It occurred to us not long ago that we haven’t had any males featured on our site. This wasn’t done intentionally because we do realize girls run the world. 😉 However, the male presence in philanthropy, especially the black male presence, is necessary. So this week we made a deliberate effort to find a man whose life represents community service at its best. Ladies- and gentlemen- meet, Brandon Andrews.
Location: Washington, D.C.
How many years have you been giving back: I shared toys in preschool. Does that count? One caveat, no one could touch the “My Buddy” toy my aunt gave me.
I feel I have always had an inner altruistic desire, however, the visceral pang I sometimes feel began after my family battled homelessness in high school. When I got to college, I began doing adopt-a-block and have not looked back.
What is your personal mission: There is a Brandon shaped hole in the heart of the universe. I intend to fill it fully, and work to ensure others have the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resources to do the same.
What has been one highlight of your giving/ community activity this year?: Voter registration has been the highlight this year. Registrations have run the gamut from fresh faced 18 year-olds to those old enough to be my grandparent. Working to ensure everyone understands and can enjoy the privileges their citizenship affords is incredible. Earlier this year, I registered an African American woman to vote who is old enough to be my grandmother. The world she was born into is quite different from the world in which we live; many worked over generations to do change things for the better. I was reminded of the importance of building for the future and ensuring the work we do today is sustainable and can be built upon in the future.
If you were gifted $1million dollars, how would you spend it? $250,000 to fund internships to ensure that Capitol Hill staff reflects the experiences and perspective of the diverse constituency Members of Congress represent. Ethnic diversity is important, but diversity is about more than race. Diverse experiences and perspectives benefit any organization. Too often privilege (or lack thereof) and socio-economic variables make a Capitol Hill career too risky for qualified applicants, meaning those voices often do not have a seat at the table when policy is made.
$250,000 to organizations like Code 2040 and tech based startups like SendHub that are working to ensure communities with the highest adoption and usage rates for mobile tech and social networking know how to build the systems, own the systems and leverage the systems for education and community development.
$100,000 for voter registration and other civic engagement efforts to ensure communities can advocate for the solutions they feel best fit; $100,000 for grants to things I think are awesome, like IMPACT; $300,000 to ensure my family is blessed today and in the future.
For myself? A Lotus Elise S and a Charles Tyrwhitt shopping spree. Why? Because I like to get where I’m going and a gentleman always gets dressed up.
What organizations do you lend your time, talents and resources? NAACP (DC Branch), IMPACT, Hands On/Greater DC Cares, African American Men on the Hill
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @teambmichael
Thank you Brandon for being a shining example of a young black male philanthropist! Our boys need more men in the community like you. You go boy!