Jacksonville based non-profit, Foundation For Fortitude, Gears Up For Another
Star-Studded “Pure White Affair” in Honor of Sherry Harris Blue
Preserving a legacy of greatness is the dream of any business owner. Dedicating long hours and creating the vision, is what keeps the vision alive and thriving. Building a team of people who share the same goals and who are able to see the vision and help to become a driving force behind it, is what makes the vision flow. Sherry Harris-Blue, an HBCU Graduate of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL founded; Foundation of Fortitude, a 501 c3 dedicated to Mentorship, Empowerment, Education, and providing Freshman students with scholarships who attend Edward Waters College. This strong force has vastly become a pillar within the community of Jacksonville, fostering a much-needed asset. A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Blue incorporated a lot of the sorority’s values within the foundation. The mission of Foundation of Fortitude is “to expose young women to individual development training and seminars that would increase their awareness of financial and budgeting techniques, employment and college preparedness, leadership building opportunities, and other internal growth aspects to address the concept of the whole woman.” In late 2018 the foundation endured the unthinkable, with the unexpected passing of founder, Sherry Harris-Blue. With a mission to thrive, Foundation of Fortitude continues to operate under the leadership of President, Rodericka Webb-Wilkinson.
Founded in 2010; Foundation For Fortitude was developed to be a driving force for young women to gain experience in the workforce. The current president Rodericka Webb-Wilkinson says; “We want our young ladies to become the ultimate successful women through our foundation. We ensure that our participants have the competency of leadership to get them ready for the workforce, and we have a 13-week program to prepare them.” Foundation For Fortitude has zero plans to stop impacting the community, they plan to continue on developing programming and “making Sherry Blue’s vision our mission,” says Webb. Through the success of the program, Foundation of Fortitude has expanded to become an on-campus club at Edward Waters College. President Rodericka says; “Edward Waters College reached out to us in 2018 and asked that become a major club on the campus. Because of the difference that they saw in the young ladies and the tools that we offer. It’s called the; Ultimate Successful Woman; Foundation for Fortitude.”
In Spring 2019, they will be celebrating three years of success with their lavish Third Annual Pure White Affair, hosted by Real Housewives of Atlanta starlet, Marlo Hampton, and V 101.5 (Jacksonville, FL) radio personality; Genedot.com. This event is slated to honor the legacy of founder, Sherry Harris-Blue. Webb says: “This is a party with a purpose event. This is our legacy year, so we will be honoring our founder and highlighting our achievements for the year. It will be held on March 16,2019 at the Grand Rose Ballroom in Jacksonville, Fl.” Get your tickets here and party with a purpose with the ladies of fortitude.
Rodericka, how did you become involved with Foundation of Fortitude?
I started working with the nonprofit with our founder who recently passed; Sherry Harris-Blue. We had a vision to go out and help prepare young women to enter into the workforce while they were in college. There were no life lessons that prepared us for the workforce. We received the academic education, but nothing that prepared us for life itself, no character development, life skills application, no job readiness, learning how to dress on the job, or for the interview or how to interview. We came together and built this program at Edward Waters College, that we both are alumnus of.
With Foundation of Fortitude, how important is it to groom young women who attend HBCU’s?
As an HBCU graduate, it’s very important to help young women develop the necessary skills that the foundation offers. The foundation helps to instill confidence and gives the participants additional structuring that the education alone doesn’t provide. Through our mentorship, we take them under our wings and teach them the proper skills for preparation to be dynamic women. It’s our goal to lead by example and create a teachable environment. We introduce our program with an event called; Chat and Chew, held at Edward Waters College, and during the event, we introduce our program and what we are about. For the interested young ladies, they submit their application, we conduct an interview for them, and we hold an election among the members. We have never turned down any ladies in the election process, and that’s because our program navigates around young ladies that may have gone through some adversity. We want to help the young ladies who may be first-generation college students that are away from home and want to hone in on the life-skills needed. We are hoping to impact these young ladies. Members of Foundation of Fortitude include strong women who are skilled in various areas, and they come out to volunteer their time and provide training under the competencies that we educate. One of the job readiness pieces of the program is called “Bring an F3 participant to work day,” where students can shadow a member on their job who are currently working in the students’ major.
As the current president of Foundation of Fortitude, how do you plan to carry out the vision of Founder, Sherry Harris-Blue?
It’s absolutely no doubt that Sherry Harris-Blue, her vision is our mission. We all came aboard on the board of directors because we believed in what the vision for Foundation of Fortitude meant. We definitely have the program in place because the ground was already set, we are just building upon what she had laid out before us. The outcomes are great, we are getting self-awareness about our program to the young ladies. We are helping the young ladies maintain employment and filling out applications, we are going to continue on with the mission that was set. One of our internal missions is; making her vision or mission. So we will continue on, as long as we have breath in our body because we believe in the program.
For more on Foundation For Fortitude & to Purchase Tickets to the “Third Annual Pure White Affair” or Donate, click here!
All images provided by Divine Influence PR