2023 Sparky Anderson Award for Youth in Philanthropy

Shamere Duncan photo

Shamere Duncan, Founder, Black Initiative 313

Sparky Anderson Award for Youth in Philanthropy

Nominated by the Steen Foundation
Shamere Duncan awardee video

Shamere Duncan, a remarkable young leader and activist, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Sparky Anderson Award for Youth in Philanthropy, a testament to her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on her community. This award recognizes her outstanding contributions and dedication to various philanthropic endeavors, which have left an incredible mark on Detroit and beyond.
At just the sophomore level of her studies at Wayne State University, majoring in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, Shamere Duncan has already demonstrated exceptional leadership and compassion. Her journey into philanthropy began with the founding of the Black Initiative 313, a youth-led philanthropic organization in Detroit, which she currently serves as the Founder and Executive Director, with fiscal sponsorship from the Steen Foundation.
One of Shamere's notable achievements has been her commitment to community improvement through neighborhood cleanups, effectively eliminating blight and enhancing the safety of her community. Her dedication to the well-being of others was further exemplified by her initiative to lead a penny drive in support of Hurricane Irma victims, showcasing her compassion on a global scale.
On Wayne State University's campus, Shamere founded the Black Initiative 313, a beacon of hope for students and community members in need. This organization provides essential goods and services, including food, toiletries, funding, mentoring, and workshops, addressing the fundamental needs of college students and local residents.
However, Shamere's path to philanthropy was marked by a personal tragedy in February 2021 when her cousin was a victim of a triple shooting. This devastating incident served as a catalyst for her to deepen the impact of her nonprofit work. In response, she initiated service projects, social media campaigns, volunteer activities, and youth-led group initiatives to raise awareness and support for critical issues facing Detroit. She has also spearheaded campaigns for breast cancer and diabetes awareness and organized donation drives in collaboration with Crossroads of Michigan, a soup kitchen that has fed over 100 less fortunate people.
Shamere's commitment to empowering others extends beyond her nonprofit work. She was appointed to the second cohort of the Skillman Foundation's President's Youth Council, where she plays a pivotal role in allocating over $300,000 to youth-led nonprofits while contributing to the development of a robust youth engagement strategy. Additionally, she was selected as a 2023 Mayoral Fellow and was honored with the Youth Citizen Service Award as an Ambassador for Racial Justice and Equity by the Detroit Rotary Club. 
Duncan has also authored a self-guided journal titled "Passion to Purpose" with detailed readings that aid young adults in transforming their passions into purpose. The first step in the book is to get an understanding of who the author is and why this journal exists. The second step is to start preparing the reader to truly dive into themselves through self-reflection and thinking about what things have occurred in one's life that molded them into the individual that they are and in-between that are readings about maintaining faith, not selling yourself short, how you can do it too, age means nothing, slowing down, and what it means to give 110%. The third step is for readers to lay out the excuses they use which are holding them back from their full potential of walking in their purpose. The middle-end of the book is a partial hand guide with the most important steps to building a community organization or nonprofit.
Shamere Duncan's journey exemplifies the transformative power of youth-driven philanthropy and community engagement. Her dedication, leadership, and unwavering commitment to service have earned her the 2023 Sparky Anderson Award for Youth in Philanthropy, a recognition that will undoubtedly inspire others to follow in her footsteps and create positive change in their communities. Shamere Duncan is not only a beacon of hope but also a shining example of the impact that young leaders can have on the world.