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The Consortium of African American Organizations (CAAO – pronounced K-O) is a nonprofit consulting organization which provides benefits and services to black professional organizations of Northeast Ohio. CAAO’s predecessor was the African American Business Consortium formed in 1993.

CAAO was initially funded by the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation in 2001 and incubated on the campus of Case Western Reserve University under the tutelage of Enterprise Development, Inc., the predecessor to JumpStart. The founding organizations included: the National Technical Association, the National Black MBA Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Black Data Processing Association, and the National Association of Black Accountants. The founding Chair was Frank Robinson of NASA Glenn; and the founding Executive Director was Connie Atkins, a seasoned entrepreneur.


  • works to promote entrepreneurship and leadership empowerment through its member organizations and the individual members of those organizations;

  • strives to improve its members through individual empowerment by providing resources that enable groups and individuals to have increased participation in the new economy; and

  • serves as a catalyst for regional economic development by providing services that promote collaboration and increased accessibility to community resources.

Please see CAAO’s mission, principles, benefits and resources for more detail.