African-American Partnership Member Spotlight: Janice Robinson
Executive Director of Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP)

AAP: Tell us about your role at United Way of Greater Atlanta and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Janice: As the Executive Director of United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Volunteer Involvement Program, my role is to develop and manage the execution of a Board Governance curriculum for corporate and community volunteers, and nonprofit agency board and staff across greater Atlanta. VIP alumni serve to strengthen nonprofit organizations throughout Greater Atlanta and beyond by providing well-trained board members.

AAP: What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in community engagement?
Janice: You must have a love for people and the community. Community engagement is a strategic process that focuses on the practices and processes required to maintain a healthy and responsive community. It is a science and an art and when done well, it is a joy.

There are six key skills needed to be successful: 1) people 2) communications 3) project management 4) organizational 5) negotiation 6) data analysis.

If you possess these and are motivating and persuasive, then this work could be for you.

AAP: How have you seen VIP change during your time at United Way?
Janice: VIP has grown from a program that was offered annually and trained 35 leaders to our current model of five sessions annually, including summer, and training upwards of 150 leaders. The leaders have become more diverse, formerly they were mainly corporate leaders; they are now, corporate, nonprofit and community leaders and those that are currently serving on a board to those wanting to start a nonprofit.

We have also developed a customized training, boardDigest, to provide in-house trainings for corporations throughout greater Atlanta.

AAP: What is your favorite quote?
Janice: To whom much is given, much will be required.

African-American Partnership Cabinet Spotlight: Elaina L. Ford
Global Diversity Engagement Leader, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

AAP: Tell us about your role at Kimberly Clark and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Elaina: As Global Diversity Engagement Leader for Kimberly-Clark, I help lead our company’s efforts to build and retain a diversified workforce that reflects our consumers. In this role, I lead our Employee Resource Groups, Community Relations strategy and Diversity Recruitment efforts. In addition, I partner with business units within Kimberly-Clark to set and implement effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies.

AAP: What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in diversity and community engagement?
Elaina: At most companies, the Diversity & Inclusion and Community Engagement Teams have a small number of people and it can be challenging at times to find entry-level opportunities on these teams. Typically this is because people on these teams have vast experience in these areas and they rarely leave because the work is so intrinsically rewarding. This was the situation I faced. I was very passionate about these areas, but I found it challenging to “break in”.

If you are interested in a career in Diversity & Inclusion or Community Engagement, my advice is to build your exposure, knowledge, and credibility through your volunteer efforts. Participate & lead one of your company’s Employee Resource Groups. Volunteer to help with your company’s diversity recruiting team and community service efforts like the United Way Campaigns. Volunteer in the community and if you feel especially drawn to a specific cause or organization, find ways to contribute in a significant way like serving on their board or co-leading a key initiative.

AAP: How have you seen your industry change during your career?
Elaina: Digital disruption has significantly changed the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) industry in how and where connect with consumers. Gone are the days in which a CPG company could place a TV or print advertisement and expect to reach the majority of their target audience. We are now in the Digital Age in which consumers are informed, connect with one another, are entertained in various and disparate channels within the digital space. This fragmented landscape presents a challenge for companies to effectively and efficiently connect with a critical mass of their target audience.

AAP: Why is philanthropy important? How do you give back to the community?
Elaina: Philanthropy is very important as the work helps improve wellbeing of humankind. I recall the quote “To whom much is given, much is required”. I personally feel God has blessed me with so much and because of that, it is my responsibility to “pay it forward”. I give back to the community through my public service sorority, my church, my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop and school, United Way initiatives, serving on non-profit boards, volunteering for various service projects, and just plain helping when I see someone in need.

AAP: Who is your favorite African-American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?
Elaina: My favorite African-American trailblazer in servant leadership as of late is Robert F. Smith who gave the commencement address to the graduating class of Morehouse College and surprised them by paying off the student loans of the roughly 400 graduates. He gave of his treasure to truly impact generations to come. I believe that he is setting a resonating example to other high-earning individuals to give back in meaningful and significant way. Very inspirational.

It’s Friday morning at Atlanta Technical College. The hallways are lined with volunteers, gathered for the African-American Partnership’s (AAP) Day of Service.

The volunteers’ mission today: encourage and inspire a future generation of African-American leaders to learn more about careers related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).

