After losing a family member who was a domestic violence victim, financial services consultant Keith H. Burgess, 48, founded a nonprofit educational group in Uniondale to empower domestic violence survivors through financial literacy classes. The group also serves youths and hearing-impaired adults.
Since its inception in 2012, The Dollicia F. Holloway Memorial Foundation has expanded to provide advocacy resources and scholarships. To date, it has served 233 people.
The foundation was named in memory of Burgess' aunt and godmother, Dollicia F. Holloway, a model and domestic violence victim who died after a car accident in 1971 at age 26. Shortly after Burgess founded the group with his cousin Diane Parker, Parker was killed by her estranged husband in February 2013. Burgess, whose firm, Hidden MANNA Consultants Inc. in Uniondale, assists low-income families, organized fundraisers to help bury Parker.
What are your responsibilities with the foundation?
As chief executive, I help create effective youth development programs through financial literacy classes and after-school and youth-mentoring initiatives. I also advocate for adults living with hearing impairment and for domestic violence survivors by bringing awareness and providing educational programs.
Tell me about your aunt.
She was an entrepreneur and a domestic violence victim. She was a legal secretary who also modeled for Jet magazine. She was killed in an automobile accident New Year's Day 1971. After the accident, her husband refused to cash out her insurance policy to bury her. At the time of the accident, the autopsy showed she had bruises that were not related to the accident and she had been a victim of domestic violence. She was nine months pregnant when she died.
Why do you focus on financial literacy?
There are a lot of victims of domestic violence who have nowhere to go. We're not able to help everyone who comes through our organization, but we try to provide the tools. We teach them about banking, debt elimination and consolidation, and how to maintain a household. Most domestic violence victims suffer financial abuse, like not having cash or access to bank or credit card accounts.
What other services do you provide to domestic violence survivors?
We make them fill out a questionnaire. We check their background and determine their need, such as a safe house, protective order or family court. We refer them to legal counseling. We have a partnership with a law firm that provides services and free wills for survivors.
What kind of youth programs do you have?
We offer low-income or no-income youths between the ages of 10 and 17 an opportunity to better their education and become economically empowered. We want to show them the importance of saving at an early age so they don't go to their next level of education unprepared.
How do you serve adults with hearing impairments and why do you advocate for them?
We offer them the same financial literacy training. We help them find alternative funding methods to get the money to buy hearing aids. My wife, Altanya Gerald-Burgess, is hearing-impaired, so I am passionate about helping those who have poor hearing.
NAME: Keith H. Burgess, chief executive of Dollicia F. Holloway Memorial Foundation in Uniondale
WHAT IT DOES: Provides educational and financial resources to survivors of domestic violence, as well as hearing-impaired adults, and youths.
STAFF: Five volunteers