Q&A with Rishard Allen

Meet Rishard. Rishard is the new Equitable Initiatives Officer for The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF Affiliate.

What excites you about your new role? 

Rishard Allen

I’m really excited to connect with and learn from other community foundation leaders across the nation on strategies to tackle what is perhaps the wickedest of problems: systemic racism. There is so much knowledge to be gained from people working in different sociopolitical environments, and just as we at CICF have much to share, we also have much to gain from our involvement in this cohort. 

In this past year, what book, movie or album resonated with you in the strongest way and why? 

Season 5 of Insecure on HBO. This season, in particular, dealt with a lot of themes around adulthood that feel especially relevant to mid-to-late 20-somethings and early 30-somethings. For instance, one plot point throughout the season was the main character deciding between two opposing career paths and the long-term implications of that decision, something I recently faced. Further, this season also addressed marriage, co-parenting, loss of a parent, purpose, and the changing nature of friendships with age. Everything seems fun and carefree in your early 20s, and you feel invincible, but this show depicted both the joys that come with age and maturity as well as the points where life gets real and our actions have consequences. I found it to be a refreshing and authentic expository of what I should expect in this next stage of life. 

What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important? 

I’m learning to practice grace. For me, this means prioritizing empathy and forgiveness. There are so many factors that contribute to how someone behaves or reacts that we’re unaware of or don’t immediately consider, and we shouldn’t hastily jump to conclusions about someone’s character. Instead, we should think of it as an opportunity to understand them, and further, identify how we can support them, if support is appropriate. I think this is especially important in philanthropy when we’re working with many people whose cards have been stacked against them. 

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day? 

Doing nothing. There’s so much pressure in this society to constantly be productive. You’re pressured to have a job, multiple side hustles, multiple hobbies, a social life, three home-cooked meals a day, and a steady workout routine. Sometimes the best way for me to unwind is simply to rest and not be physically or mentally active. 

What’s your most recent act of equity?

As a Black man in this country, it’s difficult to extrapolate a single ‘act of equity,’ especially when my entire existence is under siege and I must defend my value both explicitly and implicitly daily. But beyond that constant tension, I acknowledge the many privileges and advantages I have that can be used in service of those who have not had the same fortune as me. However, I don’t consider these isolated actions. Achieving equity for my race and other people of color is a value that underscores everything I do. Whether through my professional pursuits or patronizing a local Black-owned restaurant, I am always seeking to use my social and financial capital toward the betterment of people of color in America.    

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