Early in his life Bernard gained an appreciation of, concern and compassion for the human condition, especially as lived by poor, urban youth. Some of his first activities included the formation of Cub Scout troops,basketball leagues, the Explorers Post 48, and 20th Century Youth in Action. With the support of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Urban Youth Action (UYA) was founded by Bernard in 1966 and continues to serve young people today in preparing them for the work world.
During the years following the formation of Urban Youth Action,Bernard developed the Misters, Inc., Misters Investment Association, P.A.I.D., U.M.P. Investment Club, and Retsim. Bernard was influential in encouraging the need for a group that was sincere in raising funds for the youth; this group was later called FAMS (Financial and Moral Supporters). Bernard was very proud of this group of women, which is a strong supporter of the POISE Foundation and with their collaborative efforts, the legacy lives on.
In 1968 Bernard left the Urban Redevelopment Authority and joined the staff of Allegheny Conference on Community Development, where he became the Assistant Director. In 1980 while employed there, he founded POISE Foundation. One of the purposes of POISE Foundation was to fund projects that would assist the community with self-help efforts and economic activities.
In early 1981 POISE Foundation began making grants to various minority and majority organizations for worthy projects, which have a direct impact on the Black community in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Its present focus is in the areas of employment training and development, community educational projects, economic educational and development programs, health activities, family improvement projects and community service projects.