CBCF Statement on Passing of William H. Gray III

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is deeply saddened by the passing of former Rep. William H. Gray, III of Pennsylvania. Rep. Gray was a man of conviction. Throughout his career he gave voice to thousands of every day citizens, his congregation and students enrolled in HBCU’s, and did so in a manner which elevated issues such as apartheid, and funding inequities in education resources to become predominate discussions across America and around the world.

Elected to Congress in 1978, Rep. Gray was the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee and also the first African American to serve as House Majority Whip. In 1985 he introduced a bill to prohibit loans and new investments in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports within the nation, serving as a major precursor to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. “His dedicated leadership benefitted the African diaspora,” said CBCF Chairman Rep. Chaka Fattah.

Rep. Gray kept his commitment to serving the American people long after leaving the halls of Congress. In addition to serving with distinction as pastor at Bright Hope Baptist Church for 36 years in Philadelphia, Rep. Gray served as the president/ chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund from 1991-2004, before founding Gray Global Advisors, LLC. His life’s work focused on middle class and under-served Americans.

“His counsel and advice to the CBCF leadership will be sorely missed,” said A. Shuanise Washington, CBCF president and chief executive officer. “His commitment to educating young people is a cornerstone of our mission and was Bill’s passion.”

We extend our sincere condolences and most heartfelt prayers to Rep. Gray’s family, including his son Justin who is a member of our Corporate Advisory Council and has been a strong supporter of the Foundation and its mission to develop the next generation of leaders by increasing educational opportunities.

Find more information about Rep. Gray’s leadership in the anti-apartheid movement by visiting

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