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OSSIE ELISABETH GILLIARD JOHNSON HENRY BARNES EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION

OBEF is a community based 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing and improving underserved communities starting with the Hensley/Woodson area. We have established the FIRST ever community center here. However all our plans were halted when COVID hit. We are now fulltime meeting the growing need of the people we serve.

obefcommunity.org Tax ID 84-2279787

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Our mission is to improve and revitalize underserved communities and the lives of the residents residing in them. Our vision is to assist communities and residents in becoming self-sufficient and sustainable. Empowerment through information and knowledge is the foundation for success.


Our mission and vision is bold and challenging but, we believe with all our heart it is not only doable but achievable. OBEF’s process for achieving success is multifaceted. Our plan structure includes first providing a common place for the community, providing socialization, activities and events to promote unity among the residents, providing essential access to factual information and resources to enable residents to effectively address the needs and issues facing their community and make informed decisions.


The starting point for OBEF is the Hensley/Woodson community located in Southeast Pulaski County, isolated on the county line. These communities are unique in that they are three separate communities, East Hensley, West Hensley and Woodson all separated by over a mile, yet all grouped as one. Separately each community is too small to sustain itself. This is a historical time for this area. Until now there has never been an all-inclusive organization or building for the use of all three communities. There has not been any type of community building in either community in over forty years. September 2019, OBEF has been gifted with the use of a building by our Hensley/Woodson volunteer fire department, to provide a community resource center. Now that we have succeeded in acquiring a building, we need support and funding to make it a viable asset for the community. In August we were gifted with a very nice mini transit bus by our public transit, Rock Region METRO. These blessings come with a lot of responsibility. We need funding to cover operating and maintenance. So far, we have received very little help from our elected officials and government agencies. For decades this community has been neglected and forgotten. The steady decline of a once thriving community has now become a desert without even a community store or any type of business. They community has been consumed with discouragement and lost hope. A large percentage of the population are elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged. We need assistance to bring in programs and opportunities to provide services and businesses to revitalize and create a flourishing community providing a sense of hope and the realization that we can thrive again.