Central Florida Foundation & Wells Fargo Invest in New Initiative to Strengthen Black Community in Central Florida

Central Florida Foundation and Wells Fargo announced their support for the Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative, a new project that aims to strengthen local Black businesses and the community at large, by promoting racial economic equity. Central Florida Foundation will support the initiative with $50,000, and Wells Fargo with a $25,000 contribution as the initial seed investment for the effort.

“The economic and health challenges of COVID-19 along with the loss of Black lives this year have made this a critical time for Central Florida to invest in equitable solutions that support Black businesses and communities in the region,” said Mark Brewer, President/CEO of the Central Florida Foundation. “Central Florida Foundation believes that we must all work together to build a community where everyone feels at home.”

Black and minority businesses and households play a critical role in Central Florida’s economy, but they are also largely underfunded and under-represented. The Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative resulted from a yearlong partnership between Wells Fargo, and the Central Florida Community Collaborative – an alliance between the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, BBIF Florida and the Central Florida Urban League – to address this need.
“The Enterprising Black Orlando Initiative is something we’ve been working on for about a year now, yet its importance has resonated even more in 2020,” said Glenton Gilzean on behalf of the Central Florida Community Collaborative. “The initiative provides an opportunity to apply proven best practices that help close the wealth gap in Black businesses and communities in Orlando. We are grateful to Wells Fargo for championing this effort and bringing together the Central Florida Foundation and the Central Florida Community Collaborative to make it a reality.”

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Microsoft Office Specialist Program

The CFUL is proud to launch our Microsoft Office Specialist certification training program!

As a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS): Associate, students will be prepared for entry-level positions in industries like Technical Support, Education, Sales and Hospitality. Classes offered by the Central Florida Urban League will teach students how to create professional-quality financial statements, including budgets and invoices, along with sales presentations, performance charts and employee training manuals. Scholarships are available for eligible students.

Employees with MOS certification can earn as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than uncertified peers.

Register today by clicking here

Sanford Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing: September 3, 4 & 5

SEPTEMBER 3, 4 & 5: The CFUL is hosting free Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in Sanford.

Testing is available to any individual demonstrating symptoms of the virus. 
To register for an appointment, please click here.

Once you scheduled an appointment, please click here to create an account with Vault Health to get your results. 

Please bring a valid ID in order to receive the test.

Please share this page with your friends, family and professional network.

Testing will take place daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m at the West Side Community Center (919 S. Persimmon Ave).

Ending generational poverty begins with education

Ending generational poverty begins with education: by Glenton Gilzean Jr.

As published in the Orlando Sentinel, August 11, 2020

With all that’s happened in 2020, it’s hard to believe that we’re already in back-to-school season, but our students are returning to classes in the coming days. 

Throughout my career, I have been a lifelong fighter to end the school-to-prison pipeline. This advocacy stemmed not just from my desire to lift up my community, but from my personal life experience.

In my opinion, there are two major anchors of the African American community: our schools and small businesses. When I sat on the Re-Open Florida Task Force earlier this year, the reopening of our schools and investment in the Black community were my two priorities. Organizations like the Central Florida Urban League, the Black Business Investment Fund and the African American Chamber of Commerce can help rebuild our businesses, but without our schools, many of our youth could be lost — some forever.

While we live in a very polarized political time, but I hope that we can all agree that our youth deserve every opportunity we can provide for them. For low-income African American youth, this begins and ends with school. Not only does school provide a structure and education for them, but in some cases, it is the safest place for them to be during the day. Furthermore, schools remain the only place where many of our children can get a nutritional meal. 

As a child, if it was not for my schooling, I would not have been fed an adequate meal daily. My mother dropped out of high school and worked multiple jobs in order to properly care for her four children. I witnessed how difficult this was during normal times, could you imagine doing this during a pandemic? It would be impossible. In my case, in addition to her jobs, my mother would have also been tasked with the responsibility of teaching.

Provider, caregiver, teacher and mother. We all know mothers are superheroes, but even this might be asking too much.  

Now for those thinking that this is merely a hypothetical situation, I assure you that it is not. Members of my community, whom my organization helps daily, are trying to cope with this exact situation. What parent working two jobs can leave their eight-year-old at home to learn for themselves on Zoom?

School provided me with the social, emotional and nutritional support I needed — and there are countless low-income African American children today who need the same support. 

To put it bluntly: those who oppose allowing low-income Black children the access to education they deserve are potentially creating a road map to further feed the school-to-prison pipeline.

If we are to realize our communal goal of ending generational poverty, we must ensure that we give our youth every opportunity to succeed. In some cases, this cannot be done in the home, but in the educational and communal environment only offered in the classroom.

The future of our youth depends on it and we owe our children every opportunity to succeed.

Glenton Gilzean Jr. is president and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League and a former Pinellas County school board member.

Racial Justice Matters

Join the Central Florida Urban League on Sunday, July 26 at 3 p.m. as we participate in a vehicle procession to honor the late Congressman John C. Lewis.

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Free Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing

Until August 18, the CFUL is encouraging all individuals to register for free Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. Testing is available to any individual demonstrating symptoms of the virus. To register for an appointment, please click here.

If eligible, individuals will be directed to the scheduling tool to select a convenient date and time for their COVID-19 test. Qualifying participants will need a valid ID in order to receive the test.

Please share this page with your friends, family and professional network.

To register for an appointment, please click here.

Testing will take place daily from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets (8200 Vineland Avenue).


CFUL mourns the loss of Rep. John Lewis

Orlando, July 18, 2020
Along with the rest of the country, the Central Florida Urban League, its employees, volunteers and stakeholders mourn the loss of civil rights icon, Representative John Lewis.

“Throughout my career, I have looked up to John Lewis and his passing will leave a deep void not just in the House of Representatives, but in this country,” said Glenton Gilzean Jr., President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League. “John Lewis was the youngest speaker during 1963 March on Washington; as the youngest civil rights leader, he paved the way for young men, like me, to get involved and allow our voices to be heard.”


CFUL's Sam Cadet featured on News 6

CFUL volunteer Sam Cadet was recently featured on News 6 for his apprenticeship with the Public Allies of Central Florida. During his tenure with the CFUL, Sam played a key role in building the organization's volunteer infrastructure. 

Click here to watch the clip!

Calling All Youth: Start A New Chapter In Your Life

Calling all youth: Are you looking to start a new chapter in your life or do you know someone between the ages of 16 through 24 who is motivated to start a career path?

We're here to help!

Statement on Juneteenth

On #Juneteenth, which is also known as ‘Freedom Day,’ we commemorate June 19, 1865, the date when the slaves in the State of Texas finally received the news that they were free – more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.

Today is a celebration of freedom. As African Americans, while we still face challenges, we nonetheless live in the most free and prosperous nation on earth. Despite these challenges, let us also recognize the incredible progress we have made. African Americans have reached the pinnacle of all aspects of society: from the presidency to athletics, from media to the highest levels of the educational establishment, our community continues to make a positive and meaningful impact on our country and the world.

I encourage everyone to come together today and celebrate the progress, but also remain mindful that there is still much work to be done.

- Glen Gilzean Jr.