Generosity of the Next Generation

Meet the 2018 New Voices of Philanthropy

By Mariah Kline

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

For nearly 70 years, The Voice-Tribune has closely followed Louisville’s nonprofit community. We have admired the work of the countless individuals who give of themselves to help others and make our city a benevolent community. In 2017, we partnered with the Community Foundation of Louisville (CFL) to honor the first class of New and Future Voices of Philanthropy. This year, four individuals between the ages of 21 and 35 were selected as the next class of New Voices, while two individuals under 21 were selected as the 2018 Future Voices of Philanthropy.

Many nominees were considered, but the New Voices selection committee carefully narrowed it down to these six stand-out philanthropists. 

“The Community Foundation lives by the motto of being a force for good, and we believe this group of honorees exemplifies that motto,” said Emory Williamson, scholarship coordinator for CFL and member of the selection committee. “As we continue to make connections with our donors, nonprofits and civic partners, we’re always looking for individuals who are making a significant impact in the community, and we believe these honorees are making that impact.”

These leaders are no ordinary volunteers or donors. They are generous and ambitious world-changers who commit their time, share their talent or give their treasure (and in many cases, they do all three). As you get to know our New and Future Voices, we hope you will be inspired by their efforts, their work ethic and the spirit of generosity they each possess.

Shelby Allen

Shelby Allen began working with Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) when she was just 12 years old. She was first introduced to the organization when representatives visited her middle school and she experienced a mock refugee camp for the first time. She was so moved by the experience that she signed up to volunteer.

“The overarching mission of KRM is to resettle refugees in the Louisville area,” she explained. “While they serve the (larger) community and that’s their big mission statement, once the refugees make it to the country, they help make sure they’re involved in our community. Before I got involved, I had no idea what a refugee was and how they’re different from immigrants, but pretty much everything is different about their experience.”

Now 19 and a freshman at Bellarmine University, Shelby’s role has evolved. She served as a camp counselor for several years and worked with a specific refugee family for about five years, helping them adjust to their new home and the city of Louisville. She now is involved with the activism aspect by speaking about bills with local representatives and raising awareness of KRM.

“One in 113 people is a refugee according to (United Nations Refugee Agency),” she explained. “Knowing that, it’s extremely unsettling to me to know that out of this enormous population, only one percent ever make it to relocation. We have so many people that are disenfranchised from their homes and they’re in this in-between state in a refugee camp. I want to make sure that the ones who do find a home have all the opportunities they could possibly imagine.”

In addition to her efforts with KRM, Shelby also volunteers with Animal House Adoption Center and the Kristy Love Foundation. During her sophomore year of high school, she got involved with the Louisville Youth Philanthropy Council. There, she has learned a great deal thanks to the organization’s co-executive directors, Ina Miller and Marcella Kragel.

“They’ve been a great help in taking what I’ve learned from KRM to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors,” she said.

Shelby credits Adrienne Eisenmenger, KRM’s family and youth services manager, with helping her get involved and guiding her on her journey with the nonprofit. Out of all the roles she’s played in the organization, she is most committed to supporting the children of KRM.

“All of these kids have been through extremely traumatic situations that I could never fathom,” she said. “To be able to play a role in their lives and make sure they feel they’re in a safe space and feel valued is so important to me.”

To learn more or get involved with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, visit kyrm.org or call 502.479.9180.

Anjali Chadha

Anjali Chadha is the founder of Empowered, Inc., an organization that teaches and empowers minority women through technology. The idea was planted after she attended Meyzeek Middle School and got to know students who came from disadvantaged parts of the city. From interacting with her peers, she learned that a number of their parents owned small businesses but were unsuccessful in running them, primarily because they couldn’t reach enough people and incorporate technology in the most effective manner.

“What I planned to do initially was help minority business owners with building websites and using social media,” she said. “I went through an accelerator program called Catapult Ideas that was hosted at Harvard (University) my freshman year. I learned how to make a business model and changed my idea a bit.”

Rather than working alone, Anjali realized it would be more effective to train other high school girls like herself to help the business owners. For the past two years, she has led a program for underserved students to train them in building websites, implementing social media strategies, developing apps and learning other tools. The girls are then connected with local women entrepreneurs to enhance their business through technology.

These Empowered sessions have been made possible by the Mayor’s SummerWorks program, which has awarded them grants of $25,000.

“We’ve been able to actually pay girls to come and take the training,” Anjali explained. “It’s almost like a summer job or internship for them because they really do need that money and otherwise they would be working, so this is a great opportunity for them.”

Empowered has now worked with 20 girls, about half of whom have decided to take on computer science as a major in college.

“A really positive impact I’ve seen is that girls believe computer science is a career option for them now,” Anjali said. “Most girls come into the program never having been exposed to it. Some of the girls have gotten into some really prestigious universities. One of our girls is starting her freshman year at Carnegie Mellon, which is one of the top computer science schools in the country.”

In addition to providing these students with practical skills, Anjali has also seen a mental transformation take place in each person who has participated.

“The girls often come in with insecurities, whether it’s about their gender, race or socioeconomic status,” she explained. “They really feel inferior to other guys, especially white males and people who come from well-off families. But we try to have them meet with role models – strong successful women in this community who share similar backgrounds to them. This instills such a sense of confidence in them. … They’re able to feel secure in their abilities and see that working hard will get them somewhere. They see value in being a good member of the community and contributing back to the community.”

To learn more or get involved with Empowered, Inc., visit getempowered.co.

