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Niecy Nash Talks Philanthropy Roots and Current Causes

Following the tragic shooting death of Nash’s 17-year-old brother, Michael Ensley in 1993, Nash’s mother, Margaret, founded Mothers Against Violence in Schools (or Mavis) as a way to cope with her grief and to educate the public on violence prevention in schools. Nash helped run that organization for years until Ensley retired it, but that isn’t the only charity to which the actress has given her time. Nash has a history of working with many worldwide organizations, from Dress for Success and the American Cancer Society to those tackling issues surrounding domestic abuse and the prevention and awareness of HIV/AIDS.

“If I am available and I can lend my voice, my celebrity, my time, or be there in any way to help, I’m there,” she says. “Charity is seeing a lady standing outside with no shoes on and pulling over, popping my trunk and giving her the shoes in my car. Charity is something you can do every day.”

These days an organization near and dear to her heart is the Amazing Grace Conservatory, an inter-city performing arts program run by friend and fellow actor Wendy Raquel Robinson.

“These babies are so talented and the work that they put out — some of it you could see being on Broadway,” she says. “How did these kids get to this level? How does this happen? Some of these kids come from places where people say, ‘Man nothing good is going to come out of this community.’ So I love the fact that through the arts for young people there’s an outlet and a place for them to go that they may not have gotten to you if it weren’t for Amazing Grace.”

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