TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? AND WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? I was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina in the United States of America. I grew up in a very southern and conservative part of the country. I loved my community, culture, and our one-of-a-kind southern charm. There was a strong divide, however, among racial and economic lines. The different races and classes lived separate lives and rarely interacted. Despite this, I’ve learned a lot about the different races and classes, and these lessons helped prepare me for my calling. WERE YOUR PARENTS CHRISTIANS? WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN? Yes, my parents are Christian, and they raised me in this faith. My family always emphasized the importance of GOD’s love, grace, and mercy. They also shared the importance of recognizing God’s omniscient power. I officially became a Christian in August 2001. WHAT HAVE SOME OF THE DEFINING MOMENTS OF YOUR LIFE BEEN? One of the most defining moments in my life was when I volunteered to serve food to the “less fortunate” when I was in high school. I never expected to run into someone I went to school with, but I did—I served one of my classmates. Before that moment, I was stuck in my own world, not realizing that others did not have the same advantages and privileges I did. This moment was life changing because it forced me to acknowledge my « 26 DOZ Magazine July 2017 privilege. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BEGIN THE PHILANTHROPIST NEXT DOOR? I started The Philanthropist Next Door in April 2016. There was no secret to getting started—I just jumped right in! Because I work in the philanthropic field, I have a lot of experience in this area. I was prepared to use my talent and skills to help people give. I also feel like my entire life has prepared me for this moment. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO PHILANTHROPY? I’ve always been attracted to business and public service. Philanthropy is the perfect marriage of the two. I really believe this is my calling. HOW AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME? Unfortunately, because most people affiliate the word philanthropy with money, many people don’t want to make a financial gift because they feel that the amount they can afford won’t make a difference. This is not true! It was incredibly important that the word philanthropy is in the name, but the average person needs to be able to self-identify. “ Unfortunately, because most people affiliate the word philanthropy with money, many people don’t want to make a financial gift because they feel that the amount they can afford won’t make a difference. This is not true! It was incredibly important that the word philanthropy is in the name, but the average person needs to be able to self-identify.