What Giving Project Alumni Say About Their Experience

"THANK YOU [to SJF] for teaching me about giving. That it has the ability to dispel fear, disarm hate, and instill courage and strength in others... You have shown me that giving is essential to our humanity."
- Andrew Turgeon, Gender Justice Giving Project 2016-17

“Every day [in the Giving Project] I realized something I’m learning that’s changing my life. I’m not one to be up in the front with activism, but this model lets me be effective behind the scenes. This is something I’m going to be doing for a long time.” – Maxx Tomlinson, LGBTQ Giving Project 2011, Criminal Justice Giving Project 2012, LGBTQ Giving Project 2013, and Gender Justice Giving Project 2014

Finding Inspiration

“If you’re seeking inspiration about the work that’s going on in our communities, and seeking a way to engage or re-engage, this is the way to do that. It’s not like a lot of other volunteer experiences; this structure lends itself to making you feel empowered and inspired.” – Sashya Clark, Next Generation Giving Project 2011

“As an Asian American, who grew up in a farming community in Minnesota, I always yearned to learn more about progressive causes and how I could help in rural communities. When I heard about the Rural Justice Giving Project in 2016, I was immediately drawn to help fund organizations outside of Seattle and Portland that were building lasting capacity in our rural communities.” – Heidi Park, Rural Justice Giving Project 2016

“I really had begun to doubt that there were people out there who were willing to put in work and time and bond themselves to a cause. But to see that there was a community that was willing to sacrifice, risk, share, and work to honor the gritty, hard work of on-the-ground social justice organizations that desperately need every penny made me feel hopeful again.” – Member of the Next Generation Giving Project 2010 

“I haven’t felt this excited about social justice work in a long time. Who knew that it would be fundraising that would make me excited!” – Jenn Bowman, Next Generation Giving Project 2011

Learning Skills and Taking Action

"As a direct result of my participation in this Giving Project, I've understood a new framework for my next steps in being part of this social justice movement in earnest...I now have the analysis, the tools, the network, and the direction to build the world I want to be a part of." – Member of the Next Generation Giving Project, 2014

“I am really grateful for an opportunity to take a small step towards aligning some of my broader values regarding organizing and racial justice with concrete action. I know that fundraising is only one small part of the equation, but it was very important to feel a little less powerless in the face of some of the big, crushing news of 2016.” – Member of the Rural Justice Giving Project 2016

"Granting out money to 13 different community-led organizations who are pushing for the systematic change we need in the region was amazing. The community-building and opportunity to learn new skills--like fundraising and grant reading--together was transformative." – Alison Kelly-Rostholder, Economic Justice Giving Project 2016

“I always cared a lot about social justice, but didn’t have a productive outlet. This is the first time I’ve felt like I made a difference by being part of a group. My impact was magnified.” – Ellie Poley, LGBTQ Giving Project 2011 and Economic Justice Giving Project 2012

"Being part of a Giving Project not only helped me imagine the kind of world that I'd like to see, but it also helped me be a part of building it. It allowed me to confront the ways I've been socialized to believe I'm not capable of understanding grant making while centering my lived experience." – Mano Da Silva, Economic Justice Giving Project, 2014 and Housing Justice Giving Project, 2016

“[What I liked was] the process of giving [and] learning about all the inspiring work being done in the community, being a part of paying it forward, and learning about other justice related opportunities to participate in throughout the Seattle area.” – Member of the Economic Justice Giving Project 2016

Learning About Money, Race, Class, and Giving

“It changed the way I think about giving and asking people to give…I really appreciated that in the project we were doing what we were talking about doing, not just theorizing. It was a transformative experience.”  – Seayoung Yim, Next Generation Giving Project 2011 and Black-led Organizing Giving Project 2015

“My experience in the Giving Project was personally transformative. Having grown up poor, I never envisioned myself as able to give, or as a philanthropist. Through the Giving Project I learned that I didn't have to be rich (whatever that means) to give, that giving is appreciated at any level, and that every drop of water put in the pot, so to speak, raises the water line.” – Michelle DePass, Portland Giving Project 2015 & Momentum Portland Giving Project 2016

“[What felt successful was] asking 16 people for money and having those 16 conversations.” – Economic Justice Giving Project 2016

“...I liked the discussions we had about class and hearing from people that grew up in a range of different economic classes. I can't think of another opportunity where I would be able have these honest conversations....” – Member of the Criminal Justice Giving Project 2016

“Being a part of the Next Generation Giving Project I've seen a shift in my attitude towards philanthropy. Instead of being dry, tired and distant, the NGGP shows philanthropy's potential to be exciting, relevant, and just... I would never have considered myself a philanthropist before being a part of the NGGP.” – Member of the Next Generation Giving Project 2010

“[What felt successful was] talking with friends and family about my experience with SJF and bringing up issues around class, race, money, and criminal justice. I think I at least planted the seed for many ideas that I will likely keep talking about with them…” – Member of the Criminal Justice Giving Project 2016

"My analysis for race and class is deeper, there's more I know and interestingly, more ‘known unknowns’ in social change work that will require both my humility and my attention moving forward... I'm now adamant about acting on this knowledge everyday." – Member of the Next Generation Giving Project 2014