*CHICAGO, IL – Nationally leading fatherhood organization The Dovetail Project made history on Friday, April 29th as the first Black-owned fatherhood nonprofit to ring the NYSE Closing Bell in partnership with Goldman Sachs. The Dovetail Project’s Founder and Executive Director Sheldon Smith is a Chicago-based nonprofit leader, social entrepreneur, and trailblazer in the field of fatherhood whose mission is to rewrite the narrative of fatherhood for Black and Brown communities.
Through the Dovetail Project’s innovative programming, the 501c3 gives young fathers within Chicago’s most marginalized communities a better understanding of the responsibilities of fatherhood and their importance in the lives of their children. Focusing on young Black and Brown fathers, the Dovetail Project provides the skills and support needed for young men to become great fathers to their children and great men in their communities.
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Smith also flew out four young fathers whose lives were transformed by the program to join in on the historic moment alongside nonprofit executives and board members. The 33-year-old founder also made sure that his 12-year-old daughter and wife, who were catalysts that helped inspire and grow the nonprofit, were front and center to ring the bell sharing the momentous experience.
Prior to ringing the bell, Goldman Sachs VP Brian Grzelakowski, invited The Dovetail Project to the Goldman Sachs HQ to have an exclusive experience meeting and learning from their top executives. Goldman Sachs executives invested time, knowledge, tools and resources into the young fathers and the organization.
“We are beyond grateful that some of the top industry leaders impacting the entire globe would spend their day empowering our young men economically,” says Sheldon Smith. “This is a pivotal moment for marginalized and underserved communities not just in Chicago, but nationally because we want young men throughout Black and Brown communities to connect with this moment in order to help them see that they are always a decision away from changing the trajectory of their paths; ones that are paved with legacy and positive influence, breaking generational trauma, and setting a new narrative and future for their families and communities beyond.”
Previously recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur and CNN Hero alongside many other recognitions, Smith is healing families and communities through his work in the field of fatherhood.
In addition to Goldman Sachs, the 501c3 organization has also been recognized by prominent figures and brands such as Barack and Michelle Obama, UGG, and the Chicago Bears, as well as athletes such as Lonzo Ball and Allen Robinson, who flew a young father from the program from Chicago to Los Angeles this year to experience the 2022 Super Bowl as a special surprise. In addition, the organization has recently been featured on national media such as The Ellen Show, People TV, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Canada TV, NBC, ABC, NPR, CBS and more.
Widely acclaimed and recognized for his personal and inspirational fatherhood journey, Smith is a notable example and mentor who has equipped, guided, and helped transform the lives and families of young fathers within underserved communities. Since the inception of his organization in 2009, nearly 600 young Black and Brown fathers have graduated from the program.
In addition to Dovetail’s award-winning fatherhood program, the 501c3 has also led citywide COVID-19 relief efforts for thousands of young parents through its Fatherhood Relief Fund initiative. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dovetail launched the Fatherhood Relief Fund, a collaborative effort to distribute essential goods like diapers, wipes, and formula to young parents. The Fund impacted over 8,000 families in its first two years and is still going strong as it continues transforming to a long-term relief project to address ongoing community needs.