AAP, an affinity group from United Way of Greater Atlanta, has been committed to positively impacting the community since 2000. Promoting student achievement for middle school and high school students is the cause the group advocates for primarily.

Ovie Mughelli, former All-Pro fullback for the Atlanta Falcons and current board member for United Way of Greater Atlanta, stands amongst the crowd of gathered volunteers. He’s been selected to deliver a word of encouragement before the day’s event begins.

“Don’t run sideways,” says Mughelli. “Run at the problem. Run at the adversity. Run at that challenge.”

He wears this message close to his chest.

Before his father became a successful doctor, Mughelli and his family had to first survive the financial trials of his father’s medical school program. During this time, he and his siblings relied upon Spam for food and shared a single-sized bedroom.

In the NFL, adversity reared its head as a Ray Lewis-sized dilemma.

Getting knocked down, both financially and physically, was all a part of the process though.

Through hard work and determination, Mughelli endured a trying childhood and received a scholarship to attend Wake Forest University, where he earned a degree in health and exercise science.

After graduating, he weathered hard knocks from Ray Lewis and other defensive powerhouses and was selected to two different All-Pro teams during his NFL career.

And while hard work was key, he emphasizes that he didn’t do it alone.

“I’m here because of my mentors,” says Mughelli. “I’m here because of the coaches, the teachers, the pastors, the friends, my parents who all poured into me.”

And that’s what has brought volunteers out for today’s Day of Service. It’s an opportunity to be the mentor that a child needs to perceive and achieve greatness themselves one day.

The mentees have gathered from all over the Atlanta area, arriving by the bus load from local organizations like the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, Raising Expectations Incorporated, Atlanta Cares Mentoring and, notably, the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative (AAMI).

According to the University System of Georgia, the Initiative is dedicated to providing “an integrated program model of academic and social tools that support students around adopting a positive mindset to successfully complete classes, elevate their cumulative GPAs, matriculate through each academic level and graduate.”

In the year 2018, AAMI bolstered its efforts by incorporating a mentorship component into the work that the initiative sought to accomplish. Combined with AAP’s commitment to promoting student achievement, the Day of Service was a perfect fit to accelerate both organizations’ goals.

The mentors for the Day of Service are established, working professionals. Many come from backgrounds in engineering, accounting, finance and business management.

One volunteer, Temika Jatta, is an employee for the local natural gas provider, Gas South. She believes the Day of Service is a beneficial experience in more ways than one.

“I love helping people,” says Jatta. “But the opportunity to influence or help a young adult who is African American to understand that there is more to life than just what they see in front of them is good for everybody.”

Over the course of the day, the volunteers guided their mentees through various workshops curated by local Atlanta businesses and individuals who have already found success in the STEAM field. These individuals can be the guiding light for burgeoning young professionals who haven’t been exposed to these career opportunities yet.

“It creates that whole perfect utopia,” says Jatta.

Some of the workshops included representatives from Adobe, AT&T, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Georgia Power and even United Way of Greater Atlanta’s creative team.

Workshops covered the principles of design, careers in digital technology and marketing, financial literacy, tech-enabled solutions and more.

Once the workshops finished up, the students and their mentors were then allowed to participate in a STEAM-oriented career expo. Attendees were able to brush shoulders with robotics equipment and tools for design that are used in everyday work for STEAM professionals.

As the day came to a close, Mughelli again took the stage to leave the Day of Service’s participants with a powerful reminder.

“Don’t be afraid when somebody tries to block your path and tells you, ‘You can’t do it,’” says Mughelli. “Build the mind of a champion and you’ll be just that.”

More than 300 people gather at technical college to discuss STEAM-related careers

By Nadia Pressley

More than 300 people gathered at Atlanta Technical College last month to celebrate and inform young African-American men about the endless possibilities of working in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) related careers.

The AAP Day of Service event brought together 139 young people to learn about topics from robots to tech, from Atlanta’s best and brightest companies thanks to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership (AAP).

AAP is a group of donors who all share a common passion in philanthropy. Their goal is to engage underrepresented members in United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 13-county region through volunteerism, networking, advocacy and professional development.

AAP members and prospective members were paired with students for the Day of Service to foster a mentorship between the two. AAP Director Bryan Vinson said this event is the perfect way to show members “a slice of what their investment looks like.”

