To Marquis Taylor, basketball wasn’t just a game, but a tool to help him overcome the obstacles he would face growing up in South Central Los Angeles. He used it to earn an athletic scholarship to Stonehill College, in Easton, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 2006 with a degree in communications. After working in finance, he felt a void that could only be filled by using his passion for sports to build opportunities for others.
Marquis received his master’s in teaching at Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts. While at Smith, he witnessed under-resourced students struggle to stay on track to graduate from high school. He figured the most effective way to help was to combine his professional background with his basketball experiences, which resulted in the founding of Coaching4Change.
Since its inception, Coaching4Change has expanded from having only 20 participants per year to 1,000 participants per year. The original $15,000 operating budget has grown to about $500,000.
Coaching4Change has received significant recognition in the Northeast region. Marquis has become a member of the steering committee of the New Frontier Network at the John F. Kennedy Library. He received a top 40 Under 40 award for Young Civic Minded Emerging Leaders, the 2012 Black Male Achievement Fellowship from Echoing Green, and 2014 Social Innovator award by Root Cause. He also was selected by the Jewish Community Relations Council to be part of the Boston-Haifa Leadership Exchange, which aims to bring social justice leaders together from the United States and Israel.
Champion for change:
In spring 2014, Brockton teens' GPAs went up 52% - from 1.8 to 2.8.