Last week, we kicked off the Black History Month Student Tribute series by showcasing the amazing work Elizabeth Davis has done both on and off her college campus. This week we’re catching up with Robin, a member of our inaugural BOLD Discovery class and co-founder of The Village Micro Fund.
What’s one really awesome fact about you?
I’m one of those Southern kids who can trace their whole family’s history back to a few small towns. In fact, a good number of my older relatives live in the same towns and neighborhoods where my family has lived for generations. It seems small, but I’m grateful for being able to acknowledge my roots.
What are you most passionate about?
Community development as it pertains to building up neighborhoods and the people who live there. I was a community organizer my senior year of high school. The experience exposed me to the way neighborhoods and communities work and instilled in me the desire to serve and significantly impact others. In college, that drive extended to helping make structural change in communities and finding ways to build with struggling communities instead of giving back from a distance. Over time this has become something that drives me, not just a responsibility or something I derive happiness from.
You helped start a non-profit along with a few of your peers. Tell us about it and what motivated you guys to create it?
We’re creating platforms for people to invest in small business throughout Atlanta. We provide financial and consulting services to small business, primarily in distressed communities like the ones surrounding our school. Each of us has a strong conviction about using our interests in business and entrepreneurship to serve the community. Over time we realized the need to help communities (especially underserved black communities) become self-sustainable. Money has to circulate within a community for people who live there to feel its effect. So if every business in a neighborhood is a franchise, most of the money spent there won’t be reinvested in employment, infrastructure, and education for the people spending it. The Village Micro Fund became a way for us to give people the intellectual and financial resources to grow with their community.
Why do you think it’s important to give back to others?
I grew up with plenty of privileges and opportunities. At the same time, I have family members who were never able to enjoy some of the life experiences and opportunities that I have. I’ve learned to cherish what I have and make the most of every opportunity, and in the same vain, create as many opportunities for other people as I can.
Posted by Chastity Wells, Student Outreach team