“When students become more familiar with the realities of poverty and individuals struggling to break free of it, they begin to develop a greater sense of responsibility to take action to promote social change.” Stephen Black, President and Founder
Stephen Black, grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, grew up in New Mexico after most of his family left the state in the 1950’s and 60’s following his grandfather’s role in controversial Civil Rights decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education. Despite growing up over 1,000 miles away, from a very young age, he was fascinated by Alabama and the legacy of his family’s commitment to public service in their home state.
Mr. Black received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated magna cum laude and his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School in 1997. Following his graduation from law school, he returned to Alabama to join the Birmingham law firm, Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC. After three years with the firm, he was called to public service — serving for a brief time as an assistant to the Governor focusing on policy and economic development projects.
Encouraged by the enthusiasm of thousands of students he encountered when speaking across the state, he turned his focus to founding and leading the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama, where he has served as Director since 2004. In 2004, Mr. Black also founded Impact Alabama and currently serves as its President and Chairman of the Board. Housed at the UA Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility, Impact Alabama is an award-winning nonprofit with a staff of 51 full-time college graduates who have provided more than 6,300 college students and 150 recent graduates the opportunity to participate in structured service projects designed to promote learning and leadership development.
In 2008, Black received the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award for his work with FocusFirst. This national award is given annually to individuals who demonstrate creativity and commitment in addressing society’s most pressing health issues. Ten recipients were chosen from over 800 nominations. In 2013, Black was asked by Chancellor Robert E. Witt to serve as Special Advisor to The University of Alabama Chancellor for Outreach and Community Engagement.
Stephen Black on the TEDx Huntsville Stage: “A Story of Culture: The Transformative Potential of Campus-Community Collaborations”
In April 2014, Stephen was featured in a story on NPR’s All Things Considered. The story, “Alabama Tax Program Grows Out Of A Grandfather’s Lasting Legacy,” is about the SaveFirst initiative and the importance of promoting civic responsibility among Alabama’s young adults.