The Fellows Alumni organized a fast-moving “Backpack Drive” this past August and September for kids who needed supplies for the start of school. Although it was just the first year, Fellows Alumni participated in nine cities around the country: Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Houston, New York City, Richmond, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

The drive was led by Alumni Outreach Committee Chair Joe Hanna (2014 Fellow) and Vice Chair Lisa Harris (2016 Fellow). 

2014 Fellow Joe Hanna and a teacher from Harriet Ross Tubman Academy in Buffalo, NY, with donated backpacks full of school supplies.  

“The Backpack Drive showed the terrific potential of the Fellows Alumni network, especially for a first-year effort,” said Hanna. “Fellows Alumni really respond, especially when they can see that their effort helps kids in their own communities.”

For instance, in San Francisco, the drive benefitted The Embarcadero YMCA’s Youth Chance High School student organization. In Seattle, Fellows Alumni raised more than $1,700 for a group called Treehouse that supports foster children. In New York City, Fellows Alumni partnered in the effort with the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. In Richmond, Virginia, where LCLD national office staff joined in, the benefitting organization was the YMCA’s “Bright Beginnings” Program.

Fellows Alumni at the backpack drive in Houston, TX.

In Buffalo, Joe Hanna won a golf tournament and donated all of the winnings to a local school drive. Fellows Alumni were able to purchase 30 book bags and fill them with pencils, pens, markers, crayons, color pencils, notebooks, rulers, calculators, pencil boxes, erasers, folders, binders, loose leaf paper, and lunch totes as well as three white boards, six new office chairs, and a projector screen. The Harriet Ross Tubman Academy in Buffalo was the beneficiary. 

“The Fellows Alumni really came through in a hurry,” said Vice Chair Lisa Harris. “And we’re looking for even bigger things next year.”

For more information about the Fellows Alumni Outreach Committee, please click here or contact Joe Hanna or Lisa Harris.

Joe Slay is the Strategic Initiatives Director at LCLD.