Evan Newton was drawn to Umoja's unique dedication to students which led him to become a new Board member. Hear more about Evan's passion for helping students and how he found out about Umoja:
1. How did you get involved with Umoja?
My wife and I are very active and interested in learning more about philanthropy. A few years ago, seeking a better approach to our annual giving, we formed a giving circle – the Giving Table – with a small group of like-minded friends. Each person in the circle agreed to a set of by-laws and contributed a fixed dollar amount for grant making. After an analysis of impact, annual reports, IRS Form 990s, and active debate, the circle voted on organizations to fund. Umoja was one of our first funded organizations under the category of Local Education.
2. What motivated you to join the Board?
Not entirely satisfied with just writing a check, I wanted to find a way to get even more involved. I saw in Umoja an organization that I felt strongly about and believe I can add to the Board’s many existing experiential backgrounds.
3. Since this is your first year as a member of the Board, what are you looking forward to?
I look forward to being a contributor to a mission that has become personal for me. I believe that every person deserves a fair chance at being successful, and I believe it all starts with education. I am most looking forward to the annual Spring Fling, to the success stories, to the Board discussions, to meeting new people, and to introducing Umoja to my personal network.
4. What part of Umoja’s work do you feel most passionate about and why?
Growing up in a small rural town (graduating class of 59 students), I joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program after college. After spending a year in Miami, Florida working for a nonprofit, I became very aware that not everyone has the same opportunity to pursue higher education. I am still in close contact with my Little from Big Brothers Big Sisters during my tenure in Miami. Davon is the first member of his family to seek an education after high school. He’s currently attending a vocational school and learning more about media, and I could not be more proud. I’ve grown to know the challenges he faces and his passion to do more with his life over the past ten years.