Black History Month: Learn from our past, invest in our future | Opinion

This year, I am honored to serve as board chair for the Community Foundation of Broward — a wonderful organization that for nearly 40 years has transformed our community through the power of local philanthropy.

I am also pleased to be the first Black woman to serve as chair of the Community Foundation’s impressive board of local executives and community leaders. Thanks to the progress our community is making, I will not be the last.


As we recognize Black History Month, it is also the ideal time to celebrate the successes that we have seen in our nation and within our own community while identifying opportunities to chart a better way forward so that everyone has a fair chance to reach their full potential.

The new L.A. Lee YMCA/Mizell Community Center, which opened last year on Fort Lauderdale’s historic Sistrunk Boulevard, is a powerful example of how we can honor the past and shape a brighter future.


This dazzling new facility rises from the site of the former Provident Hospital, opened decades ago by local Black leaders to provide much-needed medical care at a time when Black people lacked other options.

Juliet Murphy Roulhac is the director of corporate philanthropy and community engagement for Florida Power & Light Company.

Today, the new YMCA and community center brings after-school programs, swim lessons, exercise facilities, adult education programs, arts exhibits, performances and more to help lift up a neighborhood that has long struggled with disproportionate unemployment and other challenges. This new facility is opening doors to new opportunities that help make life better for all in our community. And near the entrance, visitors will find a display that tells the story about the life-saving, empowering role Provident Hospital played in Fort Lauderdale’s history.

I’m thrilled that a $1 million Community Foundation grant helped support the completion of this new community treasure. Local philanthropy plays a critical role in fueling innovative opportunities like this to make our community a better place to call home. Philanthropy is an investment in helping our community achieve its full potential — to become a place where everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

That’s why I agreed to serve on the Community Foundation’s board. That’s also why I am a donor who partners with the Community Foundation to make the most of my local philanthropy. And that’s why as board chair I’m helping lead the Community Foundation’s efforts to not only invest in opportunities to support the Black community, but also to partner with other local Black philanthropists to support more opportunities to shape a brighter future.

My parents taught me to treat any limitations I faced in my life as beatable. Success should be considered the goal, not a dream. And while our work is far from over, I know that by working together, we can and will be successful.

Juliet Murphy Roulhac is the director of corporate philanthropy and community engagement for Florida Power & Light Company.