About Us

Uplift Our Youth Foundation empowers youth to achieve success and live healthy productive lives. We provide funding to smaller and under funded non-profit organizations and programs that directly impact youth in Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties.

We provide grants and sponsorship to causes, organizations, and programs that have a primary focus of youth achievement and success with an emphasis on serving “at-promise” youth, diversity inclusion, education, culture, employment and life skills management. Youth are considered up to 18 years old. Our grants are awarded at our Annual Grant Award Reception.

All contributions to Uplift Our Youth Foundation are tax deductible. We highly encourage matching gifts and or additional funding sources.

Our Mission

To uplift youth to reach their full potential and shape their future by giving them opportunity and vision to believe in themselves and succeed in life.

Our Vision

To be a catalyst for Greater Lansing that inspires hope, produces financial support, and impacts youth in such a way, it affects a generation to keep on giving.

Core Values

Understanding – We seek to understand diversity and cultural differences

Passion – Our aim is to be passionate about what we do

Learning – We desire to always be learning

Integrity – Integrity is the foundation of our morals

Faith – We believe that we can and will make an impact

Tenacity – Giving up is not an option

Our History

Uplift Our Youth Foundation a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt non-profit established in 2002 by Founder Larry L. Leatherwood. The Foundation was created under the auspices of the Capital Region Community Foundation (CRCF) through the cooperative efforts of Paulette Granberry Russell and with the support of Patricia Reynolds, who at the time was President of CRCF.

Mr. Leatherwood created Uplift Our Youth Foundation to be a funding vehicle for smaller 501© (3) tax exempt organizations and or agencies that either didn’t receive funding or suffered from insufficient funding in the greater Lansing area.

Larry Leatherwood is a longtime resident of Lansing. He’s a 30-year retiree of the State of Michigan, having served in many senior level capacities. Throughout his career, he has been the recipient of numerous local, state and federal government recognitions.

He’s the founder of the Uplight Our Youth Foundation, which was created in 2002. It has awarded an excess of $140,000 to organizations in Lansing who serve at-risk youth, who have a focus in education and the arts.

Larry is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated. Larry is dedicated to supporting the organizations that make our community healthy.

Click the Board Members name to view their individual bio.

Larry L. Leatherwood, Founder

Larry L. Leatherwood is the founder/chairperson of the Uplift Our Youth Foundation.  The Foundation was created under the auspices of the Capital Region Community Foundation (CRCF) in May, 2002.  Larry stated that the foundation was created through the cooperative efforts of Paulette Granberry Russell and with the support of Patricia Reynolds, who at the time was the President of the CRCF.  Larry further stated that his intent in creating the Foundation (Fund at that time) was to create a funding vehicle for smaller 501© (3) tax exempt organizations/agencies that either didn’t receive funding or insufficient funding in the Lansing tri-county area.  The Foundation was incorporated as a 501© (3) tax exempt organization in November 2005.

Larry is a retired Deputy Director for Administration in the Michigan Department of Transportation and also served as a lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He is an executive consultant and is working with multiple clients in business and marketing development, training in ethics, civility, conflict resolution and program evaluation.  Additionally, previously was a Adjunct Consultant with the Michigan Association of School Boards.

He holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Public Administration from Western Michigan University.  He has attended Executive Management programs at both Wayne State University and Howard University in Washington, D.C.. He has completed and was awarded Senior Executive Fellows Program recognition from the John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University.

Larry is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions some of which include Who’s Who in Vocational Education, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who among Black Americans.  He also has received the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Advocate of the Year, Michigan Public Servant of the Year, Wall of Distinction Western Michigan University, Lansing YMCA President’s Award, Hope Scholars Award, White House Conference on Small Business Recognition, Dr. George James Service Award, Western Michigan University School of Public Affairs and Administration Department, Michigan Legislative Black Caucus “Partners in Community Service” award.  He also received the “Kevin Bibbs” award from the Gentlemen of Distinction, Jack and Jill –Lansing and the Community Service award from the Lansing Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. 2008 Spirit of Scouting Award by Chief Okemos Council of Boy Scouts. 2008 Friend of Youth Award, Lansing Boys and Girls Club. Recipient of the “I have a Dream Legacy Award” 2011 The Urban League of Battle Creek.  2011 Honoree for the Lansing Black Lawyers Association 14th Annual Otis M. Smith Annual Dinner.

