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The NCNW was founded in Harlem on December 5, 1935, by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist. For close to fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Irene Height served as national president. In 2022 Dr. Lois Keith was elected Chairman of NCNW and Shavon Arline-Bradley was elected as President and CEO, together they are ushering in a new era of social activism and continued progress and growth for the organization.

NCNW reaches nearly 4 million women through 39 national affiliate organizations and more than 240 sections through activities such as:

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• Disseminating information about issues affecting African American women and their families.
• Promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors through wellness projects.
• Sponsoring events, such as the Black Family Reunion Celebration, to build on strengths and       

    traditional values.
• Training and supporting women and youth in career development and community leadership.
• Supporting economic development and entrepreneurship.
• Providing mentoring and educational support to our young people.

Centrally organized to fill the gaps in our communities, NCNW calls on a core of volunteers in 34 states to address local needs. NCNW brings to these initiatives the added support of a network of thousands of women whose collective efforts enhance community service and actions. We have truly united to enhance our power for the benefit of African and African American women and their families.

Since our founding, NCNW has focused on fulfilling our mission by launching programs that provide critical services to women, children and families. Even a brief sampling of our programs and partnerships illustrates the breadth and depth of our program offerings.


On July 26, 1955, nine women met and organized a section of the National Council of Negro Women for Westchester County, N.Y. The Westchester Section was chartered on August 29, 1955, by the National President and CEO of NCNW, Vivian C. Mason. For close to seven decades, the Westchester Section has continued to grow, thrive and serve the Westchester community.



    Mary McLeod Bethune 

Founder NCNW ​(1935)

In 1974, Mrs. Bethune became ​the first Black leader and the first woman to have a monument, ​the Bethune Memorial Statue, erected on public park land in Washington DC in honor of her remarkable contributions​​.

Dr. Dorothy I. Height (1912-2010)

Chair & President Emerita, NCNW. Renown heroine ​of the Civil Rights Movement final tribute held at the Washington National Cathedral included a eulogy by President Barack Obama.


Bethune Council House


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NCNW Headquarters

Bethune Council House is a historic landmark and the home and first headquarters of NCNW.

Located at 1318 Vermont Ave, NW

Headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women, Dorothy I. Height building located at

633 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D .C.

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