When Greg Spencer was named POISE Foundation board chair recently, he said he was deeply honored to have been appointed to the post. He said it was also amusing.
“My first board meeting as chairman was that day. So, here I am being introduced and running the meeting at the same time. It was a little awkward, but I got through it okay,” he said. “You know, I didn’t know (POISE Founder) Bernie Jones very well, but I watched what he did with a huge amount of respect. Being involved in that legacy is a privilege because it’s important.”
POISE President and CEO Mark Lewis said he was excited about the foundation’s future and praised Spencer’s appointment.
“Greg Spencer has been a pillar of the Pittsburgh community and I have always respected his commitment to the Pittsburgh Region in general, and especially the Black community,” he said.
“Through his leadership, he will play an invaluable role helping the Foundation continue to assist our community and be a catalyst for change.”
Spencer, a former executive with EQT and the President and CEO of Randall Enterprises, said he is pleased to be able to work to help POISE expand its reach and impact.
This foundation is an incredibly important organization that has, and continues to make a big difference in our community,” he said. “Mark has a great team, and I am looking forward to working with the Foundation’s committed staff, dedicated leadership, and my Board colleagues in establishing a more sustainable Black community.”
Though many know POISE as the foundation that assists African-American students from kindergarten through college via scholarships and grants, it also acts as the fiduciary agent for a number of other funds and organizations seeking to build a self-sustaining Black Community. Some of these partners include the African American Leadership Fund, the Tuskegee Airmen Institute, Neighborhood Businesses Inc., the Sankofa Fund and the LaMarr Woodley Foundation.
“Clearly getting the word out in the
African-American and general community has to be a priority. Poise should be larger and stronger financially to carry out its work,” said Spencer, who said his business background will help him in that effort.
“I bring a small business ownership and corporate background to the party, but I’m not naive. It’s about raising money,” said Spencer. “I’ve been a leverager all my life, and I plan to leverage my relationships in the business and energy sector. Hey, I have to push where I can. Others can push politicians.”
Along those lines, Spencer said he would also push to establish a greater presence in the regional energy boom for Black owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
With Lewis’ initiative and leadership from the board, Spencer said the foundation can expand its agenda of addressing issues surrounding family, violence, education, business and employment in the Black community.
Immediate past Chair Paul Patton also praised Spencer’s appointment.
“We are blessed that Greg has agreed to lead us on the continuation of our noble journey,” he said.
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