Making Profit From A Non-Profit Through Grant Proposals with Sherita Herring

BLP Herring | Grant Proposals

BLP Herring | Grant Proposals

As a certified grant consultant and a very successful grant writer, Sherita Herring debunks the enormous misconception around what people think about grants, one of the most common of which is can a nonprofit make a profit? Sherita’s answer is yes, it can. Many small towns are drying up across the country, and there is a need to coach them on how to implement sustainability efforts and go after funding for their town. A lot of small town mayors are not getting their dollars through the government because they just figure there’s no money. Most people aren’t aware there’s millions in tourism grants. Sherita says a grant proposal is nothing but a business plan and to approach an investor is the same language used in the nonprofit arena as the for profit arena. You’ve got to learn how to go after your own money. She teaches how to raise capital, how to speak to investors, and how to prepare your documents to give your grant proposal the best chance at success.

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Making Profit From A Non-Profit Through Grant Proposals with Sherita Herring

I have as my guest, Sherita Herring. Sherita is a non-profit expert and business strategist. She’s the owner of Kreative Images Foundation. She’s a certified grant consultant with over $30 million worth of grants secured, the largest being around $14 million. She’s a very successful grant writer. Sherita, thanks for taking time to be on the show.

Thank you. It’s an honor.

Tell me a little bit about your business and who you serve.

I serve individuals that want to make a difference in the world. That could range from celebrities and athletes to someone that has a soup kitchen and they’re working with the homeless. Anyone that wants to make a difference, that’s my ideal client. In the past three or four years, most of my clients have been these super entrepreneurs and small business owners.

For most of us, when we hear about grant, and I certainly did before I had listened to you speak. This is the second or third time I’ve heard you speak about grant. There’s an enormous misconception or disconnect between around what people think about grants. Let’s dig into what they do and how you view grants and cover some of that.

In the past few years, it’s been entrepreneurs and small business owners because before they would not look or even consider that grants are non-profit arena. They felt like, first of all, I need to make a profit. The misconception and one of the main things that people ask is can a nonprofit make a profit? Yes, it can. There are multimillion and even billion-dollar non-profits. Non-profit just means it’s a non-stock corporation. Once I get them past that misconception in their mind.

Non-profit just means it's a non-stock corporation. Click To Tweet

You’ve got a project going on now with some small town mayors. Let’s walk through it if we can like a case study of what you did for the small town mayor that you did the grant for.

I was on tour and it took me through small town America, and I realized that many small towns are drying up across the country. We did a little research and there’s the graying of America that’s going on. What does that mean? Where you got young kids that live in small towns, they can’t wait to grow up and leave and then what’s being left in these small towns are individuals that now on an average are 60 years old and older. They’re losing jobs, empty homes, empty schools, and you’ve got the older people that are left there. That’s what’s happening. Towns are drying up. Being on tour, I went through my uncle’s small town in Arkansas. He’s the mayor of Twin Groves, Arkansas. Did a workshop there and had been coaching them on how to do sustainability efforts and go after funding for their town, where my uncle was recently awarded a $500,000 grant. Now he has a brand new road running through his small town of Twin Groves and he’s doing many other things that he had no idea he could do until stepping further into this arena. A lot of small town mayors, if they’re not getting the dollars through the government, they just figured there’s no money when there’s so much other money for bridges, to rehab their movie theaters and a lot of other things that could bring more tourists to their town. Speaking of tourists, most people aren’t aware there’s millions in tourism grants.

What struck me the first time I listened to you speak was I was just, maybe ignorance is the wrong word, I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. In the grant space, I’ve heard of grant writers through the years and people have various and sundry opinions of grant writers. They love him if they’re successful and they’re dubious if they’re not. You’ve attack that issue as well, haven’t you?

