OUR HISTORY The Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust

Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust Formerly Known As:

Zion Non Profit Charitable Trust

Chartered: December 20,1966

Our Purpose

The purpose of the Trust is to use the income and principal of moneys and property received by it for charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes, based on the principles of self-help, social responsibility and human rights, embedded in the legacy of Reverend Dr. Leon H. Sullivan.


Since 1966, the Trust has concentrated on activities designed to bring members of the minority community into the economic mainstream of the United States by (a) sponsoring business management, ownership and development training programs, (b) providing technical and financial assistance to entrepreneurs and community groups interested in economic development, and (c) giving financial and tutorial assistance to high school, trade school and college students.


In 1969, the Trust initiated a research and development team called Progress Creative Analysis (PCA). PCA was created to discover viable business opportunities and devise methods for developing such opportunities. PCA employed thirteen (13) professionals that included skills such as law, architecture, business and financial management, management training, business development and real estate.

PCA assisted in the development of a shopping center in Phoenix, Arizona; an urban study for land development in Cincinnati, Ohio; and a study and recommendation for business development in Indianapolis, Indiana. PCA assisted in developing training programs and writing proposals for public and private funding. 


As a goal of the Progress Movement, to encourage the development of Black owned businesses, in 1967, the Trust received a grant of $400,000 from the Ford Foundation to develop the Entrepreneurial Development Training Center (EDTC). Between January 1969 and March 1974, EDTC graduated 425 persons from management classes and 372 from its business ownership classes, which were conducted on the second floor of Progress Plaza.

In 1971, EDTC became an Affiliate of the Office of Minority Business Enterprises (OMBE), with a $161,000.00 grant from the Department of Commerce. In February 1972, EDTC received a two-year grant totaling $450,000.00 to continue operating as an OMBE affiliate. The OMBE grant enabled EDTC to expand its program to include technical support to potential entrepreneurs. Between February 1971 and March 1974, EDTC processed 476 business packages and 57 of those packages received financing from commercial banks, the Small Business Administration, Minority Entrepreneur Small Business Investment Company or a combination thereof, totaling $2,209,900.00.

The Trust also operated the Progress Management and Economic Development (PMED) training facility, also at Progress Plaza, which trained individuals on marketing, merchandising, accounting and real estate, with particular emphasis on shopping centers. These graduates went on to start EDTCs across the US and started numerous Black-owned businesses.

The Trust continues to conduct economic empowerment and educational forums.


In 1970, the Trust initiated the Progress Educational Project (PEP). PEP provided tutoring, counseling and guidance to 11th and 12th grade students to prepare them for college or other post-high school development. PEP was funded by resources from the Trust. The Trust offers internships, scholarships and financial assistance to students at various educational levels.


Financial assistance was provided to businesses through Progress Venture Capital Corporation (PVCC). PVCC was a Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company incorporated in Delaware in 1970. The Trust was its sponsor and major stockholder, owning approximately 83%, while Zion (Progress) Investment Associates owned approximately 17%. PVCC participated in minority enterprises by purchasing stock and making long-term loans.

The Trust invested in various business projects located in minority communities and managed by minority groups or individuals. A subsidiary named Physical Development Group, Inc. received stock in Progress Development Corporation and Progress Construction Company. It was the intention of the Trust to use this subsidiary for real estate development and management. 


As a demonstration of how economic empowerment can work, the Trust had numerous real estate ventures – both acquiring real estate in support of their mission, constructing properties or to provide a venue for other Sullivan entities. For example, the Trust received numerous properties from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 1970s across the City.  These properties were rehabilitated by our affiliate, Progress Construction Company. We assisted families with obtaining mortgages and sold the properties to low to moderate income. In addition, the Trust completely constructed a Mill Creek housing community in the Kingsessing area of Philadelphia. Once completed, these properties were all sold.

In 1967, the Trust purchased 1432 North Broad Street, a four story brick building, approximately 6000 square feet of space. This building was leased to OIC Philadelphia. 

In 1967, the Trust purchased 100 East Coulter Street, a four story concrete and steel frame building, approximately 47,600 square feet of space. This building was leased to OIC of America. 

In the 1970s, the Trust purchased 240 West Tulpehocken Street. This property was purchased from Zion Baptist Church for $45,500. Under a deed dated December 28, 1972, the Trust acquired and operated a shopping center in Phoenix, Arizona. 

On July 12, 1973, the Trust received as a gift, a six-story building at 1201-1215 Glenwood Avenue. The gift came with a mortgage of $530,000.00. Plans for use of this building were never realized. 

Although the Trust no longer owns any of the above-mentioned properties, the Trust still owns real estate.

In 1978, the Leon H. Sullivan Human Services Center at 1415 N. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA was dedicated and continues to serve as a home for agencies that provide human and social services.

Also in 1978, there was development of the Progress Haddington Plaza at 5601 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA., where the Trust is the equal partner owner.  Revenue generated from these enterprises is contributed to the Leon H. Sullivan Charitable Trust.