Timeline

1960

The Reverend Sullivan outlines his “selective patronage” strategy, encouraging community members to not support local businesses who refuse to hire or promote minority youth.

 
1961

The Reverend Sullivan, along with 400 other local ministers, expand selective patronage throughout the region, using the power of African American churches to expand economic opportunity.

 
1962

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., invites the Reverend Sullivan to Atlanta to meet with other local ministers about replicating the selective patronage program. They eventually launch Operation Breadbasket, modeled after the work being done in Philadelphia.

 
 

Life Magazine names the Rev. Sullivan among the 100 outstanding young adults in the country.

 
1964

Philadelphia OIC founded, opens first training center.

 
1965

Groundbreaking for an OIC-sponsored affordable housing project, Zion Gardens.

 
 

The Reverend Sullivan receives the Philadelphia Award.

 
1967

Groundbreaking for Progress Plaza. Here, the Reverend Sullivan talks about the importance of the project, and then gives a tour to Richard Nixon.

 
 

President Lyndon B. Johnson visits Philadelphia OIC.

 
1968

Richard Nixon visits Philadelphia OIC.

 
1970

OIC of America launches.

 
1972

The Reverend Leon H. Sullivan becomes the first African American appointed to General Motors’ Board of Directors. Here, his friend and colleague former GM Vice President James Farmer discusses the impact this had on the company and corporate America.

 
1977

Introduction of The Sullivan Principles dealing with investment in apartheid-era South Africa.

 
1989

Nearly one million served by OIC.

 
1991

First African-African American summit held.

 
1995

The Reverend Sullivan nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

 
1999

Introduction of the Global Sullivan Principles of Social Responsibility at the United Nations.

 
2001

On April 24, The Reverend Leon H. Sullivan passes away.

 
2002

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation is established.

 
2004

Philadelphia OIC celebrates 40th anniversary.

 
2010

OIC of America receives $7.9 million from Department of Labor to oversee green jobs training program.

 
2012

Philadelphia OIC joins city-wide drive to provide free Internet access to more than 8,500 users.

 
2014

President/CEO Robert Nelson retires after 35 years of service. Here, he talks about his years with Philadelphia OIC.

 

 
 

Philadelphia OIC celebrates 50th Anniversary.