Lula Bailey Ballton
Community & Economic
Lula Bailey Ballton is Director of Community and Economic Development for the Church of God in Christ International. Dr. Ballton also assists faith based institutions, churches, CDCs and non-profits identify and leverage their assets to create wealth for their communities through her independent consultancy firm, Lula Ballton and Associates. She is CEO Emeritus where she was a founder and the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the West Angeles Community Development Corporation (CDC), a non-profit, community-based Development Corporation that operates within the greater ministry of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, under the pastorate of Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
As Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Ballton led the West Angeles CDC to receive numerous awards for cutting-edge programs: a Best Practices Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for its signature affordable housing project, West A Homes; a Presidential Commendation for its dispute resolution programs; and state, county, and city-wide recognition for its social service, housing and economic development programs. She serves as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), appointed by Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa, Eric Garcetti and confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council.
Lula Ballton’s commitment to education and advocacy for the poor and the oppressed began at the feet of her Christian family as a child. She participated in the famed “March on Washington” with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a teenager. After graduating with honors from Central High School in Springfield, Missouri, she attended California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication. After completing undergraduate studies, she was admitted to the prestigious Graduate School of Speech at Northwestern University, where she received a Master of Arts in Communications.
With solid academic preparation, Dr. Ballton embarked on a very successful career as an educator, and, over the next 14 years, held positions as a professor and/or administrator at Delaware State University, the City Colleges of Chicago, Los Angeles City College, El Camino College and Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Ballton also served as Director of Education for the Chicago Urban League, where she developed policy, programs, and constituency. She founded the League’s Whitney M. Young Scholarship and the Edwin Berry Loan Fund.
Dr. Ballton returned to academia as a student, in 1987, and earned a Juris Doctorate in 1990 from UCLA School of Law. She practiced law at the California State Department of Justice; Civil Rights Division, and Bryan, Cave, McPheeters and McRoberts, a large corporate firm. From there, she entered full-time ministry at the Union Rescue Mission. She is a 1999 Graduate of Harvard Divinity School Summer Leadership Institute (SLI); and, now, is both a Harvard Divinity School SLI lecturer and advisory board member. Currently, she is a public arbitrator on the neutral roster of NASD Dispute Resolution.
She is also a teacher-mentor at the University of Southern California (USC) in the School of Religion and Civic Culture “Passing the Mantle” program.
Dr. Ballton continues to be active in civil rights, and is or was a member of the following Boards and professional organizations: Harvard Divinity School, Leadership Council; Wells Fargo Community Advisory Council; Southern California Edison Advisory Board; National Congress of Community Economic Developers; Northwestern University’s prestigious “Committee of 100”; Christian Community Development Association, Board of Directors; Churches United for Economic Development, Board of Directors; Black Women Lawyers; Women’s Leadership Exchange; the U.S. Department of Justice – Drug Enforcement Administration, Advisory Committee; Leadership California honoree; Commissioner of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and a Fellow at the National Organization of Black Legislative Elected Women. She served on the Advisory Board of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, Inc.
She is Chaplain of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc. and West Angeles Church. Dr. Ballton is a Board Trustee of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC).
Dr. Ballton is a sought-after speaker, and an accomplished writer. Her articles appear in numerous publications, including the National Black Law Journal. Her most-recent contribution is “50 Saturdays Before You Say I Do: Plan Your Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding,” a marriage handbook, “Sittin’ Around Bein’ Brown,” a collection of short stories and “Sister to Sister” Volume II: - Devotions for African American Women (Judson Press). Her latest book, Extraordinary Ministry in Ordinary Places: a guide to Christian Community Development has become a standard text for that topic.
She has received numerous honors and awards including the following: LA Business Journal’s for “Women Who Make A Difference”, “Women of Excellence Award”, by The National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership, the Jenessee Center’s Silver Rose Award; National Association of Black History’s “Women of Distinction Award,” Los Angeles Urban League’s Distinguished “2005 Community Service Award”; November 2005, honored by The California Reinvestment Coalition; selected as a KJLH Radio “Proven Achiever”; was an honoree at The Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce’s (GLAAACC) 13th Annual Economic Awards Dinner; “Deborah Award”, June 2007 by the Anti-Defamation League; was chosen as a panelist on University of Southern California’s panel, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, titled “Pentecostalism’s Spiritual Capital in Los Angeles” ; honored by Women In Ministry of the Southern California Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a “Living Legend” for her life-changing work in the community. Dr. Ballton was awarded the Community Visionary Award by The Social Enterprise Alliance, and she has been selected as a Los Angeles City College Alumnus of the year. Dr. Ballton has received many other prestigious awards and recognitions.
Dr. Ballton has been married to Carl Ballton, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Union Bank Foundation and Senior Vice President of the Union Bank of California, (retired) since 1969. She is the mother of three: Jabari, Issa Carl, and Micah, and the grandmother of Caleb, Cameron, Cason, Noah, Lailah, Jaxon and Jabari Carl.