Little Rock, Arkansas. January 3, 2022.—After growing The Confess Project into a national grassroots movement, founder and CEO Lorenzo Lewis will be transitioning to a new role as Chief Visionary Officer.
Lewis founded The Confess Project in 2016 with the goal of equipping marginalized men of color with strategies and coping skills to help them move past their pain. To date, his team has trained over 1,000 barbers to serve as mental health advocates in more than 40 cities nationwide, as well as opened the first Joy & Wellness Hub in Little Rock that offers wraparound mental health services for communities of color. Fast Company named The Confess Project as one of “The 10 most innovative health companies of 2021.”
Lewis has played an instrumental role in fundraising for the nonprofit during his tenure, including procuring a federal grant for $1M dollars, partnering with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, and securing funding and support from Gillette to bring The Confess Project’s “State of Mind” tour to 16 cities across the country.
Now, in his new role as Chief Visionary Officer, Lewis will focus his talents on strategy, expansion, public relations, innovation, and most crucially, fundraising to ensure that The Confess Project remains financially viable. According to a 2020 report from philanthropic venture Echoing Green, nonprofit organizations led by Black and Latino executive directors
receive less philanthropic support than peer organizations with white leaders. By continuing to innovate and meet the moment, a signature approach of The Confess Project, Lewis aims to fill this gap.
“Our dedicated staff has truly sparked what I believe is a revolution to improve the lifespan for Black men and boys,” Lewis said. “We started with no funding, and now we have a $1M budget. I’m looking forward to being the voice of The Confess Project and increasing our impact with donors and constituents.”
Dontay Williams will assume the new role of CEO for The Confess Project at its new headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Williams is a Licensed Professional Counselor for the state of Georgia, a doctoral candidate at Mercer University for Counseling Education and Supervision, and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. He takes a tailored approach to mental health, believing it must be as unique and diverse as the individual. Additionally, his experiences with faith-based and nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, and federal agencies have given him insight to better understand channels of support as well as identify gaps within the system.
“Our work is about meeting people where they’re at," Lewis said. "Dontay is a strong leader well-versed in mental health who does exactly this, understanding it’s the most compassionate gift you can give someone.”
Williams’ extensive background is to vital The Confess Project and comes at a moment when our nation is in crisis, with suicide rates increasing among Black, Indigenous, and Latino men. For the next six months, Williams will undergo rigorous leadership training under Lewis before becoming responsible for day-to-day operations.
“As the new CEO, I am most excited about increasing access to services within Black and Brown communities while fostering an environment that allows for tough conversations often not had within our homes,” Williams said. “I believe the greatest call to service is to train, motivate, and inspire others to be their best.”
Williams and Lewis will collaborate with the executive board, led by President Gregory Hammons, who is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager at Google, to expand The Confess Project’s reach. The goal is to triple the board’s size and create independent chapters in Los Angeles, Little Rock, and Boston.
About The Confess Project
The Confess Project is a nonprofit based in Atlanta, Georgia committed to building a culture of mental health for boys, men of color, and their families through capacity building, advocacy, organizing, and movement building. We believe in a world without barriers to stigma and shame.