On December 14th, 2014 in the middle of a foul Midwest
winter, 20-year-old David Johnson woke up on a random park bench on the southside of Indianapolis. Being asked by two anxious bank tellers, he had to leave the property because the bank was about to open. This was
not the first time David had experienced waking up homeless... Despite feeling hopeless and contemplating suicide multiple times, he made peace with living life on the streets. Hungry and with the
little reserves of energy he had left, he made his way to the bus stop with his
last dollar to reach some form of support. By the grace of God, he got support
and eventually found stable housing and a good job. Now he is on his way to
attaining his Ph.D. at IUPUI with great potential for his future.
Even though David was in a devastating situation and had nothing, he recognizes that the small door that opened for him to get a footing does not happen often for young adults in the same position. In addition, he had opportunities to learn skills at the young age of 13 through various youth programs, business ventures and being active in his community. When the storm brewed in his life, as it does to all, he thought he would know the actions to take if a serious situation arose. He was mistaken. David concluded that even with the opportunities and privileges he had as a young black man, life still happens. He imagined the state of hopelessness of those who were not exposed to the blessings he had. He believes that if he had a support system to help him, he would have been able to avoid the dire circumstances that he came upon.
With no clear plan in the beginning, David knew he wanted to find a way to help others avoid the situation he experienced. He set out to grow and build a system of support to destroy generational poverty and meet basic needs of individuals and families. In a lot of ways, he tried to build the bridge while he was crossing it. This journey led him to a powerful mission and creating Spring Oath. Spring Oath’s mission is to maximize community assets using philanthropic strategies. Communities have resources to help local community members but there are gaps, awareness issues, lack of access and availability to those resources among other barriers. David wishes to tear down those barriers and bridge the disconnect between community and community organizations. He has a vision to create a world where a person could walk out their door and know two or three people on their street that was knowledgeable about local community assets, able to access those assets and in partnership with them, able to create a strategic plan for the persons’ individual success.