What is mine to give?
This is the question I asked myself once the initial shock of the pandemic passed and the consequences for our community started to become clear.
In May of last year, like every Giving Circle, we reached out to our grantees to see how they were, what had changed in their day to day, and how we could support the amazing work they do. From our calls I learned that Executive Directors were dealing with unimaginable challenges: working longer hours, changing focus to address immediate needs (food, masks, navigating federal assistance), dealing with the mental health crisis, helping children with online school, and of course the huge revenue loss while community needs increased. It felt like a daunting task, and we were able to grant additional funds to help our grantees. However, I was impacted by how much still needed to be done—and how often it is not only about money.
How to go beyond the dollar?
As an Executive and Leadership Coach, I began to explore what could I do to go beyond the dollar. My personal answer was to offer a pro-bono coaching program to one of LCF’s grantees. I was in touch with Amber and Masha, and they connected me with an Executive Director of an organization that is a grantee (not from our Giving Circle). We had an initial chemistry call and decided we both wanted to work together. The program ended in December of 2020, and I am so grateful I was able to support someone who is in turn supporting so many people.
What I learned
This was my first client from the world of philanthropy, and although challenges in professional settings can be similar, Executive Directors for nonprofits are facing enormous strain and much is being requested of them. I learned that I can make a difference by using my talents. I learned about the nuances of managing staff and working in the middle of a pandemic, social unrest, census, elections, and what that means for our communities. I learned about the importance of self-care, and the positive effects it has on the people I coach, and thus on their staff, and the work they are able to do. I learned about the wisdom that resides in the hearts and minds of our Executive Directors. And I also learned that I will keep doing pro bono work to support our grantees.
My invitation to you
My invitation is simple; ask yourself: what is yours to do? Do not underestimate your talents — we tend to minimize what we know and what we do because it is obvious to us. And once you find out what is yours to do, get in touch with Amber and Masha. They will find a match for you. And believe me, you will not regret it. I know it sounds cliché, but you will gain more than you give. Believe in your power, and share it.
Written by Bego Lozano, a member of the Península Latina Giving Circle.