Pay it Forward: How Women of Color Can Leave a Legacy by Using Their Resources to Help Others Succeed

“When you pay it forward, you are leaving a legacy. It may not land you in the spotlight, on television, or in someone’s hall of fame. Your legacy may be in the heart of a child, a student, a woman in crisis, a colleague, or your own children. Your paying it forward may just make someone’s heart sing, smile brighten, and eyes shine with hope. Your paying it forward may deter someone from ending his or her life and deciding to live. Your gifts may cause someone in the world to shine a little brighter because you cared enough to share abundantly.”

                                                                                – an excerpt from my book, It’s Time to Shine

Historically, women of color have faced unique challenges. We still continue to be underrepresented in various spheres, including executive roles, law, business, politics, academia, and the arts. To experience any level of success, we continuously have to overcome stereotypes and dismantle systemic barriers.

These shared experiences have created a camaraderie among us as women of color. This unspoken bond provides more than enough reason for us to come together, lift each other up and pay it forward.

Paying it forward as a woman of color means actively seeking out opportunities to support and empower other women who have and are still facing similar challenges. It is our duty to use our influence, platform, and resources to create pathways for others to succeed.

Looking for ways to contribute to the success of the next generation? Here are a few ways you can pay it forward:

  • Support your alma mater financially. Donating to your college or university helps the entire community and supports students facing rising educational costs.
  • Mentor students and young professionals. Provide internships, mentorships, and guidance to help aspiring professionals navigate their careers.
  • Donate to charities. Contribute to organizations that support women, children, healthcare research, education, poverty alleviation, and other important causes.
  • Share your talents for free. Offer your skills, whether it’s singing, dancing, playing an instrument, or providing pro bono services in your field of expertise.
  • Listen and offer words of encouragement. Be there for others, providing support, empathy, and valuable information to help them progress in a positive direction. Be available and non-judgmental. Simply being present for someone when they need to talk can make a significant difference in their day.
  • Assist with practical tasks. Help friends, family, or co-workers by preparing meals, providing rides, or running errands during times of illness or hardship.
  • Give money to those in need. While some situations may be uncertain, provide assistance to those asking for help with basic needs, focusing on the intention behind your act of giving.
  • Volunteer your time. Dedicate your time and skills to support caregivers, seniors, and organizations such as nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters, and domestic abuse shelters.
  • Register as an organ donor. Make the ultimate gift by signing up to donate your organs upon your passing.

By engaging in these acts of kindness and generosity, you can make a positive impact on the lives of others and create a ripple effect of goodwill. Paying it forward not only benefits those directly involved but also contributes to building a more compassionate and supportive society. When we pay it forward, we create a brighter and more inclusive future for all.