Founder and executive director of We March Forward (UWMF). “In 2018, I founded UWMF, a 501 (c)3 community organization that focuses on providing education between multicultural populations and its community. This is done through workshops and network partnerships. The nonprofit has served over 300 families by providing linguistically and culturally appropriate services.”
What causes are you most passionate about and why? I am passionate about causes that provide hope to those in need. It’s one thing to be passionate about something; it’s another to truly identify myself as human or that one percent that makes a difference in other people’s lives. As an immigrant [Gloire was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and immigrated to Cedar Rapids with family at age 9], I have seen the cruelty caused by others and the sacrifice that is made by individuals and families just to seek a better life. As an American, I see freedom. Though it comes with a price, it is very much attainable. UWMF’s mission statement is to provide hope through education, encouragement and empowerment to families and communities. Our mission statement embraces just that: that we must provide hope to those we serve and the community.
In what ways do you give back to the community? As a father and husband, I believe it’s essential to invest in the community personally and professionally. I enjoy participating in different city boards and commissions. Committing time and finance to different things like rotary, NAACP, church committees, sustainable climate change initiatives/conversations, immigration advocacy, homelessness, housing, international projects in DRC and much more. Being that one percent means that at birth I began to borrow time; that time borrowed is called life. When you borrow something, it’s best you pay it back in full. The earth needs our help; people in crisis or near crisis need a hand-up. Giving back to the community means just that, and I hope with my borrowed time I can do just that.
If someone is new to nonprofit or volunteer work, how do you recommend they get started? If someone is new to nonprofits or volunteer work, I would tell them that they are the boss. As an executive director, I can’t fire you. There is a sense of freedom when you can volunteer your time and are not expected to do everything right. In this sense, you should be able to feel motivated and encouraged to contribute to nonprofits that align with your desires and ambition. I recommend to people that can’t commit to a financial contribution to volunteer two to four hours per month doing basic volunteer work, if you like it, see how you can increase your time, position (volunteer coordinator, board member, etc.). If you don’t have time but have a skill set, visit the nonprofit. Make sure it aligns with your beliefs or ideas and be a board member that volunteers their time to oversee that organization’s finances, legalities, etc. If you have no time or skills to commit to a nonprofit, then it’s wise to give back with monetary donations. Whatever it may be, that is your investment back into a cause that is making a difference in your community and the world.
How can readers support your favorite causes? I believe as a young start-up organization, [UWMF] has the potential to support great community needs. It supports individuals and families that sometimes get forgotten but yet these forgotten communities contribute to the overall economy. Its programs support climate change initiatives, food insecurity, education, community integration and much more. But as stated before, my passion is to care for those in need and be that one percent that makes a difference in people’s lives. My favorite cause should be your favorite cause in the sense that we as humans are only borrowing time, and each day the clock is ticking for all of us. Your true cause is what makes sense to you; in my opinion, a nonprofit is just a scientific body that tries to help make sense of community challenges and bring a sense of belonging to issues that the community identifies. UWMF is just another emerging grassroots organization hoping to fill the gaps in services and provide hope to the Cedar Rapids community, but if you dig deep, you might find your cause (your “why”) that will empower your community and for the next generations to come.