07. A Factory of Lifelong Givers:Quality = Dignity
“One of the best things about the Cradles to Crayons model is the fact that it brings communities together to enhance the impact and build a collective generosity…”
Michal Smith is the Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia, an organization that provides children living in poverty with the basic essentials they need to thrive at home, at school and at play. Cradles to Crayons connects communities that have with those that need by engaging thousands of family, corporate and community volunteers to collect, sort and pack essential items such as clothing, shoes, school supplies, books, toys and baby supplies for children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations year-round. Under Smith’s leadership, Cradles to Crayons works to mitigate the effects of poverty by serving more than 300,000 children across the Greater Philadelphia region through a network of over 275 social service agencies, including homeless shelters, domestic violence centers and foster care, so children and families can have shoes that fit, diapers for newborns and warm coats in the winter. Prior to Cradles to Crayons, Smith was the director of development and communication at Project Forward Leap, an organization committed to closing the gaps of academic achievement and opportunities for promising inner-city students experiencing serious socio-economic barriers. After moving to the United States, she co-founded Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints, which became one of the nation’s leading large format fine art digital studios. She served as executive director for The Print Center in Philadelphia, where she advanced the Arts In Schools program noted for introducing inner-city children to art in all its forms. Smith, a native of the UK, is a graduate of London University and North London University, and holds a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr College. She is a former adjunct faculty member at the University of the Arts and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Main Line Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the boards of Child’s Work USA, Philadelphia and The Teacher’s Place. In 2013, SmartCEO Magazine recognized her with its Brava Award for top female CEOs. Favorite quote: "Leap and the net will appear. Life presents a series of opportunities disguised as impossible situations."