#ThankYou, Young Black Philanthropist: Desiree Venn Frederic

Your first thought when you see Desiree is, “WOW, she’s super tall.” Then you think, “Wow, she’s super gorg. She must be a model.” And THEN when you hear her full name, you think, “She must have made that up for show.” You soon discover that you would be correct on the first two accounts but the last, not so much. Desiree was born with fabulosity in her genes. Founder and Executive Director of Fashion Empowering Women which we featured last week, Desiree has taken her love of fashion, giving and goodness to an entirely other level…Meet our friend, Desiree:

Photo credit: Denisio Truitt

Location: Washington, DC

Age: 30

How many years have you been giving back: I have been strategically giving of my own money, time and talent for the past 10 years and will continue my family legacy.

I was raised in a family that instilled the values of giving back at an early age. I was witness to a grandmother, Matilda Williams, who turned her family home and business into a refugee camp sheltering hundreds of women and children during Liberia and Sierra Leone’s civil wars. I saw her care for them physically and emotionally. She passed away in 2010 and while she left an indelible mark on her family, her servant spirit in giving to the masses shapes her legacy. I also have an aunt, Frederica Williams, who serves as President/CEO of one of the largest community health centers in the United States serving over 20,000 people who lack access to health care. With this in my veins, I was born to give.

What is your personal mission: My personal mission to live unafraid and unmoved. To forgive but not forget, so as to learn from every experience.
 To reject labels and limitations. To be guided by my values and beliefs and live them in each decision. 
To sing my song and write my story. To give thanks in a measurable way each day.
 To value the humanity of all people. To laugh often and cry when necessary, for there is healing in the process.
 To live and risk because I have nothing to lose.
 To express compassion and fight for what is right. I will ignite my generation to understand the value of their time and talent by setting the example because I am the change.

What has been one highlight of your giving/ community activity this year? My work with Fashion Empowering Women Foundation. Our current civic engagement campaign, Look Good. Do Good. movement ventures to celebrate, and document millennials who are active in their communities. In the process, we are raising $50,000 to support 10 non-profit organizations, which our supporters will choose later in the year. We launched the social media campaign in January 2012 with hopes to engage 50,000 millennials in social good conversation, not only has the campaign met it’s half goal, we are measuring the impact and will produce a report which paints a picture of what issues millennials care about, how they give and how they view our ability to create social change through collective giving

If you were gifted $1 million dollars, how would you spend it? If I were gifted a million dollars, I would support social entrepreneurs armed with sustainable visions to create lasting change. Using the money to identify, educate, publicize, and fund social entrepreneurs and their ideas. As a social entrepreneur myself, I understand the challenge first hand. We are equipped with the soft and hard skills: empathy, teamwork, the vision, the leadership skills and a high potential for change making but we often lack the financial resources to grow a competent, sustainable organizational. The world needs social entrepreneurs and we all need a just world, it’s a win win.

What organizations do you lend your time, talents and resources to? I am a member of National Association of Women MBAs, National Black MBA Association, National Association of Professional Women, Maryland Industrial Areas Foundation- Action in Montgomery County, Young Non-profit Professional Network, Young Democrats of America and Toastmasters International. I also serve on several non-profit boards and the Board of Trustees at Church of Our Savoir.

Follow Desiree on Twitter: @xodvf

Hats off to you beautiful! We love you and applaud all of the oh so fabulous work you do!

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