Washington, DC — Africare welcomed new board chairman W. Frank Fountain and celebrated the achievements of outgoing chair George Dalley at a reception Thursday hosted by Africare, the Corporate Council on Africa, the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation and Washington law firm Patton Boggs, LLP.
Africare is the oldest and largest African-American organization devoted to Africa's development. Fountain, who had served on the national board before replacing Dalley as chair, is senior vice president for government affairs at DaimlerChrysler.
"I will always be passionate about the opportunity the great continent of Africa offers," Fountain said. "The world will never realize its full potential until Africa realizes its full potential."
Africare President Julius Coles said Fountain would help the organization achieve its goals for 2006, including securing additional funding sources and expanding Africare's reach to new countries.
"Frank has already shown that he's a very skillful fundraiser," he said.
Africare's former president C. Payne Lucas, who headed the organization for more than 30 years, also championed Fountain's leadership.
"[Frank is] not only a corporate executive, but a former Peace Corps volunteer," Lucas said. "He becomes about the perfect candidate."
Coles thanked Dalley for his leadership on the board, especially when Lucas retired in 2002. He said Dalley made the transition smooth and successful.
"Without George, it would not have been possible," Coles said. "George has been a counselor, a man of wisdom."
Dalley said Africare has proven itself a durable institution that will outlast any single person.
"It is essential to have African-American leadership [on] U.S. policy towards Africa," Dalley said. "The diaspora still has so much to contribute to be a part of the future of Africa."
Dalley is chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-New York). He said he would continue to advocate for Africa's interests with members of Congress, especially the Congressional Black Caucus.