By Anne DeBiasi

 Kenneth Tinsley with Rev. Dr. Michael Bledsoe of Riverside Baptist Church (retired) at a protest-march; Courtesy of Author 

Kenneth Tinsley (an MBA) was a SWNA scholarship recipient while attending Central State University. He’s now living his dream as the wide receivers’ coach and assisted strength and conditioning coach at Union College in Schenectady, NY. But, he remains rooted in SW as an active member of Riverside Baptist Church. 

Kenneth recommended that Riverside Baptist Church support the SWNA Scholarship Fund, resulting in a major contribution. Rev. Nick of Riverside said: 

Riverside Baptist Church strives to support our local community and the Southwest neighborhood. We have seen the impact the SWNA Scholarship Fund has made on the lives of so many, including Kenny. Supporting the SWNA Scholarship Fund was not only a priority of ours, but a commission given the difficulty this past year has brought to several of our neighbors. 

The SWNA Education and Scholarship Task Force (ESTF) is grateful for Riverside Baptist Church’s generous support! We are also delighted that an alumnus of the scholarship program is now giving back by advocating on behalf of the program. 

Kenneth attended Amidon Elementary School, Sasha Bruce Public Charter School, and graduated from Wilson High School. He began giving back to our community early on. For 6 years during and after college, he interned with PN Hoffman and the Wharf Development Team as the Summer Events Coordinator.

Kenneth graduated cum laude from Central State in May 2013. While there, he played football, managed the women’s basketball team, and served as the school’s mascot.

He launched his football coaching career here in DC as the Assistant Offensive Coordinator at Eastern Senior High School. He went on to coach at Bates College in Maine and at the American International College in Massachusetts. While there, he earned his Master’s in Business Administration.

We can certainly say that Kenneth is a pillar of the Southwest community. 

In the words of Dr. Michael Bledsoe, retired pastor of Riverside Baptist Church:  

Reverend Communities of faith, no matter their Tradition, are crucibles for character.  Kenneth Tinsley’s sterling character was in some significant measure shaped by his having attended Riverside Baptist Church since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He attended youth nights and other special events but above all he was shaped by the weekly rhythm of worship. Baptized by a woman minister and graduate of Howard Divinity School whom we ordained, he was exposed to a community of faith that spoke prophetically to civil rights and inclusion. He is an emblem of our faith and hope at Riverside. He and I have prayed and marched together. Now retired, I am heartened to see his witness and strength displayed and carried on.

Kenneth’s leadership and the generosity of Riverside Baptist Church will help the SWNA Education and Scholarship Task Force provide five more scholarships to Southwest College students. You can join them in supporting the SWNA Scholarship Fund ( and helping us reach our goal of funding 34 scholarships this year.

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