Q&A with Earl Young, President and CEO of Booker Promise Foundation

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Earl Young, Booker Promise president and CEO.

Booker Promise Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Booker High School students with essential skills and resources for post-secondary success, has named Earl Young as its new president and CEO. With over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Young brings valuable expertise to lead the Foundation's mission of providing students with the essential skills and resources needed for postsecondary success. This week, Young took some time to talk with us about his new role.

What has inspired your deep dedication to education?

As a first-generation college student, I understand the challenges and obstacles that can arise when coming from a background where higher education is not the norm. Growing up with parents who were both factory workers, and at times being raised by a single mother who had limited educational opportunities, I witnessed firsthand the determination and hard work required to overcome such circumstances. My mother's story, immigrating from Mexico with an eighth-grade education and working tirelessly to provide for me, serves as a constant reminder of the transformative power of education. I've personally experienced the way education can shift the trajectory of one's life, opening doors to opportunities and perspectives that were once unimaginable to me.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new role?

The opportunity to foster meaningful connections with our donors and the community as we work together to break down the unique barriers that Booker High School students overcome on their journey toward post-secondary success. I am looking forward to leveraging the strength of our partnerships, engaging our donors, and mobilizing the community to join forces in helping students reach their full potential. One of my primary goals is to provide students with the tools and resources to determine their own path, discover their unique potential, envision their future, and set ambitious objectives for their lives.

What are some of the greatest obstacles to success you see young people facing and how do you think they can overcome these challenges?

Some of the greatest obstacles to success, especially for limited-resource, first-generation students, include a multitude of distractions, a lack of clear guidance, and the struggle to define their true selves amid the constant noise and influences of the world. The modern landscape is filled with numerous distractions, from social media and technology to the fast-paced nature of today's society which can divert their focus and hinder their ability to stay on a path toward success. Deciphering who they truly are and determining their authentic aspirations can become a real challenge for young individuals, and the process of self-discovery can be particularly daunting amidst the constant bombardment of societal expectations and peer pressures. Ultimately, creating a network of reliable mentors and resources, combined with fostering self-awareness and resilience, can empower young people to overcome these obstacles and chart a path to success amidst the challenges of the modern world.

Tell us what drives your philanthropic spirit?

From the outset of my career as an AmeriCorps VISTA, serving with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, I was provided with a remarkable opportunity to embark on my philanthropic journey and begin believing in myself. The leaders at the Foundation took a chance on me, a recent college graduate without significant corporate or philanthropic experience, and believed in my potential. Their trust in my abilities and their recognition of the value I could bring to the organization were incredibly empowering. As I reflect on the support and opportunities I've received, I am driven by a strong desire to "pay it forward." I am committed to extending that same hand to others, working to give them a fighting chance to rewrite their own stories and realize their full potential.I can personally attest to the impact of these principles. The people who supported me were instrumental in helping me get to where I am today.

Pictured: Earl Young, Booker Promise president and CEO.

« View The Wednesday Aug 9, 2023 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

All Faiths Food Bank Provides Free Summer Meals for Children

All Faiths Food Bank Provides Free Summer Meals for Children

May 15, 2024

Suncoast Remake Learning Days Draws More Than 36,500 Participants to 304 Events During Expanded 2024 Festival

Suncoast Remake Learning Days Draws More Than 36,500 Participants to 304 Events During Expanded 2024 Festival

May 15, 2024

Almost 100 Senior Advocates Gathered to Learn About Federal Policies Impacting Older Americans Ahead of 2024 Elections

Almost 100 Senior Advocates Gathered to Learn About Federal Policies Impacting Older Americans Ahead of 2024 Elections

May 15, 2024

Foundation Announces 2024 Gulf Coast Leadership Institute Class

Foundation Announces 2024 Gulf Coast Leadership Institute Class

May 15, 2024