by Toya Randall
Much of my success has been and continues to be fueled by women. I first experienced the power of an organized network of women growing up under the care of my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Theirs was a unique sisterhood brought to fruition by my birth to teenage parents. Over the course of my childhood and youth, the women in my family paid for my education, encouraged me to take risks, and refused to give up on me. They guided me through adolescent mischief and the missteps of early adulthood with their collective advocacy, investment, and guidance.
I was literally born into a women’s giving circle and their organized philanthropy is the legacy that I carry with me every day. The seeds planted by my mother, grandmother and aunts are blossoming through my personal passion for investing in networks and spaces that support women’s empowerment and well-being.
As I prepare for milestones with two communities I helped create, I am proud of the beautiful threads that connect these efforts back to the lessons I learned from the women in my family. The Association for Black Foundation Executive’s Women in Philanthropy Leadership Retreat and Purses with Purpose both will celebrate five year anniversaries in 2018 and I am thrilled to help galvanize new energy and commitment in furtherance of their unique missions.
The Black Women in Philanthropy Leadership Retreat provides access to uniquely curated programming for Black women. Its executive level coaching and guided discussions prioritize health and wellness as key drivers to a meaningful life and professional legacy. Over the past four years, women from across philanthropic sectors have embraced the belief that we cannot harness our full power and purpose if we do not care for ourselves and support one another.
Purses with Purpose is a network of women donors who contribute $1,000 annually to support women enrolled in Elgin Community College. The scholars we support are women from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. They are recent high school graduates and mothers and grandmothers who’ve decided to enroll in college while supporting a family, spouse or partner. Their stories are beautiful and sometimes haunting, inspiring and courageous. In five years, we’ve supported 38 women with scholarships totaling approximately $70,000.
The evolution of my identity is deeply connected to the protection and unconditional support I received from the women in family. I am grateful to be in a position to use my voice, ideas and resources to support the ability of other women to reach their full potential. I carry their spirit of philanthropy and power of sisterhood through my work with the ABFE Women’s Leadership Retreat and Purses with Purpose.
Toya Randall‘s career as a nonprofit and philanthropic executive spans more than 20 years and her leadership has inspired the creation of philanthropic networks and platforms that promote the professional development, well-being and success of women. In 2013 she joined Casey Family Programs as Senior Director for Strategic Engagement & Initiatives. In this role, Toya is responsible for place-based initiatives and national partnerships that advance Casey’s mission to improve and provide – and ultimately prevent the need for foster care. Her current portfolio of initiatives and partnerships focus on community safety, school climate and discipline, faith-based collaborations, and philanthropic engagement. Toya is a member of the Board of Trustees for The Giving Square, Co Convener of the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Narrative Change Collective Action Table, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Greater New Orleans Funder’s Network. She also advises Echoing Green, Council on Foundations, Native Americans in Philanthropy. Toya graduated from University of Missouri and she is the mother of Zachary, the happiest eight year old boy in Elgin, IL.