For one, people want to blame the grant writer. A grant writer is only as good as the information received. Let me explain a little bit. People were here at this forum learning all week how to do what, how to raise capital, how to speak to investors, how to prepare their documents. The non-profit arena, grant funders are nothing but investors. The moment that I try and get someone to look at this arena and to learn about the grant, “I don’t want to do that. I want somebody else. I need a grant writer.” You’ve got to learn how to go after your own money. A grant proposal is nothing but a business plan. To approach an investor is the same language in the nonprofit arena as the for profit arena. Instantly people want to leave that up to a grant writer. I’m very successful in what I do and I’ve raised millions. I don’t know you well enough to write your plan for you, how many certifications you have, who are your contacts, what had been your successes? That’s what goes into that proposal. Anyone that’s leaving that totally up to the grant writer, if a grant proposal is not successful, it’s that person’s fault too.

Almost from my limited experience in the grant space, invariably we turned it over to our grant writer, and you see some of the work in a grant writer’s work. It’s not personalized in their approach and there are many different things that go well. From my perspective, I don’t know if that’s a good job, bad job or an in between job, because I have no background whatsoever. For you, you’ve been teaching how to do grant writing for a long time.

Since 1988.

Up until recently you were out in the big city.

Los Angeles, California. Since 1988.

In that space there was a number of folks that you worked with and I don’t know that you can disclose their names. Perhaps it would be useful for the audience to understand some of the folks, who they are and what they did.

From Tippi Hedren, who is the beautiful blonde from the old hand-cut movie, The Birds. She now has a huge animal rescue, which are big cats and she even has Michael Jackson’s two white tigers. She has a non-profit up out of Palmdale, California. She’s just an amazing spirit, but she has all these huge animals, a great sanctuary and she needed some coaching on running her non-profit effectively in board development. The legendary Jim Brown has saved thousands of lives as far as gang members. His Amer-I-Can program has an awesome reading program, but he also has helped with jobs and helping them to go for higher education. Even a construction company, Rodney Shepherd, RSS Development, was doing a lot of building around in Los Angeles but didn’t realize if he had a non-profit what he could do. He doubted it for a couple of years until we developed Global Links as non-profit. That’s where he got the $14 million grant to do some development in Watts, California.

Then there’s Bill Dupe, the movie producer. He loves youth. Always talking to youth about going into the movie industry, had been trying to get funding for years. When I looked at his proposal, there were too many gaps. Unless you understand what you’re trying to write, which someone should’ve explained it to him, he didn’t know that that wasn’t a good proposal. Within a few weeks I rewrote his proposal and he got his $100,000 that he had been trying to get for three years. It’s about knowing how to answer their questions. It’s not mystical, Bob. Someone that has a business plan, I could take and show them what this says here in paragraph four, this drops into number six on this application. It’s knowing that a grant proposal is nothing but a business plan, and when they’re asking the question, where do you pull your information and drop it into that application?

BLP Herring | Grant Proposals

Grant Proposals: A grant proposal is nothing but a business plan.

That’s such a big disconnect. You and I have talked in length about being able to effect change. In the grant space, if you were to guess on an annual basis, what’s the volume of grant money that’s not utilized?

I don’t even know the number. I know that it is millions that go back. Even in the down economy from 2007 all the way up to 2011, millions of dollars were going back untouched. I’m trying to show people even the small for-profit businesses were drying up and dying, if you would just look at this money. For instance, a small boutique, you got a woman that runs her business by herself in the community. Can’t even leave to go to lunch because she is her only employee and I’m sitting and looking at all these young kids that are getting out of school, walking past her. Many of them are stylishly dressed. She doesn’t realize that she can have an after-school job training program, teaching entrepreneurship, inventory control, in her facility, customer service. She doesn’t realize that grants would even cover the cost for their salary and it’s an after-school job training program. Many of them are into fashion. She could even have a fashion design program because she had dummies in the facility. Somebody needs to dress those to make the clothing appealing to those that walk in. She didn’t realize that all that could be a program and grants will be covering the cost and paying the cost for her lease.