Students participated in two career-based, STEAM workshops followed by a career fair with over 20 companies including Delta Air Lines and The Coca-Cola Company.

“The motivation behind our investment in these students is to get them excited about academics, excited about learning, to broaden their perspective on what their futures could be in terms of career, college, whatever their next steps are,” Vinson said.

Among the workshop presenters was Christopher Jones, production artist in the Marketing and Communications Department at United Way. Jones hosted a workshop called, “Design Your World” to expose students to careers in design.

“I enjoy interacting with students and sharing information about what I do as a career because I know that there are not a lot of examples that they can look to,” Jones said. “Even if a student decides to pursue a different path, I feel as if I’ve done my part if I’ve at least helped them to see that there are options beyond what they may have seen or considered before. The sky is the limit and I hope to inspire the next generation to aim higher.”

A 12th-grade student who attended the Day of Service “loved the interaction between the mentors and mentees.” They appreciated how presenters were open and honest and let them “know there will be challenges, but we all have the strength to overcome those challenges.”

Another eighth-grade student enjoyed having “African Americans in my groups,” and they found the event “really inspiring.”

Vinson said, through the Powering the Potential of African-American boys and young men investments, a campaign that pushes academic achievement, the group has raised more than $500,000 that they use to invest in seven different after-school programs across the Atlanta area, focusing mainly in zones where the Child Well-Being scores are the lowest. This event helped shine a light on just a little of what they do daily during the school year through their after-school programs.

Vinson said the event fosters a special connection between donors and students — each of the students received robotics kits from United Way at the end of the event.

“These are sort of two symbiotic groups who need each other. Our AAP donors are senior level African American professionals from a wide group of companies and industries,” Vinson said. “Why not expose them to these youth in need so that they can see people who look like them doing careers they have never even dreamed of?”

“It’s bringing these two groups together and letting them benefit from their time together.”

To learn more about AAP, visit, or email


Stephanie graduated from VIP program in 1999, served on AAP Cabinet for past four years

By Bradley Roberts

When Stephanie Gloster moved to Atlanta in 1998 from Virginia, she knew that she wanted to get involved in community work in some way.

She was familiar with United Way —she was introduced to the organization at her previous company— but she wanted to find a way to serve in other ways outside of her donation.

“That was when I found out about the VIP program,” Stephanie says.

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Volunteer Involvement Program has helped transform volunteers into community leaders for the past 25 years.

This is a program that raises a diverse group of community leaders to serve on boards of nonprofit organizations and in leadership positions in the Greater Atlanta area.

“It gave me that connection with United Way, and I liked the fact that it would train you for board service — that training has paid off over the years for me,” she says.

Stephanie went through workshops on fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and financial and legal decision making.

“Since then, I served on different boards,” Stephanie said. “I was on the board for transitional housing and homelessness, I have served as the director of technology for National Black MBA, Back on My Feet Atlanta, American Cancer Society Cobb and I’m currently on the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link board.”

She is also on the Duke University Engineering Alumni Council and the Duke Alumni Association in Atlanta, Stephanie says.

“I had some times when I was serving on two or three boards at the same time,” she said with a laugh.

After serving on multiple nonprofit boards, Stephanie said she became heavily involved in United Way of Greater Atlanta.

“I got an email from [Senior Director of the VIP Program] Janice [Robinson] that she had sent out to VIP graduates talking about the [African American Partnership] and asking us if anyone was interested in serving on the Cabinet, and I sent in my application,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie was a graduate of the program in 1999. She was “very eager” to serve on a board, Robinson said.

“My goal is to make sure that all alumni have an opportunity to serve, so I always share with them open board opportunities,” Robinson said.
Robinson said she has helped Stephanie develop board connections and United Way opportunities since she graduated through the program.

“VIP trains community leaders like Stephanie to be effective board members,” Robinson said. “By doing so, community organizations become stronger and more effective.”

Stephanie was selected to serve on the AAP Cabinet. She has served as the membership committee chair and vice chair of the AAP affinity group. She’s currently wrapping up her term as chair, she says.

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership was formed in 2000 after Dr. Johnnetta Cole saw there wasn’t enough leadership positions for African-Americans in Greater Atlanta.

Since its formation, AAP has garnered more than 1,000 members and raised more than $2.2 million annually for United Way.

