I enjoy the traditional four seasons of the year. But as the Grants and Scholarship Manager at the Foundation, from December through May, from the time we begin accepting scholarship applications through the time we announce student recipients and pay the awards, I get to enjoy a fifth season, too: scholarship season.
When Ms. Amy invited my sister and me to the Youth Philanthropy Conference (YPC) in Anaheim, all I could think about was the free trip to Disneyland. The only thing I had to do, Ms. Amy informed us, was to speak in front of some kids about Grants Advisory Board for Youth (GABY) and Sacramento Region Community Foundation and attend a few workshops. Then, off to Space Mountain we would go!
I slammed on my brakes when a large bird crash-landed in front of my car. Grateful I had not been rear-ended by the car behind me, and that the flapping bird was still alive, I pulled over to see if there was anything I could do for the poor thing.
Everything about my SVP Fast Pitch experience was fantastic. As soon as I heard about the opportunity, it sounded like exactly what Women’s Empowerment needed to gain some valuable feedback and meet new people. We got all of that, and much, much more.
Recently, I was “Principal for a Day” at Dyer-Kelly Elementary School, a Title 1 school in the San Juan Unified School District that educates K-5 students, most of whom are students of color.
Before I dove into the world of Foundation work, I worked on the other side of the coin – writing grants and seeking funding for nonprofits. As a development director, I spent my work days creating relationships with potential donors, funders and cultivating new opportunities for funding that would grow, sustain and support the much needed services of the organizations for which I worked. Every ‘Yes’ I got for a grant or a sponsorship, was always followed by an avalanche of ‘No’s and it is not always easy to remain optimistic in the face of such constant rejection. While I no longer work in development, my time in those positions gave me a deep appreciation and admiration for those that choose to dedicate their careers to nonprofit work. Whether you are in fundraising, programming, or are a board member, the blood sweat and tears that it takes to keep things rolling is inspiring on so many levels.
Over the course of the year, the Foundation hosts fundholder listening opportunities. We just completed our five summer sessions. The agenda is quite simple: we use these gatherings as a way to update our fundholders on what’s going on at the Foundation and solicit feedback from them. These sessions are typically small with 10 to 12 participants and last about an hour and a half. There is usually a diversity of fund types represented including donor advised, scholarship, legacy, and nonprofit agency. There is also a wide range of philanthropic passions in the room. In one session alone, there were strong advocates for the homeless, the environment, foster youth, the arts, animals and education. Some of the attendees are relatively new fundholders while others have had an established fund for years.
A framed letter once adorned a wall in my parent’s house and over time it moved from their living room to their family room, and then traveled across the country where it now rests in my home office, buried in a box. It is my acceptance letter to the University of California at Berkeley. For my parents—who immigrated to the United States without college educations of their own—that letter represented the good fortune of their hard work: their daughter was a student at one of the most prestigious universities in the country.
Last Friday marked my tenth day as the Foundation’s new Marketing Associate. It also marked the release of the Foundation’s BIG Day of Giving Report to the Community—so while all of my new colleagues reminisced about the exhausting, exhilarating day they had at the Foundation’s “BIG DoG Command Center” on May 5, I was remembering the day from a slightly different perspective: that of a nonprofit staff member.
The first full week in the new year is almost over! Resolutions are under way, but stats show it’s hard to follow through. StatisticBrain says that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8% of people are successful in achieving their goal.
A few years ago, I made some pretty impactful lifestyle changes in an attempt to be healthier. It was more than just eating healthier or moving my body – everything I did became a conscious decision to be better and stronger. I eliminated a lot of things, but added a lot, too. One of those additions was that I began to run.
My grandmother’s first job was that of schoolteacher in a country schoolhouse. She did many things after that, including a stint as a Rosie the Riveter at Boeing during World War II. In 1983, at the service honoring her long and storied life, my gramma’s great-nephew Tom told me that he had been one of her students in that country schoolhouse, more than a half-century earlier. He said that as soon as she recognized he was struggling with reading, she worked with him until he became a confident reader. By the time I met him, Tom was retired from a successful career in the Air Force that had taken him all over the world. He credited my grandmother — his second-grade teacher — with changing his life forever.
Many of you have probably heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been all over social media in the past few weeks. I heard about it from a co-worker who said she thought of me when she read about it, so of course I had to get online and check out this phenomenon. I say what a great way to build awareness about ALS and raise much needed funds for our local ALS Association of Greater Sacramento Chapter.