On June 9, Missouri State signed a two-year agreement with the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) to move their headquarters from Toledo, Ohio, to the Park Central Office Building in downtown Springfield.
SAAB is dedicated to providing “systems to support young men of color who embark upon and to complete post-secondary education,” as stated on their website.
MSU President Clif Smart said he hopes SAAB’s location in Springfield will engage more students and mentors in SAAB.
“We hope this focuses our university as a leader in educating young men of color and helping them get off to a good start in their professional careers,” Smart said.
Smart said in a tweet that the agreement to move SAAB’s headquarters to Missouri State will make a difference in the lives of many students of color in Springfield.
Smart said SAAB’s relationship with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Wes Pratt, Chief Diversity Officer at Missouri State, led to the decision to move their headquarters to MSU.
Additionally, the university’s commitment to supporting their work factored into the decision.
Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe, president and CEO of SAAB, said the Student African American Brotherhood takes great appreciation in joining the Springfield community in increasing diversity, equity and inclusion around the campus and in the city.
“Our decision to relocate to Springfield came as a result of a feasibility study that resulted in many positive and very productive conversations during our visits with president Smart, others of the MSU administration, and Springfield Mayor, Ken McClure,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe said SAAB’s emphasis will be MSU students, but within Greene County, Springfield Public Schools, Boys & Girls Club of Springfield, Boy Scouts of America, United Way of the Ozarks and other local, youth-serving groups will be assisted in providing growth-oriented opportunities for young men of color.
SAAB’s national cause consists of three goals listed in their mission statement. The first is to ensure young men of color throughout the nation have the education-to-career support they need to achieve lives of purpose and success. Next, the group wants to build and sustain strong bonds among young men of all backgrounds, as well as enable young men of color to be recognized for their talent, drive and contributions to society.
In addition to the headquarters’ relocation, SAAB partnered with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) to create the first-ever SAAB Endowment Fund.
The fund will be devoted to efforts to transform the Community Foundation of the Ozarks into an institution with the capacity to support young men of color nationwide in both educational and career endeavors.
The CFO and Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation funded the relocation of SAAB’s headquarters from Toledo, Ohio, with the space in Park Central Office Building provided to them at no cost.