Haven Morris is the Founder & President of It’s Okay Campaign, Inc, a nonprofit organization that promotes positive mental health within women of color.
Here is what Haven had to say when we asked her about founding a nonprofit:
GenHERation®: What is It’s Okay Campaign, Inc?
Haven Morris: It’s Okay Campaign, Inc is a nonprofit organization that promotes positive mental health within women of color. We are a mental health campaign that helps women understand that it is okay to feel and/or look a certain way. As women, we tend to not want to look weak to others. We don’t want to look as if we don’t have everything together. Our minds have been programmed to always have to fix things and heal quicker than others. This may lead to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Whether we realize it or not, it is hard for us to come to terms with being okay with not having it all together. It’s Okay Campaign, Inc is a movement to show that we all have insecurities, faults, weak moments, and so many more things we may hide. We aim to host various events throughout the year to support and bring women together. Our mission is to provide a safe space for women who look like us. In our vulnerability lies our strength.
GenHERation®: Why were you inspired to start It’s Okay Campaign, Inc?
Morris: I was inspired to start It’s Okay Campaign, Inc because of my upbringing. Both my mother and grandmother raised me to never be afraid to ask for help. They taught me that it is okay to show love and support to other women. I was inspired because of the strong and successful women around me. I knew that even though they were succeeding at life, they still had troubles, and I wanted to remind them that it’s okay, we all do!
GenHERation®: If you want to start a nonprofit, what are the first steps you should take?
Morris: The first step to take if you want to start a nonprofit is to do your research. It is so important to know what you are getting yourself into. Owning a business takes a lot of dedication and passion, and starting and maintaining a nonprofit takes double the dedication and passion. Nonprofit work sometimes has little to no return, and being able to continue takes drive and determination.
GenHERation®: What is the most challenging aspect of running a nonprofit?
Morris: The most challenging aspect of running a nonprofit is funding. We have some amazing supporters who donate their time and money. We really appreciate them, and we wouldn’t be where we are without our supporters, but just as we have money coming in, there’s a lot that goes out. Maintaining consistent funding is challenging and can sometimes be discouraging. Knowing that is one of the most challenging aspects of running a nonprofit. However, we have found creative ways to gain more sponsorships and donations.
GenHERation®: How have you built a support system to help you navigate your personal and professional journeys?
Morris: I have built a support system to help me navigate my personal and professional journeys by selecting board members and general members who love the organization just as much as I do. They want to see It’s Okay Campaign succeed, so they put in the work to make it happen. I have consciously made the decision to keep my personal and professional journeys separate, and my team understands that. With them and their support, I am able to have good work-life balance.
GenHERation®: What are three actions you can take to improve your mental wellbeing?
Morris: One, go to therapy. I am a huge advocate for therapy. I think it is so beneficial to talk with a professional in order to get the correct help you may need. Two, practice self-care. Exercise, have a healthy diet, meditate, and pamper yourself. It is important to show yourself love. In order to truly love others and to allow others to truly love us, we must love ourselves first. Three, journal. Journaling is one of my favorite mental health practices. It allows you to visualize your goals, your growth, and the actions you want to put in place.
GenHERation®: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Morris: I think about this question often, and I would tell my younger self to actively live in your purpose and to not give up. I would tell my younger self that life goes on whether I am living out my dreams or not, so why not just live them? This may sound so cliché, but just go for it! The worst that can happen is that you didn’t try, and the best thing that WILL happen is you succeeded at believing in yourself.
Haven Morris is the Founder & President of It’s Okay Campaign, Inc, a nonprofit organization that promotes positive mental health within women of color. Haven founded It’s Okay Campaign, Inc with the vision and drive to bring black women together for the greater good. She aims to make It’s Okay Campaign, Inc a safe place for all black women. Haven received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia.