"I expect to spend the rest of my life strengthening the programs that strengthen people."
-- Bernice Sanders Smoot, Founder & President
I was born in poverty to a single mother and grew up in what then was a notorious Southeast D.C. ghetto. Four of us (Mom, brother, an elderly aunt and I) lived in a one-bedroom apartment, a stone's throw from the D.C. Jail. Getting to and from our unit meant braving poorly lit, interior stairways where drunkards would urinate. I knew, personally, the young addict who killed, raped, and slit the throats of friends in one of the kindest families on the block.
Too proud to receive government welfare and constantly working in poor-paying jobs, my mother provided for us as best she could. Amazingly, what she lacked in her purse, she more than made up for in her person. She was the most giving person I've ever known.
Watching Mom manage with integrity, every day, the cost of having loved a man incapable of returning it, I learned to assume full responsibility for my life and choices, to be loving even to those hard to love, and to endure tough times and overcome challenges with unwavering faith in God through Christ. While college-educated and working since I was 15 years old, it is the lessons from Mom that best prepared me for my life's journey.
Like great mothers, there are great programs that make life better. I launched Saint Wall Street in 1998, combining my life experiences with poverty, charity, and volunteerism, and career expertise as a former corporate-marketing executive, to help increase support for programs changing lives.
Our PROI model is supported by a diverse team of dedicated professionals that include experts in nonprofit development and marketing, data analytics, and impact valuation technology. Dr. Herbert Baum, our Chief Data Analyst, has been on board ensuring data integrity from PROI's start. And Andrew Brey, our IT Consulting Genius who operationalized the PROI Calculator keeps impact valuation functional and affordable.
I couldn't work with a better team for a better purpose. By our surveys, it seems clients agree!
Ms. Smoot is also a mother of two accomplished, adult daughters, and a lifelong volunteer. She currently serves on two nonprofit boards. Every year, Ms. Smoot also helps one deserving nonprofit program, free of charge.