Tanell Hills, 32
Tanell Hills and her husband, AJ, started Endless Opportunities to deliver mentoring experiences to engage, educate and empower young people in the Grand Rapids area.
Hills — a National Guard veteran who served in Afghanistan, a mother of two and a full-time field specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield — is motivated by her own hardships to help others.
“In my short life, I have experienced so many things and have chosen to take those experiences and pour into the lives of others,” she said. “I am a hard-working, passionate Black woman whose aim is to change the world, one person at a time, and (I) will not stop.”
After earning a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University and returning to Grand Rapids, Hills co-founded Endless Opportunities in 2011. The organization provided 2,111 hours of mentoring, engaged 124 mentors and empowered 261 Grand Rapids Public Schools students in 2019.
Hills is treasurer for the Institute of Ubuntu, a think tank focused on enhancing the lives of African Americans in Grand Rapids. She is active with the Theta Chi Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and is currently a fellow with the National Equity Project, where she is developing a life skills program to integrate with Endless Opportunities that will equip young people with cooking, gardening, automotive and handy work skills.
In 2018, Hills was named West Michigan Women’s Brilliance Awards Mentor of the Year and also received the 2017 Role Model Education Award at the NAACP 51st annual Freedom Fund Awards.