Lavontte Chatmon was born in Washington, DC and says she qualifies as a real metro woman having lived in all of the tristate area. Her interest in human services and mental health started very early. “I was innately drawn to wanting to help others, and from a young age, people were comfortable with confiding in me.” Lavontte describes herself as “a very inquisitive person—I want to know the ‘why’ behind the behavior.”
Lavontte is currently the Program and Membership Director of Nonprofit Montgomery, which works to strengthen the non-profit sector in Montgomery County through capacity building, leadership development, advocacy, networking, and strategic partnerships. Lavontte notes that as she works to help non-profits improve their sustainability and impact, she uses an equity mindset and strives to recruit more diverse consultants, members, and facilitators and encourage the involvement of non-profits with minority leadership.
Lavontte is a huge advocate for mental health. She notes how critical it is to dismantle the stigma of seeking help and the importance of improving equity and diversity among providers. She has a post-graduate degree in clinical psychology and experience as a therapist and supervisory advocate on victim services helplines, enhancing her organizational work.
When asked how she became involved as a Fellow with Impact100 DC, Lavontte said she was first introduced to the organization when a colleague sent her the Impact100 newsletter. She was attracted by the model of ordinary people coming together to make a philanthropic difference within their community. She signed up to receive the newsletter and learned about the Fellowship Program, which offered an excellent opportunity to learn more about Impact100 DC and hopefully use her skills in social media, writing, community outreach/networking, systems, and more. When asked if she had chosen a grant area committee, Lavontte laughed and said she wanted to be on all of them. She ultimately requested Finance because it offers a broad overview and will hopefully strengthen her financial skills.
Covid has meant that life has been significantly restricted—not easy for a woman who says, “I don’t like to box myself in.” Lavontte has notched up her fitness, and self-care routines, immersed herself in reading and various professional development, and developed a passion for Korean dramas. She has even mastered basic spoken Korean! She said she has resisted being upset and unhappy and focused on “Giving yourself and others grace.”