October 27, 2020 News & Features » Cover Story


Fatima M. Smith, 32 

Founder of FMS Speaks, Co-Founder of Collective 365 and Color & Culture 

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Scott Elmquist

Fatima Smith is working to change the face of philanthropy.

“People don’t realize that you can be a philanthropist at any age, regardless of socio-economic level,” she says.

Smith co-founded Collective 365 this summer as a way to ameliorate grant writing. Becoming a member of a philanthropic organization often costs upwards of $1,000, Smith says. To join Collective 365, a giving circle specifically geared toward supporting the sustainability of communities of color, you need only pay a $50-$100 annual fee. Their grants are nontraditional, meaning they’ll fund individuals and smaller organizations that do not have fiscal sponsors. 

One of the inspirations for the program was a woman in Hampton Roads who was inspired to purchase computers for her home, which she had set up as a computer lab for neighborhood kids who have no computer and internet access. 

When she’s not helping to fund those in need or busy at her day job as founder of FMS Speaks – with a master’s degree in social work, Smith advises universities and corporations on how to make their workplaces more inclusive, flexing her creative muscles.

“I wanted my daughter to see herself represented in clothing,” Smith says of her apparel company, Color & Culture, which celebrates Black and brown children and adults. A portion of all proceeds goes to causes in Central Virginia. 

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