Kayanne “Kay” DeBow, co-founder of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), died July 19, 2021 at the age of 63. Her death was announced by the NBCC July 26.
Born in Indianapolis and a graduate of Shortridge High School and Indiana University, DeBow went on to create the Black Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. with her husband, Harry Alford, in 1993. Throughout her time with the Chamber, DeBow helped grow the organization throughout America and to several countries, including England, Mexico and Ghana.
“Kay’s words, although spoken softly, were at times, penetrating, yet nurturing and impactful,” John Harmon, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey, said. “Her commitment to attaining the best for Blacks was the cornerstone of her advocacy. I am grateful for the moments we shared together and the investment in my development as Chamber Executive which has led to huge dividends for many and will never be forgotten.”
DeBow is survived by her husband of 41 years, Harry Alford, two sons Harry and Thomas, and two grandchildren.