Rev. Leslie Smith II is a graduate of Southern University, in Baton Rouge, LA., where he received BA degrees in Management and Marketing. After working in “Corporate America,” for over 10 years, Rev. Smith responded to a higher calling; community service and activism. Rev. Smith is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Change Happens! (formerly FUUSA), a 501(c) (3), community-based, social service organization, whose mission is “empowering families to help themselves.” During the late 1980’s, Rev. Smith became increasingly exasperated with the multiple risks parents in his congregation faced with trying to successfully raise their children in the inner-city. He observed how families and communities were facing risks that were known to have a correlation to involvement in gangs, substance abuse, failure in school, teen pregnancy, and a multitude of other poor outcomes. Through Divine guidance, FUUSA was created in 1989 to support families in low income and disadvantaged communities throughout Houston. Since its inception, Change Happens! has grown to over 50 employees, with eighteen programs. It is one of the largest minority-founded and operated organizations in Harris County.
Rev. Smith has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition, including the WB 39 Unsung Hero Award (2001), the Charles A. Bonjean Spirit of Collaboration Award (2003), named a “Community Star” by the City of Houston, awarded the “Victory Against Hunger Award” by the Congressional Hunger Center (2004), and received Honorable Mention for Excellence by the Better Business Bureau (2004). Rev. Smith has been recognized by Mayor Bill White’s office and Houston City Council, in April 2009, for “Outstanding Community Leadership & Service, and was recognized by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo as a 2010 Black Heritage Honoree and Comcast for Outstanding Community Leadership & Service, Ladies of Distinction Community Leadership Award by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (2012), The Drum Major Award by The North Houston Frontiers Club (2013), The Jaguar of the Year Award by Southern University Alumni (2014), and the M.E.N. Incorporated Community Hero Award (2017). He presently serves as a Board Member for Yes Preparatory Public Schools and Mental Health America of Greater Houston ; and is a graduate of Project Blueprint of the United Way (Class VII), Leadership Houston (Class XVII), and American Leadership Forum (Class XXVI) His past times include traveling, working out, jet skiing, bike riding, and vacationing with his family. He is the proud father of five and grandfather of seven. Rev. Leslie Smith