Jennifer Quintanilla

I believe very deeply in the idea that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” As long as I have the time and resources to do so, I will carry a commitment to aiding others.  

Location: Pasedena, California

Profession: Lawyer

What was the first gift you ever gave?: I’ve given in small ways to Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center in Pasadena, CA over the last few years – supporting various fundraising events each year. However, this year I made by first pledge as a Guardian of that organization. 

What is your charity of choice?: I actually have two, both are local non profits I am actively involved in. The first is the Junior League of Pasadena, Inc. and Mothers’ Club Family Learning Center. Both are located in Pasadena, CA and are doing great work for the people in the community. 

Who inspires you to give?: My inspiration to give stems entirely from the amazing employees and clients of the organizations I support. I believe strongly in giving to organizations that yield clear and identifiable benefits for those they are working to serve. I am inspired by thriving programs run masterfully by motivated and dedicated employees, volunteers giving of their work, and most importantly the clients I see benefitting and succeeding.   

What motivates you to give?: The primary motivation behind my giving is the understanding that I have the ability to do so. I am intensely aware of how lucky I am to have the means to offer some level of support to the organizations I love and I feel obligated to offer that support. I believe very deeply in the idea that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” As long as I have the time and resources to do so, I will carry a commitment to aiding others.  

What advice do you have for others to consider giving?: Spend some time to find the right recipient for your gift and by that I mean, finding something you feel personally connected to. Is there a certain issue you feel strongly about? Are you just looking for a way to better understand or support your community? Start with that question and remember that giving can come in any number of forms and the simplest place to start is by giving your time.

How has volunteering impacted your philanthropy?: A good volunteer connection often leads to monetary giving in a very organic way. I recommend finding an issue you care about and first taking the step of volunteering your time with an organization working in that area. Volunteering can strengthen the connection you feel to a particular issue or parts of your community and it can also serve as a sort of vetting process for organizations you are considering making gifts to. All of my gifts have been to organizations I volunteered with and developed a very strong connection to as a result of my volunteer work. Find an organization doing good work in something you care about and the rest will flow from there. I think this works much better on a smaller scale, where the recipient is a smaller organization taking a more local, grassroots approach to their work.


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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