Frances “Fran” Frazier is a nationally recognized, award-winning consultant, researcher and educator who works to breakdown bias in the workplace and assist girls and women in building skills that lead to self-empowerment.
Fran was recently appointed co-chair of the Commission on Black Girls established by Columbus City Council Member Priscilla Tyson. The commission is tasked with assessing the quality of life of black girls in Central Ohio. She has also been a mayoral appointment to the Columbus Community Relations Commission since 2006.
A Philadelphia native, Fran has a B.S. cum laude in Special Education from Norfolk State University. She received a master’s degree in Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders from The Ohio State University. Upon graduating in 1973, Frazier chose to make Columbus her home. Over the years she has been an ardent advocate for marginalized women and girls and has served as a consultant to numerous universities, colleges, professional associations and social service agencies across Ohio and the nation.
A former state administrator for cultural initiatives for the Ohio Department of Human Services, now known as Job and Family Services, Fran Frazier provided training and technical assistance to county child and public welfare to become more culturally competent in its policies and service delivery. The changes benefited African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian and immigrant children, families and adults.
In 1998 she created, “The Angel in You: Life Preparation for Girls,” a program designed to teach critical thinking skills and effective decision making as well as building community among girls. More than 1,000 girls nationally have participated.
Fran is also the author and principal investigator of “Rise Sister Rise,” a groundbreaking study of trauma and resiliency of black girls, ages 11 to 18 years old, in four Ohio cities. The data has been used to create two Black Girl Think Tanks and a campaign that looks at mental health issues affecting black girls.
A past recipient of the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award, Frazier was appointed in September to a three-year term on Homeport’s Board of Directors.
Why are you passionate about the Homeport mission?
The fact that a property owner (Homeport) can care about the mental, emotional and social needs of its residents is cutting edge. Several years ago, based on my work around trauma, I was invited to meet with Homeport residents to talk about issues affecting the young people who lived there. I conducted focus groups with them and with and their parents to understand their experiences of trauma and how the housing managers could help in building resiliency. We were able to create a number of programs that built social and academic success and a voice for the young people who lived there.
Sometime after that I met with a group of seniors at Bending Brook who all came from different countries around the world. They lived in the same building but did not know each other. The resident managers invited the seniors to a conversation about their concerns living at Bending Brook. We got tea from the various countries they were from. Every country has some kind of tea. And I am tea drinker. So, we drank tea and the elders shared their growing up stories. It was wonderful when they saw they had a connection because they shared their stories. It allowed me to take a deeper dive about concerns they had. Many issues got resolved very quickly because the elders found their voice together.
What would you tell a friend who was considering getting involved with Homeport as a donor or volunteer?
An overwhelming percentage of heads of households in Homeport are single women. Thanks to Homeport’s affordable rents and resident services, women and their families have the potential for self-determination and self-sufficiency.
There is a saying, if the women of a community are not healthy, nobody else is. Women are change agents in any environment or community. You can help women and their families by empowering them with voice, power, and resources by your presence and your giving. Homeport needs you and your gifts and talents.
What do you feel is the most critical aspect of affordable housing in Columbus and Central Ohio?
The most critical aspect? Creating stability for our children. Addressing this desperate shortage of affordable housing will go a long way to keeping children safe. Insufficient affordable housing creates instability. Transiency. A stable home can give children an opportunity to grow and develop and become what they are destined to become. Children who are cared for make great contributions to their families and to their communities.