To donate to Dafina, click here!!

Dafina Ward believes in the power of community—and the power of one. An attorney by training, Dafina left legal practice in 2007 to pursue community work focused on addressing health disparities in the South. This work started with a focus on HIV/AIDS through the development of education and outreach programs, fundraising, grant-making and consulting focused on capacity building for organizations in the southern United States.

From 2012-2015, Dafina served as Director of Prevention and Community Partnerships at AIDS Alabama, the largest AIDS-Service Organization in Alabama, where she managed all of the agency’s community-focused educational programs and initiatives. In this role, she developed and implemented programs serving groups facing the greatest health disparities, including women of color, transgender women, and persons living with HIV/AIDS in the South. She also led coalition-building efforts and forged relationships among organizations that had not previously worked together to address the comprehensive challenges facing those living with HIV. Dafina is most proud of her work in HIV that destigmatized HIV and resulted in new funding opportunities and collaboration between social service and healthcare organizations.

Dafina currently serves as Director of Program Development for Provide, a national organization committed to improving access to reproductive health services for women. In this role, she manages the development, design and quality of trainings and special projects across the United States, with a focus on states with limited resources.

Dafina received her BA in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA) and her Juris Doctor from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA).

She and her husband, Ahmad volunteer with a number of organizations in Birmingham, and are the proud parents of two brilliant girls, Masani and Aminah.

Why have you decided to serve as an inaugural Torchbearer for the JLB?
I am serving as an inaugural Torchbearer in celebration of my 40th birthday. This is truly a year of gratitude for me. As a survivor of domestic violence, I know the vital role that organizations play in saving lives and empowering those who are hurting. If a place like this had existed when I was facing those issues twenty years ago, then perhaps I would have had the courage to come forward and seek help.

I believe that our community is strongest when we build together. This campaign is powerful because individuals from various walks of life will give, and all of those gifts—no matter how big or small—will create a powerful change in our community.

What/who inspires you to be a Light in our community?
I am inspired to be a light in our community because I see the need, and I understand the impact that one person’s actions or voice can create.  It is often said “the work is great, but the laborers are few.”  My mother always told me not to worry about the size of the work, but to find my plot and work it with all my might.  That means that wherever we stand---that is where we can shine light in darkness.  I am inspired to be a Light because I know that just a little hope, a little encouragement, a little support can truly change someone’s life. 

To donate to Dafina, click here!!