Nieisha Deed - Vital Village Innovation Award

Keith Arnold
By Keith Arnold

In December of 2022, Nieisha Deed was awarded the Vital Village Innovation Award for her pioneering work for black mental health in Boston and unfaltering drive to improve the community’s well being.

Nieisha Deed is a Boston native, educated at Howard University, with over fifteen years of experience as a corporate accounting professional. Due to her personal and familial struggles with mental health, including living with bipolar disorder and surviving a suicide attempt in 2017, Nieisha decided a change was due. She redirected her skills and drive to helping black Bostonians with their mental health and wellbeing. In September of 2021, born out of her passion to help others, Nieisha launched PureSpark.

In her own words, “PureSpark seeks to cultivate the kind of mental wellness culture I craved when I was severely depressed and suicidal.” Using social media and the internet, PureSpark provides education resources, daily coping mechanisms, connections to professional support- and more- to black people living in the Greater Boston area. Her aim was to take the guesswork out of wellness and to empower those who want to start on their own personal healing journey, and support them throughout their entire journey. By tackling social disparities head on, she is helping match individuals to available therapists that may have been previously inaccessible. Nieisha, with PureSpark, is working towards creating a healthier and more peaceful community, and ending the stigma around mental health that has persisted. 

Nieisha saw the void in her community- a lack of black mental health organizations in Boston. She decided to lead the effort. She was inspired to start this work because she felt there was a true need in the community for a black-centric mental health resources. Her personal journey with mental health has been her motivator to help others, and she is continually inspired by the impact that she can have on others through storytelling and connecting people with therapists. At PureSpark, things are just getting started, and she is excited to see what the future holds in store. 

When asked about what advice she would give to others interested in community leadership, Nieisha said to “lead with your heart.” She explained to me that by leading authentically with your heart, you can solely focus on the people in need over your own ego. And on top of that, Nieisha says to lead with compassion. When you work compassionately with people, your connection is stronger and you can have a greater impact in someone’s life. She believes that by leading in this manner, anyone can become a great community leader and be the change in their community that they hope to see. 

If you are interested in getting in contact with Nieisha Deed and PureSpark, you can email or check out their website here:

Additionally, connect with PureSpark on social media: 




Posted In: Innovations in Education