Community Heroes: an in-depth series on the lives and impact of people giving back to our global communities.
Base Of Operations: Jersey City, N.J.
Why he is a Community Hero: As an assistant director of Rising Tide Capital, an organization committed to assisting entrepreneurs, Keith Dent help to facilitate programs in the working-class cities of Jersey City, Newark, and Orange.
From their headquarters in Jersey City, Rising Tide Capital serves to promote the entrepreneurial spirit by way of an innovative 12-week program known as the Community Business Academy.
After completing the program, Rising Tide continues to provide an array of services to the graduates as they embark on their business journey. Assistant Director Keith Dent has been instrumental in facilitating the program in some of the most under-served communities of color within Essex County.
NewsOne spoke with Mr. Dent,and while he fell short of calling himself a community hero, he did offer that his strong faith leads him to do the work he performs with Rising Tide.
“I think the one thing that definitely drives me is my faith in the lord,” shared Dent. “And also, trying to be the best individual I can be. I’m trying to use the gifts God gave me to give to others.”
Although it isn’t written in Rising Tide’s mission statement that they focus on communities of color, Dent says by virtue of the group location and the needs of those in the county, they naturally serve that demographic.
“We’re located in an area where people of color primarily live in Jersey City’s Greenville section, if anyone is familiar with the city, they know many residents of color live there,” said Dent. “So we tend to service those individuals, based on not only our location but our model.”
Dent says his organization targets their program’s focus on areas where jobs are scarce, and have worked with formerly incarcerated individuals, victims of domestic violence, immigrants, veterans, and the chronically unemployed.
Dent, a graduate of Georgetown University, credits his wife and father as people who inspire him, and says that while his work with Rising Tide Capital is definitely challenging, it is also rewarding as well.
“I enjoy doing what I do because I get to see what graduates from our program create. That’s the great thing about it. To be able to be on the sidelines and seeing them create something from nothing,” said Dent.
He added, “You always want to hope that what you’re doing has impact, and my former students and graduates tell me all the time we’ve helped them. I feel great about that.”