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Sanford Cloud, Jr., President of NCCJ

This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): About the President of NCCJ    From the President    Yesterday: Envisioning Just Communities for All    Today: Building Community and Justice in 1997    What's in a name?    From strength to strength:    Collaboration:    Addressing the intergroup relations issues, day by day:    Tomorrow: The Next 70 Years   .

About the President of NCCJ

Sandy Cloud became the eighth President of The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) in April, 1994. Mr. Cloud, a lawyer who has been active in encouraging private and public sector investments and philanthropic initiatives that aid people of color and the economically disadvantaged, is the first African American to lead NCCJ since its founding. Established in 1927, NCCJ was known through most of its history as The National Conference of Christians and Jews.

In five years as President and CEO of NCCJ, Mr. Cloud has expanded the organization's reach nationally and internationally. In June, 1995 and annually since January, 1997, Mr. Cloud has convened leading thinkers with opposing perspectives in nationally telecast discussions known as The National Conversation on Race, Ethnicity and Culture. Using this model of civil conversation, NCCJ conducts local public and more private dialogues to further understanding on these and related issues such as the impact of race on public education and regional economic development, immigration, affirmative action, and welfare reform. In 1998, at the request of the White House, Mr. Cloud convened faith leaders who are committing to enhance their efforts to combat racism in America during the next decade. Mr. Cloud also helped found National Voices for an Inclusive 21st Century, a collaboration of national human relations and civil rights organizations which work together to confront bias, bigotry and racism. Internationally, Mr. Cloud represented NCCJ as a member of President Carter's delegation to oversee the first Palestinian elections in Jerusalem.

In addition, Mr. Cloud has led the volunteer and staff leadership of NCCJ from around the nation to use strategic planning to identify purposeful actions to further the organization's vision and mission. Similarly, Mr. Cloud has convened national public policy task forces to articulate NCCJ's perspective in position papers on such issues as immigration, affirmative action and sexual orientation, thereby enabling the organization to add its voice to relevant national discussions. It is Mr. Cloud's conviction that, by speaking out forcefully and honestly, NCCJ continues to make a constructive difference for America.

In addition to his responsibilities at NCCJ, Mr. Cloud currently is a member of the Board of Directors of Advest Group, Inc., Tenet Healthcare Corp., Yankee Energy Systems, Inc., Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International and Hartford Seminary and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Arthur Ashe Foundation, and is a member of Saint Vincents Hospital and Medical Center of New York Board of Trustees. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of The Children's Fund of Connecticut and serves on the Advisory Board of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Before coming to NCCJ, Mr. Cloud was a partner in the law firm of Robinson & Cole in Hartford, Connecticut. Through much of the 1980s, he worked for Aetna Inc. as Vice President, Corporate Public Involvement and Executive Director of the Aetna Foundation. As Chair of the company's Corporate Responsibility Investment Committee, he directed Aetna's socially responsible investments. Active in a range of philanthropic leadership organizations, Mr. Cloud served as Vice Chairperson and Board member of the Independent Sector, a national coalition of foundations, corporations, and voluntary organizations, and led its Task Force on Accountability and Effectiveness of the Nonprofit Sector. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foundations and was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary and a member of the American Bar Association's Commission on Minorities. Additionally, he served as an advisor to the Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship Program.

A former 2-term Connecticut State Senator, Mr. Cloud's accomplishments included primary sponsorship of legislation creating the State's first Department of Housing. He also served as Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee and was a member of the Appropriations and Judiciary Committees.

Born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, Mr. Cloud is a 1966 graduate of Howard University's College of Liberal Arts and a 1969 graduate of the Howard University Law School. In 1992, he received an M.A. in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. Mr. Cloud's honorary degrees include an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The University of Connecticut for his lifetime of achievement for the betterment of human kind and an Honorary Doctor of Social Science from Providence College for promoting the cause of justice and a just society throughout his career. In 1998, Mr. Cloud received The Spirit of Anne Frank, Outstanding Citizen Award from the Anne Frank Center USA as one who has stepped forward and actively confronted anti-Semitism, racism, prejudice and bias-related violence. He has taught corporate social responsibility as a Lecturer of Law at the University of Connecticut Law School. He and his wife, Diane, have three children: twins Adam and Christopher, and Robin.

From the President

1997 marked the 70th anniversary of The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) and decades of accomplishment in addressing what our founders identified as "the intergroup problem of the nation." As I consider our rich past, the achievements of the last year and the challenge of the years to come, I accept that intergroup relations issues will always be with us and know that NCCJ is ready for what lies ahead.

Yesterday: Envisioning Just Communities for All

From the very beginning, the mission and expansive reach of NCCJ - known through most of its history as The National Conference of Christians and Jews - were clear. Our founders, including such preeminent leaders as Benjamin Cardozo, Jane Addams, Roger Williams Straus and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, dedicated the organization to improving human relations among all groups, whoever they might be.

As they stated when announcing NCCJ's creation, the problem is "Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Park Avenue, Long Island City, whites, negroes, Italians, Irish, Russian, Chinese." Simply stated, these thoughtful human relations visionaries sought to make America a better place for all people. And this remains our vision.

Today: Building Community and Justice in 1997

This year, we built on previously charted directions while systematically developing new initiatives to ever more effectively address the nation's intergroup relations challenges and opportunities. We began by deciding to change our name.

What's in a name?

