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Published on October 31st, 2017 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Karen Alexander Receives Governor’s Awards in the Humanities

Pictured Karen Alexander, center, Dr. Dixie Goswami and Dr. Vernon Burton.

Karen Alexander is the CEO of the Columbia-based Auntie Karen Foundation. This global nonprofit’s mission is to “empower, enlighten and educate through the arts.” Alexander established the foundation in 2001. Since then, she has used her experience and talent to build the impact of the foundation. Her creations and events include Auntie Karen’s Young Entrepreneur’s Conference, Gordon’s Garden, Olivia the Octopus, Auntie Karen’s “Legends of” Concert Series, and Auntie Karen’s Black History Museum Celebration. It is Alexander’s love for the arts that inspired her to leave her corporate position with Xerox Corporation to offer something different. And the programs offered by the Auntie Karen Foundation do that with outstanding help from volunteers, sponsors, community support and independent contractors.

Established in 1991, the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities recognize outstanding achievement in humanities research, teaching, and scholarship; institutional and individual participation in helping communities in South Carolina better understand our cultural heritage or ideas and issues related to the humanities; excellence defining South Carolina’s cultural life to the nation or world; and exemplary support for public humanities programs.

2017 Award Winners

The Auntie Karen Foundation, Karen Alexander

Dr. Vernon Burton

Dr. Dixie Goswami

The Hon. Betty Jo Rhea

Karen Alexander’s SC Humanities Governor’s Award Acceptance Speech 

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

My journey began on August 6, 2001. The day I left my amazing Sales position at Xerox and stepped out on faith. Prior to saying goodbye to my Xerox family, I had prayer with my pastor, Charles B. Jackson, Sr.. During our time, together he called this my ministry, my purpose.

The hardest part about this journey was deciding to take that first step. But once, I stepped out on faith, like Dorothy on her way to Oz, I attracted the right people who helped and continue to help bring these dreams to life. Together we became members of The Auntie Karen Family. This family includes my 22-year partner, Byron Counts, The Auntie Karen Foundation Board members, Auntie Karen Committee Members, Volunteers, Sponsors, Spiritual Leaders, Prayer Partners, Friends and Family.

A few of those members are here today. (I’d like for them to please stand and remain standing).

This faith walk has allowed us to have an impact not only in South Carolina but across the globe. From bringing arts to youth in rural and urban communities, to giving hugs to kids across 5 continents. The Auntie Karen Foundation is blessed to be of service.

One of my favorite ways to close my prayers is to say: “God allow us to be a beacon of light so that when people see us, they see the God in us”. I would like to thank Scot Hockman for seeing that light and recommending our efforts for this honor.

On behalf of The Auntie Karen Family, I would like to thank Governor Henry McMaster and the SC Humanities Council for recognizing The Auntie Karen Foundation. It is our hope that we continue to attract the right resources for our efforts to carry on our mission to empower, enlighten and educate the citizens of South Carolina and youth across the globe. Again, thank you for this honor!!!

 

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