About The Nigerian Friendship Association, Inc. (NFA)
The Nigerian Friendship Association (NFA) a non-profit organization founded in 1986 originally started as an association of friends coming together to explore the possibility of developing friendship with each other and to be able to look out and support each other in times of need. This group of immigrants came to the United States of America from different cities in Nigeria to pursue their academic ambitions in the United States universities, and finally settling in the Washington DC/Baltimore metropolitan area.
Their main objective of coming together was the desire to forge ahead and make progress in a foreign land. These individuals were not necessarily friends at first, but knew each other and believed in collective action, shared values and common purpose. This togetherness created a forum for them to meet and share a few moments of laughter, and catch up with current affairs and news from home. They finally became friends with a common vision to create a professional Association with core values and purpose. Thus The Friendship Association was born.
Many Associations come and go to the dismay of its members who believe that membership to the organization is a source of inspiration. However, the survival of The Nigerian Friendship Association, Inc. over these years has been due to our guiding principles. They include the continued dedication of our members, promotion of friendship among members, Nigerians, Americans, shared values and common purpose in the Association, companionship, dedication to community work, social and philanthropic activities.
The Association has enabled its members to acquire new friends, and provides forum for intra-group relationships and alliances. Since 1993, the Association organizes Family Day Picnics in one of the State Parks to bring families and friends together. The continued success of this event is attributed to the great organizing skills of all members. In 2006, the Association started organizing annual Golf Outing event as part of our fund raising activity. We continue to gain new dedicated members who will keep the Association strong and viable for the foreseeable future.
As part of the association’s community involvement, the Nigerian Friendship Association in April 1997 joined the anti-litter program known as Adopt-A-Highway, administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation; State Highway Administration. The Association adopted a highway; Baltimore National Pike, MD Route 40 West, between Rolling Road and East of the Baltimore County Line. Since then, the group accepts responsibility for picking up litter on the highway four times a year. Our 15-year commitment so far will continue for many more years to come.
The Association in 1996 instituted the Nigerian Friendship Association Education Assistance Program (NFAEAP) a program under the Friendship Association Education Assistance, Inc. NFAEAP was created with the following objectives:
To provide financial support to any intelligent but indigent under-privileged Nigerian student pursuing an approved undergraduate degree program at any Nigerian University.
To provide financial support to a Nursery, Elementary or Secondary School in our various districts by providing them with necessary school supplies in the form of desks, chairs, blackboard, and other school materials.
In 2009, we expanded the “NFAEAP” program to include partnering with Elementary and Middle Schools in Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Washington DC which is part of our “Giving Back to The Community Initiative”. As of the year 2011, we have successfully funded 40 and completed 34 NFAEAP awards presentation in different parts of Nigeria and Maryland /Washington DC metropolis. These were carried on several national newspapers, radio and television networks in the country. In 2012 alone, we funded 5 and completed 3 awards. Many more awards are planned for the near future
Incorporation and Name change
In 1987, with Nigeria so much in the news for one bad thing or the other, the members in October of that year adopted a Constitution and By-Laws to guide the Association and moved to incorporate the Association as a non-profit organization. Nigerian was added to the original name which resulted to the current name of the Association The Nigerian Friendship Association, Inc.
Several reasons were behind the adoption of the name Nigerian. The members believe that whatever the news about the activities of Nigerians maybe, there are many Nigerians who have established themselves in their different fields and continue to promote a positive image among the Africans and Americans, and making a contribution to this society.
With a Constitution and election of officers to run the Association, the objective and direction of the association changed. The next couple of years were a difficult period for the Association. When the Association started in 1986, a majority of the members were students and not married, but by 1991, three-quarters of them were married. Certainly, this was a positive change.
However, as these positive changes were taking place, individual priorities and the commonality of purpose with which we started began to change. We lost some of our members due to one reason or the other. In 1992, the Association created two forms of membership; Full Membership and At-Large Membership. The At-Large membership allowed existing and new members who were relocating to Nigeria, overseas or outside the Washington DC / Baltimore metropolitan area, to retain their membership status in the Association. Also, in consideration of some our members relocating back to Nigeria and the expansion of our activities, the Association in 1995 considered the process of establishing a Chapter in Lagos, Nigeria which is still under consideration.