The first time that I saw you speak, you said there’s a grant for that.

Yes.

It’s ubiquitous now but I didn’t know there’s a grant for that. What’s the best way that people can reach out to you?

They can go to my website at KIFoundation.org.

You and I developed a friendship through our various meetings down here at this forum. She’s as outgoing as you hear and got a great smile and she’s highly competent. We talk about doing well by doing good. In the grant space there’s so much opportunity to effect change in many different venues around the country and in the bigger mission thing, you’re on the bigger mission.

Yes, always. I just taught a class and was showing them just in this year alone, did you know there have been seventeen school shootings? What they have found, they studied 31 of the shooters, and seventeen of them were showing either some mental issue or anger issue well before the shooting happened. I’m talking to individuals every day that help with self-esteem, leadership skills, motivation, even masseuse or individuals that can go in and teach yoga. There’s grant funders that are specifically focusing on those individuals taking yoga and other meditative strategies to childcare centers. They realize that if they can reach the individuals early in life, they will grow up to be well rounded adults. There will be less bullying, less low self-esteem, better communication skills. When I meet individuals that are here at CEO Space and many of these business owners that are teaching business owners’ leadership skills and improve communication, I tell them, “Do you have children? Do you have an interest in working with youth or speaking at schools?” “Yes, Sherita but I have to get paid,” but you can. I can show more individuals how they can increase their client base while making a difference in the world.

You got a few things coming up in the near future where you’re presenting or speak English. How about that?

I call it Laughing Your Way to the Bank. Every year I speak at the Comedy Convention in Los Angeles. People pigeonhole me thinking, “You’re the grant lady, you’re the non-profit lady. Why would you go to the comedy convention?” I started out as a motivational speaker first. What I found is a lot of times people get motivated when they hear a motivational speaker or transformational expert or whatever. They’re really motivated. When they get home and life things happen, either cooking for the kids or a death in the family or whatever, we get distracted and then when we go back to that that motivated us, now what? I provide the now what? Once a person gets mental motivated, I’m able to show them that there is profit for their passions and these are the steps that you can take in order to now make that motivation that you have in your gut happen.

There’s truly profit for your passions in this arena. I get excited because people have a vision, they have an idea or they’ve got an old dirty napkin where they’ve written some ideas and it’s sitting to the side. First of all, people think of this arena as the side gig or a hobby, when the non-profit arena has literally helped to sustain the US economy. It’s a trillion dollar industry. It’s the third largest business sector in the United States. The more that I can get individuals to look at this and see that it’s not that you have to go and start something and go a whole another direction. I’m saying right on the path that you’re on, it’s like you’re looking at that door and you see capital or revenue on that door and you’re only looking at that. You’re walking down a tight hallway to get it and you’re hitting grant dollars as you go and knocking them on the floor. You’re picking it back up saying, “No, that’s not me. Let me put that back.” There are individuals in little windows along the hallway waving at you because they need you, but because you’re only looking at the ones that can pay you, you’re ignoring them. The grants that are along the hallway right below those windows are the people that are waving at you. If you take that money, then the next little door where you could open it up and say, “Come with me, I’m on this path, but I can serve you. Come with me.” The grants are there to address a need and pay you to work with those individuals that otherwise you would not have served.

If you’re not intrigued and or moved, you might want to check your pulse. I’ve been informed and it’s been a real joy. I’m incredibly thankful that Sherita has agreed to be on the podcast. Now is the fun part for me. Many of us are influenced by the books we read. What’s the most influential book that’s altered your perception on being a CEO?

