I like to reciprocate and be a connector with people, friends, family, and sometimes, even strangers.
Location: New York, New York
Career: Membership Manager, National LGBTQ Taskforce
What was your first charitable gift?
My first gift was one that my parents gave at my request. I was in high school. We had been driving on the highway. I saw a truck drive by with a sign on it that read God’s Love We Deliver. I didn’t know much about the organization, but I loved the message when I thought about it. I had been a part of an event with my synagogue youth group that raised money to feed seniors at a luncheon at our synagogue and had served on the social action committee of my synagogue that supported the event. The message that god’s love could help feed people really resonated with me and I wanted to be a part of their work. That first gift of $50 meant everything to me. I remember receiving the acknowledgement in the mail – it was impactful to see my name on it and know that I was a part of the solution. To know that those $50, which could have been a gift to me, was a gift to make a difference for someone else.
The first gift I personally made was in November 2012 to the Victory Fund. It was a big leap because I was invited to join the Board and had never been directly philanthropic. I knew that it meant I had to raise money, but I didn’t realize it meant I had to give. But, when I was asked, it just made sense to me. Once I gave, I felt so proud to be a part of a group that could support LGBT people running for office. I wanted to pay it forward to give to those who had helped me so that others would have the same opportunity.
What inspires you to give?
I’m inspired to do this because I can. If I have extra money, I love to give it to a place I care about because so many people can benefit from it. If I forgo a night out in order to help someone, I will. I have been very privileged and lucky. I know the effect that $50 can have every month.
In particular, this resonates with me because I’ve been doing interviews with activists at work at the National LGBTQ Task Force. I interviewed one of the activists that had worked with the Task Force for a number of years. When he shared the effect the organization has had on his life, I knew that if my donation, no matter how large or small helps someone have 5 minutes that impact them tremendously, then, that money was well spent.
How do you give of your time?
I show up and I’m a connector. I have met some amazing people in my career who have connected me to others. I like to reciprocate and be a connector with people, friends, family, and sometimes, even strangers. I make sure when I invite new people into my life to connect them to opportunities to make a difference. It’s not necessarily about showing up at the fundraisers, it’s about showing up in general.
What advice do you have for others to give?
If you are interested in change, find a passion – look for an organization, volunteer for causes you believe in and know that it’s not hard to give. No gift is too small. If you can’t donate all of your time, donate 5 minutes or $5. Be a monthly donor for $10, that adds up. Find an issue, an organization that matches your passion. I’ve met some incredible people through nonprofits. If I learned anything in my life, there’s a cause and issue for everyone to support, and a level of support that works for you. Whether it’s $5 or $50,000, just give back to those that give to you and give to groups you feel strongly about!