Young Alumna of the Year – Jessica Beachum, B.A. ’11

Young Alumna of the Year

December 22, 2023
Jessica Beachum, B.A. ’11

Jessica Beachum has a talent for seeing both the beauty and the need of the world — and meeting it with generosity and openness.

The Dallas native received her bachelor’s from Baylor in 2011 in sociology. A first-generation college student with a deep love of learning, Beachum was involved on campus in several ways, including membership in the Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Students, serving on the Bear Pit Leadership Team and working as a student in Baylor’s Office for Multicultural Affairs. One key aspect of Beachum’s time at Baylor was being able to keep her faith in the forefront.

“My faith has been something that’s always important to me. I wanted to be able to enter healthcare and bring my Christian faith along, whether it’s praying for patients or praying for families. Keeping God at the forefront of everything that I do in my career and in my life is something that I feel I can’t depart from. It’s something that has to happen for me. Baylor helped drive that even further.”

Beachum continued her educational path with a bachelor’s in nursing from the Duquesne University School of Nursing in 2017 and a master’s in healthcare delivery from Arizona State University in 2021.

“I’ve always loved people,” Beachum said of the common link throughout her education. “That’s been something that has always been special to me. The sociology combined with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing further helped drive my care for people and understanding the different backgrounds and experiences we come from.”

Together, Jessica and her husband, NFL offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, have been extensively involved in the work of people. They established the Beachum Charitable Fund in 2016 and the Kingdom Fund in 2018. The Beachum Fund focuses on efforts to end hunger, provide clean water access and advocate for education equity. The Beachums’ work through the Beachum Fund is driven by their own community ties — they do a lot of work in Kelvin’s hometown, Mexia, Texas, and in Dallas, as well as in each city and state that they’ve lived in, including Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, New Jersey and their current home in Arizona.

The Kingdom Fund deals with doing work for God’s Kingdom, whether it’s through churches or partnering with other organizations. One of the Beachums’ favorite organiations to partner with through this fund is Pro Athletes Outreach, an organization that welcomes new athletes to their conference with a three-day event that builds community and ministers to their families.

“I remember for Christmas, my grandmother wouldn’t let us open any gifts until we finished our shift at the soup kitchen, and then we even had to go for Thanksgiving as well. This taught us the importance of giving back, of helping others, of serving, showing God’s love to people,” Beachum said of her call to service.

The Beachums also have used art as a medium of change and reflection. The couple has spent the last decade building the Jessica and Kelvin Beachum Collection, a collection of art that explores Black identities, experiences, histories and futures. Their thoughtful curation includes international artists working in various media, and the Beachums routinely loan pieces to museums and galleries as the couple finds it increasingly important to share their art. Baylor benefited from this generosity in 2023, when Baylor’s Martin Museum of Art launched an exhibit called Narrative as Reality: Constructing an Identity, featuring an array of pieces from the collection.

Beachum noted a change in the landscape of art accessibility, saying, “I feel like there was a point in time, and a little bit may still exist today, where art seemed like something that was only for a certain class of people, the elite. I’m glad that is slowly changing, and we’re happy to be a part of that.”

As the collection grows, it includes more artists from varied backgrounds. The criteria, Beachum said, is that they buy what they love.

The Beachums have partnered in other ways with Jessica’s alma mater in their philanthropic efforts. The couple has contributed to two scholarship funds at Baylor: the Trailblazers Scholarship Fund and the Pearl Beverly Endowed Scholarship Fund. Beachum also serves on Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences Board of Advocates.

“I’ve always had this desire deep within me for better, to leave things better than I found them. I really don’t care whether or not my name is there, because ultimately God will get the glory. That’s the main driving factor between sharing things that he’s blessed us with, whether it’s art, for sharing my time, for sharing my resources, sharing financially, just the desire for better, for excellence.”