Camden Gilman

It made me realize that as much as my friends and family may sometimes feel too connected and reliant on technology, we have a lot of work to do to get everyone the access they want…

Location: Austin, Texas

Profession: Corporate Trainer

What was the first charitable gift you ever gave?:

Every week I would bring part of my allowance that I earned for chores around the house to Sunday School.  In high school, I got involved in National Honor Society and we did a lot of volunteering with groups like Habitat for Humanity and in college I became more involved with environmental groups.

What is your charity of choice?: 

Heifer International. In addition to having low administrative costs which allows most of your donation to go directly to people in need, I believe in Heifer International’s mission to help people help themselves.  Not only do they distribute locally sourced livestock to impoverished families, they also train the recipients with the skills and knowledge needed to care for the animals, making the program very sustainable.  In addition, they require the families to pass on part of their livestock’s offspring.  So for example, donating a goat to a family will not only come with training so they can have goat’s milk for years, but that family is also required help another family in their community with the goat’s offspring, instilling a sense of giving.  This “pay-it-forward” mentality is what really makes Heifer International special in my mind.

Who inspires you to give?:

My parents.  My dad has made a second career out of volunteering with organizations such as Rotary International and The Masonic Lodge, and my mom has done volunteer work through our synagogue for over 30 years.

What motivates you to give?:

I am motivated to act locally so I can see the impact of what I do and globally so I can be a part of something greater.  I’ve donated to local animal groups like Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary because I can see the effects of these donations and know I am helping.  I also contribute to organizations like Heifer International to be part of a greater movement to help people in poverty all over the world.

How do you give of your time?:

As someone who works in a technical field, I enjoy volunteering at Austin libraries and nursing homes to teach others basic computing skills.  From applying to jobs online to sharing pictures with your grandchildren, everyone should have access to learning the basics.  I remember teaching an elderly woman how to perform some very basic computer functions, like searching the Internet, checking e-mail, etc. and she was brand new to computers and had never used a mouse before.  At the very beginning, it was hard for her to associate the movement of the mouse with the movement of the cursor on the screen.  The idea of moving the mouse forward corresponding to the cursor moving up was completely foreign.  This is something so basic to computing that I completely take for granted knowing.  It made me realize that as much as my friends and family may sometimes feel too connected and reliant on technology, we have a lot of work to do to get everyone the access they want.

What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:  

Check with your company to see if they do any charitable giving.  Apple has a program that will match any charitable donation of it’s employees, allowing me to essentially double my contribution.  Many other companies have similar programs and various other ways to get involved.


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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