Congressional Black Caucus Foundation President Tonya Veasey Is Dedicated To Supporting The Next Generation Of Young Black Leaders
Earlier this month, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) announced a new leader in Tonya Veasey, who will head the organization as its latest president and CEO.
“My tagline has always been ‘advocate’ and I saw CBCF as an opportunity to continue that advocacy work that’s very important to me,” she said in an interview with MadameNoire.
The CBCF, not to be confused with the Congressional Black Caucus, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides support, public policy research and education aimed at advancing the global Black community.
“A lot of the research we do as a foundation, the caucus members use to create legislation and policy. And so we have caucus members that serve on our foundation,” said Veasey. “We also provide scholarship to caucus members districts.”
Veasey brings with her more than 20 years of providing counsel for a variety of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations. Prior to her new role, she headed Open Channels Group, a purpose driven full-service communications and marketing agency based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
With the ongoing pandemic and the heightened awareness regarding the current and political environment, Veasey looks forward to the CBCF’s position in honing programming and initiatives focused towards advancing the lives of Black community members. In that regard, Veasey says she’s committed to mentoring the next generation of Black leaders.
“We focus on young Black leaders and making sure that we support them not only through their professional journeys, but that we support them through their college journey as well,” she said. “So we have our scholarship program that we’re looking at and expanding that even more. I think as it looks, the opportunity that we provide on Capitol Hill and our internship program and our fellowship program is also important.”
This year, the foundation distributed around a half a million dollars in scholarship funds. Just this week the organization named a justice fellows scholarship in honor of the late Rep. John Lewis. The CBCF aids in providing 100 Black Capitol Hill interns to congressional members each year. Interns are encouraged to participate in the fellows program after college graduation, followed by alumni programming, both of which provide networking opportunities.
Veasey is also committed to making sure Black women are represented in the research and education initiatives backed by the CBCF. As the president and CEO, Veasey says that she was elated to see that her leadership team is comprised of Black women.
“So of course when we look at our program, we would be looking through our program through that the lens of a Black woman. And what are those initiatives or policies that we currently, or programs that we currently have in place, we want to make sure that they are beneficial to us,” said Veasey.
She is also excited to re-envision ways in which Black women can be supported and provide pathways for development in the workplace.
“We not only have a seat at the table, but we are the table,” Veasey said.
Black community members can also rely on the education access as the CBCF plans to lean into voting education due to the upcoming election, census education, and information relating to how Black communities can create opportunities for wealth. With the upcoming CBCF Annual Legislative Conference, Veasey says she sees an exciting opportunity for connection. The conference, which usually costs about $200 in registration fees will be free this year as a way to ensure accessibility. Registration opens August 1.
As a wife and mom who heads a high-profile organization, Veasey said she found ways to re-connect with her husband and son in the pandemic. She starts her day with exercise and meditation, to help ground her with the ebbs and flows of the shared new normal. Then makes sure to carve out time for her husband and 14-year-old son.
“I try to leave work behind once it’s the end of the day and be present,” she said. “But because we work from home now it’s easy to mix home and family together and I think based on where we are currently with the pandemic and society, it’s important that we be present with our family and protect that thought.”