On December 14th, 2014 in the middle of a foul Midwest
winter, 20-year-old David Johnson woke up to two very nervous bank tellers on a
random park bench behind a local bank on the southside of Indianapolis. He was
being asked to leave the property because the bank was about to open. This was
not his first time David had woken up homeless… After contemplating suicide
multiple times, he had made his peace with living his life on the street.
Hopeless, but unbothered by toxic family and friends. 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 a young age through various youth programs, business ventures and had been active in his community since he was 13. However, when the storm in his life came, as it does us all, he thought he would know what to do if a serious situation arose. He was wrong… He 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 blessed to be 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 situations he found himself in.
With no clear plan in the beginning, David knew he wanted to find a way to help others avoid his situation. He set out to grow individuals 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 but eventually, he found the mission, and created Spring Oath. Spring Oath’s mission is to humanize 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.