Spreading sunshine! It’s what Karli Black does, whether it’s randomly popping into a Sodalicious and purchasing everyone’s choice of sugary goodness while handing out “Pay It Forward” cards, or coordinating projects for local non-profits like, Sunshine Heroes, to working with United Way and Make A Wish Foundation organizing a fabulous fireworks fundraiser – try saying that five times super fast. Karli probably can because, in my opinion, she’s just awesome like that.
I Bring the Sunshine, and He Takes Care of Business
As the director of Sunshine Heroes, Karli loved seeing firsthand the impact their projects had on so many lives. Karli still works with Sunshine Heroes but has stepped away from her role as director in order to spread her sunshine to everyone, everywhere. Karli and her husband, Cody, a commercial real estate agent with Collier International, are a perfect match. Unbeknownst to those around him, Cody was using a portion of his income to help others. Karli says, “He didn’t really know how to donate, he was just like, oh this mom needs to go somewhere so he’d pay for her. I came in and said, ‘I can make this dollar go a lot further’, and together we created The Black Family Foundation.”
In Karli’s words, “I bring the Sunshine and he takes care of business”. And take care of business they do! 100% of all funds received go directly to finance and support whatever project they are intended for. The Black Family Foundation offers all of their services for free. Karli says, “We want everyone to realize that they can be the change they want to see, they can be ‘the good.’ It doesn’t matter if you give one dollar or a million dollars, everyone can give from the heart and make a difference.”
As your company looks to make a difference Karli can help you realize whatever your vision is. Karli will sit down with you and discuss projects you have in mind or give you a few ideas. She’ll help map out everything from budget and how to raise funds, to all the footwork necessary to carry out a successful project. Karli understands the desire to give back and the importance of having a sense of ownership within our communities and our employment cultures. She works hard to make sure everyone can be part of the vision and share in the responsibility and accomplishments. Karli loves to show people how to make their dollar matter. She says, “I never want to see a dollar wasted. There was a time in my life where all I could give was a dollar and it broke my heart knowing that only 20% of that dollar went to the person in need. That’s why everything we do is 100% because we can, we are blessed, and we have this opportunity, and we would love it if people would take advantage of what we can offer so that we can help more people”.
Helping others can look like repainting your local shelter, or building a community center in Africa. Karli also works with local nonprofits and companies to maintain projects, especially in other countries, for the duration of that project’s life. So you know that the school you help build will serve its purpose for years to come. Karli also works with elementary and junior high schools in whatever capacity they need at the time, including teaching music and drama classes. She works with parents educating them on how they can truly be the first line of defense in helping their children overcome and deal with mental illness, depression, and anxiety. Karli has worked closely with refugees through English as a second language programs, book donations, and even some entrepreneurial endeavors.
It’s Simple to Make a Difference
One of Karli’s most rewarding projects has been working with the Children’s Justice Center. The CJC is only partially funded by the state of Utah; most of their money comes from grants or donations. So when Karli saw an opportunity to help bring the 1960’s looking center into the twenty-first century she was all over it – literally. With the help of several organizations, each and every room was able to receive a well deserved face lift. Karli had each organization take responsibility for the renovation of one room. She explained why, “I wanted to spread awareness of what is going on inside the Children’s Justice Center. It’s not some secret place. It’s a place everyone in the community should know about. The CJC is a safe place where children, who are victims of physical and sexual abuse, can go to receive help. No one wants to talk about sexual violence, especially when it involves a child; it’s a very taboo subject. Letting people know that the CJC is not funded by the government and that it is a wonderful program we should support, even if it is an uncomfortable subject, was important to me. It has been really neat to see how this little place that was obscure became a more common place and a part of conversation within the community”. Karli enjoys directing and pointing organizations and companies in the right direction. “I just sort of guide and give others the power, they can keep using me if they want, or maybe they won’t need me the next time, more than anything I just want to teach and show people how simple it is to truly make a difference”.
Karli loves people and she loves spreading sunshine. Talking about herself? Not so much. In my opinion, knowing a little about Karli, helps know a lot about The Black Family Foundation and why they do what they do.
In her words, “We all go through circumstance that can change us, create a path – right? For me, I’ve had the opportunity to experience a lot of things firsthand. I was a quadriplegic as a youth. For years I was in a wheelchair, and told that I would never walk again. I was able to overcome that and step through physical therapy and other things. I’ve been divorced, I’ve been a single mom, and I’ve been in a shelter. I had all of these things, but in the end I had a choice to pull myself out of these situations. I could take my experiences and have empathy and go and serve and lose my fear by talking to strangers and sharing my story, or I could hide away and allow these experiences to be a heavy weight. I decided to go out and not be afraid of these experiences but to share them. When I’m in the store and I have the inclination to smile or give someone a hug, or buy a treat – I do it – I’m not afraid. I think that when we lose the fear that’s when we are truly able to help in the way we need to. When we’re not afraid of what we look like, or that we’re not offering a million dollars, and we know that we are doing good and that it’s from the heart, that’s why I do this.”
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