New Profit is excited to announce the launch of our Proximity Accelerator, an education initiative aimed towards inclusive social entrepreneurship and personalized learning. The Proximity Accelerator is part of a dual launch of education initiatives, alongside the Personalized Learning Initiative.

The Proximity Accelerator, which is led by New Profit Managing Partner Tulaine Montgomery and Partner Marco Davis, is part of a larger effort by New Profit to support visionary social entrepreneurs and other leaders from underrepresented communities, in this case communities of color. Participants in the one-year Proximity Accelerator receive a one-time unrestricted grant of $50,000, intensive group learning and collaboration on leadership and organizational development, regular consultations with New Profit partners with expertise in nonprofit capacity building, and access to New Profit’s larger learning community of social entrepreneurs and other changemakers through events like the annual Gathering of Leaders.

The first cohort of this year-long initiative features eight selected organizations. Today we celebrate one of the eight selected organizations: Mothers for Justice and Equality.

About Mothers for Justice and Equality

The mission of MJE is to end neighborhood violence by empowering mothers and youth to challenge the normalization of violence and become effective catalysts for change in their homes, schools, and communities. MJE was founded in 2010 by mothers who had lost children to community violence. Their founders sought to share their voice and vision to the fight against violence. In 2013, they developed the ‘You Matter: Personal Leadership Training’, the core of MJE’s educational programming. In 2014, MJE began their Youth Peer Leadership program. In 2014, MJE designed and incorporated our Workforce Readiness Initiative. In 2015, MJE began offering a vision-driven Financial Literacy curriculum to inmates at the Suffolk County House of Corrections to expand their impact and address the needs of young adult inmates coming back into the community. In 2015, MJE began offering training to new Boston Police Cadets and Boston EMTs to prepare them when facing individuals dealing with trauma.

About Monalisa Smith

Monalisa is the Founder, President & CEO, of Mothers for Justice and Equality. Monalisa founded MJE in 2010 following the loss of her nephew to local violence and through a “call to action,” gathered fellow mothers, many of whom were also suffering the loss of a child to violence, to share their concern with the gross amount of violence against children occurring within their neighborhoods. It was then that the group agreed upon its mission to end neighborhood violence and began to believe that mothers can become catalysts for change in their communities. Since its founding, Mothers for Justice and Equality has humanized homicide statistics through the sharing of personal stories in various media forms throughout Boston, established Monthly Empowerment Meetings and has engaged hundreds of local people in marches and rallies in support of the cause. MJE has also partnered with the City of Boston Public Health Commission in creating their first Mothers Watch Circle which advises the Defending Childhood Initiative, and has impressed upon Governor Deval Patrick the urgency to addressing neighborhood violence. Accomplishments such as these have then allowed for MJE to receive the following awards: the Boston Business Journal’s Extraordinary Leadership Award, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Community Leadership Award, the Asian American Civic Association’s Community Leadership Award and the Boston Globe 100 innovation award. Monalisa is a Dorchester native who has used her corporate background as Director of Community Investment for Citizens Bank, Massachusetts, to help drive this movement of mothers looking to put an end to youth violence within their neighborhoods. She is also a local civic leader and serves on the governing board of the Black Ministerial Alliance and Boston Higher Ground.

Follow @WeSayItsNotOkay & @SmithRidado47 to keep up with MJE!

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