When Scott Abdul-Salaam launched ScottCares Foundation, he had a big
mission in mind. He wanted to change people’s lives. A
non-profit organization centered around the arts, ScottCares is a foundation that aims to
affect lives within the community through service projects, educational
programs and fundraisers. Based in North Carolina, they have also
branched out to do some work in Africa.
The foundation recently held one of its major annual events–the 8th annual ScottCares Scholarship and Humanitarian awards Gala.
A 2010 TNJ 40 Under Forty alumni, Abdul-Salaam tells TNJ.com more about ScottCares.
TNJ.com: What prompted you to start ScottCares?
Abdul-Salaam: SCF was founded in 2005 by me, for whom the Foundation?s namesake exists under. I felt the need to create a non-profit organization that would meld two of my passions: art and technology, and have it work in concert that it would help advance and benefit the community in a way to promote entrepreneurship among our youth; promote teaching and learning of the arts and technology; and provide support of those with the same passions. What prompted me to launch it was that I wanted to help educate students on the arts and where they could take their talents.? A lot of students had no clue.? I wanted to help guide them in a direction that I didn’t have; I wanted to let them know that they were not alone and that thre are others out here that are seeking guidance as well. I always believed that creativity is a gift from God.? Technique can be taught, but creativity cannot. Therefore we MUST cultivate the creative potential among the youth before we become a dependent nation instead of a self-sufficient one.? We out- source our manufacturing, but let’s not outsource our creativity.
TNJ.com: How did you fund the start-up?
Abdul-Salaam: We fund our efforts through fundraising and donations; in the beginning, it was funded out of my pocket.
TNJ.com: Please tell me how your recent event in North Carolina went.
Scott Abdul-Salaam: ?Our 8th annual ScottCares Scholarship and Humanitarian awards Gala turned out amazing. The foundation was able to assist six students/families with scholarships to various colleges and universities throughout North Carolina.? These six students, along with four esteemed humanitarians from the local community, were recognized in June 2014. This year was a special year for us because we had been communicating with Dr. Maya Angelou in the hopes of recognizing her at our gala. Instead of honoring her, we mourned her.? Her funeral took place on the same day as the gala.? We had about 200-plus guests, and the weather couldn?t have been better.
TNJ.com: What is the mission of the nonprofit?
Abdul-Salaam: Our mission is: Embrace the Arts while teaching and promoting computer literacy and technology. ? And we have a global mission as well: One World, One Humanity.
TNJ.com: What are your goals this year?
Abdul-Salaam: Our short term goals for this fiscal year are simple: to continue to promote the mission of the organization by adding programs that will benefit the creative community; to continue to cultivate the creative potential in our students by mentoring; and design projects, and scholarship and internship opportunities at our camps. All of this cannot happen without gaining exposure and sharing our story with the world through partnerships like this. ?
TNJ.com: Long term goals?
Abdul-Salaam: Our long-term goals are to establish SC foundations in other areas of the country; continue with our international outreach; and have a freestanding facility to help students reach their potential.
TNJ.com: How and why did you start to do work in Africa?
Abdul-Salaam: Africa was birthed out of a conversation in a meeting.? I have always traveled for work, but I wanted to do more and create a connection between domestic students and their international brothers and sisters and show them that everything is possible. We are all just one click away from communication.? We have multicultural students that participate in our foundation, so we talked about how we could impact the world.? I love working with students because they see no boundaries. I challenged the SCF members from Ghana to go home over the break on a fact-finding mission and identify areas that run parallel with the mission and purpose of the foundation.? I asked them to bring this information back so that we can use it to move forward.? Now we have helped over 20 students in Africa, who would normally be working, to get an education.
TNJ.com: What kind of work do you do in Africa?
Abdul-Salaam: Our presence in Africa is primarily for support.? We are able to alleviate the financial burden to under- privileged families while rewarding the students with a future and an education.? Besides helping with education, we also try to mentor, teach art and technology, and inspire community development.
TNJ.com: What are some of the major challenges of running a nonprofit?
Abdul-Salaam: Major challenges we run into with running a non-profit are funding, support and telling our story. This work is meaningful.? At the end of the day, we want to inspire others to do good work and make the mission infectious.? I think if we could tell the story, we could get the funding and the support.
TNJ.com: Why do you love what you do?
Abdul-Salaam: I love young people. I love seeing the gift that these students have been blessed with.? I love being able to help a student or person or family reach their full potential.? But most of all, I feel that helping humanity is my responsibility while I?m on this Earth.