Meet Some Of Fairfield County’s Inspiring Black Leaders

Feb 08, 2022

Black History Month is an opportunity to take action and make a difference by supporting Black Leaders. One way to capture that opportunity is to learn about and contribute to their organizations on Fairfield County’s Giving Day.

Fairfield County’s Giving Day — scheduled this year for February 24 — is a 24-hour virtual fundraising drive that helps local nonprofits build their fundraising capacity and makes it easy for individuals and families to support causes that make a difference in our community.

Visit to explore participating nonprofits. We also encourage you to meet some of these inspiring leaders and organizations that are improving life in Fairfield County by reading some of their submissions, below.

Featured Photo, Top: Bridgeport Downtown Special Services “Unveiling of the Mary & Eliza Freeman Mural” at the Freeman Center (Main & Elm) on June 5, 2021. Painted by artist Aisha Nailah. (Photo by Shanna Melton)

Jennifer Bentley, Executive Director
Kids Helping Kids, Stamford CT

As the Executive Director of Kids Helping Kids, a nonprofit that facilitates the development of leadership skills through youth-led service projects, Jen is a positive role model for the youth volunteers of KHK. She has established a welcoming, friendly, and inclusive environment for all youth to share ideas and recognize their inherent ability to make a difference.

Her belief is that all youth, regardless of their socio-economic status, have something unique to offer the world. She works tirelessly to make sure that the kids know this and believe it themselves. She uplifts each and every volunteer by including them in project planning, being an active listener when they need it, and extending recognition for every one of their contributions.

Jen’s support and unwavering faith in our volunteers have empowered them to believe in their potential. With this newfound confidence, we see kids soar in their personal development and their social responsibility. As the leader of Kids Helping Kids, Jen is actively building the future generation to be strong, capable, altruistic and compassionate.

As an organization, we strive to empower the kids by supporting their thoughts and project ideas. However, their creative projects often include supply costs and we try to have enough supplies for the participants who want to join. Our goal is to be able to support any and all project proposals from our youth. Funds raised through Fairfield County’s Giving Day will help us reach this goal – it will demonstrate our belief in our youth and our genuine interest in bringing their ideas to fruition.

Learn how you can support Kids Helping Kids on Giving Day.

Jordan Smith, Asst. Youth Director & Community Liaison
LifeBridge Community Services, Bridgeport CT

My name is Jordan Smith, and I am the Assistant Youth Director & Community Liaison for LifeBridge Community Services in Bridgeport. Our mission as an organization is to partner with Bridgeport youth and families to build resilience.

We have three focus areas for programs: youth, people needing behavioral health services, and families. Through our work within the Center for Youth Development, we combine all three to positively impact the lives of those we serve and build a brighter future for our community.

A part of building that brighter future is not only providing a service but providing representation. It is important that we reflect the community that we serve and through our leadership we have done exactly that. From the moment our students walk in the door to the moment they get on the bus to go home they are working with leaders who not only look like them but come from the same communities that they do. There is not one activity in our Urban Scholars Program that is not taught by a black leader. Our bus driver who takes our scholars home is not only a black leader but a parent of a Scholar in our program.

By leaving this lasting impression on our youth, we hope to make a difference for the future of our community. Funds raised through Giving Day will be used to improve services in our Behavioral Health Program and our services to youth through our Urban Scholars Program.

Learn how you can support LifeBridge Community Services on Giving Day.

Maisa L. Tisdale & Bernicestine McLeod Bailey, Board Members
The Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History & Community

Bernicestine McLeod Bailey
Maisa L. Tisdale

On behalf of the board for the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport, we are thrilled to be a part of Fairfield County’s Giving Day 2022, especially during Black History Month! We are raising funds to create in Bridgeport a globally recognized destination site that concretely preserves and displays black history for ALL to enjoy and appreciate into perpetuity. To achieve this vision, we are expanding our organizational capacity so that we can restore the Mary and Eliza Freeman houses that were originally built in 1848 by two African American sisters, continue to offer exhibits and programming for our global community, and, in doing so, help revitalize the South End of Bridgeport. We are TRULY black history!

Learn how you can support the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community on Giving Day.

Don’t miss Part 2 of our series spotlighting Black leaders whose organizations taking part in Giving Day on February 24, 2022. Want to see inspiring stories as they are shared? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram or join our email list.