Resuscitate & Rejuvenate: Crowley Foundation to Celebrate 10 Years with Signature Events
The permeation of social media dominates every part of our lives – from memes to hashtags and GIFs. It seems like every second a new #challenge pops up. One of the first viral challenges of 2019 was the How Hard Did Aging Hit You Challenge. Participants were asked to post on various avenues of social media a picture from 2009 juxtaposed against a recent picture from 2019. The photo challenge was designed to visually compare and contrast changes over the course of a decade. An interesting thing about progress is that it's not always visible to the naked eye.
There were no cameras around to capture the moment 10 years ago when Kenneth D. Crowley Sr., was flat backed on the couch; recovering from a recent back surgery. There he lay staring up at heaven through the ceiling – at a turning point. From his time interning at Langston University (his alma mater), Crowley felt the positive impact that mentorship, care, love and support could have on people.
Many of our greatest and most ambitious ideas develop when our mind is idle; free of all distraction. As Crowley's physical body was on the mend, his mind was moving, toward the changes in the world that he wanted to see. He and his wife Jean came together to formulate a plan to give back to the community, fortuitously they received a call from an old friend, Sia Chandler-Garcia who said she and her band were having a concert in a few months and she wanted to donate some of the proceeds to a local non-profit. For the Crowley's that conversation was the tipping point.
"Sia really pushed us to get out there with the paperwork," Crowley says reflectively. "At the time, The Crowley Foundation was still just an idea. In the months leading up to the concert Jean and I began, got organized, incorporated and registered as a 501c3."
With the seed planted, the Crowley Foundation began to root itself in the Denver community, building strong relationships with community members and stakeholders. In the beginning the foundation had a singular purpose, providing youth access to scholarship funds that would allow them to attend college. Aligning vision with mission, the Crowley Foundation strived to do a little more for the community each year. They supported low-income youth who had dreams of post-secondary education by taking them on campus tours and providing ACT/SAT prep and practice exams. The seminal program in the Crowley Foundation is their boys2MEN (b2M) program. The program provides free and low-cost education and empowerment curriculum designed to teach social skills and offer mentoring opportunities to young men.
"[In 2010] I would pick my son and his friends up from school, and drop them off at their houses, but during those rides we would all just talk, organically. We'd have real intimate discussions about life, maturity, and manhood. During those talks I could tell that some of these young men weren't happy, and they needed some guidance, and that's kind of how the boys2MEN program started." Crowley relays.
The program would grow from small, interpersonal mentoring sessions, into a transformative event, with a little help from CU Boulder. Six years ago the university began a partnership with the Crowley Foundation initially hosting students from the non-profit for a campus visit. Further collaboration birthed the boys2MEN Leadership Summit which started in June, 2015 which has happened every year since. At the week- long Leadership Summit young men learn the six core values of the Crowley Foundation: Family, Service, Pay It Forward, Authenticity, Integrity, Leadership, and Scholarship. During the summit they must represent the core values of the organization as they are paired into brotherhoods, culminating in a presentation on what they have learned. From the valleys of Boulder to the inner city streets, The Crowley Foundation and their community activism has drawn universal praise from local and national experts.
Janiece Mackey, Executive Director of the non-profit Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) offered poignant adulation when asked about the foundation saying, "The Crowley Foundation is a beacon of light and serenity for young Black men to be their authentic selves."
For the Crowley's their beacon of light, will turn into a celebration of life this month, as they salute the 10 year anniversary of the Crowley Foundation; guided by the philosophy that "If some is good, then more is better."
The Crowley Foundation will salute 10 years with two signature events. The first event dubbed, "Resuscitate" is on Friday July 26. The event has a Speakeasy theme and will be an evening of cocktails and conversation. The second celebration on August 3, "Rejuvenate" will be a gala at the Wilshire Event Center.
For the Crowley family, Kenneth D. Sr., Jean, Jayana and Kenneth D. II and their Crowley Foundation, the past decade has aged like a fine wine, each getting better with time.
Editor’s note: For more information about the 10 Year Celebration: Speakeasy & Gala visit www.crowleycollegeprep.com or call 720-935-9842.