After graduating from Texas A&M University with a BBA in communications, Alissa Rosebrough embarked upon a career as a professional photographer shooting freelance for the National Basketball Association and then as in-house photographer for Zachry Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the world.
During breaks in the NBA season, she visited Africa and documented the progress being made – and not being made – in governmental and aid organizations including the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, CURE International, and the World Bank.
She spent an extended amount of time in Zambia in 2007 and 2009, and felt called to do more than chronicle the nation’s plight through her photos. She wanted to make a difference on a much grander scale, said nominator Charlie Powell of Ciera Bank.
She dropped her photography career in 2015 after marrying Asher Rosebrough and dedicated her full efforts to Arise Africa.
The initial core of donors – mostly her friends and sorority sisters from the Chi Omega chapter at Texas A&M – has now grown to more than 1,500.
A major donor is Dallas native Clayton Kershaw, three-time Cy Young Award winner and member of the 2020 World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Rosebrough was a sorority sister with both Clayton’s wife, Ellen, and her sister, Ann. Through their foundation, Kershaw’s Challenge, they have helped raise the money to construct new buildings, expand school campuses and serve meals, as many as 5,000 per week.
“She is changing the lives of hundreds and thousands in Africa and also here in the United States. She has the special gift of conceiving a dream and then nurturing that concept into something small, then grow it and expand that concept into something magnificent,” Powell said.
– Paul K. Harral
Where did your first paycheck come from?
My very first paycheck was when I was in the 7th grade and I babysat for our neighbors. Then my official first paycheck came from our college newspaper at Texas A&M where I was a photographer.
What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?
I loved (and still do) the movie Shawshank Redemption.
Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or she was important.
My dad was a major influence in my life. He was a busy doctor and yet found time to devote to my mother, my sisters, and me. On the weekends he taught us how to do everything on our family ranch from riding horses to fixing tires.
I didn’t understand how much that would impact me as an adult with my confidence and ability to adapt to any situation and willingness to try anything. Running Arise Africa, I can see that how I was raised has made me not afraid of trying anything for the ministry and coming up with crazy plans, which is what it takes operating in Zambia!
He also gave me and my sisters every single opportunity and didn’t discriminate. He had no sons and he taught us to hunt and fish and drive bulldozers. He also had a fantastic marriage with my mother until she passed away and I am so thankful I got to have that example as I grew up.
My dad has spent his entire profession caring for others and I can now see how that carried down to me in a way. I am not in an operating room, but I am doing it in another way. My dad also taught me to work hard and I am thankful I have the same amount of energy he does!
Tell us about your photo shoot prop.
I brought my 13-year-old Chocolate Lab, Ella. It is symbolic of me because we both are loyal, laid back, family centered, and happy most of the time!