Stacey Bailey-Ndiaye – Alden Fellowship
“What are the things that we can do to change our lives and communities?”
When Stacy Bailey-Ndiaye sat at her computer in 2003, she saw a global network of strong communities forming in front of her. Young people from Senegal, South Africa, and the U.S. connected to honor the annual “Day of the African Child” by tackling challenges that reached across continents. It was vital to preserve that energy, to replicate it, to give it a lasting space so it could take root and positively impact communities year round. That space became Bridge Kids International.
Bridge Kids International (BKI) is a global network working to bridge the gap between various African roots and the African Diaspora. “It grew out of this work that we were doing… connecting young people in the United States with other young people in Africa, and trying to think about self determination. I had to keep asking myself: what are the things that we can do to change our lives and communities?” said Bailey-Ndiaye, Co-Founder and Director of BKI.
The network identifies community challenges in education, the environment, girls’ rights, health, and economic development. They then work toward solutions that are infused with the inherent knowledge and principles of African cultures, with the belief that solutions rooted in heritage can be effectively sustainable.
“One of those principles is of strong individual networks, sharing information, and resources at a personal level. That’s where the Community Foundation of Louisville came in.”
Stacey participated in the Community Foundation’s Alden Fellowship—a yearly cohort of five nonprofit leaders who develop plans for personal and professional growth. The Alden Fellowship was started by William O. Alden, Jr., who wanted to give nonprofit leaders the chance to participate in world-class professional development programs so that they could become more effective leaders, thereby enabling their organizations to do more good work in our community. Fellows are awarded a cash grant and access to a network of peers working toward a better Louisville.
Through the Community Foundation, the BKI network extended a few steps more, as intended by the mission born from the virtual conference in 2003. The fellowship provided a much needed vote of confidence that helped solidify BKI’s seat at the table— for nonprofit funds and beyond.
“You talk about ecosystems, right?” said Bailey-Ndiaye, “Giving and creating space and opportunity for us to connect with each other, in real ways… it’s an investment in the person, and in the leader, with the notion that by supporting you, it’s going to change the city.”