Hailing from Kingston Jamaica, Roxanna “Rox” Blissett migrated in 1989 to Toronto, Canada, and eventually to the United States following her matriculation through high school and college. An ardent champion of education, she is the embodiment of the many inspirational mantras and slogans she endeavors to instill in the numerous UNCF scholars she has assisted throughout the years.
In 2003, Blissett joined the law office of Richard Danso, a criminal defense attorney, where she worked as a legal administrative assistant and provided guidance and support to frequent first-time teen offender clients of the firm. Throughout her tenure, she found herself counseling these teens to think about their future and consider going to college to help turn their life around. Therefore, it is not surprising that in 2005, when the opportunity presented itself for her to join the staff at UNCF, she enthusiastically joined the ranks in the role of administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator.
During the past 15 years, Blissett has served UNCF with great fervor and passion, and in 2016, she was promoted to development associate where she became responsible for the coordination and execution of numerous fundraising initiatives; most notably, the region’s signature fundraising event, the Annual South Florida Leader’s Luncheon. The event enjoys the patronage of a veritable Who’s who among the Broward community’s civic and corporate leadership and has garnered accolades and support from the community’s most influential philanthropist. In 2019, under Blissett’s management, the event secured a $500,000 gift from Vincent J. Viola, chairman, owner and governor of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, the Florida Panthers Hockey Club and the BB&T Center. In that same year, she also secured a major gift commitment from the James Annenberg-La Vea Charitable Foundation in the amount of $350,000.
Blissett’s personal motto has always been “I might not have graduated from a historically Black institution with foundational HBCU legacies, but I know the value of a dream paired with a college education equals a brighter future,” especially at UNCF-member schools and that has the power to change the lives of our next generation of African American students. Recognizing that the students who apply for assistance at UNCF are primarily first-generation minority students from low-income backgrounds, who know very little about how to make it to and through college, Blissett continues to see the most important part of her job as counselor and steward to these students and their families so that they may achieve their academic dreams.
She notes, “In the last 15 years of my career, I have had the opportunity to visit several of our UNCF-member institutions, meet with parents, provide information about scholarship opportunities and attending college. For me, there is no greater joy than seeing the look on the face of a scholarship recipient who can now complete their education because of our work at UNCF. In those moments, it is very easy to see why we say ‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.’”®
Blissett is also a volunteer for several community organizations and lends her expertise to numerous college readiness programs and community initiatives—most recently being voted the vice president of the Jamaica United Relief Association. And while she wears many hats, and is a dedicated community servant, she will joyously tell you that in the movie script of her life, her leading roles are mom to Nicholas Anthony and Alanna Christina, wife to Allen and best friend to her Golden Retriever Marley.