Founders’ Stories: The Magic, Beauty, Struggle and Sacrifice of Starting a Nonprofit Organization

 

 

 

 People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. ~ John C. Maxwell

 

 

 

 

 

I have been fascinated by founders for a lot of years. Their vision, their charisma, their passion, their fortitude.

They are revolutionaries moved to act, engage, and create. As a part of another project I am working on (stay tuned, its coming soon!!), I am conducting interviews with nonprofit founders across the country. Inviting the founders of 25 organizations to share their wisdom. In selecting these organizations, I have looked for diversity in terms of both geography and mission. I have connected with founders who have built outstanding organizations that focus on service and impact.

I will be sharing a few a of their stories here. Why?

To provide solid guidance, tools and advice for organizations in the start-up phase and those needing to reconnect to the energy, passion and drive of their own founding story.

Stories and experiences around the founding of organizations will help the next generation of nonprofit founders, leaders and executives and will provide invaluable information for those working in the sector.

I would like to introduce you to a very special founder.  Oz du Soleil is the founder and executive director of Support1000.  Oz du Soleil, a bassist and data analyst, had dozens of bras left over from a digital art project. He eventually gave them to a friend who taught at a high school where many of her female students were teased about the condition of their bras, which were held together with safety pins. The girls were grateful for the bras, and Oz was surprised and moved by how a small effort on his part could make such a big difference to others.

The first organizations and individuals to receive donations included a residential facility for the blind and visually impaired, high schools on a Sioux reservation,, and a social worker who assists victims of domestic violence, many of whom arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back.  Support1000 isn’t a bra project, it’s a DIGNITY mission. Support1000’s bras are sent to organizations that assist women actively working to effect positive change in their lives.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Oz. Here he shares his wisdom, his greatest challenges and the hardest decision he had to make as a founder.



If you want to build core  nonprofit management skills crucial to your organization’s success you can schedule some 1:1 time with me here or learn about other ways we can work together here.

You can also get inspiration, ideas, resources  tools and freebies including my latest report:  Top 5 questions you need to think about before you go out and change the world by signing up for my  newsletter

The truths that live in my blood

(CW: rape and chattel slavery) A few years back I took one of those DNA tests. I know… I know…. don’t come at me y’all…..this is what I learned. I am the quintessential child of people that were enslaved.  I am 75% West African and 25% European. The slave and enslaver...

On Being Colonizers

Do y’all love Tik Tok like I do? Recently on Tik Tok there’ve been a series of videos where white folks are espousing their anger because Native American and First Nation folks are referring to them as “colonizers.” They say they’re upset because they see themselves...

We can do hard things

Racial equity work isn’t easy. It’s challenging. Emotional. It takes time.   And that’s ok, we can work with that.  What’s not ok is refusing to start or pressing pause because the work feels overwhelming or risky. What’s the biggest thing holding your organization...