Originally founded in 2007 by Oleta Crain and Frances Jefferson in downtown Denver, Colorado, as the Oleta Crain Enrichment Academy (OCEA), the organization began its DBA designation as the Crain/Jefferson Enrichment Foundation (C/JEF) in 2022 to mark the transition into a new era as the organization looks to expand its programs and services across the country.
Ms. Oleta L. crain
September 8, 1913 - November 7, 2007
Ms. Crain made history in the state of Colorado as the first Black female officer in the United States Air Force. She was one of only three African Americans, out of 300 women nationwide, who entered the U.S. military officer training in 1943. She served for twenty years and rose to the rank of Major before retiring.
Ms. Crain began working in Washington D.C. for the U.S. Department of Labor in 1964, becoming Regional Administrator for the Women's Bureau in 1984. She attended Langston University, a historically black college in Langston, OK for three years. She went on to earn her Bachelor's degrees in Social Science and Business Administration from Lincoln University and the University of Maryland, respectively. Ms. Crain later earned a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University. Oleta Crain received many awards and recognition throughout her life. Most notably was her induction into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 1988. Ms. Crain was a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorrority, Incorporated.
Oleta Crain's historic career and her many accomplishments served to inspire young women of color throughout her life. After her death, her residence in the downtown Denver area at 2102 Marion Street was converted into a community center, known as the Oleta Crain Enrichment Academy (OCEA) . OCEA's original mission was to help educate minority and at risk youth in the local community. Over the years OCEA served the community in several capacities, including as a center for churches and various organizations to conduct workshops, training and hold special events. The facility was also used to prepare meals to feed the homeless during the holidays.
Ms. Frances E. jefferson
September 20, 1943 - April 16, 2019
As a native of Denver, Colorado Ms. Jefferson (Fran J) was very active in community service and well known throughout the metropolitan area. She attended the University of Colorado earning both, a Bachelors Degree in English and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Ms. Jefferson also worked with the U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, for 23 years where she served as the Regional Adminstrator before retiring. She worked with Ms. Crain and looked to her as a mentor for over 20 years. Ms. Jefferson traveled the region and spoke extensively to women about employment rights, wages, and career opportunities. Like Ms. Crain, Fran J received numerous awards and honors, including recognition as Colorado's Top Ladies of Distinction. She was also a lifetime member of Detla Sigma Theta Sorrority, Incorporated.
Fran J and Oleta were dear and trusted friends who both had a heart for helping young women and minorities. Realizing Oleta's desires, Ms. Jefferson saw how establishing the Oleta Crain Enrichment Academy could serve to continue Oleta's legacy. So she took the initiative and was instrumental in converting Oleta's personal residence at 2102 Marion Street into a community center that would focus on serving youth in the surrounding area.
Today her legacy continues, not only through programs and services offered by C/JEF, but the community center she started on the corner of 21st and Marion still stands and is known as the 10Four Youth Center (https://www.10four.io/moms/ ), a place for underserved and disadvantaged youth in the community.
C/JEF Board Members
Valentino has been actively involved in community service for over 30 years encouraging, mentoring, and leading youth for serveral organizations. He has earned multiple awards and recognition for his service, but one of his biggest honors is being able to continue his mother's legacy with C/JEF. He is a career professional as an Engineering Manager who currently works at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He also maintains an entrepreneurial spirit, and is a proud husband, father and follower of Christ.
Other Board Members:Karen DeCoud, Secretary - Regional VP, John Hancock Financial
Joyce Walker - Retired Educator, Aurora Public Schools
Khaliq Bedart-Ghani - Owner/Operator, Liq From the Wood, LLC.
Becca DeCoud - Director, Makeup Transformation, Este Lauder, Inc.
Shirley Robinson - Retired Educator
The Crain/Jefferson Enrichment Foundation (C/JEF) is supportive of programs and initiatives that align with our mission and would honor the lives of both Oleta L. Crain and Frances E. Jefferson.