We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Rock and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Laura, how do you think about risk?
When I take risks I take them on individual people. I choose to trust my intuition when I meet a person who is trying to move their organization in a specific direction when I decide to support them. This has not always worked out for me! More than once I have put my time, energy and funds behind someone who has not been trustworthy. I find that believing my instincts about the person leading the charge is imperative to my mission. I’ve also learned that knowing when and how to exit is just as important.

The purpose of my organization, The Rock Family Foundation, is to meet with the founders and directors of small to mid-size nonprofits and provide them with the exact assistance they are requiring. Unrestricted grants, access to network capital, amplification of their messaging, professional services – these are some of the ways we support people who are doing revolutionary work in our communities. Because our grant making is based on personal relationships, I have to put my trust in these leaders. That is the beauty of granting this way, and even when initiatives do not work out exactly the way they were planned, it is to be expected. The money and energy pivots with the plan and achieving the best outcome is the ultimate goal, not staying on script. The most important work of connecting folks to services, educating people about the stigmas of poverty, elevating Black mental health providers and housing young women who are exiting the foster care system, this work is the reason for philanthropy. And these are just examples of the work that I do not do myself, but I support when I take the risk of trusting the people with the passion to change the ways this community love and care are provided. In that way, risk has set apart my organization from other philanthropical organizations. There is no executive report or data set that could be more important in my work that looking an extraordinary leader in the eye and telling them, “I trust you to run your business, and I am here to assist you in the ways that you decide will be helpful to your mission.”

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Rock Family Foundation was created with the purpose of listening to nonprofit leaders and basing our grant making on what they thought needed, not what we thought they needed. A big challenge we faced in the beginning was finding the people we wanted to work with, and communicating that there would not be a formal application process or executive review. I wasn’t interested in red tape or bureaucracy, just a relationship that could lead to providing support for incredible founders.

When we formed, we made it our goal to actively listen. Each time we take a meeting with a community member or a grantee listening is still our main objective.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The only place I have been in Dallas is the airport!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Tammy Thompson, Founder of T3 Consulting, Poverty Expert and Nationally Sought After Speaker

Tammy is doing such important and amazing work! Her film changed the way I think about poverty. Go check her out! https://www.tammytthompson.com/

Website: https://ljrock.org/

Instagram: @thisislaurarock

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurarock/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgx1VI7qJT9gBGGWNPsSjkw

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