If you were to ask me, what animal I would compare myself to, it would be the African Lion. Not just for the lion's majestic look pronounced by its mane, but for what lies behind that prestige. Just as a lion looks after his pride (family), I have the same responsibility to my family and community. I believe that God has given me the responsibility to protect, serve and empower people. From young to old, wealthy or destitute, friends or strangers, the who does not matter. I can reach anyone and consider myself the "glue" that holds a community together.
Every entrepreneur has a story about how they began their journey and what shaped their dream into their personal mission. My story started with a vision born out of a volunteer experience abroad that took place in 2011. That year, I began supporting the education of an orphaned child named Isaac who lives in Uganda. My donations cover his school fees, books, school uniform, and daily meals (to learn more visit the Nyaka School). I have been very pleased to watch Isaac grow up and support positive changes in his life. Each year, I still felt like my support was not enough. Many times I have thought to myself, what if I could sponsor all orphaned children in my kid’s village? Little did I know at that time, I would develop a business that would certainly make that happen.
I built my first travel website, VacationGrace.com to demonstrate how spending power in the online travel industry (Vacation) can be used to make positive impacts (Grace) on society. Keeping with my company's mission, I chose to focus on the following six areas to make a difference in this world: protection of the environment; public safety; education; job creation; mental health; and welfare of infants and children. I chose the travel industry and became an affiliate marketer since online travel services and products are used by people across the world. This industry provided the right opportunity to gain the greatest return on investment to generate enough funds to help my favorite non-profits and various charitable causes.
I have a passion to change a major problem that we have in our society. Too many college students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities have stopped their education due to lack of financial resources. These same students are from communities who spend faithfully each year on leisure travel. For instance, the African-American demographic spent an estimated $63 billion on leisure travel in 2018, according to a study by Mandala Research. This spending grew to an estimated $109.4 billion in 2019 - the most recent year reflecting normal travel spending prior to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. That figure in 2019 represented approximately 13.1 percent of the U.S. leisure travel market (MMGY’s 2019 Shifflet Travel Performance/Monitor). Black traveler family/groups spent an average of $600 on each overnight stay, with an average of 2.5 nights for each trip (MMGY’s 2019 Shifflet Travel Performance/Monitor). These travel dollars can help change the lives of many students if a small percentage of this wealth is redirected to college scholarships at our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In 2019 I started on a journey to help students at my alma mater, Clark Atlanta University (CAU). I decided to start giving a percentage of my earnings from my travel website to the William E. Shack, Jr. "Closing The Gap" Scholarship Fund. It is a need-based scholarship administered by the school, which pays off tuition and expenses for students currently enrolled at Clark Atlanta University. I invite you to join me by believing in my company's mission and help me give back to society through travel! Thank you for the support.