees: