When Jennifer Fearing opened her Sacramento-based advocacy firm, she branded it with the nickname she had been given by her mentor years earlier, a fitting name – a beacon – for its cause-oriented approach: Fearless Advocacy. And when she and her husband, Jay, established a Donor Advised Fund at the Foundation, they took just as bold an approach.
“My husband and I want to give more intentionally. We want our giving to be more than the sum of our haphazard impulses, and opening a fund gave us a way to think about the principles that guide our giving,” says Jennifer. “The Foundation gave us a framework that was simple and painless.”
Together, she and her husband use their fund to give unrestricted gifts to nonprofits that pursue the missions they support – and because, through her advocacy firm, she works with nonprofits throughout California and the country, Jennifer is a particularly discerning donor.
The first gift from the Fearless Fund was especially meaningful. Inspired by their close friends’ daughter, Helen, and her bat mitzvah project to collect feminine hygiene products for local homeless women, Jennifer and Jay directed a grant to Maryhouse, the daytime shelter at Loaves & Fishes that serves women experiencing homelessness.
“It is awfully fearless for a 13 year-old to wage a tampon collection campaign,” says Jennifer. “So many of us in the Sacramento area are deeply concerned about homelessness but unsure what we can do about it. Our grant is modest, to be sure, but we hope that it will inspire others to learn about Maryhouse’s work and to act, just like we were inspired by Helen.”
Through their fund at the Foundation, Jennifer and her husband are turning their giving into planned and thoughtful philanthropy, supporting the causes they care about – fearlessly.
After learning that feminine hygiene products are the second most requested item at homeless shelters, Helen (picutred above, with Jennifer) devoted herself to collecting donations. She spread word of her campaign through social media and community networks. Though she was initially concerned the response might be middling, she and her family were heartened by the outpouring of support. “We would come home some days and find the donation box outside our front door overflowing with donations,” she recalls.
Altogether, her efforts helped collect over 10,000 items for the women Maryhouse serves.
“I can’t wait to see what Helen will do with her fearless compassion and look forward to supporting her every step of the way,” says Jennifer.
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