Alyssa P. Miller

All I did was smile and it brought joy into their lives. It was one of the most rewarding experiences to have as a kid.

Location: Ithaca, New York

Profession: Graduate Student

When was the first time you did something charitable?:

I was a candy striper in a nursing home for elderly. All I did was smile and it brought joy into their lives. It was one of the most rewarding experiences to have as a kid

What philanthropic topics inspire you?:

I believe in youth charities – the nice thing about them is that when a charity can transform the problem. Working with kids to end poverty and income disparity is what they are focused upon in their mission. If people are better educated, their economic chances of succeeding will improve. That’s what near and dear to me.

How do you give of your time?:

While I’m in graduate school now, previously, at my company, I volunteered through opportunities facilitated by them. I think it’s nice when you companies let employees spend their time doing something good. They were really supportive of us stepping up to volunteer. One of my former colleagues introduced me to the organization.

I helped disadvantaged youth with interview and resume prep at The Covenant House, a facility for teens who need a safe space to live and training.  A lot of the teens didn’t realize that all of the languages they speak are great skills to emphasize so in helping them with their resumes, I encouraged them to list this as a skill. Helping out in this way only took an hour or two but it could have a lasting impact on their future. I was fortunate to have a safe environment growing up so to me, the chance to show my appreciation by giving to others was compelling.

What advice do you have for people to consider being charitable?

Being charitable should be engrained in you from a young age. The younger you start, you get more comfortable giving time and money. It’s an eye opening experience for a child to have. It’s a good thing to really understand.


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Julia Levy, Founder, has a decade of development experience, including working for a philanthropist, a small nonprofit and now a large nonprofit. She has raised significant dollars for numerous causes, from education to religion and from donors of all ages. Julia holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University. Julia has taught fundraising workshops, most recently at Brooklyn Brainery and coached development professionals.

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Why We Give tells stories of ordinary philanthropists, making a difference, dollar by dollar and hour by hour.  

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