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Black Enterprise January/February 2013 : Page 53

Wealth For Life Principle No. 10 I will strengthen my community through philanthropy. Shaping Tomorrow’s Black Men Alex Peay aims to groom disadvantaged boys and young adults into future leaders By Stacy L. Davis BEFORE FINDING A MENTOR, WILL DOUGLAS JR. DID DRUGS AND WAS IN a gang. His mother kicked him out of the house at 18 for smoking marijuana in their home and he had no idea that college could be a part of his future. Fast-forward two years and Douglas, now 20, is enrolled as a business administration major at Peirce College in Philadelphia and has a part-time job at Kohl’s. He attributes his turnaround to Rising Sons, a Philadelphia-based nonproȮt started by 25-year-old Alex Peay. “Rising Sons changed me,” says Douglas. “They found the beauty in the beast and now the beast is no longer there,” he says. The organization has a mission to provide young men ages 18 to 28 with leadership and professional development skills through workshops that focus on community service, operating youth programs, social entrepreneurship, money management, nonviolence, and becoming a mentor. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 • PHOTOGRAPH BY ED WHEELER • EDITED BY LATOYA M. SMITH @LATOYAREPORTS 53

Wealth For Life

Stacy L. Davis

Wealth For Life Principle No. 10<br /> <br /> I will strengthen my community through philanthropy.<br /> <br /> Shaping Tomorrow’s Black Men<br /> <br /> Alex Peay aims to groom disadvantaged boys and young adults into future leaders<br /> <br /> BEFORE FINDING A MENTOR, WILL DOUGLAS JR. DID DRUGS AND WAS IN <br /> <br /> a gang. His mother kicked him out of the house at 18 for smoking marijuana in their home and he had no idea that college could be a part of his future. Fast-forward two years and Douglas, now 20, is enrolled as a business administration major at Peirce College in Philadelphia and has a part-time job at Kohl’s.<br /> <br /> He attributes his turnaround to Rising Sons, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit started by 25-year-old Alex Peay. “Rising Sons changed me,” says Douglas. “They found the beauty in the beast and now the beast is no longer there,” he says.<br /> <br /> The organization has a mission to provide young men ages 18 to 28 with leadership and professional development skills through workshops that focus on community service, operating youth programs, social entrepreneurship, money management, nonviolence, and becoming a mentor.<br /> <br /> With an annual operating budget of $75,000, the organization’s income comes primarily through fundraisers, partnerships with other organizations, private donors and sponsors such as United Way, Naturally Neat Services, Villa clothing stores, Under Armour, and 215NYE. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently awarded Rising Sons its first grant of $4,650 as part of the Black Male Engagement Challenge, an initiative sponsored by the Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Heinz Endowments to encourage black men to share their community improvement projects.<br /> <br /> But Peay, who works full time as a community engagement manager for Black Male Engagement, didn’t always have financial support. He self-funded the program for the first year and a half, diligently saving about $75 from his biweekly paycheck into a separate account for Rising Sons. “I had to manage my personal expenses but still maintain a budget to pay for supplies, field trips, and food when we were first getting started,” says Peay.<br /> <br /> Rising Sons has 12 unpaid volunteers and operates in a building owned by Drexel University. Seven of these volunteers, called mini-organizers, perform administrative tasks, and plan and execute community service projects once a month throughout Philadelphia. The other five are social entrepreneurs who launch their own individual service programs. Rising Sons currently runs five social entrepreneurship programs with 60 elementary, middle, and high school students participating on a weekly basis. Their service projects, trainings, and seminars have impacted more than 8,000 people in Philly, Peay estimates.<br /> <br /> New volunteers fill out an application and are then required to attend weekly meetings and participate in service projects for a month before becoming an <br /> official member. “We want to make sure that you’re dedicated,” says Peay.<br /> <br /> Twenty-five-year-old Devin Wills joined Rising Sons in 2010 with an idea to give back through his passion for technology. He created a program called Universal Tech, which teaches high school students about computer technology and troubleshooting for hardware, soware, and networking. Aer completing the curriculum, students become eligible to take a certification test that permits them to earn money for their expertise. The program is sponsored by People’s Emergency Center, which provides a voucher for the students to take the certification test and provides them with a laptop, which they can keep aer completing the one-year program.“I want kids to have a jump start when they go to college,” Wills says.<br /> <br /> Peay is working on getting 501(c)(3) status for Rising Sons, but for now the organization works under a fiscal sponsor, Mature Cradle, which already has the status and allows Rising Sons to accept grants in the meantime.<br /> <br /> The 10 Wealth for Life Principles<br /> <br /> 1 I will live within my means.<br /> <br /> 2 I will maximize my income potential through education and training.<br /> <br /> 3 I will effectively manage my budget, credit, debt, and tax obligations.<br /> <br /> 4 I will save at least 10% of my income.<br /> <br /> 5 I will use home ownership as a foundation for building wealth.<br /> <br /> 6 I will devise an investment plan for my retirement needs and children’s education.<br /> <br /> 7 I will ensure that my entire family adheres to sensible money management principles.<br /> <br /> 8 I will support the creation and growth of minority-owned businesses.<br /> <br /> 9 I will guarantee my wealth is passed on to future generations through proper insurance and estate planning.<br /> <br /> 10 I will strengthen my community through philanthropy.<br /> <br /> " HOW I DID IT "<br /> <br /> Budget. When you’re first starting out you may not have a lot of money and little to no outside financial support.Make a list of the items that you’ll need to run the program day to day, and start saving for those expenses in a separate savings account. I created a budget using Microsoft Excel and kept track of spending there as well.<br /> <br /> Build partnerships. Collaborative efforts are the way to go right now. I made a lot of connections in Philadelphia when I worked as a team manager for City Year. I met with community leaders and local politicians who taught me the nuts and bolts of running a nonprofit organization and how to develop partnerships with organizations in the community.With a stressed economy and it becoming harder to find funding for Rising Sons, establishing partnerships with other organizations helped us solve this problem.<br /> <br /> Get 501(c)(3) status. Now that we have a clear mission and area of focus, we understand that there are greater benefits of being tax exempt under 501(c)(3). It will give us the ability to accept contributions and donations that are tax deductible; to be exempt from federal and/or state corporate income taxes and possible exemption from state sales and property taxes; to obtain grants and other public or private funding; and be recognized through the IRS and get discounts on U.S. Postal Service bulk mail.<br /> <br /> For tips on forming a nonprofit, see Web Extras at www.blackenterprise.com/magazine.<br /> <br /> Do you live by the Wealth for Life Principles? We would love to print your story.Nominate yourself or someone you know at wealth@blackenterprise.com.

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