Selected in May of 2003 as the 8th President and CEO of the nation's largest and oldest civil rights and direct services organization empowering African Americans and other ethnic communities, Morial has helped thrust the League into the forefront of major public policy issues,research and effective community-based solutions.
In 2004, Mr. Morial launched the League's first Annual Legislative Policy Conference (LPC) in Washington, D.C. Armed with a common agenda of jobs, education and civil rights, the Urban League leadership (staff, board and volunteers) from across the country served as frontline advocates in discussions with congressional lawmakers.
A Black Male Commission was formed to explore and formulate concrete recommendations, solutions and programs to address the alarming inequities, disparities and social trends disproportionately affecting black males. Morial also established the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP), combining public and private sector resources to support business development growth among minority entrepreneurs. Under Morial's economic agenda, five economic empowerment centers have been established; and $127.5 million has been secured in new market tax credits for business financing.
Prior to joining National Urban League, Morial served two distinguished four-year terms (1994-2002) as Mayor of New Orleans, maintaining a 70% approval rating. During his tenure, crime fell by 60%; a corrupt police department was reformed; and $400 million was appropriated for city infrastructure improvements, including the construction of 15,000 new homes, 200 miles of streets, a new sports arena and the expansion of the convention center. He also brought the NBA's Hornets basketball team to New Orleans and was president of the U. S. Conference of Mayors.
Before becoming mayor, Morial served as a Louisiana State Senator for two years. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and honorary doctorate degrees from Xavier University and the University of South Carolina Upstate.