How We Came To Be

GNHBPA grew out of the need in the early sixties for Black businessmen and professionals to band together for: 

  • Mutual support
  • To become aware of services being provided by Black professionals other than the legal and medical/dental areas
  • To gain access to business capital
  • To create a network of trained, knowledgeable and influential friends with a common ethnic background.

The organization was founded by a genesis group, all New Haven based, consisting of Edward Cherry, an Architect in private practice; Gerald Clark, Owner of a private insurance agency; the Rev. William Philpot, Pastor of Community Baptist Church; Zollie Stringer, Social Worker at the Dixwell Community House (Q-House) and Dr. Lylburn Downing, a Dentist in private practice. This fledging group met over a period to discuss their vision and goals. As time went by other known Black business and professional individuals were invited to join the group until it was agreed that a legal organization was necessary. Attorney Herb Scott volunteered his legal expertise to incorporate the group's philosophy onto paper. The name "Greater New Haven Business & Professional Men's Association" was chosen. Later, due to the sensitivity to the role that women such as Katherine Jackson Harris and others began to play in business and the professions, the name was changed to “The Greater New Haven Business & Professional Association".

Within an initial grant fron the New Haven Foundation (now know as The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven), the organization began to provide minority businesses with needed business technical assistance with Gerald Clark, an MBA from New York University heading up the bulk of the work. From that austere beginning the organizaion evolved into a major minority consulting entity with contracts and grants from the State of Connecticut, the United States Department of Commerce, The City of New Haven and others offering business technical assistance, construction contractor assistance, loan packaging help and practical advise.

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