International Poverty Forum, Inc.
Founder & CEO
Eslene Richmond-Shockley is a shining example of faith, perseverance and strength. As the Founder & CEO of both Caring For Others and the International Poverty Forum, she has dedicated her life to helping others. Affectionately known as “Mama Shockley,” she has been recognized with countless accolades, including being recognized with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest and most prestigious level of volunteer service in America.
Celebrating its 25th year of operation, Caring For Others is committed to giving those in need a chance to live with dignity by restoring hope and providing the tools and resources required to break the cycle of poverty and, ultimately, sustain an overall improved quality of life. To date, the 501(c)3 has provided assistance to more than 35,000 individuals and given away more than $20M of in-kind goods and services.
The International Poverty Forum (IPF) promotes a shared understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and identifies strategies for reducing poverty and inequality. IPF is a solutions-driven “think tank” of the best and brightest minds addressing the issue of global poverty. Its Micro Economic Community Empowerment centers provide ongoing support for life skills, education and job training for employment opportunities indigenous to the region.
Back in 1994, with a health scare and a calling from above, Richmond-Shockley reconsidered the purpose of her life. She decided to quit her 15-year career at MCI Telecommunications to focus on helping those in need.
A native of Guyana, South America, she grew up with her grandmother in the Nabaclis Village on the East Coast. Richmond-Shockley’s parents and grandparents instilled in her a strong Christian faith. While she recalls growing up poor, memories of her childhood are rich with endless words of encouragement she received from her grandmother. Richmond-Shockley set out at an early age to be her best in spite of their financial situation. She experienced devastating heartache when she lost her loving mother and grandmother in the same year, and her father two years later. In order to have a chance at better opportunities and support her brother and sister, Richmond-Shockley decided to move to the U.S. for better opportunities.
She considered several options including dental school and business school, but she couldn’t afford to attend either and ended up studying International Economic and Finance at Southeastern University. Eventually, she earned an opportunity at her “dream” job with MCI Telecommunications. She thrived at MCI, climbing up the corporate ladder and reaping the rewards of her dedication and focus prior to the health scare that changed the course of her life and the lives of so many.
She became Guyana’s Attaché for the 1996 Olympics. In November 1999, Eslene was invited to the White House for a Roundtable Dialogue on the state of Caribbean American Politics; Caribbean Economic Development; Economic Empowerment and Trade. She helped plan a joint program with Dodd-Sterling United Methodist Church to organize the first Community Holiday Giving event. It was this event, confirmed by a vivid dream that she had in which God told her to “feed my sheep,” that gave birth to the development of the infrastructure for Caring For Others.
In 1999, with $25 and a calling from above, she founded Caring For Others. She began by renting a small portion of a warehouse for three months at the cost of $1. Since its humble beginnings, Caring For Others has grown to purchase that building, the surrounding property and built additional structures.
Richmond-Shockley is a testament to God’s love. She impacts lives every day with her selfless commitment with the unflappable belief that “if you keep your hands closed to giving then you cannot receive what God has promised for you.”