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Spreading Equality; Phoebe


There are many things I do not know about Phoebe; she is a shy woman. I do know her passions, values and convictions! These things resonate through Phoebe’s being. Her respect for every person always astounds me. Her patience while listening to others is to be deeply respected. Read about Phoebe’s desires for the future … more importantly, the present.

What drove you to choose a career in philanthropy?

“I always knew that I wanted a job where I was helping people, but I wasn’t sure what it would be. I was finishing my undergrad and began to think about how I could turn my major in Diversity and Equity studies into a practical job. And then I came across the Fundraising and Volunteer Management program and it just felt like the right fit. I’ve always been sensitive to social inequality and intolerance, in particular those instances in Canada. We are supposed to be a nation that accepts people’s differences, but there is still so much widespread intolerance and inequality. I want to change this, especially for women.

A really pivotal moment for me was when I took a class in my third year of university.On the first day the professor asked us to raise our hand if we considered ourselves to be a feminist. I was the only one of two people who did, and this was a women’s studies class FULL of women! I think that there is a general acceptance in my generation that feminism is no longer important; that we have reached all the goals of the previous eras of feminism. But this isn’t the case, certainly not worldwide, and not here in Canada.

It might not be easy to see, but we still have a far way to go to reach gender equality. In Canada women are still more likely than men to live below the pverty line. Half of Canadian women have experienced some sort of physical or sexual violence. Facts like these make me angry and sad, but they also make me want to take action. I want to make a difference in the lives of Canadian women, and bring awareness to these issues, change the stats.

That is why I chose a career in philanthropy.”

How does your work fulfill you?

“Helping people feels good. At the end of the day I want to come home and feel good about my job. There is so much suffering in the world, every time you red the news there is another act of violence, another disaster. I want to know that what I am doing is helping relieve some of that suffering; to make someone else’s life better, even if it’s only on a small scale, even if it’s just one person.”

What else would you be doing to make you happy?

“Pottery and Canoeing! Those are the two most relaxing and reenergizing things I can do. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do either enough. I love being able to create something with my hands, and there is something so satisfying about getting dirty while you do it! When I’m creating a piece I will literally get covered in clay, up to my elbows, on my face and in my hair. It brings out my inner child.

As for canoeing, I grew up canoeing at summer camp and getting to go on canoe trips. There is nothing more peaceful, or beautiful, than paddling on a lake that is smooth as glass somewhere off the beaten path in Northern Ontario, with nothing but trees and rocks around you. That is definitely my happy place!”

How have your travel experiences effected the way you view the world, the way you view philanthropy? Is there anyone you met along the way that pushed you (with them knowing or not) into this field?

“I have been lucky enough from an early age to have done my fair share of travelling, thought I wish I could do more. Travelling, going to new places, experiencing other cultures, really changes your perspective on the world and your own life, at least for me. It’s like taking a break from real life. It’s a chance to reflect and think about the things that are really important to you. Travelling makes me realize how lucky I am to have the opportunity to go travelling, to be able to afford to do it. Not everyone gets those opportunities.

Travelling helps me recognize the position of privilege that I am in and I think if you are in a position of privilege you should use that privilege to help other people. I don’t think there is one person in particular who inspired me; I think it was more the experiences themselves as a whole that helped shape the person that I am today and lead me to choose a career in philanthropy.”

What is your dream for your children’s world?

“I want my children to grow up in a world where we are not only tolerant of people’s differences, but one in which we accept and celebrate those differences. If I have a daughter I want her to feel safe walking home alone at night and not shamed for what she wears or how she chooses to express her sexuality. My dream is for a world where everyone feels safe from discrimination, from violence, from hate, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability etc.  For me philanthropy goes beyond the money, it is about raising awareness and pushing for social change to make the world a better place any way we can.”

Who is ready to share Phoebe’s story? Spread equality!


Witnessing Change; Tyler


I met Tyler earlier this year. When we met I was instantly impressed by the level of trust I felt. Tyler is an active listener and collaborator. He is able to understand a situation and immediately adapt. Tyler is always positive and willing to lend a hand for all. Tyler is philanthropic.

What drove you to choose a career in philanthropy?

“There were two forces that pushed me into a career in philanthropy.

The first was growing up in a small town and having big city dreams, mainly involving dancing and creating artistic masterpieces. I always wanted to be a professional dancer when I was younger and in a small town community like the one I lived in that meant that I mainly found myself dancing in my room with the door closed and my headphones in. I always had a creative mind, which is why I also write poetry, but it was very taboo in that community to be a male dancer. Even when I tried to let loose at high school dances, though my friends applauded me I met with quite a bit of mocking and teasing because of it. It’s because of this, and the fact that there were very few dance studios in my hometown that I began to dream of more welcoming and accessible arts communities, regardless of their size, across Canada. I didn’t want other young artists to feel any strife for their dreams.

The second was my volunteer coordinator up at Nipissing University. I worked as a volunteer on the Residents’ Council as the Council Facilitator and my lead, the Residence Programming Coordinator often met with me on a one-on-one basis to discuss how work was going and where I was planning to go in the future. Making small talk one day I mentioned my curiosity with Grant Writing. My Programming Coordinator told me that the programming I was writing proposals for was very similar to Grant Writing and that she thought I would do a great job in communicating the impact of any organization’s programs. With her support and kind words I finally stepped forward and started research into Fundraising.”

