By United Way of Greater Milwaukee
John and Erickajoy Daniels believe in giving back. In addition to running a nonprofit John founded and the many boards Erickajoy serves on, the couple also lead a committee of the Milwaukee Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIFH)*, a community-wide collaborative led by United Way of Greater Milwaukee aimed at improving birth outcomes in the African American community.
They discussed their passion for giving back in a recent interview.
What drives your desire to give back?
We find our community involvement following our passions.
We have both grown up in households with strong Christian values that have shaped our sense of responsibility for the communities we live in.
We stay connected to the community to understand needs, and then look for creative ways to contribute back.
You’re very busy? Why United Way? United Way is a sound organization, with a vision that aligns with our values.
We wanted to see how we could be involved. We have a passion for collaboration and we saw an opportunity to be a bridge within the network we serve.
What has your involvement taught you about United Way? This is a nationally regarded entity aimed at enhancing the lives in our community.
United Way is truly touching lives, even the lives of those we personally know, through supporting many of the same programs we support. Many are here in our backyard.
Tell us about the urban garden you started as part of your work with Milwaukee LIHF?
Jasmine Johnson developed a model for bringing urban gardens to churches as a way of educating people about healthy life options.
It aligns so well with the mission of Milwaukee LIHF because we know having access to healthy food is critical to improving birth outcomes for the families in our community.
We hope that by serving as a pilot we will be able to provide guidance as United Way rolls out seven gardens next year. What would you say to young people about the importance of volunteerism?
Volunteerism is a way to pour out what’s been poured into you for far-reaching impact.
Our generation has had access and opportunity via doors that were never open to the generation before us. It’s a privilege and responsibility to ensure those doors stay open.
In addition to their involvement with United Way, John founded a non-profit called ALIVE (Administering Life in Vocational Experiences), that works to strengthen individuals’ connections to their passion through career options.
Erickajoy serves on numerous boards including, Mount Mary University, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, International Youth Department for COGIC and The Links, Inc.
*Milwaukee LIHF is funded through a grant from the Wisconsin Program Partnership.