Alumnus Elijah Richardson ’18 founded Detroit-based nonprofit Whose House Our House (WHOH) on June 26, 2019. WHOH Community Sports Complex Inc (WHOH Detroit) has an overall goal of changing the way inner-city youth view law enforcement and, through a unique program built around traditional and nontraditional sports, Elijah and his team work to open communication and build trust. The organization has set out to create a gateway to higher education and pathways to successful careers for inner-city youth, a cause close to Richardson’s heart given his own upbringing and experiences that led him to Culver-Stockton College.
Richardson shared, “The first year was rough because we didn’t qualify for many grants due to a lack of financial history. We survived on individual contributions and in-kind donations. Our biggest accomplishment during our first fiscal year was our mentor program, which served over 30 inner-city youth throughout the Metro Detroit area. COVID-19 set us back tremendously by hindering the execution of our events and programming.”
Richardson is determined to succeed and has high hopes for the future of WHOH – hopes built on his strong partnership with the foundation’s fundraising director, fellow Wildcat Michael Johnson ’19. Together, Richardson and Johnson are setting out to decrease criminal behavior among Detroit youth, which typically stems from a lack of resources, lack of knowledge and poor guidance. These Wildcats are working together with the knowledge that, by providing support, education and opportunities for youth to have positive interactions with law enforcement at a young age, they are actively decreasing the likelihood of a child having negative interactions with law enforcement in the future. The value of a liberal arts education is unmatched, and these Wildcats are demonstrating the importance of learning critical thinking skills, building partnerships and developing an entrepreneurial, change-making spirit.