AAP’s signature cause is powering the potential of African-American boys and young men toward academic achievement.

AAP Director Bryan Vinson said Stephanie “leads by example.”

“She sets the pace for the Cabinet with her unwavering commitment to community, leveraging networks to expand resources and drive toward innovation and increased efficiency,” Vinson said. “During Stephanie’s four years on the AAP Cabinet — two years as chair— our brand and presence in the community has grown exponentially.”

Stephanie said since she’s been on the Cabinet she’s seen the group expand to include more corporate sponsors, they have equipped six schools with after school-type activities they call, “Build a Library,” they hosted different youth mentoring events and have seen the annual Leadership Luncheon grow exponentially.

“Our largest fundraiser is the luncheon, and the first year we did it we had about 100 people in attendance,” Stephanie said. “We have more than 1,300 that attended the last one.”

Stephanie said AAP is a group that is important to her “because [AAP is] focusing on a segment of people that are often overlooked.” She has enjoyed interacting with the students over the years.

Stephanie was recently recognized for her service to the community with the Women of Excellence award from the Atlanta Tribune. She credits her time at AAP for helping her come out of her shell. It has helped her grow into her leadership roles as she’s taken on new career paths.

“Indirectly, AAP helped build my leadership skills and helped me with public speaking and community engagement,” she says. “I’ve met wonderful people and built lifelong friendships. I’m looking forward to attending different events after my time as Chair ends.”

African-American Partnership Cabinet Spotlight: Hugh E. Rowden
Senior Vice President, Engagement Initiatives & Mortgage Outreach, Community Relations, Wells Fargo & Company


AAP: Tell us about your role at Wells Fargo and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Hugh: As part of Community Relations at Wells Fargo, I lead an Innovation team, a management collaboration team, and a housing outreach team focusing on critical enterprise-wide community engagement initiatives for housing issues, as well as a host of other responsibilities.

I often say “we’re problem solvers” that connect Wells Fargo to some of the communities’ most pressing needs.


AAP: What advice could you give to someone pursuing a career in the financial industry?Hugh:No matter what industry you’re in it’s important to understand your strengths, and what you do well. Become an expert at what you do. Become the person that people go to when they need to know about your role and how it can make a difference.

My passion for solving problems, coaching and teaching, coupled with my management experience, became the foundation of my work life here at the bank. Many people are good at a job but can’t teach others. It’s important to find a way to develop your skills and use them often, especially in engaging teams and in developing talent. You’ll get a lot of pleasure out of your work if you view it as an opportunity to bring others along on the journey.


AAP: How do you use your role at Wells Fargo to improve economic empowerment in our community?
Hugh: My team helps customers who are having payment challenges through Outreach, addresses housing issues for cities through examining barriers and coalition-building, and we create innovative solutions that bring together the power of Wells Fargo’s lending and philanthropy to produce outcomes that solve issues identified by community stakeholders.

I personally understand what it’s like to be homeless because I was at one time in my life, and I know what it’s like to own a home. Those feelings will always be top of mind for me and understanding the full spectrum of housing challenges and opportunities influences the way I bring ideas forward and how I create programs that can benefit underserved individuals and communities. In my role, I work across Wells Fargo to pull in experts from our lines of business and our community relations team to create impact. In particular, we focus on affordable housing, small business growth, job skills and financial health as pathways to economic advancement.


AAP: Why is philanthropy important to you? What other community organizations are you apart of?
Hugh: Philanthropy is critical to help address the inequities that exist in today’s society. Minorities and women have a different starting line than others. For society to succeed, I believe we all need to play a part in addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. Our philanthropy allows us to collaborate with nonprofits and expert local leaders to create greater access to safe and affordable housing, more assistance with homeownership for families and critical support for small businesses to grow and thrive. In turn, many of these families and businesses go on to giving back to the community in their own way so it’s a positive ripple effect.

What’s unique about my job at Wells Fargo is that I get to help hundreds of community organizations and bring people together who care about making life better for others.

Outside of the volunteer work I do with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s – African-American Partnership, I’m on the Georgia Gwinnett College – School of Business Board of Visitors, and support activities at my church.


AAP: Who is your favorite African-American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?
Hugh: My source of inspiration is my family and friends. Most people think about individual trailblazers they don’t know. I focus on all my family has done to create the platform for me to do what I love, “being a provider”. That’s inspirational!

