We had the good fortune of connecting with Kytana Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kytana, how do you think about risk?
I think risk is the spice of life. I can say that now, but I’ve not really thought about the things I do as being risky. I started Clifford Heart Foundation (“CHF”), at the age of 23, during a pandemic, while working, and going to school. What’s risky about that…lol. On the days when I am stressed about getting everything checked off my “list” I question my own judgment and that’s probably the only times I think about the risk of the decisions I have made. To be fair, I was raised in a family that took a large amount of risk when it came business and looking out for others. When I was a little girl, my grandfather (who is the namesake of CHF) owned an office supply & aquarium store in Belize. I remember driving around the store in my pink & white barbie jeep tyring to convince customers to spend more money on goldfish and tank accessories.

My grandfather and I spent a lot of time talking about entrepreneurship and, while I didn’t realize it, he was also getting me comfortable with stepping out on faith. Some of the things I have done, or am considering, people call risky but I think of it as walking by faith and not allowing my fear to limit what God wants to do in my life. The focus that I have when I’m working a Clifford Heart event is really on the people’s lives our volunteers touch when we are out canvassing and giving food or supplies. There’s always the risk that I won’t be able to raise enough money, collect enough donations, get enough volunteers and, when I started, I wasn’t sure how I would be received by the unhoused population. I didn’t want to give people a service they wouldn’t absolutely benefit from so I had a lot of anxiety in the beginning. I thought about the risk of failing myself, my grandfather, and the community but I have had such an outpouring of support. Volunteers have been excited to help and we often en up collecting more donations that I thought possible. The risk of stepping out on faith and starting something that had once only been a dream has been far less than the reward of talking to unhoused people and hearing the stories of how Clifford Heart Foundation has impacted their lives. It is all worth it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think what most sets me apart from others is the way that I view those less fortunate. One reason I refrained from starting my nonprofit earlier was because I wanted to make sure that my brand was genuine. I would hate for anyone to think that I viewed them as “charity”. When Clifford Heart volunteers do an event I want people to feel safe, comfortable and protected. So far, we’ve done 6 events and at each one we’ve gotten great response from the unhoused population. So much so, that whenever we’re there, they remember and welcome us. It’s a great feeling! I want the unhoused population to know that I care about them as human beings.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love nature, so If I had a friend come and visit for a week we would definitely spend time outdoors.

Monday: We would go on an airboat ride at Sawgrass Recreation Park or Everglades Holiday Park. We’d take cool pics with snakes and alligators.

Tuesday: We’d go to flamingo gardens and feed the peacocks, koi fish and flamingos.

Wednesday: We’d visit Miami Zoo and check out their new gator tunnel exhibit and feed the giraffes.

Thursday: We would go for a bike ride at Markham Park and have a picnic by the lake.

Friday: We’d watch the sunrise on Fort Lauderdale Beach and relax with some music.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
No one person is the key to the success in my life. God and my family have contributed so much to what everyone now knows to be “Kytana”. Every single person has guided me in some special way. However, I do want to highlight my boyfriend Allin. He is a wonderful human being. He chooses daily to be a positive light in everyone’s life. He is motivating, happy and energetic. He never allows me to stay in my comfort zone, which can be painful at times. But in the end when I’ve grown, I’m grateful for the push. Sometimes growth can be uncomfortable but it’s so great to have someone to be there to support you through your journey.

Website: cliffordheart.org

Instagram: cliffordheartfoundation

Facebook: The Clifford Heart Foundation

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