Spark Points

THE SPARK POINT BLOG

Joy Nelson Thomas is Helping At-Risk Girls Become Confident Community Leaders

By Spark Point / November 11, 2021

Joy Nelson Thomas is the founder and executive director of LEAD Girls of NC, a nonprofit dedicated to helping at-risk preteen girls build self-confidence and gain the skills they need to be strong leaders in their community.Since its founding in 2015, LEAD Girls has helped more than 500 girls through evidence-based school and community programs. …

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#BlackWomenSparkChange: Celebrating the First Year

By Spark Point / November 4, 2021

Inspired by the racial justice uprisings of 2020, the inequity laid bare by the pandemic, and our commitment to anti-racism, we started the #BlackWomenSparkChange campaign in August of 2020. Our goal has always been to celebrate the stories, voices, and leadership of Black women in the nonprofit sector.  Not only did the social climate of…

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Andrea Copeland

Andrea Copeland Sets a Standard of Excellence

By Spark Point / October 28, 2021

When Andrea Copeland studied social work in college, she knew her future would be in macro-level work, navigating through complex systems that affect large communities.  “I’m a policy nerd,” she says. “I want to make sure the policies we create and implement positively impact populations that we’re trying to target. My biggest goal as a…

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Angela Patton Listens to What Black Girls Need, and Shows Up

By Spark Point / October 13, 2021

When Angela Patton’s parents moved recently, her mother found a yearbook of Angela’s from high school. Fellow students had written, “You’re going to lead something one day” and “You’re going to change the world.” Angela had written that her goal was to make a difference in people’s lives.  “I don’t remember feeling that way as…

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Shemika Whiteside Wants to Help Women Thrive in Pregnancy and Beyond

By Spark Point / September 29, 2021

As a New Year’s resolution in January 2021, Shemika Whiteside posted an idea on Facebook she’d been thinking about for years: a maternity program to help women in Louisville, Kentucky with housing, medical and mental health needs, birthing support, and social services. The response was incredible.  Shemika heard from numerous people saying, “I’ve been waiting…

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Chandra Clark is advocating for VHL patients on a global level

By Spark Point / September 15, 2021

Chandra Clark is a self-described “late bloomer” who traveled a winding path into a career in nonprofits. Growing up, Chandra faced a lot of adversity and took on much of the responsibility for caring for her three younger siblings. Without a lot of guidance and support from adults in her life, she struggled to understand…

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Dr. Danielle Moss Leads with Compassion and Clarity

By Spark Point / September 1, 2021

While studying at Swarthmore College, Dr. Danielle Moss had her sights set on a career in academia — but upon graduating and in need of a job, her cousin helped secure a role for her in financial services.  Early on, Dr. Moss realized that the financial services world was not for her. Thankfully, she was…

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Charity Blanchett Wants to Expand Opportunities for BIPOC Women Chefs

By Spark Point / August 18, 2021

After growing up in Alaska, founding two businesses there, and then living briefly in Hawaii and Los Angeles, Charity Blanchett had an awakening in New Orleans: “To move to a city where it’s predominantly African-American, I felt like, for the first time in my life, I looked like everybody. When I walked out the front…

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Tige Charity Shines a Spotlight on Foster Youth

By Spark Point / August 4, 2021

Tige Charity is the Founder and Executive Director of Kids in the Spotlight (KITS), a Los Angeles-based non-profit that provides a platform for young people in foster care to write, cast and star in their own short films, telling their stories their way.  Since its founding in 2009, the organization has worked with more than…

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Mikisha Morris-Tucker Says, “You Can Do It All”

By Whitney Brimfield / July 21, 2021

After studying film production in college, then working for a time in corporate communications, Mikisha Morris-Tucker was recruited by a mentor to build programs in the Philadelphia school system to serve students of color in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods.   Mikisha took students to New York and Washington DC for cultural activities, and had speakers…

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Aisha Arrington Leads From the Front, Advocating for People in Need

By Whitney Brimfield / July 7, 2021

On Aisha Arrington’s first day at the LTC Ombudsman Program, an organization that advocates for people who live in long term care, she wrote on a piece of paper that her dream was to become the Executive Director and “lead from the front.” She folded the note up and placed it in her desk. Within…

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For Renee Ligon, Adversity Can Be a Catalyst for Positive Change

By Spark Point / June 23, 2021

After a successful 20-year career in commercial banking, Renee Ligon moved from Florida back to her native Ohio and pivoted to community-centered work. In a perfect melding of her banking experience and her desire to make a difference, she served as the Regional Director of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland’s Minority Business Assistance Center.…

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Muriel Smith’s Love Letters to St. Louis Families

By Spark Point / June 9, 2021

In many ways, Muriel Smith always knew she’d find her way to a career in nonprofit — in her ideal world, even leading one. Now, as Executive Director at the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank, she’s not only realizing her dream, but working with an incredible team and community to ensure local families’ basic needs…

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Janece Kleban is an Innovator and Solution-Maker

By Spark Point / May 27, 2021

For Janece Kleban, fundraising and working in development for non-profits was in her blood. Her mother is a consultant and does strategic planning for both local and national organizations, so Janece was able to see firsthand how this type of work impacts everyone in the community. During college, she led her collegiate chapter for Habitat…

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Kimberly Bryant is Inspiring Young Women to Dream Silicon Valley Big

By Spark Point / May 12, 2021

By 2010, Kimberly Bryant had built a successful career working as an electrical engineer in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Around that time she began exploring other options and started to look at opportunities through the lens of an entrepreneur. The more networking and circulating among new spaces she did, the more she noticed the…

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Anna Barber Pivots from Athletics to Helping Black Organizations Excel

By Spark Point / April 21, 2021

As a lifelong competitive swimmer, Anna Barber started her undergraduate degree at Howard University knowing that she wanted to pursue a career as an athletic director. After graduating, she headed to Arizona State University where she continued to lay the groundwork for a future in athletics — and earned her law degree.  “I worked as…

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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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