When it comes to philanthropy, Jennifer Smith is like the Energizer Bunny — she just keeps on going. She has worked as the family outreach coordinator for the Colorado International Language Academy for the last five years, and since 2013 she’s served as president of the nonprofit she founded, OneBody Ent.
Smith and her husband, DeAndre, primarily focus their nonprofit efforts on children because they believe in empowering the next generation. OneBody Ent runs events to support the community — most recently, via services like grocery and clothing delivery, and backpack giveaways.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith said, “we’ve been on the frontlines trying to make sure people have food and clothes. We’re always making sure people are safe, stable and sane. We really try to meet people where they’re at.”
The pandemic is not the first hurdle OneBody Ent has faced. From the start, “the road has been very challenging,” she said. “Our first year, in 2013, we did our first event which was on child abuse and autism. It’s something people don’t like to talk about.
“The topic is very close to my heart because I worked with children with autism for 11 years in Georgia. I know this is a difficult topic, so it was very challenging to get people to come out. We just kept pushing and that’s why our events went from 25-35 people to now 400-500 people.”
DeAndre, a Springs native, is also an inspiration in the couple’s passion for the nonprofit, she said.
“The drive for us is that my husband never saw any decorations for Christmas on his side of town. He never could get the help he needed right where he was. They had to go north or west and we want to provide that access,” Smith said. “That is our mission — to meet people where they’re at.”
“Service is the word of the day when it comes to Jennifer Smith,” Rodney Gullatte Jr. said in his nomination. “I see how large her impact is, especially in Southeast Colorado Springs. What she does for this community is giving young people hope. It’s giving them the opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves.
“The whole business is about helping people and bringing them together. One of the things she has been instrumental in doing is holding a Black History Program for the community. ... Educating is her passion. She’s tutoring kids, she’s mentoring young girls, she’s feeding families, she’s making sure kids have what they need to start the school year.
“Jennifer Smith is an unsung hero in Colorado Springs.”
Smith has high hopes for the future of OneBody Ent. At a recent board meeting, she asked members to outline goals for the year and “that meeting went from only one hour to over two and a half hours,” she recalled, “because there was so much we wanted to do within the community.” The nonprofit’s first order of business for 2021 is to secure a brick-and-mortar space.
Smith is committed to the nonprofit, and said her daughter is already following in her footsteps.
“I feel like OneBody Ent will carry on a legacy for my kids,” Smith said. “My daughter is 5 years old and she already has her own business under OneBody Ent. She sells her own snacks to bring money back into the community. That legacy has already started with her and I’m super proud of my baby and excited to see where this organization will go.”