I often hear this question and the best anwser is two-fold: what's in it and what is not. Our new name is a mirror of NCCJ. Our name - The National Conference for Community and Justice - is a reflection of our 70-year-old vision. America will be a better place for all when we create just communities: communities where people deeply respect differences across group lines and begin to put into practice the principle of inclusion. NCCJ's mission and its programs nationwide are designed to help us begin to achieve this powerful goal by fighting bias, bigotry and racism and promoting understanding and respect among all. Our new name, therefore, is not a change in vision but, rather, an affirmation of our abiding commitment to embrace the diversity of our nation. Same mission. New name.

From strength to strength:

Last year, I reported that NCCJ was continuing to address many of the nation's intergroup problems in our communities, through interfaith bridge building, in the workplace and with youth - in part using a collaborative model. This year, we built on these strengths.

Collaboration:

Our national collaboration of human relations and civil rights organizations, known as National Voices for an Inclusive 21st Century, continued to work together. For example, we held a multi-day conference for professionals on Best Practices - what works most effectively to repair frayed race relations. Sessions explored the best approaches to such issues as hate media, immigration and youth.

Meanwhile, our regional offices across the country effectively turned collaboration into action in their communities. In the Midlands Region (Omaha), our Hate Crimes Coalition's advocacy efforts had their day, when Nebraska adopted the hate crimes legislation it had sponsored. Now this group is busy, working to get the word out: hate crimes are prosecuted in Nebraska. And in St. Louis, NCCJ and its National Voices partners sponsored a major conference for over 600 community leaders on how to build inclusive neighborhoods; there, we collaborated on anti-racism training that begins to open minds.

Addressing the intergroup relations issues, day by day:

Often, the work that fights prejudice also increases understanding of our differences. Sometimes, this occurs because we note an event or statement of bias that calls for our public response. When Fuzzy Zoeller mocked Tiger Woods on the basis of his race, we spoke out nationally and locally to confront the bias, raise consciousness and educate.

At other times, we educate through listening. When a local ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians came up for its third vote in five years, our Kentuckiana Region (Louisville) held a Community Listening. 120 people heard gays and lesbians describe the pain of discrimination including one man forced out of a law firm because his homosexuality allegedly hurt the law practice. Even though the effort failed to create legal protections when the ordinance was again defeated, we built understanding because people listened and some learned. This is our work. And we will be there, supporting a community that welcomes all, the next time the legislation is up for consideration.

We also continue to address bias, bigotry and racism through serious dialogue and by modeling civil and honest conversations for the nation. The concept of a national conversation has received considerable attention this year, as President Clinton and others have lifted it up. Some value this approach and others do not. However, when a televised conversation leads to serious dialogue, I know that change can occur and lives improve as our human - intergroup - relations are enhanced.

That is why we continue to model civil conversation on serious issues through the National Conversation on Race, Ethnicity and Culture. This model is a catalyst for ongoing dialogues in our regions. In fact, when we recently held our third Conversation, a regular dialogue group of local leaders from our Utah Region downlinked the two-hour exchange and then remained for an additional three hours to continue their energetic dialogue, focusing on English-only initiatives and affirmative action in Salt Lake City.

Tomorrow: The Next 70 Years

As we enter our next 70 years, NCCJ is committed to pursuing the process of dialogue, so that this tool of intergroup communications can form the foundation of new bridges and roads to connect us - one to the other. Talk is the beginning. Through serious dialogue and the creative use of Internet technology, we will continue working to create communities where all are treated respectfully and justly.

At NCCJ, we realize that our impact is not readily quantified for those who measure by statistics. To enhance our effectiveness, we have therefore begun developing tools to evaluate the outcomes of candid dialogues using scientific methodology. In our Northern Ohio Region, for example, we created one of the first such evaluation tools with Case Western Reserve University's Center for Public Leadership and Service. Its results showed that dialogue had an impact on participants, who changed their view of people different from themselves as well as the way they assess such issues as immigration and affirmative action.

I believe that we will never establish our full impact through statistics or surveys alone. Because data are important and critical analysis of issues related to race and our differences is the key to creating quality programming, NCCJ is now rebuilding its national Research Unit and is moving to address these challenges. The answers will emerge over time, and I look forward in the coming years to reporting the results of our intergroup relations research on a range of issues.

As I reflect on the years to come, I must pause to express my deep appreciation to the National Board of Directors, the regional boards and all NCCJ staff who daily work with inspiration on the issues that divide. On their behalf, I extend NCCJ's as well as my own sincere thank you to Karl Berolzheimer for his committed leadership of NCCJ over the last 20 years on the regional, national and international levels and when we needed an interim president, as its President. As Chair of the Board during these last three years, Karl has worked to prepare NCCJ for the 21st century. I will always value his leadership and friendship.

From our rich past and the clarity of our vision, NCCJ is prepared. As America changes demographically and economically, history tells us to expect new challenges and opportunities in intergroup relations. NCCJ will continue to improve on tested ways of building respectful, whole communities and will persist in seeking new ways to celebrate our diversity and welcome all. It will not be easy. The work of building just communities is never easy. But our vision is clear. NCCJ is striving to make America a better place for all of us, and I invite each of you to join us in the work of building communities and justice for all.

Click here to go to the NCCJ website.

The NCCJ office in southeast Florida is led by Carol Spring and is located at:
7880 West Oakland Park Blvd, Suite 303
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33351
telephone 954-749-4454.

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