Spark Points

THE SPARK POINT BLOG

Dr. Crystal James promotes patient well-being — and diversity in medicine

By Spark Point / April 9, 2021

Representation is key to improving tomorrow’s physician landscape Dr. Crystal James started her undergraduate career with her sights set on medical school and both researching and practicing medicine — and she’s never veered from the course. Being accepted to Boston University’s Early Medical School Selection Program (EMSSP) as a college sophomore, she says, only deepened…

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Dr. Michelle Edwards is Transforming Lives with Experiential Learning

By Spark Point / March 24, 2021

As a lifelong teacher, Dr. Michelle Edwards knows the importance of writing, reading, and math as a foundation for learning. But the real transformation, she says, happens outside the classroom. “Yes, you can learn within the four walls of your school, but that’s just the beginning,” she says.“If we want children, especially black and brown…

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Tamela Aldridge on Transforming Children’s Lives Through the Power of Play

By Spark Point / March 17, 2021

Now more than ever, creative play is key — and Tamela is setting the stage “I like the power of storytelling. I like the power of being able to imagine something different,” says Tamela Aldridge. “Because if you can imagine it, you can make it happen.” Tamela is the Executive Director of Only Make Believe…

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Natalie Grandison is Making Careers in STEM More Accessible

By Spark Point / March 10, 2021

For Natalie Grandison, personal success is certainly something to celebrate, but positively impacting the lives of others in your work is where the real magic lies. “Always advocate for yourself and advocate for others,” says Natalie, Director of Engineering Initiatives at the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, which provides members of the DC…

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Adrianne Lind is Connecting Black Women in Europe and Beyond

By Spark Point / March 3, 2021

From getting out the vote to helping women build communities abroad, Adrianne does it all  “A lot of Americans living abroad don’t realize they can still vote in U.S. elections,” explains Adrianne Lind, founder of AG Communications Group. “They can vote in the majority of state elections and all federal elections. A lot of my…

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Elizabeth Lindsey Empowers Career Seekers with Modern Technology Education

By Spark Point / February 24, 2021

As the CEO of Byte Back, she’s helping countless adult learners reimagine their career paths — and achieve long-term professional success  “I was the first in my family to go to college,” says Elizabeth Lindsey, Chief Executive Officer at Byte Back. “When I graduated I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next — but…

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Cynthia Hall is Living Her Best Life by Helping Change Lives

By Spark Point / February 18, 2021

For this change-maker, home is where the heart is — even long after you leave. “If you would have told me when I moved out over 33 years ago, that I would be back working in the place I grew up in, I would have never imagined this is where I’d be for the next…

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Mirvlyne Brice Brings Her Whole Self to Fundraising

By Spark Point / February 10, 2021

As part of the Academy of Hope’s advancement team, Mirvlyne is changing the community one learner at a time “I moved for love,” says Mirvlyne Brice. “I was in New York City, working in civil services and, six years ago, I got married and moved to Northern Virginia.  Suddenly, I had to decide what I…

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Ryan Palmer is Accelerating Community Change, One Grant at a Time

By Spark Point / February 3, 2021

With an eye on diverse, sustainable grantmaking, Ryan is redefining how funding — and change — happens  “I have certainly had a zigzag of a career,” says Ryan Palmer, Director, Washington, D.C. Community Initiatives at the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Ryan worked in early childhood…

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Oakland Literacy Coalition’s Sia Magadan is Creating Equity and Social Capital

By Spark Point / January 27, 2021

An educator and development leader, Sia is leveling the playing field for California learners  “I always say that I am a proud first-generation American. My parents came to the DC area from Sierra Leone in West Africa,” says Sia Magadan, Development Manager for the Oakland Literacy Coalition. “My mother finished high school but my father…

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Bathsheba Philpott is Accelerating DC’s Nonprofit Scene

By Spark Point / January 21, 2021

A lifelong development and fundraising pro, Bathsheba is ensuring nonprofits get the funding and support they deserve A third-generation Washingtonian, Bathsheba Philpott has long worked to support her community. In 1992,, she joined the Alliance for Healthy Homes, an organization focused on environmental health — specifically lead poisoning in low-income housing. “I started in an…

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Indira Henard Finds Her Calling Far From Her Political Path

By Spark Point / January 13, 2021

With an eye on politics and policy, Indira took a major detour — and never looked back  Indira Henard has spent the last 20 years in Washington, D.C. — and, for most of those years, she was focused on a career in politics. “My first love is policy and politics,” she says. “I worked for…

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Dr. Judy Lubin is Promoting a CURE for Racial Health Inequities

By Spark Point / January 8, 2021

As founder and president of the Center for Urban and Racial Equity (CURE), Dr. Lubin is transforming how organizations think about equity “I’ve always felt called towards racial equity and antiracism work,” says Judy Lubin, PhD, MPH, a sociologist, policy analyst, racial justice advocate and founder and president of the Center for Urban and Racial…

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Onari Jackson is Saving Families, One Broken Wing at a Time

By Spark Point / December 9, 2020

From her own pain came an incredible purpose—and, now, she’s helping countless women every single day  Growing up, Onari Jackson was used to conflict. “I used to tell people, ‘I don’t like girls’ or ‘I don’t get along with other girls,’” she says. “It was always, ‘I don’t get along with so-and-so.’ I had such…

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Nkechi Feaster Turns Frustration into Action, Advocating for Shelter Reform

By Spark Point / December 2, 2020

Nkechi Feaster loves D.C. Born in the city, she, her brother and mother moved to South Carolina—but Nkechi always knew she’d return. When she did, though, life in her beloved city wasn’t what she envisioned.  “When I came back to D.C. I found myself in a shelter,” Nkechi says. “Between college, having my son, leaving…

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Storyteller, Educator and Oyé Palaver Hut Founder Vera Oyé Yaa-Ann Teaches African Culture and the Importance of Good Nutrition

By Spark Point / November 18, 2020

Since moving the the U.S. in 1993, Vera has been committed to telling her story, and supporting countless families in the process

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One House, One School, One Mission

By Spark Point / November 11, 2020

Shannon Hodge’s Passion for Education Reform Impacts Thousands of Students When she was in first grade, Shannon moved into a new neighborhood and her interest in education was sparked. Shannon’s parents chose the house because it fed into a stronger high school than another house they had considered.  With that choice, they knew Shannon would…

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Mary Brown Creates a Safe Space Where Her “Family” Learns Through Artistic Expression

By Spark Point / November 5, 2020

For 24 years, Mary has led the charge at Life Pieces To Masterpieces, an organization for African American boys in Wards 7 and 8 For many, career paths are linear — they follow a seemingly set course starting from college and moving into a career. That, though, wasn’t the case for Mary Brown. After graduating…

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Entrepreneur and Change Agent Karen Alston Uses the Power of Storytelling to Change Lives

By Spark Point / October 28, 2020

She’s helping thousands find their voices, as a business leader and nonprofit board member Karen Alson never envisioned working in the nonprofit arena. A graduate of Howard University, Karen dove into the business world post-graduation, working at global enterprises such as JP Morgan, MBNA Bank and AOL. But, years into her corporate rise, Karen took…

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Marilyn Lacy

Marilyn Lacy Turned Trauma into Powerful Advocacy and Ministry

By Spark Point / October 21, 2020

Through her church- and community-based work, Marilyn has helped countless women and girls impacted by sexual abuse  Trauma was a central theme to Marilyn Lacy’s early years. Sexually abused by her stepfather, Marilyn found herself in “a world of bad choices and wrong decisions,” including a long-term relationship with another abuser while in her teens. …

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