My Origin Story: Raymar Hampshire, Partner
I grew up in the small blue-collar town of Lima, Ohio. I attended Wittenberg University with the help of a Pell grant and scholarships. I graduated with a degree in Business Management and shortly after started my career as a wealth manager at Merrill Lynch. My clients ranged from corporate executives and small business owners to parents investing in college savings plans for their children. My clients enjoyed life unconstrained by financial needs, but I couldn’t say the same about myself – nor many other people that I grew up with and knew during that time. As time went on, I was increasingly dissatisfied with growing the bounty of those who already had plenty. My personal mission became removing the economic obstacles that stand in the way for so many people between potential and opportunity.
I left Merrill Lynch to pursue this mission and joined the Coro Fellows Program, a nine month experiential learning program in public affairs. Over the course of those nine months, I learned first-hand how systems operate and work together to either perpetuate societal problems or create social impact. I had the unique opportunity to work across all sectors, collaborating with community leaders, corporate CEOs, economic development organizations, and philanthropic stakeholders. I saw how creating social impact often takes collective action across all sectors.
After Coro, I launched my first venture that I had incubated as a Fellow. I received a modest seed award and partnered with a Pittsburgh volunteer matching organization to formally launch SponsorChange - a platform to reward volunteerism with crowdfunded student loan payments.I wouldn’t have been able to commit to full-time public service, if it wasn’t for programs like Coro and AmeriCorps that provided me a living stipend. My vision was for SponsorChange to serve as an extension of those programs – the first private marketplace where volunteers could receive a modest financial incentive to help address their barriers to service. After my fellowship program, I enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University to pursue a Master in Public Policy and Management with a focus on social innovation. My program provided an opportunity to interact and build relationships with policy students exploring an array of policy issues. I also met and recruited my CTO, a fellow student in the Information Systems program. Since then, SponsorChange has grown to more than 70,000 users, facilitated thousands of hours of volunteer service, and paid down more than $50,000 in student loan payments.
I would go on to continue exploring social impact as a technology consultant for leading firms like Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte. As a consultant, I helped large federal agency clients design and implement systems to better collect, manage, and make sense of operational and program data. I worked with a range of major clients – the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Postal Service, the State Department, and many others.
After nearly 5 years, I was ready to bring all of my professional experiences together to address racial equity - still the root of many of our society’s ills. I joined My Brother’s Keeper Alliance as Deputy Director of National Programs. MBK is a flagship program under the umbrella of the Obama Foundation, born out of the 44th President’s challenge to ensure that all boys and young men of color have equal opportunity to achieve their full potential. In this role, I worked on a number of initiatives to foster connections, strengthen data collection and reporting, and support emerging entrepreneurs of color. I was part of the team that transitioned MBK into the Obama Foundation, where it rightfully belonged and where it continues to thrive today.
For me, this work ultimately laid the roots for Generation Titans – a concept born out of the collective action work that our team was fostering in many communities throughout the country. My philosophy was - and remains - that community stakeholders understand their problems and are best suited to develop solutions—including what it takes to strengthen ecosystems for entrepreneurs of color.