The Bible. First, I’m a preacher’s daughter and my dad always taught me even when you’re troubled, think of God. Give him praise and stay in service. That’s the original GPS for me, God, praise and service. I’m not trying to step on anyone else’s toes. That’s how I’m raised. You got to know that there is a higher power, whether you call it the universe or whatever. I was taught to follow what my inner GPS is saying. I’m glad to be working in what I love every day and the grants arena has allowed me to show others that that’s possible. When I go back to that original book that even when it says you speak things into existence, that’s from the Bible. When you talk about what you’re needing, what your passion is, someone around you, if you’re doing things right and if you’re doing it for the right reason, they’re going to hear you and connect you.

Keep your head down. Mind your own business. Do the work. Click To Tweet

CEO Space. The way that Berny in September, the way they’ve got it arranged and the major networking that happens more in one week than you can do in a year. People are here, they’re dedicated to what they love, they’re speaking out what they want and they’re speaking things into existence. Even our networking is because of the way they’re speaking it, then it is so and will happen. Many of the scriptures are things that we will say out of the Bible. There’s one and I think it’s 1 Thessalonians, but it says, “Keep your head down. Mind your own business. Do the work.” When you stay dedicated to what it is that you want to do and you stay dedicated to that, it’s going to produce results. This arena allows you to produce such results and touch lives again that you never would have touched before. The funding is there.

My house is full of books. I get teased when my son moves me. He’s like, “Ma, don’t go. You got the heaviest boxes,” because I am a book person. I don’t even read on Kindle because I need to feel the pages. I write on my pages, I make notes and I love books. My ultimate book and what I tend to go back to and from the moment before my feet hit the floor, the fact that I woke up today, I say thank you Lord. I don’t mean to be offensive to anyone else, but that comes from that original book. That is my go to.

Looking back over the past, a failure or maybe at the time an apparent failure that served you or your company best or set you up for future achievement. Why?

I tell the story. I even have a YouTube video that talks about it. I treat my life like it’s a bus and all the people that you meet there in the seats on your bus. You’re the driver. If I get upset with someone, instead of putting them off the bus, I move them to the back of the bus. Eventually, I might need to turn and ask for some directions and they’re the only one that knew. I can turn around and ask so and so or make a call to a client and they can call that person or whatever. If I put them off the bus got upset, then that’s past and it’s gone. There was a client, he’s very prominent and he was a political person. We work together. I had done a lot for him on his campaign, done some strategy things in that, and he didn’t pay me. I got very upset about it. I almost went to a few people that could have done some damage, and it was another one of my mentors, John Frierson, who was the Boxing Commissioner for California, who said, “Sherita, don’t do that. Use your relationship with him to build who you are and what you do.” What I did is I moved him back on the bus. I didn’t take it as a failure or anything else. I used it to do what I needed to do and the fact that I could say that I worked with him and it’s documented, that also brought me more clients. I don’t look at anything that happens as a failure. It’s a turn in the road. It’s a bump and you got to know that you will recover.

If you could put an ad on page one of the local paper, sharing your company or advice, what would it say and why?

Probably what I say all the time. There’s a grant for that. Whether you’re a poet, a painter, a dog walker, an entrepreneur, a comedian or a councilman, there’s a grant for that. I cannot watch a movie, the news or anything without strategizing and seeing some things that I know could impact someone else’s life.

You do that exercise with me. You said, “If you don’t think there’s a grant for that, go to Google and what would you tell somebody to type into Google to see if there’s a grant on the topic they’re interested in?

Recently there was a guy that I was talking to and he thought he was going to lose his horse farm. He had been struggling since the down economy. I say, “There’s a grant for that.” He said, “For which?” I said, “Where’s your greatest need? Are you needing a ranch hand? Are you needing feed for the horses? What are you needing?” I needed to pull some out. I said, “Let me just do this.” I typed in “grants, horses” through Google. I get the best searches from Google as far as the search engine. It came up grants for horses, whether it’s equine, whether it’s horse rescue, whether it’s horse training, whatever.

You can see the volume. To the audience, if you’re looking to see if there’s a grant available, just type in grant and your keyword, I think you’ll be surprised. What’s the best allocation of either time or initiative that’s helped your company most and why?

