Editorial: Look at what philanthropy can produce

Editorial: Look at what philanthropy can produce
November 16
09:00 2017

It was Thursday, Nov. 9, when we saw the results of what philanthropy can do. There she was, Nicole Little, a graduate of Carver High School who is a lawyer today, speaking to The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem lunch audience about how she overcame obstacles she had and how people in the audience should help people like what she used to be.

She used to be homeless. She used to be hopeless.

Little, who is a past participant and advocate for Authoring Action, a local nonprofit devoted to building young authors, said if it wasn’t for the relationships she made with people in the community, she wouldn’t be the person she is today. 

Nicole Little at some point lived in what was called the Boston projects but is now the Boston community. At some point she and her family were evicted from their apartment. She graduated from Carver High School while she was homeless and went on to graduate from Wake Forest, where she attended, she said, to have a home.

One day at Wake Forest, she overheard a conversation about her alma mater, Carver High. She didn’t know who was talking, but she eventually got into the conversation and gave herself as an example of what kind of student Carver could produce.

One of the people called her an “anomaly” to the rule that Carver students are not successful. She said she didn’t know what that word meant, so she looked it up and determined that wasn’t true.

She asked the audience what if each person made a mistake that was hidden. “Now imagine if you were judged on that mistake every day of your life. How would you feel?” She said the poor, homeless and others are judged like that.  She asked the people to dispel the myth and take philanthropy to include grace. All voices should be represented “even if they are not there” when philanthropy decisions are made.

So, what does it take to help young people such as Nicole succeed?

Giving to organizations such as The Women’s Fund is a start. An organization she credits for saving her life is Authoring Action, which received a grant from The Women’s Fund and now is a grantee partner.

The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem gives out grants to organizations that help women and girls. It has worked diligently to improve the lives of women and girls by ensuring they have the opportunity, skills, and resources to be independent and self-sufficient. Based on the values of philanthropy, inclusion, community, empowerment and social justice, members of The Women’s Fund identify needs in the community, then vote to support programs that meet those needs. 

It’s one thing to hear about the success of Nicole Little. It will be another to hear stories of success multiplied.

Let’s make sure Nicole Little really is not an anomaly.

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