Story by Rochelle Dunbar. Photos by Hunter Lacey.
For Roselle Tenorio, giving back in the same way she was given to as a child, propelled her towards her career as Grants Coordinator at Texas Women’s Foundation.
Roselle grew up in a very low income neighborhood where she always volunteered. It was family tradition for her. In high school she started a Venturing crew through the Boy Scouts of America, focused on student mentoring and volunteer opportunities. Roselle was awarded a scholarship from a nonprofit to go on to college, where she studied Sociology and Gender studies.
“Once I got to college,” she said “I realized, I can do this as a career too. I can give back in the same way that has been given to me while growing up.” It was then she started to look into how to build a career out of nonprofit work. “But that was something that my family didn’t know about.” she said. “My dad printed shirts and my mom was a bookkeeper.”
Roselle’s grant writing began in her senior year of college during the season she volunteered at a community action center. Her very first grant targeted a need for a food pantry in an area where transportation was difficult. It won approval, and the funding that followed launched Roselle’s success.
In pursuit of this career, Roselle joined the Americorps Vista program in Savannah, Georgia where she focused on both education and nonprofits. Although she gained valuable experience in the position in Georgia, it was not long before she returned to Dallas to seek further opportunities.
Roselle began grants and fundraising work with Los Barridos Unidos Community Clinic. However, not long after working in that position, another opportunity opened up at the Texas Women’s Foundation. At the Texas Women’s Foundation, she found a home. She is now the Grants and Programs Coordinator. In her position, she assists people as they apply for grants.
“It’s really great” she says “because I’ve been on the other side of applying and needing to know what to do. So I try to make the process easy for people and try to ensure the funding goes where people need it most.”
When asking about her biggest motivation or inspiration she said “It’s two things. My inspiration comes from my childhood.” For Roselle, she noticed as a child that other families didn’t volunteer together or organize community events. It wasn’t until after college Roselle realized she missed volunteering—which had been a huge part of her life. “Sometimes when you’re too close to things I think you don’t realize that you need them and what they provide for your life.”
A secondary inspiration for Roselle in her work is continuing gratitude for the opportunities she has. She is determined to help others access the same opportunities.
When asked about her biggest challenge she states that it is making decisions. “I grew up very low income,” she explained, “And now I’m in a certain position that definitely has some power to make some decisions or be a part of some decisions. So now being on that other side of things where decisions are being made that do affect people and community has been the hardest part.”
When asked about her favorite thing about Dallas she mentioned that it was the fact that Dallas has a lot to offer and those opportunities are growing. “Dallas to me has always felt small but it is a big city, like I didn’t even realize Dallas was a big city until I moved to a small town.”
Right now Roselle looks forward to volunteering with the with Junior Players Young Professionals Committee. “Its really cool being on the other side of the performance.” she said, remembering how she used to dance the traditional Mexican dance folklorico. Roselle also volunteers with Hispanics Women’s Network, by mentoring and helping students prepare to apply to higher education.
Along with all of her volunteer work, her career trajectory is focused on making good work possible in Texas. “My position at Texas Women’s Foundation is still a little new,” she added “So I’m just excited for that to keep that work going.”
To learn more about Texas Women’s Foundation and their annual luncheon on November 14, you can visit their website.
If you know someone who is Doing Good in Dallas, we’d love to hear about it! Share their story with us.