Celebrating Superheroes: Sol Anderson & His Family

By LIFT on June 8, 2017

Categories: Real Stories


For this upcoming Father’s Day, we asked LIFT-Chicago’s Executive Director Sol Anderson to tell us about a superhero in his life. Here’s what he said…

“When I was little, I thought my dad was a superhero. I thought he could run faster, jump higher and lift more than anyone else in the world. I wanted to be just like him. I bet if you ask my dad, he’d say the same about his dad. And I hope one day, if you ask my son, he’ll say the same about me. I think one of the coolest things about being a dad – about being a parent – is the chance to be a superhero to your kids. And I’ve realized that you don’t need super strength or speed to do it…you’re completely powered by the love and dreams that you have for your kids.

I wasn’t the biggest comic book fan as a kid, but I read enough to know that every superhero has a great origin story. I’d like to share an origin story about my family. My dad’s parents were sharecroppers in Clarksdale, Mississippi. My dad is the eighth of their 14 children. As a poor, black family in the Jim Crow South it would have been easy for my grandparents to accept a life of limited opportunities for themselves and their children, but they never did. They were able to move their family to Kalamazoo, Michigan in the late 1950s to give their kids a better life. They worked hard, saved all they could, invested in their kids and sent all 14 of them to college.My dad and mom did the same for me and my two brothers. They raised

us on Ballard Street, a working-class neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Everyone we knew lived paycheck-to-paycheck and most people in our neighborhood still struggled to make ends meet. But my parents, like my grandparents, invested in their kids. They sent the three of us to college to give us the best shot we could have at success.Now that I’m a dad, I get it. My wife, Anna Kate, and I would do anything to give Malcolm the life he deserves. And fortunately, in large part because of the investment that my grandparents made almost 60 years ago that fundamentally changed the path of my life, we know that he will have opportunities that my grandparents could only dream of.

Every day, I go to work and see LIFT families on the South Side of Chicago who want every bit as much as my grandparents wanted for their kids, as my parents wanted for me and as I want for Malcolm. They want their kids to have more opportunity than they did and I see them working their own superhero powers to make that happen. This is their moment, their origin story and I’m proud that LIFT gets to be a part of that.”


Over the past month, we’ve celebrated the parents, spouses and friends in LIFT’s network who – like the hardworking moms and dads we serve – are true champions in their families’ lives.

This Father’s Day, we hope you’ll consider giving your superhero a gift that gives back. Make a gift in their honor today and help make a real difference all year:

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