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Episode 2: How They Grew Their Nonprofits? The Donor Relations Edition

Learn how one executive director grew his nonprofit from building relationships with donors...

Alana Knows Nonprofits presented "How They Grew Their Nonprofit? A Conversation Series with Nonprofit Founders. This virtual event took place on Thursday, August 20 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Alana V. Allen interviewed Blake Odum, Founder and Executive Director of The Motivational Foundation. The discussion helped nonprofit leaders learn how to ask for their first donation and how to build relationships with their donors.

Blake Odum's Bio:

Blake E. Odum is a native of Flint, MI. At an early age, Blake realized his commitment to empower and educate young people in the community. Inspiration sparked action when Blake joined the Gamma Delta Kudos male youth mentoring program as a high school sophomore, which was headed by his former elementary school principal, John Rhymes, who later became a father figure in his life. When Blake speaks, he touches the hearts, opens the minds, and stirs the souls, of those who listen. Blake credits his wisdom to the teachings of his late grandmother, Mary Peoples, and a 103 year old living great-grandmother, Estella Price. He credits his many accomplishments to a his strong spiritual background, and favor with God.

Blake attended Eastern Michigan University with a dual major in Film & Media Production and African American Studies; where he envisioned himself as the next Spike Lee. While studying at Eastern, he was also a member of the Black Student Union, the NAACP, a charter member of Eastern Michigan’s chapter of SAAB (Student African American Brotherhood), and a national slam poet with Eastern's Poetry Society.

After College, Blake went on to work for the public school system in Michigan, where he was privileged to serve as a spearhead for groundbreaking work centered around the suspension of children of color, black males in particular, reducing the suspension rate by approximately 86% for one Flint area school district.

It was in 2010, while touring the Atlanta University Center with a group of high school students, when Blake founded The Motivational Foundation, a youth-based advocacy, education, and community organization. During his tenure as the head of the organization, he has been a successful advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and a resource for students seeking to attend college. Blake was asked to study at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA while advocating for Historically Black Colleges and Universities through his work as The Motivational Foundation. In the midst of these many obligations, Blake still finds time to give back to the community.

He has received national accreditation and recognition for his gift in oratory as a medal recipient for NAACP's ACT-SO youth program dedicated to the performing arts. Most recently, while advocating and working for underserved students in Guilford County Schools, Blake was named as the recipient for the Community Partner of the Year Award, presented by Communities In Schools for his passionate work through The Motivational Foundation. "I am my ancestor's wildest dreams."

As a change agent, Blake is often called to ignite a burning fire of change, through his words. Blake has had the opportunity to lecture and engage important conversation all over the country. In October of 2018, Blake was bestowed the high honor to serve as the preliminary speaker for the iconic Civil Rights leader, Congressman John Lewis, while on his tour advocating for the right to vote.

Blake lives in the words of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.;

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?'"

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