FORBES magazine featured Philanthropist, Social Entrepreneur, Mommy Influencer, Investor, and Motivational Speaker Ray Nell Jones as a beacon of inspiration. Honored as the 2020 ESSENCE Essential Hero, she has dedicated her life to helping thousands of single mothers, earning her the prestigious title of 2x Smart 50 in Business Awardee.
Ray, recognized by celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Lena Dunham, Tami Roman, Sanya Richards, Monique Samuels, and more, has made an indelible impact through her grass-rooted, black-lead non-profit, The Allignment Chapter Corporation. The organization’s mission is to help provide economic and emotional relief and resources for low-income single mothers and their children.
We asked all of our honorees about the impact that their mothers had on their success. Here is Ray Nell’s response:
At the heart of every successful woman’s journey lies the influence of a remarkable mother. My mother has been a voice and a mother to many troubled teens and young girls in my neighborhood. I grew up in Homewood Brushton and understood what struggle looked like for a single mom. My mother never let us know that we struggled, but through my young lenses, I saw how she put herself through beauty school and became successful in the hair industry while single-handedly raising two children.
Her generosity knew no bounds—I saw how she never closed her door to teens (my friends) who had no place safe to lay their heads. I saw how she worked all day and night and always made it home to ensure we were fed, clothed, and ready to learn.
I carry forward her legacy. My mother showed me how to advocate for what I believed in rather than settle for what the world saw as “okay”. She did that through her community advocacy for equality and justice. Rose Price is a woman who stands by what she says and believes in. She taught me to stand firm on what I say and believe in. My commitment echoes hers—I advocate for equality in education and free resources for single mothers so they can build a future without compromising their well-being by sacrificing themselves to make ends meet.
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