Derek Lumpkins, the newly named executive director of Discover Roxbury, is determined to disprove the famous quotation that «You can’t go home again.» Lumpkins was born in Boston and grew up in the Mission Hill section of Roxbury, yet he has also lived for five years in Japan, earned a graduate degree in London and filled his passport with the stamp of dozens of countries.
What brings the accomplished 36-year-old back to the old neighborhood is a desire to see the cultural life of the community that he loves become more visible and recognized by both its residents and the Greater Boston community, «Discover Roxbury is a member of the Roxbury community, a resource within it, and conduit through which the neighborhood can see itself reflected and projected on a greater scale. I’m excited to work with the organization on all of these levels and look forward to seeing it grow and develop in ways that have yet to be imagined and realized,» said Lumpkins.
The mission of Discover Roxbury is to promote the economic development of Roxbury through sustainable cultural tourism that highlights the neighborhood’s rich history, arts, and its contributions to the world. The 15-year-old non-profit organization uses its signature guided cultural, arts, and historic tours to introduce both residents and outsiders to the vibrancy of this Boston neighborhood. Led by local residents, the walking, bike and trolley tours are also vehicles to help break down race and class stereotypes by giving accurate and authentic portrayals of the neighborhood. Discover Roxbury also offers popular interactive culinary events which highlight urban gardening and healthy living.
A Boston Latin and Swarthmore graduate, Lumpkins was selected from a field of over three dozen applicants. He had been Discover Roxbury’s Program and Marketing Manager over the past three years. He replaces Discover Roxbury’s founder Marcia Butman who began the organization as a way for suburban teachers to be more familiar with the home neighborhoods of METCO students.
Ekua Holmes, Chairwoman of Discover Roxbury’s Board of Directors stated that «Derek has done great work for Discover Roxbury as its marketing/programming manager. Our visibility and our use of technology increased ten-fold. Of all the applicants we considered, he had the most compelling and passionate vision for Discover Roxbury. We are so pleased to have him at the helm and we are energized and ready to support his work in this new role.»
Like the head of all non-profits, Lumpkins faces a challenging funding environment, yet he is confident that the organization will adapt and thrive. Two of his major initiatives have been to extensively use new media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to not only market his events but to build the organization’s base of support among young people in the community.
He also catalyzed Discover Roxbury’s autumn fundraising event, Heart of the Hub. This unique celebration is an evening of great food, live music, original art and interactive experiences. The Roxbury Puddingstone Awards are also given to honor those who have made important contributions to the vitality of the neighborhood’s cultural life. This year’s event will be held on Thursday, October 21, 6pm-9pm at the Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall.
For more information about Discover Roxbury, please visit www.discoverroxbury.org