Larry has served on many community and state –wide boards and commissions. They included Commissioner, Martin Luther King Commission, City of Lansing, and Past Chairperson Lansing Metropolitan YMCA, past Chairperson Capital Chapter American Society for Public Administration.  He previously served as the Chairperson of Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Executive Committee Capital Area Health Alliances.  He previously served as a Governor’s Appointee to the Michigan Broadband Development Authority, the State Officers Compensation Commission, and the Higher Education Facilities Authority. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and the Alpha Chi Boule’ fraternities. Nominated by former Governor Jennifer Granholm to Ferris State University Board of Trustees. Recently appointed to Delta Township Economic Development Corporation.

He is married to Martha and is the father of Dr. Stacy Leatherwood a physician in Detroit and Jeffrey Leatherwood a video music magazine publisher.

Jeffrey A. Brown, Interim Chair

Mr. Brown known for his community building capacity and humanitarian heart has established home and community-based programs for over a decade serving people and youth who are under-served and considered socially and economically disadvantaged.

Mr. Brown has an extensive governmental program development and management expertise. In previous roles, he managed and provided services to the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Services Division, US Social Security Administration, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Community Mental Health, Office on Aging, and Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative.

Recognized for his long term commitment to human and social services, Jeffrey has created platforms in areas of vocational rehabilitation, transitional housing, residential long-term care, life skills management, community living services, self-employment, in-home supports, youth employment, and job readiness programs.

While serving those in need, Jeffrey has a talent for building business and has been a highly sought after consultant and coach to the Who’s Who in the business world. He is an established transformational speaker and co-author of “Life Changing Self Awareness” and author of his latest work “Be Inspired” an inspirational journal available at Amazon.com. In corporate America, Jeffrey has managed projects and operations for some of America’s largest brands such as Radio Shack, Columbia House, Hoover Vacuums, Nutrisystem, Domino’s Pizza, Rug Doctor, and Sharper Image amongst others.

Jeffrey currently serves as Interim Board Chair of Uplift Our Youth Foundation and Advisory Board Member of Lansing’s Career Quest Learning Center.

Myron Frierson, Treasurer

Mr. Frierson is the Director of the Bureau of Finance & Administration for the Michigan Department of Transportation, providing strategic direction for the department’s fiscal management, contracting, and internal administrative service programs. Prior to his current appointment, he served as the Administrator for the Real Estate and Financial Operations Divisions within the Michigan Department of Transportation. A Certified Public Accountant, Mr. Frierson earned his bachelor of arts from Michigan State University. In addition as serving on the board of Uplift Our Youth Foundation, he is on the board of the Lansing Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation.

Nettavia D. Curry, Secretary

Dr. Curry is a native of Detroit, Michigan, but makes Lansing, Michigan her home. She has more than 20 years of professional experience in higher education administration, program development, assessment, and grant writing. She holds a BS and MS in Merchandising Management and Human Resource Management, and a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, from Michigan State University(MSU). Dr. Curry is knowledgeable about federal TRIO programs and the policies that govern these programs, which serve first-generation, low-income, under-represented students; and students with disabilities. Her professional and academic endeavors focus on student achievement, leadership and professional development, civic engagement, and mentoring for diverse student populations.

During her professional career, she has established liaison relationships with community organizations, institutions of higher education, and professional education associations to develop high-impact academic and social support programs for undergraduate students.Her programmatic and diversity efforts in higher education have been recognized by both MSU and external entities.Coupled with her professional endeavors, Dr. Curry applies her dissertation research in the areas of mentoring, identity development and academic socialization for women and doctoral students of color to her engagement with colleagues and students, and community involvement.

Dr. Curry’s leadership and involvement in the Lansing community reflect her interests in the arts, women’s health, youth development, education, history and culture. Presently, she holds Board appointments at the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, Dream World Studios for the Arts,Mid-Michigan Leadership Academy, and the Uplift Our Youth Foundation, respectively; and is a former Board member of the Riverwalk Theatre. Dr. Curry is a past president of both the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc., of Lansing, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Delta Tau Omega Chapter(Lansing).Moreover, she is an active volunteer with the Sparrow Foundation Women Working Wonders (W3) Committee.

Charles L. Moore, Board Member

Charles L. Moore is a 23-year Certified Public Accountant with Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Adrian College. Where he lettered four years in basketball and held the position of Vice President of the Business Fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.

Charles L. Moore (C.L.) is the President and Founder of C.L. Moore & Associates, in Downtown Lansing, MI. C.L. Moore & Associates, founded in 1991, is the only Minority accounting firm in the Lansing area. C.L. is committed to the economic revitalization and growth of Lansing, MI.

