Minou Jones is the Founder and CEO of Making it Count Community Development Corporation (MIC). The mission is to develop meaningful opportunities that count towards making a difference in the overall equity and inclusion of community members.
Minou previously served as the CEO of the Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan and brought the organization its first federal grant, a 1.25 million dollar award to prevent and reduce drug use among youth in the Cody Rouge Community where she grew up.
Minou is a well-known and respected community organizer with more than 20 years of experience in her field. To her credit, she has helped Southfield, Hazel Park, Pontiac, Ferndale, and Detroit secure funds to support local coalitions. She currently chairs the Detroit Wayne Oakland Tobacco Coalition and is a board member for Tobacco-Free Michigan.
In its first year, MIC was awarded a six-figure contract to address tobacco-related disparities among Blacks in Wayne and Oakland County. Each year 45,000 Blacks die from tobacco-related disease. It is the number one preventable cause of death and tobacco companies have targeted our communities with menthol tobacco products. Studies show menthol makes it easier for you to get hooked and harder to quit. Who better to lead the charge to save lives than a Black Woman-Led Non-Profit? We celebrate diversity and welcome support.
In her spare time, Minou provides interior decorating services for residential and commercial clients. She is married with a blended family of 6 children and a dog.
We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Minou.
As Founder and CEO of Making it Count Community Development Corporation, in what ways do you use your platform to inspire others?
Minou Jones: My mantra has been to Make it Count since I was a young adult. We’ve all experienced life lessons that helped us to grow in some way. I believe that each of us should use those experiences to help others.
What sparked your passion for interior decorating?
Minou Jones: At heart, I am creative, it is my gift from God. I can walk into space and see what it could be, see an empty lot, and envision completed structures with landscaping and parks. My grandmother was very artistic. She believed any space could be beautiful no matter how small. She was right. I am also a big fan of HGTV.
What does your role entail on the Detroit Wayne Oakland Tobacco Coalition and as a board member for Tobacco-Free Michigan?
Minou Jones: I’ve worked in public health for nearly 20 years. ! am the Chair of the Detroit Wayne Oakland Tobacco Coalition (DWOTC) which has about 60 members including State, Health, Medical, Business, Faith-based, and other organizational representatives.
My role is to keep order during meetings, bring on new members, set the agenda, and make sure members have opportunities to share their opinion, expertise, and resources toward the mission. In the last year, we’ve been able to add Asthma, American Cancer, American Lung, and American Heart Association to our membership.
I was recently voted in as a board member for Tobacco-Free Michigan. My role is to provide input on statewide initiatives, training, and overall efforts to promote tobacco-free environments.
What impact do you intend to make on the world through all the various work that you do?
Minou Jones: Remember when people could smoke in hospitals and churches? I was a part of the movement to put smoke-free laws in place. That saved lives. Banning menthol will save lives. The grant writing I do, ultimately creates programs and employment, especially for people living in poverty.
For me, that is impact, measurable impact. I am so excited when people tell me they got the grant or got the job. That they quit smoking. That they beat cancer or survived a heart attack.
What are you currently working on?
Minou Jones: I am very busy, to say the least. This is grant writing season, so devote my skills to helping small organizations secure funds for non-profit work. I’m also helping more people get vaccinated through the Choose Healthy Life Initiative with DABO.
We are leading efforts for testing and vaccination through Detroit’s churches. My organization, MIC is working on addressing tobacco-related disparities in the African American community in partnership with the DWOTC and Center for Black Health and Equity. We’ve been recruiting and organizing efforts to save Black Lives, Blacks are disproportionately impacted by tobacco use. Mainly because we smoke menthol cigarettes. Menthol makes it easier to get hooked and harder to quit.
You may have read the FDA said they were banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars today. That is going to save 45,000 black lives each year. The FDA projects almost 1 million people will quit smoking when the ban goes into effect. We stand behind the ban and need more people to get on the “Band Wagon.” We expect the tobacco company will try to overturn the decision, you know, they are all about the money.
What do you want your legacy to look like?
Minou Jones: I’ve been very fortunate to have great mentors. I’ve taken bits and pieces of their style to shape my leadership style, kind of like singers or dancer do with their music and choreography. You can see the influence of James Brown in the way Usher and Chris Brown moves. Jasmin Sullivan has a hint of Etta James in her voice.
My late uncle had a profound effect on everyone he met. He treated everyone with respect and helped as many people as he could. He was inspiring and REAL. He was approachable, knowledgeable, and generous. I model my leadership style after him. My mom never met a stranger and puts family first. So I have a lot of her in me too. I believe my legacy is the path that I’ve been able to create for those who follow.
For media inquiries please contact Being That Girl Women Empowerment & Execution Agency at https://www.iam-thatgirl.com/
Photos- Myele Williamson, Norma Early, Angelena Thomas Scruggs, Shelia Williamson, Minou Jones (centered)
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