Ms. Niki Wong Selected as the 2019 Recipient of the Richard E. Herman Leadership Award
We Raise Foundation is pleased to announce that Ms. Nicole (Niki) Wong has been selected as the 2019 Richard E. Herman Leadership Award honoree. The Leadership Award recognizes the commitment and service of one leader interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States, whether through their professional work or as a volunteer.
Wong serves as the Director of Policy and Organizing at Redeemer Community Partnership (RCP), Los Angeles, Calif. RCP is a nonprofit Christian community development corporation that has been working in the Exposition Park neighborhood in South Los Angeles, Calif., since 1992 to create a safe, healthy, opportunity-rich community where children, youth, and their families thrive.
Since 2014, Wong’s efforts as a community organizer, researcher, and policy advocate have advanced community-initiated campaigns, including the closure of an active oil drilling site in South Los Angeles and the construction of protected bike lanes, pedestrian lighting, curb extensions, and other active transportation improvements along a high-injury corridor in the community thanks to a $6.3 million CalTrans grant.
Wong is a founding member of the Standing Together Against Neighborhood Drilling – Los Angeles (STAND-LA) coalition, an environmental justice coalition of community-based organizations working to end the toxic and dangerous practice of oil and gas operations near homes, schools, and places of worship. She currently serves as STAND’s Research Committee chair. Wong also serves on the Los Angeles County Community Prevention and Population Health Taskforce Commission, and co-chairs the Taskforce’s Oil and Gas Ad Hoc Committee.
Born and raised in southwest Houston, Texas, Wong attended Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, and received a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and minor in chemistry. In 2014, she earned a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at the University of Texas Health Science Center with a focus on global health and community based development.
“Receiving the Leadership Award has made me feel affirmed and seen by those who nominated me, the nomination board, and by God,” Wong said. “It’s been hard and challenging work at times, but I’m grateful that I have been given the grace to persevere and seen glimpses of God’s faithfulness and hope throughout the process. This award is like an extra bonus, and I’m very humbled and honored to have been selected.”
Wong was selected by a panel of ministry practitioners, all with passion for and expertise related to alleviating poverty, violence, and inequality. The expert panel reviewed finalists from a pool of applicants from communities across the country. Applicants each submitted an essay that articulated how their unique work is interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality.
As recipient of this award, Wong will receive a cash award of $4,000 and an invitation to gather with other inspired emerging leaders at the We Raise Foundation Emerging Leader Convening, to network, learn and reflect, hosted and paid for by We Raise. She also joined We Raise staff at the Christian Community Development Association National Conference, October 10-12, in Dallas, Texas.
The Leadership Award was established in honor of Dr. Richard Herman, We Raise Foundation’s fourth president (2006-2015), a passionate supporter and encourager of young adult Christian leaders.
“I am so pleased that Niki has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Leadership Award,” Herman said. “Throughout its history, We Raise has been blessed to assist, and learn from, talented and committed young leaders who are making the world a better place for all people. Niki’s dedication to interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence and inequality in her community is so inspiring.”
About We Raise Foundation
We Raise Foundation identifies innovative ideas, people, and programs that raise consciousness, community leadership, and capital. Motivated by the belief that freedom is grace in action (Galatians 5:1a), We Raise provides grants and assistance with resource development to organizations that work at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We Raise supports Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders and has a preference for funding solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice. To learn more, please visit weraise.org. You can also find We Raise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.