C.L. Moore, a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, became an Auditor in the Bank and Trust Division of the Michigan Department of Commerce. Thereafter, Mr. Moore was appointed the Internal Auditor for the Lansing School District

C.L. Moore is a member and Keeper of Finance for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., a member of the Lansing Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of Lansing Airport Authority, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, former Board President of Lansing Micro Enterprise, former Board Treasurer of Lansing Franklin Street Housing Co-op, and Trustee and Financial Secretary of Friendship Baptist Church. Mr. Moore was also named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1990.

Rita LaMoreaux, Board Member

Rita LaMoreaux is a lifelong resident of Lansing, Michigan.

A product of the Lansing School District, she attended the now closed Northwestern Elementary School and Otto Junior High. Mrs. LaMoreaux is a proud graduate of J.W. Sexton High School.

Mrs. LaMoreaux has an Associate’s Degree in Humanities from Lansing Community College, a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and a Master’s in Public Administration from Western Michigan University.

In her past employment and volunteer roles with the Turner-Dodge House in Lansing she worked with the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department to provide historical educational programs to the young people of Lansing.

Presently employed with the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents, Mrs. LaMoreaux is the Young Agent Specialist. In her role she, assists new and younger members in planning and coordinating their education meetings and events. She also helps young people find career paths in the insurance industry.

Volunteer roles includes board member of the Uplift Our Youth Foundation, Capitol Area College Access Network and Insuring MI Future. She is Co-Chair of the Lansing Community College Alumni Committee, Founder and President of the Delta Township Historical Society, Treasurer of the Waverly Education Foundation and President of the Delta-Waverly Rotary Club.

Mrs. LaMoreaux lives in Lansing with her husband David and stepdaughter.

Betty Sandford, Board Member

Betty Sandford’s career spans more than 5 decades some in community service counseling in a residential treatment center for girls in Nashville, Tennessee and organizing military families living on the economy in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She discovered early on in her professional career that in her service to others she the happiest. The transition from community service to education came in 1987 at Michigan State University (MSU). There Betty advised, mentored, taught a freshman seminar, and directed SUPER, a summer Bridge Program. During her 27 year tenure at MSU, she has touched the lives of hundreds of students, supported students studying abroad in New Delhi, India, published, and brought national recognition to the University http://tinyurl.com/BettysJourney.

Uplift Our Youth Foundation is an extension of her desire to help shape young people’s aspirations for scholarship and service and for productive leadership with global reach. Mrs. Sandford serve as mentor for FAME (Fostering Academic s, Mentoring Excellence) at MSU and is the founder of “Words have Power”. This group takes a critical look at the perception, depiction, definition, and portrayal of “black/dark” in our language and its implications affecting the self-concept of young people. Betty is happily married for 46 years with two sons.

Jennette Uwimana, Board Member
Jeannette graduated from Davenport university in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In 2015 She obtained her master’s degree in Business Administration with emphasis in accounting. She is currently employed at YMCA of Lansing where she started working in 2014 as an Accounts Payable Clerk. In 2016 she got promoted to an accounting manager position. She is currently preparing to pass the CPA certificate. Before coming to the YMCA she worked for Michigan State University, where she had a chance to serve in different departments within Residential Hospitality services including culinary services, Spartan Linen Service and Residential Hospitality Service Payroll.
She has served as:
  • A member of the Davenport university Accounting/Finance group
  • A Volunteer Tax Associate (Asset independence Coalition)
  • A Member of the MSU Women’s Advisory Committee for Finance and operations
  • An RHS Toastmasters Club

She is currently serving as a member of the YMCA Employees’ Engagement Committee.

In her spare time she likes to help the elderly in her neighborhood, play sports (volleyball and Soccer), and gardening. Jeannette’s favorite quote about youth is from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
Spencer Simmons, Board Member

Spencer is originally from Kalamazoo, MI. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University in 2002, majoring in marketing, accounting,  and general business. In 2017, he completed his master’s degree in business administration from Davenport University. He is an Accounting Manager with the Office of Highway Safety Planning, a division within the Michigan Department of State Police. He has held this position for over four years and has been with this division for almost fifteen years. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated since March 2012. He personally enjoys reading, watching movies, spending time with family and friends, and traveling with his wife Kristen to new places. 

Spencer is a strong advocate for helping to provide a positive influence to our youth. He believes if you’re successful in life; you have a duty to “Pay It Forward” for the next generation. Uplift Our Youth is built on service towards helping the positive development of our future leaders.