Never in a million years did I think I would be starting a non-profit at the young age of 21. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a news anchor, not an entrepreneur. It comes with the territory, I guess. When you’re a person who loves helping other people, you will find a way to make a difference. I’ve been scheming over the past four years. I have had giant ideas with many excuses as to why they wouldn’t work: I don’t have time, I don’t have money, I don’t have motivation.
I don’t know why I waited so long to make my dreams come true. I firmly believe in God’s timing. Maybe these past let-downs and ideas with no traction just weren’t meant to be. But, with graduation quickly approaching, I am taking the steps to launch the Leola Foundation.
Leola happens to be my great-grandmother and was a force on this planet. Although I was not alive during her years at W.R.A.P., I remember her fondly. She was always wearing her Sunday best (big church hat included) and smelled strongly of perfume. She had gentle hands and the smoothest skin. I remember her kind hugs and laughter. Leola passed away in 2008 right after the win of President Elect (at that time) Barack Obama. Although her passing was a great loss, I was happy she was able to see the election of a black president. Leola herself was an advocate for the black community. In the 1960s, she was the host of a 25 minute homemaker’s radio show “Around the Town.” She provided a great outlet for black women to get involved. Leola rose in the ranks of W.R.A.P. even meeting President and First Lady Lyndon B. Johnson and President and First Lady John F. Kennedy.
Her work is what inspired me to formally start the Leola Foundation. The Leola Foundation is an empowerment platform encouraging minority women to be leaders within their communities. We fund and provide consultation to local projects meant to positively impact the community. Although we are in the planning stages and have a lot of work ahead of us, I am so excited to see what comes of Leola. This week I apply for non-profit status through the Oklahoma Secretary of State. Next comes 501(c)3 registration with the IRS and then with the state AGAIN for charitable solicitations. Everyone says how much work it takes to start a non-profit, but no one tells you how much of it is a waiting game. Keep checking back here for updates on the Leola Foundation. And check out the website to read more: https://leola.org/