By Trevina Nicholson
Believing that there was a great need for something new, Allen Kinard, decided to start a nonprofit organization that gave every student in a public school the opportunity to enhance their education and extracurricular endeavors.
Kinard started the nonprofit The Allen Kinard Impact Foundation in 2011 to help inner-city youths through educational mentoring.
His love and drive for bettering the young originated from his own background growing up in public schools and taking note that inner-city kids respond better to out-of-the-box “motivational tactics.”
“The organization is educational-based. We look to work with public schools and the community,” said Kinard, president and chief executive officer of TAKIF.
With a degree in English, Kinard graduated from York College in 2007. After graduation, he started a real estate partnership called 1 Point Mortgage with two of his colleagues.
While TAKIF is known for its educational standpoint, the nonprofit receives more acknowledgment for its scholar programs: Sneakers for Scholars, Teen Pregnancies Awareness and HIV Initiative and Education and the Arts.
TAKIF goes on a tour to different public schools every week. While on tour, it awards the top-achieved youths in a school, along with informing them about anti-bullying and motivational speaking.
Within the bounds of the tour, it introduced a new scholar program call Prom Project, where the top academic female is presented with a prom dress specially created by one of the designers, who is also a sponsor with the organization. Another project is Phones for Families, sponsored by Metro PCS, which provides the phone and pays for a portion of the bill.
The Sneaker for Scholars program is designed for students who are picked by their schools to be rewarded for having good grades with brand new sneakers, which are purchased by a TAKIF sponsor. On some occasions, the student recognized is surprised by some of celebrities or politicians who show up to acknowledge them.
A few students from Queens have received this award: Chebria Crandol of IS 59, Latanye Vance of PS 40 and Dakeema Roberts of PS 48.
Normally, to run a nonprofit such as this a lot of support is needed. In order for the organization to continue to serve the community, it is heavily dependent on grants that are given by sponsors. Kinard explained that although the nonprofit operates off funding, he uses other techniques to bring in grants and funding into the program.
Kelly Joseph, one of the board members and a professor at York College, joined the nonprofit as an education adviser after having Kinard as one of her students.
“It was quite a while ago, but I remember him as a strong student. He was often prepared and willing to speak in class. I do remember him holding his ground when other students did not hold the same opinion of the works or topics we were discussing in class.”
One of Kinard’s strategies is called the Gallons for Grades, in which restaurants become sponsors, but instead of giving money, they are asked to donate their used oil.
Currently, TAKIF is sponsored by a waste removal company, Green Gallons, which will then pick up the used oil for free from any restaurant willing to get on board with the organization. It will be of no charge to the restaurant and the end result then becomes funding for the organization.
“I just learned that you cannot expect every dollar to come from handouts, because what if it doesn’t come or it stops coming? Then you’re in trouble,” said Kinard. “We needed some sort of constant income source that, even if it doesn’t do everything for us, it at least keeps you operational.”
Although the organization seems to be doing well, there is always an obstacle that comes along.
One of the main obstacles that Kinard believes is in need of attention is “making the average person aware that they, too, can also help.”
He said that although the organization has big corporations on board, normal citizens can also contribute.
“You can never have too much support,” he said.
Kinard is pursuing his second bachelor’s degree in education and is expected to graduate in the summer or fall of 2013.
In one of his goals for the organization, Kinard would like to be mentioned as someone who helped to mold some of the greats.