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4 Principles That Helped KJSI Turn Year of Challenges Into A Year of Triumph

It’s no secret that 2020 presented itself with many challenges. As life and business partners, we always start our new year by planning out our goals. We carve out time to sit together, talk, and complete the Boost Blueprint to ensure our goals and actions are achievable and aligned with our values.

However, over the years, we've discovered that you can't always push full steam ahead. It's important to look back and reflect on your previous year. Whether you feel like it or not, odds are you have made some big moves in 2020 that can propel you into 2021 with grace, power, and motivation.

So thank YOU, readers and KJSI supporters, for giving us so many reasons to take inspired action in 2020. With your help and our four guiding principles (Education, Equity, Entrepreneurship, and Empowerment), we've been able to make our 2020 count towards our mission for a more equitable, inclusive world. Keep reading to see just what we mean.

Education & Equity

Education is the foundation of any person's success. When there is inequity in access to the best education, then we are certainly setting up our children for failure.

Obviously, we could not sit by and watch this happen in front of our eyes. So we took inspired action in every sense of the phrase.

Kwanza, along with Brett Brewer (Crosscut Ventures) and Brian Lee (BAM Ventures), founded the LA Tech Cares Initiative so that 20,000 low-income LA students could have the internet access they needed at home to continue their remote education. America says, "equal access to education for all," but from our experience, underfunded, minority communities have a right to disagree.

Therefore, we almost want to thank 2020 for showing us this need and giving us the opportunity to invest with impact and provide.

But of course, our 2020 didn't stop there. As civil unrest plagued our country, another opportunity for growth soon presented itself on our alma mater's campus at Princeton. Another opportunity to invest with impact and create real, long-lasting change.

In response to buildings named after former Princeton President Woodrow Wilson, despite his known racial prejudices, Kwanza wrote her viral Open Love Letter to Princeton about her experience as an undergrad and alum being marginalized again and again. But in typical KJSI fashion, we didn't see this as an opportunity to get mad or get even, we knew this was another opportunity to educate.

Once the letter went viral and gained support, our next action seemed so clear: donate. Donate $20 Million, the biggest gift from Black and Latino donors in Princeton's 275-year history, dedicated to furthering diversity and inclusion. Gone are the days that Woodrow Wilson's name is plastered across campus as 2020 brought to Princeton a new era—an era where POC students can see buildings named after people who look and sound like them.

In the words of Kwanza: "Access and inclusion. That's really at the heart of why we gave....our gift is about it being more than just a school but a community for all."

Entrepreneurship & Empowerment

How were all of these empowering donation opportunities made possible in the first place? By partnering with like-minded entrepreneurs who realize the power in investing with impact. Sure, money helps, but money given with an intention to create a better, more equitable world is much better.

We look forward to doing so much more of that in 2021.

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KJSI

The Kwanza Jones & José E. Feliciano SUPERCHARGED Initiative (KJSI) is a high-impact philanthropic grantmaking and investment organization that aims to power possibilities for humanity and its future through Education, Entrepreneurship, Equity, and Empowerment.
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