During my developmental years a lot of people did a lot of praying and the best they could with what they knew, and the small resources they had. It reminds me of a quote, “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it didn’t get there by itself.” 

AAP Partners with Georgia State University’s African-American Male Initiative

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership (AAP) is committed to improving outcomes for African-American boys and young men in the metro area through partnerships that will increase educational opportunities and pathways to employment. AAP’s signature cause Powering the Potential of African-American boys and young men began in 2016 with a laser focus on literacy through the Build A Library project at six partner agency locations. Thanks to dramatic response from AAP stakeholders, increased fundraising and recommendations from program experts, the efforts have broadened beyond basic literacy to include additional learning opportunities targeted to support youth’s overall academic achievement and future success. Each site exposes youth to career pathways, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), through career exploration, job training and work experiences.

AAP partners with the Georgia State University’s African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) at Booker T. Washington High School as one of the six sites in areas of low and very low child well-being in Atlanta. The mission of the Georgia State University African American Male Initiative (AAMI) at Booker T. Washington High School is to enhance the graduation rate of African-American males at Booker T. Washington High School while also increasing the number of diplomas conferred upon this population couched within a college access and readiness focus. With support from generous AAP members, AAMI provides a true STEM experience using digital literacy to address themes of Black male identity.

Recently, AAMI gave us an update on their work. The young men participate in discussions and activities twice a week covering topics that include the formation of Black male identity, spirituality, critiquing modern music, adjusting cultural lens about Africa, and interviewing and digital media training. Over the course of the school year, the students have fostered an environment that makes it acceptable for young men of color to be vulnerable and not feel ostracized.

AAMI has been able to leverage the Build A Library program to purchase books on various topics including subjects that have enhanced their media skills training like camera, editing, film, graphic novels, books on fantasy and anime. The students have developed their own graphic novels and film projects. This year, two veteran program members who are working to complete their comic book character origin stories, which they began last spring, delivered a presentation about the process for developing their comic origin stories at the Sources Conference hosted by the Georgia State University’s Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence.

Beyond their work on graphic novels, AAMI facilitators taught the young men about shot and angle composition. The young men were tasked with shooting a short-film utilizing the information from their lessons. They came together and completed the assignment within one hour. The short-film was edited and presented to them to show their accomplishment. Check out their video here. They will be utilizing their media skills at an upcoming career fair being held at Washington High School.

The young men were exposed to activities that went beyond the afterschool program on their school campus. Some of the young men went on college tours to Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University. The group had the opportunity to complete unique teambuilding challenges at the Escape Room and the retreat at Georgia State’s Indian Creek Lodge.

You can be part of the great work happening at Booker T. Washington High School and AAMI. First, make a commitment to support United Way’s AAP which funds six sites in areas of low and very low child well-being in our region. Give now. Second, AAMI are looking for volunteers for their upcoming Summer Institute to chaperone field trips and discuss their education and career pathways with the students. Sharing your story could shine a powerful light ahead for these young men. Contact to coordinate a date and time.

Thanks to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s partner, Delta Air Lines, we are zeroing in to ensure ALL students have access to a college education by helping families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Did you know that on average less than 50 percent of high school seniors in Georgia will apply for federal aid money? Unfortunately, students who could benefit the most from financial aid are less likely to apply. Why is that? These students are exposed to a disproportionate amount of barriers, including confusion about the process, lack of awareness about the money that is available and fear of the unknown, among others. Preparing students for college is in strong alignment with our child well-being initiative, so ensuring all students, regardless of economic stance or zip code, can achieve a postsecondary education is absolutely pertinent in furthering our goal.

Paying for college is the number one barrier in getting people to go to college, while not filling out FAFSA is the number one barrier in being able to pay for college. That’s why we’re bringing the resources to them with the help of volunteers like you! College Bound season for us will be October through January. United Way of Greater Atlanta will recruit and train volunteers who will work one-on-one with families to complete the FAFSA paperwork at events we will host. By deploying information campaigns, collaborating across sectors, increasing training, tracking student data, and providing more strategic FAFSA reminders and assistance, communities can provide the support more students need to get the FAFSA done.

