BBF was founded by Joseph “Joe” Kellman (1920-2010), a native of Chicago’s North Lawndale community area. Rising from humble beginnings, Joe helped to build his family glass business, The Globe Group, into the largest privately owned auto glass replacement company in the nation.
In 1961, with the help of long-time friend and entertainer Buddy Hackett, civil rights activist Fr. Dan Mallette, insurance company owner Marvin Zimmerman, and other local business associates, Kellman opened the Archie Moore Boxing Gym. The gym soon evolved to become the Better Boys Foundation, a youth services agency offering afterschool sports programming to boys and, later, girls in North Lawndale. Joe soon realized that sports were the lure and not the cure and transitioned the organization into a social services agency offering a variety of supports including scholarship assistance.
Over the past 55 years, BBF has grown into a multi-faceted, human services organization offering comprehensive programming for all ages. BBF programming directly addresses the wellbeing of all family members, helping the low-income, primarily African-American population we serve move from a place of impoverishment, educational lack, joblessness, marginalization and trauma to a place of stability, academic success, employment, inclusion and wholeness. BBF provides and coordinates resources that meet the entire family’s needs, from reentry services for ex-offenders to parenting classes for single mothers, from mentoring and tutoring for youth in at-risk situations to job readiness training for the unemployed.