Angel of the Month
Each month, The Angelrock Project features an Angel of the Month, interviews of inspirational people involved in grassroots volunteer efforts and exceptional humanitarian endeavors. We hope that by reading their stories, you will be moved, inspired, and grateful for their tremendous efforts.
Richard Menage, a New York City-based graphic designer offers an array of design services to companies of every kind. In addition, Mr. Menage is an avid world traveler and a generous humanitarian who gives back regularly by offering pro bono design services to a multitude of small non-profit organizations.
Q. Please tell us a little about yourself. Please also talk about your family and your career.
A. I am a native of New York City growing up in Queens. The son of airline executive and a high-school French teacher, my neighborhood gave me a rich, diverse experience, from the public schools and the many colorful characters on my block. A childhood friend of mine bemoans the overly protective and scheduled life his kids have in contrast to the free-form urban life we led then. But of course that was a different era.
Q. As a graphic artist, you have so generously donated your talent to many non-profit organizations and causes. Why have you been compelled to do so?
A. I feel an inner impulse that one cannot go through life only for the betterment of oneself or even immediate family. Your fellow human beings need your help. And somehow that good karma comes back to you, good luck comes your way often.
Q. How do you feel knowing that your service helped to establish new grassroots organizations like Styleworks, The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation and projects like Journey for Change?
A. I feel really, really good to add to those efforts. The challenges are immense and frightening but we must persevere. It was by chance that I met Malaak when she was with The Terrie Williams agency. Our paths must have crossed for a reason and I believe she was the catalyst to interest me in getting involved. It started with a fundraiser for The United Negro College Fund, a kind of food festival called "Flavor of New York" with top chefs cooking foods of all kind. I designed the journal, invites, etc. and that led to many other causes and events.
Q. Please talk about how your upbringing influenced your spirit of giving?
A. I had an amazing exposure to vastness and diversity of this world. We had a discount on airfares through my dad. From an early age my family took us on trips throughout Europe, the Middle-East, and later on my own to Africa, South America, and India. That really instilled a tremendous perspective. My travels have included the Third World and I have seen some very poor people and places, as well as extraordinary beauty.
Q. You have shared with me about your sister and her work in Africa. What does she do and how has that impacted you?
A. Nicole Menage has been with the U.N. World Food Program for more than 20 years, working and living in Malawi, Burundi, Togo, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. I visited some of those countries, as a result and became more aware of the history and current events in Africa. The opportunity to see and meet people abroad connects all of us.
Q. What global issues concern you today?
A. I believe population explosion is near the top of my list. Our species is ever closer to outstripping our natural resources. Then the climate crisis which stems from that, don't get me started.
Q. You have traveled a lot around the world. What are your favorite countries and why?
A. Well I would say the Tanzania trip was pretty unforgettable. The chance to go on Safari in the Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro Crater ranks right up there. The Taj Mahal seemed surreal. I am quite fond of Paris and also Positano on the Italian coastline.
Q. Last question. You offer your services so generously and work so hard, why don't you ever ask for credit?
A. Oh, I guess it's my self-effacing nature. I reluctantly draw attention to myself. I think of the boy in front of the damn that was springing leaks, he just instinctively went to plug the holes, no questions asked.
Editors Note: Richard Menage designed of the logos for The Angelrock Project and for Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service, among many others featured on this site.
Past Angel of the Month
To view all past Angels of the Month, please click here.