Miles Harrison

Growing up in Louisville, Miles Harrison was familiar with the work of the Cabbage Patch Settlement House. Now an attorney at Frost Brown Todd and board member of the nonprofit, he is using his gifts to give back to some of the city’s most at-risk youths.

Miles began working with Cabbage Patch through a former colleague, coming on first as a volunteer and then joining the board in 2014.

“For me, being involved is a great opportunity to give back to a population and group of kids that sometimes gets overlooked,” he said.

Cabbage Patch uses their resources to impact the lives of children in positive ways through educational programs, recreation programs, counseling and family support.

“We have a lot of kids coming from disadvantaged backgrounds with unstable family lives at home,” he said. “Being able to be a part of an organization like the Patch that provides them with some sense of stability, a place where they feel safe and welcome and can be their full and true selves is really important to me.”

The Patch holds several fundraisers to continue their work throughout the year, including Putt Fore the Patch mini-golf tournament, an invitational golf tournament and an annual auction. Miles encourages anyone who would like to get involved to attend one of these events or donate food. Currently, they are preparing to provide groceries for the families of kids they serve for upcoming holiday meals.

In addition to Cabbage Patch, Miles also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and has been matched up with his little brother for more than four years. Though he works full time as a lawyer, his job still allows him to follow through with sharing his time, talent and treasure.

“My firm does a great job of supporting anyone who’s involved in the community,” he said. “It’s just as important as the billable hours we perform for our clients – being a voice and a face for organizations that you care about.”

Through his role on the board, Miles strives to ensure that their work has a concrete impact on the children they serve. He is passionate about the youth organization’s mission of helping kids see a brighter future.

“Cabbage Patch does a lot for kids in the community,” he said. “It does a great job of giving these kids an opportunity to better their lives and see a world of possibilities as they move on through their education and hopefully into college, which is a big part of the mission.”

To learn more or get involved with the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, visit cabbagepatch.org or call 502.634.0811.

Ryan & Rachel Miranda

Husband and wife philanthropists Ryan and Rachel Miranda work with several local nonprofits, but March of Dimes holds a special place in their hearts. The generous pair owns Miranda Construction, a local commercial building contractor, and prioritizes sharing their good fortune with as many people as possible.

Rachel first became familiar with March of Dimes through her work as a NICU nurse, a role she served in for five years.

“I didn’t know much about March of Dimes until I was in that setting and talking to the parents,” she said.  “You get to become pretty much like family when you’re taking care of their premature child and you’re a shoulder to lean on. (The parents) always credited how much March of Dimes was there to help them in their time of need.”

Ryan and Rachel have made donations to the organization for several years and then felt the full magnitude of its work when their now 1-year-old son was born prematurely at 36 weeks.

“We struggled with our son in the NICU, but luckily he’s fine and doing great because of organizations like March of Dimes,” Ryan affirmed. “We kind of got off scot-free when it could have been really bad, so we’re at a point in our lives where we can help other people.”

Through Miranda Construction, the couple is able to assist several nonprofit organizations with building costs. Most recently, they completed the building of Freedom House, the women’s addiction recovery facility, for Volunteers of America. In addition to March of Dimes and Volunteers of America, the couple is also involved in Leadership Louisville, the Main Street Association, YMCA, Norton Hospitals, Spalding University, Give 502 and others.

Ryan and Rachel recently celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary and have been together for almost 10 years. Both grew up in families that stressed the importance of giving back and also give credit to the city of Louisville for fostering their spirit of generosity.

“Louisville gives back so much and it’s kind of inherent to the community,” said Ryan. “It’s the culture we grew up in – if you can give back, you do.”

To learn more or get involved with March of Dimes, visit marchofdimes.org or call 502.895.3734.

Jacqueline Brill

As a volunteer with Fund for the Arts, Jacqueline Brill has experienced the joy the arts can bring to individuals and the ripple effects they can bring about in a city. Her relationship with the organization began in 2014 through the NeXt program, the arts leadership group for emerging professionals. She has since transitioned into the role of workplace campaign chair at her firm, MCM CPAs & Advisors.

“Working with Fund for the Arts is a great way for me to stay involved with the arts because I’m not a professional artist – I’m not even an amateur artist,” she joked. “But it’s a way for me to stay involved with organizations that I care about. It’s also a great break from the buttoned-up routine at a CPA advisory firm. It brings a lot of color into my life.”

While she appreciates the impact the Fund has on her own life, she also understands the major impact that it aims to make on the community at large.

“They see that when the arts are doing well and the arts community is thriving and vibrant, it lifts up economic development and education,” she explained. “It’s great for the quality of life and it attracts talent. It’s all about lifting up arts organizations because they lift everybody else with it.”

Jacqueline is also a board member for the Louisville Ballet. She is wholly committed to engaging young professionals, patrons, donors and volunteers while promoting diversity and inclusion in the local arts sector. She says this focus on philanthropy and effecting change came about thanks to her parents, both of whom have championed the arts throughout her life.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful mom and dad,” she said. “I’ve also been very fortunate to have two women bosses who put community involvement really high on their list of priorities. I’ve learned so much from them, and I credit a lot to Sandra Frazier and Diane Medley, who are both amazing.”

For anyone looking to expand their horizons in the local arts scene, Jackie encourages following their upcoming events in 2019 and downloading the Louisville Arts Link app, created by the Fund.

“The Fund for the Arts has ways for everyone to get involved, so I would encourage people to get in touch with them,” she said. “They will plug you in where you want to be plugged in, and they’re very welcoming and amazing.” VT

To learn more or get involved with Fund for the Arts, visit fundforthearts.org or call 502.582.0100.