Joyce Harris is a former MRG grantee, a donor, a community leader, and a woman who says, “Yes!” in our community. We recently sat with her to learn how she’s giving back.
“Giving back is doing small things. When I feel there is a need I open up my wallet, say “Yes” to sitting on boards and committees, invite people to fundraisers, and step up to do the work. Giving is being there for people and groups in our community, asking what they need me to do. Sometimes folks need money, sometimes for me to buy them groceries, and sometimes folks need you to moderate a community conversation. I give because you never know when a small gesture will mean so much.
I inherited my ethic of giving back from my grandmother. She reared me from seven months until I was nine years old. She didn’t have a fancy job but gave whatever she could and when she did not have enough, she would ask friends and acquaintances to help out. I remember her doing this when someone in our community passed away. She believed everyone deserved a proper burial so she would get a couple of dollars from all of the neighbors to pay for funeral expenses. She did this for her family, for people who lived on her street, and for people she barely knew – it was in her blood.
I also see giving as a chance to build community. By supporting your neighbors, staying connected to family and friends in new ways, and building relationships, we can rebuild the definition of community and celebrate the ways we can support one another. MRG shares these values and celebrates community by giving to causes that impact people who often get overlooked.
One of the legacies in the Black community, and one of my philosophies, is to give what you can. If a hundred people can give a $1 then you have $100. Join me in continuing to give back to our communities.”