National Council of Urban League Guilds: Frequently Asked Questions



Q. What is the National Council of Urban League Guilds and what is its background?

A. The first Urban League Guild, called “The National Urban League Guild”, was organized in 1942 for the purpose of interpreting and supporting the work of the National Urban League. Located in New York City the founder and President of this organization was Mrs. Mollie Moon. At that time, the organization was established on an informal basis. However, the Guild later adopted bylaws and began holding annual elections for officers and regular meetings. Over the years, this group has provided a variety of services, projects and programs in support of the National Urban League. Most notable of all the projects implemented by this Guild was the establishment of an annual Ball called the “Beau Arts Ball. The first official Guild is still called, the “National Urban League Guild”, and continues to serve only the National Urban League in New York City. The Guild founder, Mrs. Mollie Moon, served as the President of the National Urban League Guild, until her death in 1991.

Activities and successes of the “National Urban League Guild” of New York City stimulated other cities with Urban League affiliates to establish a local Guild in their city. Today, the National Urban League encourages all affiliates to utilize this organized group of volunteers. The average number of members per Guild is 35. Following the 1942 start-up of the first Guild and the subsequent establishment of Guilds in other cities across the country, Guild representatives from these cities began to meet annually at the National Urban League Conference. Their purpose was to share experiences and to develop programs and fundraising ideas to support and serve the local affiliate to which they were attached.

At the 1952 National Urban League Conference held in Cleveland, Ohio, the Guild representatives at that conference decided to formalize their annual sessions and thus, the National Council of Urban League Guilds (the Council) was formed. Since its inception, in 1952, the Council has represented the Guilds attached to local affiliates. It is an official constituent group of the National Urban League, and the Council was seated and is recognized as a member of the National Urban League Trustee Board. The President of the National Council of Urban League Guilds represents the Council on the Board, and this affords the Council the opportunity to become a part of the decision making process which governs the National Urban League Movement.

All local Guilds that make up the Council serve the local affiliates to which they are attached. Following its inception, the Council has made strong inroads to become a solid group of volunteers within the movement. Each new administration of executives has prepared us for growth and the changing economic forces that tend to impede all non-profit organizations. Aided with technology, the Council and its family of Guilds have strengthened our outreach within the organization. Our community service efforts have shown tremendous strength in the communities to include collaborating with other local and national organizations to complete major projects.

Working inside out, the Guilds have increased the visibility of the affiliate through public relations and utilizing marketing skills in support of local affiliate community programs. The Guilds have channeled their energies within the regions as Regional Conveners, Regional Trustees and we have assisted the movement in formulating new policies, and strategies which enhanced the total movement. Our fundraising efforts have shown a positive increase during the last two decades. This effort is directly related to the outstanding job accomplished by the local Guilds. Their efforts survived extreme tests and their results have been challenged with economic down-turns, increased cost of fundraising, decreased community support and other factors. Yet, record amounts of money continue to be raised year after year. Many signature fundraising events held across the country have existed for over 20 years and thousands of dollars in college scholarships are being awarded annually. Our focus continues to be “Our Children Equal Our Destiny.”


Q. How can a Guild member voice their opinion?

A. The National Council of Urban League Guilds extends an open door policy, to all Guild members and the Urban League family to express their concerns to the Council. However, all concerns must be funneled initially through the Regional Coordinator. Also, it is essential that a proper working relationship exist between the Guilds and the local affiliates. This relationship will be most productive in an atmosphere of respect, appreciation and a spirit of team effort. Q. What is the specific mission of the National Council of Urban Guilds? A. The mission of the National Council of Urban League Guilds is to stimulate, develop and promote volunteer participation and leadership in Local Urban League Guilds consistent with the goals and objectives of the local affiliates. The Council promotes volunteer service in the areas of fundraising, community service, community awareness and leadership.

  1. Fundraising – Each local Guild will assist the local affiliate in broadening and strengthening its base of financial support. This can be accomplished by sponsoring (pre-approved) fundraising activities and by assisting the local affiliate with securing new financial resources
  2. Community Service – The local Guilds will develop a community service program based on local needs. These programs will enhance/compliment the local affiliate and the National Urban League current focus. The Guild will also assist the local affiliate with their community based programs when requested.
  3. Public Relations – Each local Guild will serve as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the Local affiliate. This includes promoting the affiliate, its programs and services to the general public.
  4. Leadership Development – There should be, at all times, new and challenging experiences for all Guild members, exposing them to and helping them become involved in broad community concerns and program development. A dedicated effort should be made to enhance the personal skills, public speaking, etc., of Guild members, through participation on committees, chairmanships and serving as officers.


Q. How often does the National Council of Urban League Guilds meet?

A. Meetings of the Council shall be held annually in conjunction with the National Urban League Conference for the purpose of conducting the Council business session and other activities planned by the Council Executive Committee. The time and place of this meeting will be determined by the date and location of the National Urban League Conference. As minimum the annual Council meeting will include a Business Session, a Family session and several workshops.


Q. What are the standing committees within the National Council of Urban League Guilds?

A. The standing committees of the National Council of Urban League Guilds are Budget and Finance, Recommendations, Credentials and Recommendations. The Constitution and By-Laws Committee and the Nominations Committee are ad hoc committees that will meet every two (2) years.


Q. How can I become a member of a Guild?

A. Contact the:

National Council of Urban League Guilds

Vera L. Small, Vice President

P. O. Box 6264

Springfield, Illinois 62708-6264