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Celebrating Local Black Heroes: Sidney “Sid” Ellis

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan is proud to celebrate Local Black Heroes throughout the year. Sign up for our to get updates in your inbox and learn more about the impact of local heroes in your community.


Sidney “Sid” Ellis is the Executive Director of the Douglass Community Association. His contributions of servanthood and mentorship inspire Kalamazoo residents to give back to the community. He explains, “I greet people with a smile and a positive attitude hoping that this will encourage them to do the same to others.”


Ellis’s commitment to the community is evident by the ways he gives back. By being an active member of several different boards, Ellis does his part to see that the community is thriving.

The current President of the Kalamazoo Rotary Club, Ellis volunteers as often as he can. He is a current board member of Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK), Heritage Community of Kalamazoo, and a number of others. On top of all of this, Ellis has mentored local youth for over 25 years.


We asked Ellis to share how he practices self-care amidst all of the time he spends caring for the community. He explains, “I attend performing and fine art events and activities. I pray. I try to eat more vegetables, walk more, and go Detroit-style ballroom dancing.” (Curious about what Detroit-style ballroom is? See a video of another couple Detroit-style ballroom dancing here.)


When asked about the impact he hopes to have on others, Ellis shared, “I hope to inspire people young and old to pursue their dreams and actively volunteer in their community.”

Ellis would like to leave behind a legacy of servanthood. His dynamic involvement in the community inspires those around him to take ownership of the place we live. We are confident that generous servanthood is exactly what he will be remembered for.