Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: fran frazier
Profession: Founder, Black Girl Rising Inc.
Neighborhood: East Side
Quote: “Giving back is part of my belief in social justice. Nonprofit work is where I fit best. Knowing that I am on my path keeps me motivated [along with] good friends who encourage me to have boundaries. My vision of what is absolutely possible for Black girls drives me to move to the next level.”
Since the age of 13, fran frazier has always served as a volunteer. “Giving back is part of my belief in social justice,” she said. “Nonprofit work is where I fit best.” With a graduate degree in Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders from OSU, the educational and psychological concepts have influenced her interest in the trauma experienced by Black girls and their amazing resiliency. After 11 years as the State Administrator for Cultural Initiatives for the Ohio Department of Human Services, fran started working with school districts across the country who were concerned about female aggression and unregulated behavior. “That led me to working with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the development of a research study on the lived experiences of 411 Black girls in four Ohio cities,” she said. “Placing Black Girls at Promise – The Rise Sister Rise Research Study on Black Girls laid the foundation for the work we now do with girls throughout Franklin county. Black Girl Rising, Inc. was founded to give the girls our groundbreaking research and creative programming – like our Black Girl Think Tank Initiative – a place and a home,” she said. Frazier considers it an honor to be named by The Columbus Foundation as one of the ‘Top 5 Nonprofits to Watch in 2023!’
As a kid what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
A teacher whose former students would return to say how much she helped their lives.
What is the one thing you are most passionate about?
Elevating the voices and presence of Black girls.
How do you stay motivated and what drives you to take things to the next level?
Knowing that I am on my path keeps me motivated [along with] good friends who encourage me to have boundaries. My vision of what is absolutely possible for Black girls drives me to move to the next level.
What might others be surprised to know about you?
I took a gap year after graduating from Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia, PA and became a VISTA Volunteer who was sent to Mt. Herman in Portsmouth, Virginia and taught peanut farmers how to read and write, and was chased out of our house by the KKK.
How can others in the Columbus community get involved with your organization
Go to our website www.blackgirlrising.net and click on the contact link. Also check out our short video on our homepage, “This Is Us!”
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
An incredible upsurge in activism. People actually want to get things done in this city!
Since 2014, The Columbus Foundation’s 5 Nonprofits to Watch platform has honored remarkable nonprofit organizations that are working to strengthen and improve our community. Meet all of the Nonprofits to Watch in 2023 »