To fold the hands in prayer is well, to open them in charity is better. ~French Proverb
Life is definitely a journey. For so many of us, we go down many different paths in hopes that we get to our final destination. The career path has its own path and often times can be the most troublesome. I am very lucky because I feel I was called to do what I love to do and have had and currently feel lucky every day that I get to work for an organization that has an awesome mission, great staff and wonderful work environment. Let me introduce myself, my name is Kendra Noel Lewis and I am currently the Director of Communications and Development for the California Council of Churches and California IMPACT.
For 19 years, I can honestly say, that I have been working in my dream career doing what I love. What do I do? I am a professional fundraiser. When asked what I do and I decide to be coy, my response is "I beg for a living." I usually get a big laugh. Most people would prefer to jump in a shark tank then ask another individual for one penny. I don't see it that way at all. I find benevolence both fascinating and wonderful all at the same time. I see my job as the opportunity to meet individuals and grantors and pair them with a mission, program or project that they strongly believe. Or I am a part of the ongoing stewardship once the individual or grantor has decided to make the donation. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, "Giving by individuals makes up the vast majority of contributions received by nonprofit organizations." Giving USA 2013 estimates that individual giving amounted to $228.93 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.9 percent in current dollars (1.9%, adjusted for inflation) from 2011. This accounts for 72 percent of all contributions received. What is incredible about this statistic is that this information captures the $5 gift and the $5 million dollar gift.
For me, it is the act of giving and not the amount that is so very important. It is because of gifts large and small that an organization like Cal Churches and IMPACT are able to do the incredible social justice work for many throughout California and how our work is an influence on the national level as well. If you are a receiving this newsletter and you are a donor, let me say Thank You! Thank you for your support, your dedication to our mission and each time we ask, you find a way to share and make a difference in the lives of others. This is the joy of the work that I do. I am very excited to be working for an amazing organization and with brilliant minds like Rick and Libby. Through the newsletter, I am looking forward to getting to connect with many of you.
It is truly a pleasure to be a part of an organization that for decades has taken on the task of standing up as a voice and advocate for justice for all. How lucky we are that so many of you have joined us year after year with your dedicated support. The impact of each and every single gift is evident our ability to demand justice for health care, marriage equality, civil rights, economic social justice and immigrant rights just to name a few. And we still have plenty more work to do.
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. ~ Horace Mann