It all started with a catchy Instagram handle and a young man from inner-city Atlanta who went West to see his dreams through. Now, through his nonprofit organization, The Young Executives Foundation, Keith Crawford ’17 is using the knowledge instilled in him at the University of West Georgia to make a difference in the lives of others.
Although he wasn’t sure UWG was right for him when he was deciding which avenue of higher education to take, Crawford certainly has no regrets. In fact, his love for community service and networking all started at the university.
“I decided to go to West Georgia in 2014 after a lot of thought,” Crawford said. “Coming from Atlanta, it felt like a much slower pace than I was used to for the first couple of months. I had a conversation with my mom, though, and she told me I should get involved on campus.”
To say Crawford dove in is an understatement. During his time at UWG, he was a member of the Residence Hall Association, president of the Hall Council in the Oaks, a resident assistant (RA), a member and later president of the Student Government Association, and the president of Models and Business. Furthermore, Crawford received his undergraduate degree in business administration from the Richards College of Business in only three years.
The inspiration behind The Young Executives came from Crawford’s background. He grew up in the Lakewood area in a single parent household. The kindness of his community and the impact it made on him caused Crawford to want to give back. He set out to create opportunities for young people and provide resources they would need to be successful. The Young Executives Foundation Inc. was officially founded on Sept. 18, 2017, the same year Crawford graduated from UWG.
The Young Executives hosts community service and outreach events, and offers a variety of programs that allow youth to exhibit their talents. In addition, Crawford has created numerous internships for students in different areas including communications, social media and graphic design. All internships offer students college credit.
Crawford is also hoping to expand the nonprofit into the community. He hopes to implement his programs in Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County Schools. One such program, called Transform Youth Everyday, is based around the importance of community service, health and wellness, career readiness and financial literacy.
“We do community events, financial literacy classes, entrepreneur classes, career expos and networking galas,” he said. “All that we do – outside of the schools and even in the community – is solely to make an impact that helps the community grow stronger and produce more successful people. That is the ultimate goal of The Young Executives.”
To learn more about The Young Executives Foundation Inc., visit the foundation’s website.
Note: Photos accompanying this story were taken before face covering and social distancing measures were in place.