Essential2Life Names New Executive Director Darrick Graham

 Essential2Life is pleased to announce that Darrick Graham has been named as its new Executive Director, effective February 1, 2017. Highlighted by his time spent in nonprofit program management at Operation Hope at the King Center and previous entrepreneurial experience, Darrick brings a unique set of skills that will help  E2L and its FIFTEEN program continue to help students succeed and grow. Darrick has been a class team lead with FIFTEEN for three years, and previously served as an E2L Board Member.

 Prior to accepting this new role, Darrick served as the Program Manager for the Small Business Portfolio for Operation HOPE at the M.L. King Center in Atlanta, before he was promoted to Assistant Vice President in 2015. During his time at Operation HOPE, Darrick helped successfully launch over 150 small Business ventures, through the Entrepreneurship Training Program.

 Darrick received a Bachelor's in History from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1998, and an advanced degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland in 2001.  He is  an active member of the Morehouse College Alumni Chapter, and was  previously affiliated with the Community Partnership & Housing Association of Baltimore, and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative with the City of Atlanta. 

 Darrick shares that, "We love our city and we love our youth.  Our future lies within the hearts of our youth and it’s our responsibility to prepare them for the challenges ahead.  We have an opportunity to instill critical leadership skills in students who will have a profound impact in their homes and communities.  With the right tools, these students can represent a positive voice for their peers as they pursue a life of purpose and distinction. Together we can restore their hope and be a bridge for the better tomorrow we all hope for.  I look forward to the day, when everyone has an equal chance for a bright and thriving future."

Darrick succeeds Vince Hungate, the founder and initial Executive Director of E2L, who will remain involved with the organization and the Fifteen program.



2016 was a banner year for Essential2Life, as we graduated 35 high school seniors who completed our three-year FIFTEEN leadership program. These students were teetering on the brink between success and failure when they entered the program, but now have taken ownership of their future. The large majority of them are attending college, many as the first in their families to do so. One received a Posse scholarship for a full ride to Brandeis University.

When we founded E2L 21 years ago, our heart was to establish a work that would live beyond us and continue to reach and impact underserved students for generations. The FIFTEEN program is doing that. Together we have seen incredible things happen in the lives of our students, their families, and those they influence.

Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and financial and volunteer support these past 21 years. We could not do this without you. Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of urban youth in our community."

Vince Hungate ~ Founder of Essential2Life and the FIFTEEN Leadership Program