No matter how far we go in life, we never forget where we came from. This is one of the many philosophies of businesswoman Jesseca Dupart, Founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products and Kaleidoscope Kares, the beauty company’s philanthropic arm. And this holiday season, Dupart is giving back to the community that shaped her.
Through Kaleidoscope Kares and the #WhatsHot: Bridge the Digital Divide Charitable Initiative, Dupart has pledged $50,000 to connect New Orleans girls of color with the digital education resources they need to continue distanced learning during COVID-19.
“I grew up and started my career in New Orleans,” says Dupart. “Throughout my career I have donated to several businesses based in New Orleans, so I jumped at the opportunity to empower young girls as they are struggling during this virtual school year. I have always loved giving back to the community.”
During the pandemic, most schools have gone mostly or fully remote, causing a steep learning curve for families all over the country. This has impacted underserved communities harder than others, with communities of color in particular suffering the most.
“40% of minority homes do not have WiFi to do their homework – we are here to help bridge the digital divide,” says Dupart. :Through my contributions on behalf of Kaleidoscope Kares, these young women will have critical necessary steps to have a successful school year, in spite of the COVID pandemic.”
In addition to the 40% of families of color in New Orleans without reliable access to the Internet, 45% of students of color are forced to complete their homework on a mobile device.
“I’m honored to partner with the Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Office for the What’s Hot #BridgetheDivide program,” says Dupart. “When you invest in girls, you invest in the future of the world. There are so many smart, talented girls of color who just need the access to turn their ambition into action. My path wasn’t traditional, but if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Dupart’s donation to the City of New Orleans will provide free WiFi to eight recreational community center learning hubs throughout the city. Each of these community centers serves 8,000 or more residents per month, roughly a quarter of the city’s population. In the face of COVID-19, these centers have become even more important than ever, offering reliable internet connections for children — particularly children from underserved communities in the area — to continue their schooling at a distance.
“We appreciate Jesseca Dupart and Kaleidoscope Kares’ donation to the City of New Orleans,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell at a November 12 press conference. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the city’s digital divide, especially during what often has been a ‘virtual school year,’ and families adjusting to a new learning curve. Partnerships like this help our Office of Youth and Families and NORD facilities as they work to bridge that divide.”
In addition to the Internet hubs, Dupart’s $50,000 donation goes toward the facilitation of confidence and goal-setting e-workshops for girls of color in New Orleans. Called THRIVE!, the program serves girls ages 12-17 with mentorship, encouragement, and inspiration.
Inspired in part by Dupart’s “Judy Dropping Knowledge” motivational tour, the THRIVE! workshops offer confidence-building exercises and motivation to girls of color in the New Orleans area.
“Other foundations and corporations should invest in women and girls — particularly women and girls of color — because they’ll know they are investing in something and someone that can one day change the world,” says Dupart. “It’s very gratifying.”
“Since starting my businesses in 2014, I have always made in a point to donate and give back, even as a small business,” she adds. “I hope that more organizations realize that they can make an impact through purposeful cause marketing. At Kaleidoscope Kares, we relish in being able to impact so many lives. I hope that more organizations will be inspired to do the same. When we uplift girls, we uplift communities and society at large.”
Ultimately, Dupart’s funding is just the start of something bigger. She encourages other funders to take action to support women and girls of color — and for good reason.
“As evident across the world, women of color are shattering glass ceilings daily,” Dupart says. “Why not be a part of that?”
About Jesseca Dupart: Jesseca Dupart, Founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products and Kaleidoscope Kares, 501(c)(3) inspires others to exceed their wildest expectations. In the past, she has earned a Guinness Book of World Record for giving away the most toys in one hour (5,000), breaking China’s record of 3,000. Dupart has been featured on NBC’s Today Show and her exemplary work has been recognized by tech giant Google for being a part of their Economic Impact Initiative.