Rolling out recently interviewed Erika McCall, founder of the Go For Yours Foundation. She discussed the organization and the new fundraiser they’ve organized for underserved students.
What is the Go For Yours Foundation?
The Go for Yours Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3 organization with a mission to provide young people (ages 13-21) with the financial assistance, guidance, and resources to create opportunities for success.
Why did you create the foundation?
In 2011, I published Go for Yours, which features a collection of stories about young people who overcame obstacles to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. Readers are introduced to stories like Jerome Boykin, who at the age of 23 started a million-dollar parking lot cleaning business after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. Publishing this book led me to speak in front of large groups of students across the country. I immediately noticed the difference between the youth I spoke to in privileged communities and underprivileged communities. Unlike their peers who are equally bright and talented, the students living in poor neighborhoods believed it was impossible to follow their dreams because of their physical environment. I created the Go for Yours Foundation because the lack of exposure to resources has put limitations on too many young people and I want my foundation to help solve this problem.
What events are you all currently working on?
The Go for Yours Foundation recently launched a fundraiser to send youth in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta to a private screening of Black Panther this month. The purpose of this fundraiser is to provide young people with a chance to see themselves depicted as strong, intelligent, and beautiful on the movie screen while simultaneously serving the youth and community. Additional proceeds will go to the foundation’s Go for Yours fund.
Who has been supporting your endeavors?
I have been blessed to have many people support my endeavors as it relates to Go for Yours. Aside from my family and friends, I have had some amazing support from individuals in Hollywood. One of the most significant of them all was from my time spent working with actor, author, and humanitarian Hill Harper. I met Hill as a GEN44 volunteer for the 2012 Obama election campaign in Chicago. I shared with him my passion for working with young people. He invited me to volunteer as a mentor for his foundation’s [Manifest Your Destiny Foundation] Summer Empowerment Academy in Los Angeles in the summer of 2012. In 2013, I traveled to Los Angeles again to volunteer as a mentor and facilitated a Go for Yours workshop. After becoming familiar with my work, Hill and the members of his foundation invited me to join their team as the assistant director. One year later, I was promoted to executive director and it was requested that the foundation have Go for Yours as part of the curriculum. Hill believed in me enough to carry out his vision of expanding the foundation’s programs beyond Los Angeles. Because of his support, I have been able to work with people and blessed with opportunities that I may not have had if it weren’t for his confidence in my work.
What are some of Go For Yours’ past victories?
The Go for Yours brand has come a long way since 2011. I am amazed by the continued growth. My dream and vision of creating Go for Yours led me from living in my grandmother’s basement in Chicago to thriving and living my dream in Los Angeles. I wouldn’t know so many powerful people or have had such bountiful experiences if I was too scared to follow my dream. I would like to say my greatest victory comes from meeting young people that have decided to take a leap of faith and follow their dream after reading my book. It’s a joy that can’t be explained.
How much are you currently trying to raise to help fund the foundation? How will the funds help the students?
Currently, we are trying to raise at least $100K by the end of 2018. Most of the money raised will go to the foundation’s Go for Yours fund. I created this fund after speaking with a group of students on the southside of Chicago to determine what kind of support they needed. A student shared her dream of competing in the Olympics for swimming, but she could not afford the expensive diving lessons. Currently, the foundation is sponsoring her private diving lessons and she is on track to make her dream a reality. I want this to be the first of many students the foundation supports. I want the Go for Yours Foundation to breed the next generation of trailblazers.
Where is the headquarters for Go For Yours?
The Go for Yours Foundation is currently headquartered in Los Angeles where I reside. The goal is to support young people in need nationally.
Talk about your book, Go For Yours.
Go for Yours, the book, is almost seven years old. Within the next year, I plan to publish a new edition and update some of the stories while highlighting new people. I have come in contact with many of the people I highlighted in the first book, and plan to interview them personally.
What is your goal for the foundation in the next five years?
In the next five years, I want the Go for Yours Foundation to have reached its vision of eliminating the opportunity gap in communities across the United States.
How can people give to the foundation’s endeavors?
People can support the Go for Yours Foundation by visiting www.goforyoursfoundation.org.