The best time has been here at CEO Space. When I said for the past few years, now I’m working more with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Before when I first started, I was going to the smallest non-profits. Those were struggling is not that they still don’t need me, but what it was many of them didn’t know how to run business and it is a business. To prepare for a grant, you’ve got to show your business strategy, your capacity building efforts and all of that. I had to put so much work first into showing them how to run their business that the grants were way down the line. There are some prerequisites to being able to go after the grants. When I’m teaching and working with entrepreneurs and small business owners that already understand business, now to see the funding that they can use, they hit the ground running. I’ve been in grant since 1999 and I’ve been a faculty now for a number of years. With more of them seeing that and even before Oprah went off the air with her show, that’s when I started seeing more of my clients on Oprah, Larry King. I’ve seen my clients on Ellen recently because they know how to take this information and truly start making it work.

What would be your most unusual habit or what others may consider out of the ordinary that’s helped you or your company most and why?

I can’t think of an unusual habit.

You don’t have any. You’re just practically perfect in every way. Perfect, I like it.

I can’t even think of bad habits because I don’t smoke. I have wine now and then. What’s a bad habit in my business?

BLP Herring | Grant Proposals

Grant Proposals: You are your only limitation.

They don’t even have to be a bad habit.

I have to make myself not say there’s a grant for that. I have to make myself. Even when someone likes something, they can get sick of it. I was with my family in Kansas City and we were getting ready to go into IHOP and it was a long line. It was a Sunday and IHOP, smart move, they had a young lady out there doing balloon designs and hats for people and all that. She’s making a noise. I’m watching her and I’m thinking, “There’s a grant for that,” but I don’t want to say it with my family there because I know they’re thinking, “I know she’s going to say it anytime.” While she’s making these, the kids are laughing and she’s making hats for people and she’s making cards and all this. When we finally get in, I already had a card out. I was so glad that they circled us back around and we’re sitting in the back. I said, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom.” I go out and I go outside and I say, “Here, there’s a grant for what you do. There’s a grant you could take into schools. It’s in arts and crafts and you can go into senior facilities,” and I’m talking really fast and I said, “Please call me. There’s a grant for that,” and I go back in, and I’m going back to the back and I sit down. Now I can relax because that was driving me crazy. I was visiting and I was there for a week, and I know I had been talking about, “There’s a grant for this,” so they were probably sick of me. They probably couldn’t wait for me to go back to Los Angeles. I said, “I’m going to go and approach the girl but I’m going to keep that away from the family.” That’s a habit that I have to hone in on sometimes.

Over the past three years, what belief or protocol have you established in your company? Most impacted year or your company success?

I would say it’s beyond the three years. My motto is YAYOL, and that’s, “You are your only limitation.” There is nothing that when something is in your gut and it keeps you up at night, then the only limitation is you and I can guarantee you there’s funding for it. Now, over the past three years I’ve gotten over some of my fears. I don’t have a degree in this. I’m not a lawyer though we’ve developed over 600 organizations and I do all the legal paperwork. I even train lawyers. Over the past three years I had to get over the fact that though I’m not that lawyer, though I don’t have a BA or a master’s in something, I’m damn good at what I do. I had to get past that and that’s been fairly recent. I’m 58 and it took me to be about 55 to just relax in that. One of the things have really shown me that I must be the stuff. Vicente Fox, former President of Mexico, when he called and wanted me to come and train him and his staff and train some of the high up business owners there to show them how to be philanthropists. They don’t have the same mechanism to make it work in Mexico as they do here in the United States. To work with former President of a country and his wife, how good is that?

After Katrina, you did some work with a company down in there. Let’s just dig into that for just a minute.

