About the Community Investment Network
Darryl Lester, social entrepreneur and community philanthropist, founded the Community Investment Network in 2006... but his passion for philanthropy was rooted during his early life in Marion, South Carolina.
While growing up on Strawberry Street in a tiny, rural community populated by working families, Darryl witnessed the inherent giving nature among African-Americans long before the jargon associated with community philanthropy arrived. The tenets of racial uplifting and mutual aid were an organic way of life for those who gathered together for rent parties, communal day-care and collecting resources for family needs under the simple auspices of 'neighbors helping neighbors'.
These concepts influenced Darryl as he and his business partner, Dionne, founded HindSight Consulting in 2001 as an entrepreneurial effort designed to promote and to encourage social innovation within community and institutional philanthropy.
The early focus of HindSight’s work was to build a collective giving movement among young African American adults in the New South using a giving circle model. This movement was sparked when Darryl organized the Next Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP Fund) in Raleigh, NC and the Birmingham Change Fund in Birmingham, Alabama in 2004. From 2004 to the present, Darryl and HindSight has organized 13 giving circles that are members of CIN.
Darryl continues to conceptualize ways in which to encourage African-Americans to understand their roles as philanthropists -- emphasizing their importance from a 'supply' side purpose as opposed to a traditionally perceived 'demand' function. Prior to creating HindSight Consulting, Inc, Darryl served as the Director of Community Leadership and Programs at the Triangle Community Foundation (NC) and as Trustee of the Warner Foundation. He was also an Associate Counsel at Capital Development Services and a Training Manager at N.C. Public Allies. He is well acquainted with educational institutions, having served as an Assistant Dean at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Assistant Director of African American Student Affairs at North Carolina State University and as a Counselor at Shaw University Counseling Center (NC). In 2005 and 2006, he traveled to Cape Town, South Africa as a participant in the Binational Civil Society Forum.Darryl is a graduate of both Wofford College (B.A., Economics) and North Carolina State University (M.A., Psychology) and enjoys the brotherhood that he shares as a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Within the city of Raleigh, where he resides, he is a Development Chair for Sassafras All Children's Playground, a project which is working to provide a safe play environment for children with special needs. He is the proud father of a son, Bradley, a daughter, Danielle, and two lovely grandchildren. He stays active with his life-long love of basketball and continues to lecture on his love of philanthropy.