Colleges and universities use this form to determine your eligibility for federal, state and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans and work-study programs. FAFSA determines eligibility for financial aid by calculating how much families can afford to pay, using past tax records– the lower the income and assets, the more aid is available. Additionally, FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment. In fact, data indicates that a 2% increase in FAFSA completion nationally could lead to 172,500 additional postsecondary degrees per year.

By volunteering your time and services, you can join us in ensuring that all students have a fighting chance at obtaining a postsecondary education. Sign-up to volunteer at AAP’s Day of Service today!

AAP Member Spotlight: Ashaki T. Wilham
Principal Scientist, Flavor Research and Development,
The Coca-Cola Company

AAP: Tell us about your role at The Coca-Cola Company and how you impact the company’s strategic goals.
The Coca-Cola Company is an industry leader in the beverage category and is one of the most recognized brands worldwide. I lead the Global Flavor Research and Development team which focuses on flavor development in the areas of continuity, innovation and productivity for The Company. Our work ensures that there is continuity of supply for strategic agricultural ingredients. We provide customized flavor solutions enabling innovation and growth. My team has supported productivity initiatives which help generate savings that are reinvested into the business. We also support strategic reformulation initiatives to reduce sugar in core company brands.

AAP: What suggestions could you offer to an individual interested in pursuing a career, such as yours?
Food Science is a very broad and diverse field of study offering many diverse disciplines, one of which is Flavor Creation. Becoming a Flavorist takes years of careful training and is a role that requires diligence and perseverance. Flavor Creation allows you to explore your technical side while tapping into your creative side in order to curate an experience that consumers will want to enjoy time and time again.  Although it is not a widely known career choice, it is both lucrative and rewarding. The tangible nature of the work offers the satisfaction of seeing your finished product in the local grocery, restaurant, or convenience store shelf.


AAP: Tell us about your experience at the AAP Day of Service last year when you operated a booth at the S.T.E.A.M. career fair last summer.
When I was in the 10th grade, I had a phenomenal biology teacher that instilled in me a passion for science. I was always curious and loved science in elementary and middle school, but she helped make it fun and relevant to me. Once I decided to pursue science as a field of study, I initially wanted to be a doctor, not realizing that Flavor Chemistry even existed. Since I’ve been in this industry, it has been a passion and purpose to share careers in Food Science with our youth from kindergarten through college. I believe that children of all ages are like sponges who, once exposed to knowledge, will soak it up. It gives me honor to provide that exposure. S.T.E.A.M. events energize me, and I am always overwhelmed by the sense of engagement and inquisitiveness that the students display.


AAP: Who is your favorite trailblazer that serves as an inspiration to you?
The trailblazer that inspires me is Dr. Mae Jemison. She began studying at Stanford at 16 years old, received her doctorate in medicine from Cornell University, and orbited the earth 126 times as an astronaut. Dr. Jemison didn’t stop there, she also found ways to give back by first volunteering with the Peace Corp and later founding the Jemison Group, an organization that encourages the pursuit of science. Her passion for science, quest to be the best and to offer a hand back makes Dr. Jemison a truly motivating force.


AAP: Why is philanthropy important to you? How do you give back to the community?
Philanthropy, defined as the desire to help others, through the donation of money, time or skills, is integral to my core value system. I take pleasure in serving others, using my gifts and talents to make things better in the communities where I live and work. It is also important to me that I model the behavior for my children, taking the opportunity to create a family culture of compassion. My favorite ways to give back include performing random acts of kindness, supporting the First Impressions, Children’s and Cleaning Ministry’s at church and educating children about the field of Food Science.


AAP: What is your favorite quote?
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. ~Mother Teresa



Villages at Carver YMCA Impresses at AAP Leadership Luncheon

Of the many attendees at the 4th Annual AAP Leadership Luncheon, two young men stood out a head above the rest, Deron Dill and Christopher Wright, program participants from AAP Build a Library site at Villages at Carver YMCA.

These two gentlemen, along with the teen center director, Bilal Blake, were featured in a video about AAP’s signature cause, Powering the Potential of African-American Boys and young men toward academic achievement.

Villages at Carver YMCA is one of the original after-school sites that AAP invested in when the group took up the goal to improve academic outcomes for African-American young men and boys back in 2016. Today, students participate in the book clubs, leadership workshops, team building projects, creative writing classes and homework tutors. Tricia Crossman, United Way’s Senior Director, Youth Development, manages the program.

Hear more from Deron and Christopher here.