The Family Promise Good Neighbor Award highlights Family Promise Affiliate staff members who are doing exceptional work in their communities.
When Cordell Rolle first started volunteering for Family Promise of Brevard (FL), he never would have guessed how instrumental the organization would be in his life. Following a stint in the Navy, he started with the Affiliate in 2014 serving as the office’s IT support. Not long after, Rolle was brought on full-time and eventually worked his way up to the board in 2016, then board chair in 2018.
“I was volunteering at a bunch of different places at the time, but Family Promise was the first nonprofit to give me the opportunity to be on the board,” Rolle said. “Family Promise embodied everything that I valued in life and gave me the platform where I could really be a leader. So, I ran with it.”
Of the many initiatives Rolle led during his tenure on the board, the biggest goal the Affiliate achieved was expanding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds, which is how Family Promise of Brevard funds most of their programs and housing.
“TANF funds are not easy to come by in any state,” Rolle said. “Our whole team worked tirelessly to successfully highlight why we needed it in our county and what we could do with it. It was amazing to be a part of.”
Another initiative, an event called “Box City” which asked folks to spend the night in a cardboard box to raise awareness of homelessness, was not executing as well as staff had hoped. As board chair, Rolle made the decision to pivot to a different type of event in the form of a 5K race. They called it the Emerald City 5K and assumed the messaging of the iconic film, The Wizard of Oz.
“The Wizard of Oz theme and subtheme of ‘there’s no place like home’ resonated more with our community,” Rolle said. “One year I showed up in a lion suit and ran the 5K in it. People loved it.”
Because of Rolle’s leadership and guidance, Family Promise of Brevard held its sixth Emerald City 5K this past year, bringing in contributions that help fund the Affiliate’s services and resources for families experiencing homelessness to put themselves on a path towards long-term housing stability.
Though Rolle’s time on Family Promise of Brevard’s board ended in 2021, he still maintains a strong relationship with the Affiliate. Today, he is the founder and CEO of his own software development company, Rolle IT. He attributes much of his success to Family Promise.
“Family Promise was truly a spark in my life,” Rolle said. “During my time there, I was so inspired by what the organization was doing to create a proper pipeline to help families get out of poverty. Family Promise really gave me the drive to be where I am today.”
Rolle’s Family Promise experience truly came full circle when Family Promise of Brevard recently signed on as a client for Rolle IT’s IT services. Rolle IT is also now the main sponsor for the Emerald City 5K. His significant impact on Family Promise of Brevard through the years and continued support of the organization is why Rolle receives this month’s Good Neighbor Award.
By Kacie Ricciotti