Grants Program Manager
How long have you been with Co.act & what brought you to this work?
I’ve been with Co.act since November of 2022. I really enjoy helping nonprofits which is what drew me to Co.act. Specifically, I was really excited about the WELL Fund.
I’m passionate about helping youth, which is the focus of the WELL Fund. I’ve done other work where I’ve helped youth directly – substitute teaching, tutoring, after school programs. I knew I wanted to help youth but I knew I didn’t want to do it in the academic space.
Plus, as a Black woman working in this industry, I can see how hard it is for nonprofit leaders to take care of themselves first. People will ignore their own health and wellness because they want to help others first.
So being a part of the WELL Fund is very fulfilling to me because it’s my way to help the organizations that do the direct service to youth… helping them to help that community. It’s been a very rewarding experience.
What have you been working on and/or thinking about lately?
I’ve been so excited about announcing the WELL Fund grantees!
At the announcement event in August, I was able to speak to representatives from a number of the grantees and it’s so exciting to hear about all the great projects they are working on and the ways they are going to use their grant funds.
They are already moving quickly to turn their plans into action – it’s a beautiful thing! I can’t wait to hear from all of the organizations about how they’re helping their communities, about the organizational initiatives they are going to implement, and, most importantly, how this initiative will help change how people see wellness. Wellness can be whatever you make it – mental, physical, spiritual.
What are you most excited about sharing with our community?
I want to share the experiences that the grantees and awardees are having because I feel it’s really about them. Co.act, the Skillman Foundation and the other partners have obviously worked hard on this initiative, but it’s really about the organizations that we’re helping. I can’t wait to share some of the success stories that will come out of this; where they started, where they’re going, and where they’d like to go. That’s my favorite part – listening to and sharing the stories.
What ideas or concepts have informed your approach to work in 2023?
The WELL Fund has been a great example of participatory grantmaking in action.
In the WELL Fund process, we started out with an advisory group. We had BEDAD, Skillman, YDRC, CDAD, Transforming Power Fund, and youth from the community – all talking about what BIPOC-led nonprofits that serve youth need in order to be set up for success.
Then, we had the selection committee; again, bringing together partners and youth to execute the selection process. In fact, they are the ones that came up with the idea of the “Committee Wellness Awardees” element of the program. Without the participatory aspect of this process, we wouldn’t have come up with this idea on how to help even more organizations.
I’m happy to be a part of an organization that values bringing more people to the table; we’re not just talking about it, we’re bringing it to life.
What are you reading/watching/consuming for work or for pleasure?
I’m always watching anime! I’m into a few different genres but I’m into the romance genre at the moment. On Netflix, I’m watching this really cute one called “My Happy Marriage” and my sister has got me watching one called “Kotaro Lives Alone.”
I’m trying to improve my craft of script-writing and I’m thinking about going back to school to hone those skills (on a schedule that will align with my work at Co.act!). I really want to write more characters – and find more creators – that are Black, and contribute to the representation in the sci-fi and fantasy genres of comic books. And not just representation of people of color but intersectional representation; Black and queer, Black and disabled, etc.
Photography by Val Waller