Our 5th Annual Change Makers panel discussion served as a platform to honor the accomplishments of women in color in the nonprofit sector, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas and stories. Our moderators, Glen O’Gilvie, CEO at the Center and Shae Harris, Mid-Atlantic Region Director, JPMorgan Chase displayed their advocacy for change amidst the questions guiding the discussion amongst the panelists, Tanisha Murden, The W.I.R.E., Jawanna Hardy, Guns Down Friday and Keyonna Jones, Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center .

The panel prominently showcased the impactful endeavors of black women-led nonprofits operating in Wards 7 and 8, with the instrumental Chief Executive Leaders Ascend Program (CELAP) grant playing a vital role in propelling their success. Shae Harris emphasized that the genesis of this grant stemmed from the pursuit of black liberation, a sentiment that deeply struck a chord with the panelists. Each member of the panel spearheads initiatives that rely on direct involvement with the individuals affected by the focal concerns of their respective nonprofits, spanning from empowering women after incarceration to proactively addressing and offering vital interventions for victims of gun violence in D.C. and Prince George’s County. Every panelist unanimously acknowledged from their own lived experiences that those intimately familiar with challenges are often the ones closest to devising effective solutions for them.

The spotlight shone on the way personal narratives shaped their sense of leadership, with Miss Hardy sharing poignant insights from her military background and journey through PTSD. Keyonna Jones highlighted the transformative influence of art, while Tanisha Murden's tale of resilience underscored the importance of fostering hope amid adversity.

Insights into the grant application process shed light on both the challenges and opportunities encountered by organizations. Keyonna and Tanisha emphasized the need for simplified applications and cultivating robust relationships with funding sources. Erika Totten's work in shaping the wellness aspect of CELAP garnered applause, underscoring how cultivating supportive practices and self-care can drive impactful outcomes. The discussions also hilighted the significance of comprehensive data collection, emphasizing the need to strike a balance between qualitative insights and quantitative metrics for effective grant applications. Reflections around trust-based philanthropy revealed how this type of grant can allow leaders like Jawanna to provide more immediate support to the community her nonprofit serves.

As the event reached its conclusion, our panelists stressed the necessity for grant processes to prioritize the well-being of community leaders and advocate for sustainable funding models. The atmosphere was charged with a sense of determination and enthusiasm, echoing the collective sentiment that this marked just the beginning of an impactful journey.

The 5th Change Makers Panel Discussion was on October 24. Participants heard from our panel of Change Makers; leaders of color who shared their expertise, journeys, strategies, and vision. The event delved into innovative tips and strategies reflecting lessons learned from our recently released comprehensive report assessing the resilience of DC area nonprofits amidst the challenges of the 2020s.

Our panelists:

Tanisha Murden, is the CEO and Founder of Unique Stories INC. and Program Director of The W.I.R.E (Women Involved in Reentry Efforts)

Jawanna Hardy, Founder of Guns Down Friday

Keyonna Jones, Founder of Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center (CHACC)

The panel was moderated by:

Glen O'Gilvie, CAE, CEO, Center for Nonprofit Advancement
Shae Harris, Mid-Atlantic Region Director | Corporate Responsibility | JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Panel of Change Makers

Tanisha Murden the CEO and Founder of Unique Stories INC., an author, co-author of
"Global Shutdown: Dismantling The Effects of COVID-19," and Program Director of The W.I.R.E (Women Involved in Reentry Efforts). She's a multifaceted Washingtonian, a mother, mentor, and a certified Transformative Life Coach and Healing Leader since 2022.

She's a survivor of human trafficking, domestic violence, and has triumphed over numerous adversities, including abuse, abandonment, and incarceration. Tanisha's mission is to break the cycle of generational behavior and curses by addressing the root cause of unhealed trauma in her community.

Tanisha Murden has received awards and served as Co-Chairman on the DC Commission on Reentry and Returning Citizen Affairs. She's also been recognized at t the Urban Film Festivals for Social Awareness and has appeared on media outlets such as WVFG, FOX 5, WUSA 9, Congressional Black Caucus,

WHUR Radio. She's been prominently featured in documentaries and publications that address important social issues.

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