The Black Economic Union of Kansas City was founded in 1968 by Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns football star turned actor, and Curtis McClinton, former Kansas City Chiefs Halfback.


It is the oldest of Kansas City's 13 Community Development Corporations. BEU is known for its forward thinking and comprehensive approaches to community revitalization. The 15-year-old 18th & Vine Heritage Jazz Festival is an example of how the BEU board of directors and cultural advisory team kept the Kansas City community involved in the revitalization of the historic district while stimulating economic growth for existing independently owned area businesses. BEU was responsible for leading Kansas City’s urban core redevelopment efforts in the areas of housing and commercial developments including: 635 affordable multi-family units; 320 elderly units; 85 single family homes; 720,902 square feet of office, commercial and business development.