Annie's Girls started when My mother Annie Royal gave birth to five daughters, where I am next to the baby and she adopted my father's daughter who both her mother and father preceded her in death. That makes six original Annie's Girls. My mother was loved and she loved a group of women that I grew up with and they also became Annie's Girls.
My mom was a drug user and during her addiction, she contracted HIV and lost the battle at age 53. Growing up with parents that were addicted to drugs caused many hardships for my family and me.
Before my mother's death, I promised her that I would start a non-profit organization in honor of her. She was a beautiful and strong woman whose life was interrupted by drug addiction. I endured many difficulties as a result of the life my mother chose and rather than die in them and with her, I decided to take those things that tried to kill me and help someone else.
About Our Founder
My name is Shree Denise Royal.
I am the proud mother of three adult children and a grateful grandmother of two.
I grew up in the Cabrini Green Projects where my testimonies began.
I am a proud survivor of everything that my charitable foundation consists of.
I am an entrepreneur and a child of God.
I was born to parents who chose drug use as their lifestyle. This lifestyle landed my mother with a drug addiction that lasted until her death at the mere age of 53 due to complications of AIDS. My father took the life of his one year old daughter’s mother and his own at the age of 39.
Growing up, oftentimes we were left home alone with no food and no one to care for us. We didn’t go to school like normal children because of my mother’s drug addiction—she was never around long enough to enroll us in school. I remember not starting school until fourth grade. I didn’t know how to read then.
At 16, I moved in with my first boyfriend and the domestic violence started. He would beat me until he was satisfied, leaving me with black eyes and bruises everywhere. He intentionally made me look and feel unattractive so I could never leave him. I needed a way out. So I decided to have my first child to get public housing, to be free from the abuse, to hope.
At 28, I went back to school and obtained my GED. I wanted to show my children that anything was possible.
At 34, I watched my mother slowly deteriorate from this vicious disease. When she was on her deathbed, I promised her that I would start a non-profit organization to honor our lives.
Today, it is my heart’s desire to help disadvantaged individuals because I still remember wanting help from someone when my sisters and I were eating from our garbage can and asking our neighbors to borrow bread that we had no idea when we would be able to repay. I still remember crying out for help on the inside because I was too scared and ashamed to ask for help when he put his hands on me. And I still remember wanting someone—a mother figure, to hold me and say that things are going to be alright.
Founder & CEO