Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Founder & Chairman

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community.

At the age of 12, Dr. Banks was inspired–by a man quoting Hosea 4:6–to dedicate himself to addressing the spiritual needs within Black communities throughout the country. In 1955, he graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and married Olive Perkins. He went on to Wheaton College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and a Master of Arts and Biblical Studies degree. He received an honorary Doctorate of Literature from Wheaton College in 1992. In 2008, Moody honored him as its Alumnus of the Year.

Dr. Banks is the author and editor of a number of books and Bible studies. In addition to his leadership role at UMI, Dr. Banks is the founder of the Urban Outreach Foundation, an elder in his local church, and a member of the boards of trustees of Wheaton College and the Circle Y Ranch. He lives in South Holland, Illinois, with his wife, Olive. They have three children.

Jeffrey Wright

Chief Executive Officer

Carl Jeffrey Wright is chief executive officer of UMI.

Jeff Wright has been active in ministry for over 25 years. He has served several congregations as associate pastor, director of Christian Education, adult Bible study teacher, Vacation Bible School director and in various teaching and administrative roles. His preaching and teaching engagements have included numerous national and international conferences and conventions and he has provided consulting to several national ministries. Jeff joined UMI in 1994 after a career that included working for Johnson & Johnson, where he was a winner of the Johnson & Johnson Leadership Award and Bristol Myers Squibb. Jeff’s educational background includes prep school education at St. Albans School (The National Cathedral School for Boys) in his hometown of Washington, D.C., and a B.A. degree with honors from Fisk University. He earned his Juris Doctorate (JD) from Georgetown University Law School and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. He earned an MBA in Finance and International Business from Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York and completed additional study at the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and Harvard Law School. Jeff is the author of the book and media literacy Bible study guide God’s Vision or Television: How Television Influences What We Believe and is also a contributing author to the book Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World. He has four children and is married to Lakita Garth Wright.