Mr. Derrick Braziel Selected as the 2020 Recipient of the Richard E. Herman Leadership Award - We Raise Foundation

Mr. Derrick Braziel Selected as the 2020 Recipient of the Richard E. Herman Leadership Award

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Itasca, Ill. – We Raise Foundation is pleased to announce that Mr. Derrick Braziel has been selected as the 2020 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.

We Raise Leadership Award 2020 | Derrick Braziel from We Raise Foundation


Photo of Derrick Braziel

Braziel co-founded and currently serves as development director at MORTAR in Cincinnati, Ohio, a non-profit organization that aims to create diverse communities by enabling historically marginalized entrepreneurs, most of whom are in Black and minority populations, to access the resources needed to start and run successful businesses. As development director, he supports MORTAR by deepening relationships with various community stakeholders while providing opportunities for external partners to support local entrepreneurs and their ideas.

MORTAR runs an Entrepreneurship Training Academy, hosts pop-up shops to test out ideas around the city, and invests in small-business owners, all the while committing to lifting up disadvantaged leaders. MORTAR is building a model and an ecosystem that invests in people as a way to invest in cities. Since 2014, Braziel and MORTAR have led 17 cohorts of entrepreneurs in Cincinnati and two in Milwaukee, Wis., partnering with financial institutions, nonprofits, city government, corporations, and school systems to transform the economic landscape.

Prior to this, Braziel (with the help of many!) founded Dreamapolis, an Indianapolis, Ind., non-profit that continues to support hundreds of Indianapolis entrepreneurs.

Braziel’s work has led to recognition from the Indianapolis Star, YES! Magazine, and NBC Nightly News. Braziel has been named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for Social Entrepreneurs and “One to Watch” by Cincinnati Magazine.

The Obama Foundation Fellowship named Braziel one of its 2019 Fellows. The Fellowship supports outstanding civic innovators—leaders who are working with their communities to create transformational change and addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. The program selects 20 community-minded rising stars from around the world for a two-year, non-residential program, designed to amplify the impact of their work and inspire a wave of civic innovation.

Braziel 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, Braziel will receive a cash award of $4,000 and an invitation to gather with other inspired emerging leaders to network, learn and reflect, hosted and paid for by We Raise Foundation.

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.

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 You can also find We Raise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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