I was watching the news. When I’m watching the news, it’s me bringing in huge buckets of lemons. I’m watching news and I’m excited and I’m making lemonade over here and I’m going, “My God.” I’m watching Katrina and people were saying, “We need to send clothes, send food or whatever,” and I’m looking at people that are knee deep and higher in water. One guy’s even carrying a television and I’m like, “Where would they put anything anyone since?” My mind goes to they need housing. I called. I kept calling FEMA numbers. I’m calling everywhere I could. “Do you have a database?” No one had a housing database. I was already working with non-profits from veteran’s organizations to senior facilities to low income housing that had housing. I put together the first and, to my knowledge, only Hurricane Katrina and Rita Housing Database, and we started housing people all over the country.

You also did something with the wetlands.

Yes, Tierra Resources. After the Gulf spill and all of what happened along the Gulf Coast, Tierra Resources, they came to me and they at first didn’t know they could have a non-profit. We formed their non-profit and now they’ve done major work with the wetlands and then also restore the earth. They have what’s called Gulf Saver Bags and they plant these trees in a solution and this bag, almost like a gunny sack, that dissolves. It gives them opportunity to set a foundation in that bag and then the roots grow out. A lot of times when they’d go plant like after fire and all of that, a good rain comes and it washes a lot of that away. Restore The Earth didn’t know they could have a foundation. We formed their foundation. They’ve planted millions of trees. They’ve helped the Gulf Coast come back with Tierra Resources and Restore The Earth. They received a letter from Fish and Wildlife saying they never seen anything like this, that for this many trees to last and also aid in bringing back habitat. It’s just a blessing, it’s such an honor to work with organizations and see the work that they do.

What are the most common misconceptions about your role as CEO in your firm?

People expect miracles from grant writing firms, from those that deal in the non-profit arena. It is a business, it’s a corporation. The individual, the business owner, must be involved in that process. A lot of people feel that non-profit means you can’t make a profit. I’ve even seen them get upset when they see that a non-profit executive might make six figures or $1.5 million. Your salary is based off of the operating budget of the organization. If you have a multimillion dollar organization, it would seem ridiculous that an executive makes $45,000 a year. A lot of people aren’t aware that the NFL, up until 2015, had been a non-profit. Since its inception, the PGA is a non-profit. The National Hockey League is a non-profit and they say, “What? They make millions.” There’s a misconception of what is a non-profit and what it can do. Do you realize how many jobs one NFL game creates in a city? If they’re not able to be a form of a non-profit that gets some tax breaks for creating all those jobs. Plus, they’re constantly giving to schools. They’re helping within the medical industry. There are many things that they do behind the scenes that most people don’t see. People were upset because of their lack of knowledge about this industry. Mozilla Firefox is a non-profit. Hospitals, unless they say privately owned, are non-profit. Credit unions are non-profit. A lot of funeral homes are non-profit. If people die, that funeral home has to bury them anyway, so they’re able to get grants and funding to help cover the cost of individuals that normally would not have been buried.

It's important to love what you do because when you love it, you won't let it die. Click To Tweet

All of the things that we don’t generally know in the population about non-profit in the grand space. It’s profound. Somehow, none of that did show up in the curriculum. Looking back over the past few years, what would or should you have said no to?

I should have said no to myself and that’s why today when I taught the class, I said, “You’ve got to go back and address your fears, your strengths and your weaknesses and know them so that you can tackle the things that make you weak in a certain area as far as doing business. Some of it will go into your adulthood.” I read this book called Birth Order Book. When two adults are either interacting or laying there in bed, there are four people, the adult you and the child you. Our chatter from our childhood, a lot of times, shows up. For years, when I first started my business, I kept having financial problems. Even as a single mom, I kept having financial problems. From the child, I was the youngest child. My brothers and sisters were four and five years older. We go into a store; I can get some penny candy. I’m excited and I say, “I want to get that. Can I get that? How much money do I have?” My older sister would say, “Don’t worry about it, just get it.” There are things that were groomed in as children that until we address that, see, I didn’t need to learn financial literacy even as a child. Growing up, I was always handed money to make sure I had gas in my car even when I had a car. There are characteristics that we will continue until we identify those. I had to stop and say, “Yes, you are good at this. No, you’re not good at this,” and do something about it. I had to say no to myself in some ways and yes to some other ways.

