Inviting Funders to Witness the Impact
This Black History Month, we explore the difficulties and obstacles faced by nonprofit organizations led by Black leaders in the Kansas City metro area. We met with five Black nonprofit leaders for a conversation centered around these challenges, with a specific focus on the ongoing struggle for adequate funding.
We are delighted to shine a spotlight on Terri English-Yancy, Chief Executive Officer of Essential Families. Terri’s commitment to empowering families and stabilizing communities has not only left a mark on the organization but has also inspired positive change in the lives of many across Kansas City. Terri has been instrumental in providing crucial support to families with children under the age of 19.
Terri understands the pivotal role education plays in fostering stable households. As a recipient of the Nonprofit Catalyst Grant, Essential Families has been able to educate parental educators who, in turn, provide virtual assistance to families with children under 19. The grant facilitated specialized training, allowing them to offer support tailored to the unique needs of each family.
One of the challenges Terri acknowledges is the difficulty in building relationships with funders. To overcome this obstacle, she expresses her desire for funders to witness the impact of Essential Families’ programs by attending events to experience firsthand the positive transformations occurring within families and communities. By creating a connection between funders and organizations, she hopes to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the organization’s mission. She advocates for transparency that will in turn increase support that will further amplify Essential Families’ initiatives.
Despite this hurdle, Terri persists and emphasizes the importance of stabilizing families, going beyond surface-level issues and delving into the root causes of challenges. “Instead of asking people what was wrong with this person, we want to know what happened to them. We can be more relatable because trauma affects us all, especially our community,” Terri shares.
Terri discussed the significance of organizations being trained in trauma-informed care. By shifting the focus from ‘what’s wrong with this person’ to ‘what happened to them,’ Essential Families aims to create a more empathetic and supportive environment. Terri advocates for perseverance, urging organizations not to give up on their mission to serve the community.
The tagline of Essential Families, “Everything starts at home,” encapsulates Terri’s philosophy. Stability at home is the foundation for thriving in the community. Through their five programs, Essential Families focuses on stabilizing families, paving the way for workforce development opportunities.
Terri’s personal motto is “Just keep moving.” She encourages youth to pursue their goals relentlessly and not be deterred by naysayers. She believes that perseverance leads to opportunities, and by staying resilient, individuals can open doors to success.
Terri stands as a beacon of hope during Black History Month. Her commitment to stabilizing families, addressing trauma, and providing education demonstrates the transformative power of dedicated individuals. Through Essential Families, Terri continues to create lasting impacts on families and communities, fostering a legacy of empowerment and resilience.