A violent incident during his Chicago childhood changed the life of Emmett Carson. Not feeling safe, his parents moved the family to another neighborhood.
But Carson began to think about the families who were unable to move away. After high school, Carson earned a degree in economics from Morehouse College in Atlanta and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in public and international affairs from Princeton. The founding CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Carson manages more than $7 billion in assets.
In Miami, one of the youth at NFL Youth Education Town (YET) at Gwen Cherry Park in Liberty City may one day replace Carson. Under the leadership of Miami attorneys H.T. Smith, Dean Colson and Hank Adorno, NFL Youth Education Town secured a $1 million grant from NFL Charities — along with an additional $2.6 million from local businesses — to build an after-school facility that houses computer rooms, classrooms, a library, gym and lighted basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and a swimming pool.
“My organization's outreach strategy is to tell a passionate and compelling story about the pain and promise of the children who benefit from the academic, athletic and health programs offered at the NFL YET Center at Gwen Cherry Park,’’ said Smith, the board chair. “In these stories, we share measurable improvement in the lives of the children.’’
The center is one of a growing number of groups and individuals bettering South Florida, particularly its black community.
One of those groups is the Booker T. Washington Foundation. Incorporated in 2003 by the BTW Class of 1957, the Foundation provides college scholarships to Booker T. Washington graduates and helps fund the school’s Saturday Academy. In 2016, the group funded 21 scholarships to Booker graduates.
Also helping students further their education: Gerald C. Grant, the branch director of financial planning at AXA Advisors in Miami, and his wife Jennifer. In 2013, they created a $1 million endowment fund to put business students through FIU.
Meanwhile, local philanthropy consultant Angelique Grant and a group of like-minded young professional friends created the South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy (SFNBP) to get young people involved in giving back.
And the Miami Foundation recently held the first State of Black Philanthropy conference. Moderated by Miami attorney Marlon Hill, the panel discussed expanding the impact of philanthropy in Miami-Dade’s black community.
“Miami is still maturing in its understanding of philanthropy and the breadth of its impact,” said Miami real estate executive Barron Channer.
But through efforts like these, Miami is growing up fast.
How to get involved
NFL Youth Education Town at Gwen Cherry Park, gwencherryparkfoundation.org
Alonso Mourning Family Foundation, 100 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami 33131 mourningfamilyfoundation.org
The Family Christian Association of American, Inc. (FCAA), 1401 NW Seventh Ave., Miami 33168 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Complex, 819 NW Second Ave, Miami 33136, www.bahlt.org
The Miami Foundation, 40 NW Third St., Suite 305, Miami, 33128 givemiamifoundation.org