As we launch season two of The SunDaze Journey Podcast (be sure to listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, Amazon Music or iHeartRadio!), we thought it would be fun to bring you some bonus content on our blog as well.
This new installment of the podcast will feature meaningful conversations with unique, diverse, inspirational voices who are charting bold, beautiful journeys and leaving a mark in their fields of expertise. So we want to introduce you to the guests you’ll hear from this season with a series of Q&A Spotlight interviews to accompany each podcast episode.
Today we are over the moon for you to meet the incomparable Mallorye Crowell, founder of the nonprofit Higher Foundation. This organization exists to make a college education more accessible to students across the state of Georgia with services like financial grants to afford textbooks, school supplies and basic living expenses; merit-based scholarships to cover tuition and other campus fees; and mentorship programs for academic success and future career growth.
The SunDaze Journey: These last couple of years have been stressful to say the least. What are a few practices that you’ve found to be restorative and beneficial for your own mental, emotional and physical well-being in the midst of these circumstances?
Mallorye Crowell: My relationship with God is the sustaining power I need to walk through adversity and trials. Ministry and a strong prayer life keep me grounded, both mentally and emotionally. My physical practices were not strong before COVID-19, and they became even weaker last year while sitting at home with a house full of snacks! But recently, I started walking in my new neighborhood four or five times a week. This exercise regimen has helped turn my physical health around, and I’ve become more well-rounded.
TSJ: What is the single most powerful and influential piece of advice that has ever been shared with you, either personally or professionally? Who did this advice come from, and how has it changed or impacted your life?
MC: You will be surprised by my answer. I used to think humility meant not behaving in a way that was arrogant or boastful of my accomplishments—until I got into ministry. Then I learned that humility is all about placing myself in a lower position than others, just like Jesus made himself lowly on the cross. He humbled himself to the will of God, and although he could have gotten up, he stayed there for the sake of you and me. When I first started in ministry, I was not humble. My Pastor told me to work on humility, or this would hinder my future. It took me a while, but I finally understood. Now, I pray for God to keep me humble on a daily basis because only the humble will be exalted. Humility will take us far, but arrogance and self-righteousness will close every open door.
TSJ: Based on your own lived experience, what is one particular lesson or insight that you would pass on to someone who is coming up behind you?
MC: Stay focused! I might be too focused because all I do is work, but I would much rather work hard right now and enjoy the latter years to come than vice versa. Parties, wild weekends, toxic relationships, and social media fame are not worth compromising your future. Join a solid church community, give your life to God, and follow His plan. I have lived this out, and it keeps working for me!
TSJ: What do you consider to be the most difficult challenge and the most substantial reward of building a nonprofit foundation from scratch?
MC: The hardest part of starting a nonprofit is to convince the community of the mission and to secure the funding for it. This is difficult, but like anything, you have to just keep at it because the reward comes when it works. Higher Foundation is in year three, and we are just now reaching a place where we have a grant writer, financial advisor, endowment fund and increasing donor list. We’re still growing, but the hard work I invested in previous years has pushed Higher to where it is now, financially speaking. And there is more to come!
TSJ: Are there any books you’re reading, podcasts you’re listening to, or leaders you’re following that are instrumental in your personal growth at the moment?
MC: This is actually a great question, and it lines up with the work I do to secure funding for our mission. I just bought a new book called 7 Nonprofit Income Streams by Karen Eber Davis. I can’t wait to read it and learn more. The goal to increase our funding is my number one focus right now because I want to work for Higher Foundation full-time. If I built Higher in three years to its current level on a part-time basis, then imagine what I could do in another three years if I could give it all my time and attention!
TSJ: As someone who is actively committed to numerous ventures—a full-time career, an expanding nonprofit and a ministry role—are there any scheduling hacks you use to optimize time management on a given workday?
MC: I just created a schedule last week to designate workdays, hours for ministry and Higher, so I am more balanced. I honestly have a great memory, so my mind is my to-do list and agenda. It has worked for me this long, but I am trying to make myself stick to a schedule, so I do not work too much. I don’t have high hopes for this new routine, but we will see! LOL I love working, so it does not burden me. However, I do believe in burnout, so having a set schedule for working hours helps in the long run. Other than that, no hacks. Passion and prayer really does guide me and fuel me.
TSJ: Do you find it necessary to relax, unplug or decompress in the evening after a full, active day on the job? And if so, what’s your favorite method of relaxation?
MC: I have designated Friday as my relaxation time since college. I do not work on Fridays at all. I usually eat a nice dinner, drink some wine and watch a movie. I love being at home, so this Friday routine with a candle and blanket is what I look forward to every week! Other than that, I do love massages and acupuncture, but my favorite place is only open on Monday through Friday, from 9–6 PM, which conflicts with my work schedule. I would like to have treatments more often, so I might need to find a new place.
TSJ: If you could travel anywhere on earth (taking COVID safety measures into account, of course!), where would you choose to visit and why? Or if you’ve been to this place already, what made it such a meaningful destination?
MC: I actually hate traveling because it’s such a burden to pack, plan the itinerary, get on a plane, check in and out of a hotel…the steps go on and on. However, I do want to visit Jamaica because I love the cuisine. I would love to eat real Jamaican food right on the island. Other than Jamaica, I don’t want to travel anywhere else. I love being at home.
TSJ: We’re all about celebrating new steps in the journey here on this platform. So is there any major milestone, career development or passion project you have in the works that you’re excited about and want to share?
MC: The next milestone I want to accomplish is working full-time for Higher Foundation. This would give me more time to be in the community and do what I’m passionate about. I love engineering and my professional career, but I want to focus more on what God has called me to do. That would bring me so much joy!
TSJ: Finally, what are three adjectives that you would use to describe yourself and the path you have walked to become who you are right now?
MC: Passionate, tenacious, and God-fearing.
Connect with Mallorye Crowell’s work at HigherFoundation.org and consider donating to her mission to help college students afford their education. You can also follow along on social media via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn.
*Some answers were edited for length or clarity.*