I am honored to be featured in another Black Southern Belle blog. For the Black Southern Belle audience (family) that has followed this blog for the past two years, you may be familiar with the articles that my cousin Myra Davis-Branic and I wrote on the history of our family, The Davis Family of Eutawville, SC. In the articles we told of our Davis Family Legacy, by honoring our ancestors’ accomplishments of being landowners post-slavery and donating a portion of their land to give to the first school for Blacks in the area. We also highlighted the more recent accomplishments of our family, including Myra’s labor of love, her book “Cornbread My Soul: The Davis Family of Eutawville, SC” that records our family history, Black historical moments in Lowcountry Country, South Carolina, as well as how the entrepreneurial and education gifts in our family has been passed down throughout each generation. I am proud to say that I inherited both of these gifts. Ever since I was a junior at Dudley High School (Greensboro, NC), I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of teenage girls by working with them to change the trajectory of their future. After graduating from high school, I attended North Carolina A&T State University, where I majored in Social Work. I knew then that I wanted to one day be the founder of a nonprofit. Shortly after graduating college, I was afforded the opportunity to work for 14 years (2006-2020) assisting high school students with their college goals, life skills, and basic needs.
Around 2018, it was pressed upon my heart to begin working on what is now The Legacy Foundation, Inc. The planning took about 2 years (off and on). Finding a name that sat well with me seems like it took just as long as the planning. I wanted a name that represented the purpose of the organization, as well as my heart in creating it. I prayed about it and trusted God to give me the name. One day out of the blue, God dropped in my spirit “Legacy”. When I heard “Legacy” I KNEW that “Legacy” was it! My plan was to launch The Legacy Foundation in 2021, but after feeling it was time to shift out of my job, I left my job at the end of the 2019-2020 school year (in the midst of Covid) and launched The Legacy Foundation in July 2020. The Legacy Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is designed to provide support and services to college-bound high school senior young women (that reside/attend high school in Guilford County, NC) and mentor them until they reach the age of 25. Our aim is to remove any barriers that will prevent our young women from being able to graduate college and obtain their career goals. Our mission is to provide programs that will develop college, career, social, and financial readiness in the lives of the young women that we serve and our vision is to empower our young women in creating a legacy of generational wealth. We serve our college young women in our Gold Program and our high school seniors in the Star Program. The Legacy Foundation was founded on the belief that all young women, no matter their background, deserves an equal opportunity to become successfully in life and have financial means that will allow them to access elusive resources for their future family.
At the very end of October 2020, just a few short months after I launched The Legacy Foundation, I was hospitalized due to feeling ill. It was revealed during my hospitalization that I had fibroids. I took November to the beginning of December off from The Legacy Foundation to recuperate. Thankfully, most of the Stars had completed their college applications/were already accepted and had already completed their financial aid by that time. In February 2021, I had surgery to remove the fibroids and took 8 weeks off. However, during both of my hiatuses, I still checked in with my young ladies and was available when needed. After I returned from surgery, I was able to hop right back in to assist the Star students with information that they needed to submit to their colleges post-acceptance. My health challenges taught me that you can still have a winning season in the midst of storms. Due to The Legacy Foundation’s work with our students, during the 2020-2021 school year (which of course was our inaugural year) our students achieved the following: a Gold student won a laptop scholarship, 2 Gold students earned scholarships, 100% of our Stars were accepted into college and received a total of 28 acceptance letters, 3 Honors College offers, and $96,000 in scholarship offers.100% of our Gold students returned to college this year for their sophomore year and 100% of our Star students began college this year.
Through partnerships and donations, our young women receive school supplies, dorm room items, assistance with college associated fees, and scholarships. We also have guest speakers that host college prep, career development, and life skills workshops. I navigate our Stars through the college application process and our Golds through college administrative challenges. Due to covid, we have been limited in our activities, but in the near future, we would like to expose our young women to college tours, cultural experiences, and social events.
When I reflect on who inspires me the most within my own legacy, I am inspired the most by my Great-Great Grandmother Bessie Washington-Davis. In 1924, she purchased 80 acres of land for $500 in Eutawville, SC, which my family stills lives on today. Some of the land during that she purchased was a part of the plantation where her husband, my Great-Great Grandfather Jacob Davis worked after slavery. I am also most inspired by my late mother, Oneater Peele-Davis, who passed away when I was 11. I give credit to my mother for being the reason why I am passionate about young ladies receiving an education. My mother was a stay- at-home mom that instilled AND drilled in me the importance of having an education. Anything that was education or extracurricular activity related, she ensured that I was a part of it. Due to what she instilled in me, after she passed away, it was second nature for me to want to continue to do well in school. What she didn’t know at the time is that she was planting a seed in me that would one day give birth to The Legacy Foundation.
If you would like to follow our work, we are on Instagram: thelegacyfoundationinc and Facebook: The Legacy Foundation, Inc. Our website is www.thelegacyfoundationinc.org