Brian loves to take photographs. His ambition to become a professional photographer got a big boost when the now 13-year-old got involved with Branding Englewood. The nonprofit offers mentoring with an emphasis on entrepreneurship by helping teens and young adults start businesses in creative fields, such as writing, music production and screen printing. 

Corie Luckett, founder and president of Branding Englewood, invited Brian to be a vendor at the group’s fall festival last year, where he snapped photos that he arranged in picture frames or attached to keychains. He earned about $200 that day, tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit that he hopes to develop as an adult. 

Through Branding Englewood, Brian met professional photographers who now serve as mentors. He was invited to observe the shooting of a digital concert and offered paid assignments by another nonprofit. If it wasn’t for his experiences with Branding Englewood, Brian says he would never have known about the opportunities he can now explore. He plans to apply to the Chicago High School for the Arts so he can focus on photography. 

Brian’s mother, Sharaye Baugh, has been thrilled to see him blossom over the last year. Without Branding Englewood, “we wouldn’t be where we are now with all of the things that he’s done,” she says. “Having opportunities to go to a place like a horse ranch and take pictures is helping him develop his portfolio to eventually get into an arts school to develop his skills even more.” 

“They told me to follow my passions. They are even helping me form my own LLC.”

Brian Small

Brian’s voice speeds up as he talks excitedly about his future and the role of Branding Englewood in helping to shape it. “It changed my life,” he says. “They told me to follow my passions. They are even helping me form my own LLC (limited liability company).” He’s also learning new skills, such as photo editing.

Not everyone has an equal shot at the American Dream. Fortunately, there are dedicated people across Chicagoland who are committed to making sure every child and family has opportunities to achieve their goals. With your support, we can create new possibilities and help make countless dreams come true. With support from donors like you, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation invests in organizations on Chicago’s South and West sides improving the lives of children and families each and every day.