As the founder and executive director of the new Black Fives Foundation, I am very proud as well as pleased to announce our organization’s first three board members, and would like to introduce them here.

Please join me in welcoming Julia Alexander, Robert Castaneda, and Eric Vinson!

The Black Fives Foundation, incorporated in Washington, DC, is required by law to have at least three directors, though our bylaws allow up to nine. With these three additions to our board of directors, we now have four in total, including myself. Our target is to have at least five directors at any given time, with staggered terms.

Julia Alexander

Julia Alexander.

Julia Alexander

Julia is the Chief Executive Officer of Dalberg Research, a multi-national not-for-profit agency that provides research and analytics toward overcoming barriers to global development, social impact, and investment. She previously served as Chief Product Officer of Frontier Strategy Group, a research and software firm serving Fortune 500 executives operating in emerging markets.

Julia is also the great-granddaughter of Black Fives Era pioneer Hudson Oliver, who was considered the best African American basketball player of his time, and who won four “Colored Basketball World’s Championships” with three different teams from 1908 to 1911.

She previously served in the Office of the Chairman at Goldman Sachs, working with the CEO on client relationship management and emerging markets strategy. Her career began as a mergers and acquisitions investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Julia has extensive experience across Africa and is Co-Founder of GoMa Ventures, an emerging markets social venture fund in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Robert Castaneda.

Robert Castaneda.

Robert Castaneda

Robert Castenada is the co-founder and executive director of Beyond the Ball, a sports-based community development organization that uses the power of sport to change lives, give hope, reclaim space and develop a culture of opportunities for youth and families in Chicago.

Robert and his wife, co-founder Amy Castenada, have dedicated their lives to making their West Side community of Little Village a peaceful place through sport and play. Beyond the Ball now serves over 2,500 residents throughout the year, using sport to teach personal and social responsibility.

In 2010, Beyond the Ball received a Beyond Sport “Most Courageous Use of Sport Award,” for Project Play, a program designed to reclaim public play spaces from gangs. Robert, who is featured in the White House’s “Champions of Change” Program, was also selected as a 2012 Chicago Community Trust Emerging Leader Fellow for his continued efforts to bring life back to his community, making it healthier physically and socially.

Eric Vinson.

Eric Vinson.

Eric Vinson

Eric H. Vinson has held executive positions in facilities management, technology, and private banking with Fortune 500 financial service institutions, including JP Morgan Chase and US Trust as well as strategic policy planning with extensive legislative and regulatory compliance experience in local, state and federal Agencies including the State of New Jersey Office of Information Technology and the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also served the New York Stock Exchange and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a securities and commodities litigator.

Eric’s entrepreneurial ventures are diverse and have included leading a sports and entertainment management and marketing firm representing world-class professional athletes and entertainers, and co-producing an acclaimed hip hop musical on the history of hip hop at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.

He was a co- founder of Verdero/CTG Athletics out of the South Bronx, NY, pioneering one of the largest minority-owned manufacturers and suppliers of baseball equipment to Major League Baseball.

Eric was one of the co-founders of Amistad Press, along with the late Arthur Ashe Jr. and Ed Lewis, chairman of Essence Publications. Amistad, a book publishing joint venture with Time Warner, published and distributed many significant books and noteworthy best sellers including Arthur’s own seminal work, “A Hard Road To Glory: A History of the African American Athlete.” Amistad was recently acquired by Harper Collins, where it remains a popular imprint.

In addition to their friendship, Eric was also associated with Arthur as a board member of his African American Athletic Association, helping to establish a think tank for sports-related policies and issues.

Eric has served a number of nonprofit boards and trade associations including the Princeton Alumni Council, ThinkQuest, and the International Facilities Management Association. He graduated with honors from Princeton’s University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown Law School.


The Black Fives Foundation

Black Fives Foundation logoThe Black Fives Foundation is organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and will be operated exclusively for charitable purposes to research, preserve, exhibit, and promote the pre-1950 history of African American basketball teams (the “Black Fives Era”) in order to:

  • teach leadership and character development,
  • promote educational advancement,
  • enrich appreciation of culture and the arts,
  • build fitness and health awareness,
  • encourage community-based youth programming,
  • advocate for the recognition of the era’s pioneers and their descendants, and,
  • enable these efforts through innovative uses of technology as well as via traditional means.

For more information, please visit