Hull Fellows Highlight: Monique Pitts-Taylor
Scholarship programs have been a part of the philanthropic toolbox for decades, allowing foundations to provide direct aid to young members of the community seeking a college education.
The importance of these programs has become more apparent than ever in recent years, as long-standing educational disparities in America, particularly those affecting Black communities, have received long overdue attention.
For Monique Pitts-Taylor, the scholarship director at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, this work is deeply personal and motivating.
“The pandemic did not reveal a new call for racial justice, it just intensely magnified what others have looked away from for many years,” she said. “As an African American female, I have always saw the need for racial justice and equity in my area of work. Being a scholarship director, I have always felt that it is my duty to ensure that all eligible students are given the equal opportunity to compete for funding for college.”
The passion Monique brings to her work has also motivated her to develop herself as a leader – she recently finished a year of work in the 2019-20 class of Hull Fellows.
“I was motivated to participate in the Hull Fellows program because I wanted the opportunity to learn and grow with a diverse group of leaders,” she said. “I saw this program as an opportunity to meet new people and learn new ideas in this awesome world of philanthropy.”
Monique did meet new people, but due to the pandemic, she had to build many of those connections via videoconference – a learning experience all on its own.
“Learning and growing with new people can be hard via Zoom,” she said. “The Hull Fellows experience taught me how to work with people and overcome communication barriers.”
Monique ended up learning a lot from working with her Hull classmates, but she also made another valuable connection along the way: Catherine Perry, founder of the Inward Bound Center for Nonprofit Leadership.
“Those one-on-one sessions with Catherine Perry helped me answer some hard questions and define some realistic goals,” Monique said. “All in all, she reminded me that with all the world’s chaos that we cannot control, the greatest thing we can do is be the change we want to see.”
Monique’s Hull Fellows experience may be over, but the lessons she learned along the way will help her support the students her work benefits directly – and those students provide her with the inspiration to do even more, especially when challenges arise.
“Working with my scholarship students have reminded me that everyone needs a great measure of grace,” she said. “My students keep persevering, learning skills and life lessons to succeed. Everyone needs encouragement during their lows as they make their way to their mountain peak.”