James is a former b-boy who originated from Brooklyn, New York and T’ebony is a Southern Belle from Greensboro, North Carolina. James has always been fascinated with fixing things – dismantling and putting machines together. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and traveling. T’ebony likes to think outside the box and is a creative at heart that enjoys the eclectic side of life and being outside the mainstream.
Their union is a blend of cultures and religions. When people inquire about how they make things work, their answer stems from a fundamental belief in unity and love. This fundamental belief not only shows within their marriage and actions towards one another, but also throughout their community and philanthropic efforts. We sit down with this Substantial couple to talk about the Rosa Foundation and the why behind their giving.
What prompted you to create the Rosa Foundation?
Soon after we got married, T’ebony had a major health scare. In the course of planning the medical procedure, we were talking about what sort of legacy we want to leave. We were already doing large-scale community projects and yearned to do more. After several discussions, we developed two major focus points, both to honor the memory of a loved one, while giving back to the community.
James wants to honor the memory of his son, Dah-ve Rosa, who had congenital heart defects by giving back to families coping with a child with similar birth defects. T’ebony wants to provide scholarship funds to those in the performing arts to honor her mother, Toni Cameron, who blazed trails in the 1960s and 70s as an African-American ballerina.
The first collaborative effort stemmed from James’ memory of his father fixing a neighborhood tennis court to allow the children a safe place to play. We worked with the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Greensboro, along with Hayes-Taylor YMCA, NC A&T State University, Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., and the Cooperative Extension to create an edible community garden program to teach children best practices in agriculture. The success of the pilot program spurred two subsequent programs the following year.
Seeing the need to brand ourselves the Rosa Foundation was created shortly after meeting with representatives of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro who sought out more minority participation in the field of philanthropy.
What is the fundamental goal and reason you believe the Rosa Foundation can/will make a difference?
The mission of the foundation is “provide. nurture. grow” with a vision of “sowing potential”. As long as we have faith and continue to work diligently, God will continue to bless us to be a blessing to others.
What’s in store for the future of the organization?
Our next mission is to create a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to continue our efforts. We envision larger community outreach projects with the hopes of establishing a scholarship fund.
What’s one thing you’d like readers to know regarding upcoming projects/events/etc.?
In honor of International Men’s Day, we were tasked to honor local unsung male role models. An awards ceremony and banquet, entitled “Men Making Positive Changes” will be held Saturday, November 2. Learn more about the event
On April 25, 2020 our “The Journey Continues” Summit will focus on community issues affecting our youth, in addition to segments geared towards parents/guardians.
Lastly, if you could change one thing about the world we live in today as it relates to the minority community what would it be?
Learn to respect each other and value relationships.