As the president and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County, Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh leads the organization’s efforts to assist Broward County’s Black community to achieve social and economic equality.
An affiliate of the National Urban League — the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States based in New York City — the Urban League of Broward County has been empowering communities and changing lives in the areas of education, jobs, housing and health for 40 years. Smith-Baugh has been a committed advocate for economic growth and stability for families for almost 20 of those years. A graduate of Florida State University, she first joined the Broward Urban League as a program coordinator in 1996.
Since then, Smith-Baugh has helped implement many ideas, cultivate relationships and expand funding sources for the Urban League. She launched a multi-million dollar campaign to expand the Urban League’s programs and services through the construction of a new Community Empowerment Center, which opened in April 2012.
“What’s kept my passion and commitment for public service alive all these years is the innovation and integrity the Urban League has,” Smith-Baugh said. “I’m a social worker and to see the impact we’ve had on children and families in Broward rejuvenates me.”
These days, Smith-Baugh is helping with fundraising and recruiting hundreds of volunteers and sponsors for this summer’s National Urban League Conference, which will be held this year in Fort Lauderdale.
The National Urban League — originally named the Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes — was founded by Ruth Standish Baldwin and Dr. George Edmund Haynes, among others, on Sept. 29, 1910. It later merged with the Committee for the Improvement of Industrial Conditions Among Negroes in New York and the National League for the Protection of Colored Women to be renamed the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. The organization took its present name in 1920.
The National Urban League’s annual four-day conference, from July 29 to Aug. 1 at the Broward Convention Center, draws U.S. politicians, policymakers and academicians from across the country to find solutions to issues affecting Blacks and urban communitiesThe theme of this year’s conference is “Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs and Justice.” The event will include empowerment sessions, workshops, an expo hall, career and networking fair and young professional summit. It is expected to attract between 5,000 and 10,000 attendants and bring about $10 million in economic impact.
“We’re excited to host the conference this year because it will bring national media attention to our area and offer practical solutions to education, jobs and social issues,” Smith-Baugh said. “It also coincides with a big milestone for us as the Urban League of Broward County celebrates 40 years of service breaking the cycle of poverty in the community.”