You can’t say no to yourself. Oftentimes, it’s not much fun. In your day to day operation of your company as the CEO, what do you think is your personal habit or self-talk dialogue that keeps you in the company focused?

My motto, you are your only limitation. I worked with an organization, one of the biggest advertising firms in Hollywood. I was on my way there and it scared me because again, that’s when that chatter was there that I didn’t have my degree. I was getting ready to meet with some of the top lawyers and CPAs in Hollywood. They were challenging me that that organization could have a non-profit, which we ended up forming the non-profit. They got it in 41 business days but they thought that that wasn’t the case. We will listen to our own chatter more than anyone else’s. You have to have competence that what you’re doing. That’s why it’s important to love what you do because when you love it, you won’t let it die. That statistic about small businesses and how often they die, that’s why I try and help people do what they love, what’s in their gut, because then that chatter will lessen. Even when it does creep up, when you know what you know, you love what you love, no one else is in control of that. That is gone to the wayside. I am such a gung ho where you are your only limitation. You know that you can do this. You’ve empowered individuals in this area. That creeps up a whole lot more. It’s such a good feeling to know. I used to be a speaker with Sprint. I’ve done a lot of corporate training, but now I’m a speaker and I do a lot of corporate training and we’re impacting lives that otherwise would not have been impacted. That’s a whole lot more fun and gratifying than the other.

As we come to the close here of the episode, you know that old axiom of doing well by doing good?

Yes.

For you, you have some initiatives that you’re pursuing with the small mayors groups and be getting out of that world, to speak. For folks again, reach out to Sherita if you have some questions about this arena and nobody knows it more than she does. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to be a guest on the show.

Thank you. It’s been an honor.

Thanks so much.

 

About Sherita Herring

BLP Herring | Grant ProposalsMost think of Sherita J’ as the GRANT Lady, but there’s so much more to her – utilizing grants for for-profit and nonprofit business sustainability efforts is just a mere segment of her vast experience. Sherita is also a best-selling authors, speaker, motivator , business strategist, and a recognized radio personality (talk radio format discussing business, grants, community empowerment and nonprofit development).

Sherita has aided in securing millions of dollars in funding, while helping to develop more than 600 businesses. She’s the Founder and President of the Kreative Images Foundation (K.I.), established in August 1994. Her motto is YAYOL (pronounced yah-yoal), which is the acronym for You Are Your Only Limitation. YAYOL is also the title of her weekly radio broadcast.

Sherita has appeared in numerous news and magazine publications, and on radio and television shows all over the world, while also speaking at business conferences, churches, transitional facilities, and correctional institutions (empowerment speaker at the Chino Institution for Men (prison) for three years).

Following Hurricane Katrina, she launched the only Hurricane Katrina National Housing Database, listing housing all over the country for displaced persons.
Featured in Women of Wisdom Performance Magazine with First Lady Michelle Obama, and other influential women (June 2009)
Recipient of California ‘s Women of Achievement Award with Congresswomen Diane Watson and Maxine Waters (2004)
African Focus Humanitarian Award Recipient (April 2009), along with songstress Chaka Khan, Mo’Nique the comedian and others for their charitable efforts
Received several accommodations from former Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn for community and economic development achievements (2004, 2005)
Served as Co-Host of “L.A. Inside Out”, a Los Angeles talk show highlighting LA’s talents, hot spots, political leaders and businesses (2003-2005)
Featured in “Women of Color” magazine with the late Coretta Scott-King, Maya Angelou and numerous other renaissance women (Los Angeles, CA) (2003)
Performed key strategies for city-wide redevelopment efforts following the 1992 Rodney King civil unrest in Los Angeles, CA

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