"I expect to spend the rest of my life strengthening the programs that strengthen people."
-- Bernice Sanders Smoot, Founder & President
Bernice Sanders Smoot, Founder & President
I was born in poverty to a single mother and grew up in what 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.
Under-educated and working in low-pay jobs, my mother provided for us as best she could. 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 life with integrity, I learned the importance of accepting responsibility and having unwavering faith in Almighty God. Beyond my college education and lifelong work experience, it is the lessons from Mom that shaped me best for success.
Like great moms, great programs make life better. I launched Saint Wall Street in 1998, drawing upon life experiences with poverty and community service, and career expertise as a former corporate-marketing executive. I know people in need want change more than charity, and the programs that make change possible need to better distinguish their worth to society.
The core team of Saint Wall Street includes: Chief Data Analyst, Dr. Herbert Baum, who helped develop PROI and has ensured its integrity ever since; IT Genius, Andrew Brey, who operationalized the PROI Calculator and keeps impact valuation functional and affordable; and a diverse group of consultants whose skills range from grant-writing to organizational management.
I couldn't work with better people for a better purpose. And it seems by our surveys, clients agree!
Ms. Smoot is also a mother of two accomplished, adult daughters, a mentor to at-risk teen girls, and a supporter of community and faith-based programs that change lives. She currently serves on two nonprofit boards and, every year, helps a deserving nonprofit program, free of charge.