Wendy Mckenzie


The young people who participate get to meet women who are entrepreneurs and running their own businesses and leading a healthy life. I am blessed to be one of those women who gives back to this community.

Profession: Partner of GrassROOTS.org and Owner, In The Wink of An Eye

Twitter: @WendyCasting

What is Grassroots?:

GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF) is a public health and social action organization. We invest in our community members’ collective well-being, so that they can use their health and energy to transform themselves, their families and communities. We support, develop and scale health and wellness programs for women and girls, particularly those who are impoverished. We also advocate for policies and practices that reduce disparities and foster equity.

Tell me more about your background and how you connected with this cause?:

I was born in England. My parents are from Jamaica. My background is in casting. I got into that because people had talent but didn’t know where to go with it. They didn’t know how to pursue their dreams so I started guiding actors and helping them where to go. I place myself in a position where I’m able to help people move forward in the right way.

My god daughter is involved with GrassROOTS. She told me the wonderful things about it. I thought, I have my time and a smile to give. I went in and led a workshop on how to be a model  Then, I was invited to come in and do an acting workshop. By acting out loud, it teaches kids about not only performance, but how to follow directions.

I kept coming back because working with the kids was incredible. Whenever they have a performance, I stepped in and was the creative director for that event. GrassROOTs mission is to  inspire young leaders and inspire them to grow. The young people who participate get to meet women who are entrepreneurs and running their own businesses and leading a healthy life. I am blessed to be one of those women who gives back to this community.

What have others shared with you about the program?:

From a mother of a participant, this really summarizes our impact: “My child was extremely shy and lacked confidence until she spent her first summer in Super Camp and found her voice. She started school the following September more mature, confident, and driven. I truly appreciate everything Super Camp has done to build my little girls esteem and her newfound willingness to participate in group experiences.”

Who inspires you to be philanthropic?:

My mom inspires me. She came from Jamaica and moved without knowing anyone. She was brave. When she came to America, she took her time and worked as a housekeeper and saved her money. She took the time to give back. She always took money out and gave a percentage to others. She also never forgot where she came from – she would send things back like toilet paper and food to  Jamaica for our family to have. She is the kindest person.

What advice would you share with others to consider giving?:

Give your time and energy. You often only hear about the people who are rich and you just need a commitment of time to give back. That’s so important to me. I have my time, you can have my time you can have as much as you need. I know it’s going to make a big difference.



About

Julia Levy, Founder, has a decade of development experience, including working for a philanthropist, a small nonprofit and now a large nonprofit. She has raised significant dollars for numerous causes, from education to religion and from donors of all ages. Julia holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Julia has taught fundraising workshops, most recently at Brooklyn Brainery and coached development professionals.


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Why We Give tells stories of ordinary philanthropists, making a difference, dollar by dollar and hour by hour.  

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