“Every mickle mek a muckle”
Explanation-Every little bit adds up.
– Jamaican Proverb
President D. Kwayera Archer-Cunningham
Kwayera is a successful non-profit administrator and coach specializing in community and organizational development/evaluation, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship with over 25 years of experience as a nonprofit leader as the Founder and President Emerita of Ifetayo, an award winning New York based nonprofit and 35 years of experience in the arts through her first love as a former professional modern and ballet dancer.
Since 1989, under Kwayera’s leadership as CEO, Ifetayo has grown from providing ten students with free classes to serving over 2,000 students and 5,000 community members annually through six integrated arts, culture and education programs. She increased the organization’s capacity from one teacher with a minute budget to 10 full-time staff members, 33 part-time faculty members and organized a 19 member Board of Directors. In 2014, she resigned from Ifetayo to bring her skills home to Jamaica and the broader region, leaving the organization equipped with an annual multimillion dollar budget and a steadily growing cash reserve, as well as nationally recognized programs, management and evaluation systems.
During her tenure, she raised more than $40 million in support of programs, capacity building, and operations. Kwayera has designed and led organizational development workshops including the U.S. Department of State – Office of International Visitors for the Bureau of Education for organizations from 25 countries. Through design of programs, conferences and trainings for non-profit leaders and communities, she enabled youth and families to gain heightened self-awareness and confidence, improved health and wellness, increased financial knowledge, and academic success to the benefit of both themselves and the communities in which they serve and reside. Most notably, Kwayera created an internationally recognized Rites of Passage Program for adolescents and families, with a unique component dedicated to economic development in underserved communities, which is being formally evaluated for broader replication.
Working for Social Change
Kwayera’s vision has led her work to becoming a model for community sustainability in indigenous cultures, utilizing best practices in nonprofit management and unique programming that contributes to the overall well-being of communities they serve. Her dedication to youth, family, and communities across the Diaspora has led to thriving partnerships with established institutions globally and today has positioned Kwayera as an international thought leader on community transformation.
Kwayera holds a Master’s of Science in Community Economic Development, with a focus in community organizing and a Masters of Arts in Nonprofit Management from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a graduate of Columbia Business School’s Institute for Nonprofit Management Executive Level Graduate Training program. She also holds many field related certificates and honors. Kwayera has been extensively recognized for her service to the community through local, national, and international awards for management, governance, arts, culture, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship.
For a sample listing of awards, recognitions and publications please see awards and recognitions section. Before moving home to the Caribbean, Kwayera served on several nonprofit board of directors in the USA, was a multiyear appointed panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, a panelist for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and a trustee of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. In addition to focusing on her new firm Global Ase, today Kwayera also advises several philanthropic foundations and non-profit organizations and their leaders in the United States, Africa and Brazil on best practices for building, leading and sustaining non-profit/non-governmental organizations.