Why is your work important? How does it fulfill you?

“The biggest reason I feel that my work is important is because I can foresee, and sometimes even witness the change that programs and support will make on a young person who is struggling to find their niche in the world. We all have that struggle and I believe when we’re older and wiser it’s our job to help point these young people in the right direction.”

What else would you be doing to make you happy?

“I had mentioned my dream of being a professional dancer earlier, that’s something I wish I were doing. Nowadays I’m focusing more on professional development, but my release and my outlet has always been dance and poetry. I try and find as many opportunities in Toronto to get out and dance, whether it be a formal class or just out with friends. I find it hard not to smile when I’m dancing freestyle.”

How have your travel experiences effected the way you view the world, the way you view philanthropy, is there anyone you met along the way that pushed you (with them knowing or not) into this field? 

“I have traveled fairly extensively to places including: New Orleans, Quebec, Florida, England, France and Greece, but I do not believe that any of my travels have affected my view of the world. I’ve always had a very focused interpretation of philanthropic initiatives. I definitely believe that any organization with a philanthropic mandate and honest transparency is surely doing good for the world, but my passion has always been in creating change for the youth of Canada through the arts. Everyone has their own tint of knowledge that they shade with their own passions, that’s what makes the world so colourful and beautiful!”

What is your dream for your children’s world?

“All I can ask of the world for my children is to make sure that the conscious and technological world of today doesn’t create an overly cautious and passive world of tomorrow. I want them to be able to have the opportunities I missed in the past without the fears and threats of the present.”

#RAKW: Giving Should Be Selfless

#RAKWSubmitted Story:

“Last year I was working at Starbucks. It was Christmas time. People were coming and going were either stressed about the holiday or very excited. Someone walked in and put $100 on a Starbucks giftcard and asked me to pay for everyone’s orders until it ran out.

I had never seen him before; he wasn’t a regular. I never saw him after our encounter.

People were shocked. Some people paid for their orders themselves and told me to pay for the person behind them.

But what really stuck with me was how the guy who did it didn’t do it for the glory of it, he was just being a swell dude.

It was a good reminder that giving should be selfless.”

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Meet Diana Rosario; a woman who not only feels her passion but then shares it with the world. Determined to move to New York City from Canada, Diana sought out her internship in the United States and has made the decision to stay there. Diana’s passion for helping others will always resonate through her work ethic and relationships. She exudes philanthropy, through and through.

What drove you to choose a career in philanthropy?

“I chose a career in philanthropy because I’ve always loved volunteering and helping others. I first realized this about myself when I began my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). My favourite thing about WLU was the atmosphere; there was a culture of giving back to the community. There were endless opportunities. At the beginning of each year there was a ‘Get Involved Fair’ where all campus clubs and services had booths to attract student to GET INVOLVED! After convocation I decided to take a few years off to teach English abroad, travel and learn more about the world before I started my career in philanthropy. At the end of my adventure I realized that I really did want to pursue a career in the non-profit sector and began a post-graduate in fundraising and volunteer management.”

Why is your work important and how does it fulfill you?

“My work is important and rewarding because my organization’s mission and values align with my own personal values. Because I work at such a small charity, I am able to see the benefits of the organization first-hand. I really like working at an organization where I feel the work I do really makes a different and improves the lives of children. I find my work to be very fulfilling because my tasks and projects vary on a daily basis. Each day is different and I feel like I  am constantly learning new things.”

What else would you be doing to make you happy?

“If I wasn’t working at my current organization, I would like to work for an animal welfare charity. If I wasn’t working in the non-profit field I would spend my time teaching yoga or working at a job related to travel. Those are my other two passions.”

How have your travel experiences effected the way you view the world, the way you view philanthropy? Is there anyone you met along the way that pushed you into this field?

“I feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunities to travel as extensively as I have. Living abroad has definitely shaped the person I am today. Through my travels I learned about many different cultures and their values. I notices the patterns that regardless of where you were born or where you live, people do the same things. Everyone wants to feel secure, to have purpose in their life, to love and be loved.

During my journey of living and travelling abroad, there were two people that had an enormous effect on my life and ultimately guided me into this field. Leo Mendoza and Jin Young Shin are the founders of Shin Dogs Sanctuary, a no-kill dog shelter in South Korea. Leo and Jin founded the dog sanctuary because they could no longer stand by and watch the terrible fate of so many innocent dogs. I was truly moved and inspired by the work that Leo and Jin do, and knew that after volunteering with the organization for almost two years that a career in philanthropy was the right fit for me.”

What is your dream for your children’s world?

“My dream for my children’s world is that more people will be working together to solve conflict and challenges. I hope that there is a greater culture of volunteering and giving back to our community, not just here in North America but a culture that is shared with people around the world. I hope that the next generation is raised with the belief that everyone can and should make a difference – find a cause (or two or three) that you are passionate about, and then take the steps necessary to make a positive difference.”

#RAKW: Elastic Bands


I was packaging (me)volution t-shirts one day and I needed elastic bands. I walked to the pharmacy chain on the corner. I asked a gentleman where I might find elastic bands. He took me to the hair aisle. We laughed as we realized our miscommunication. I told him I needed rubber bands. He told me that they didn’t sell any. I thanked him and started to leave the store.

Before I passed the cash registers the man ran up and tapped me on the shoulder. “How many elastic bands do you need?” he asked me. I told him I would need 25. He asked me to wait.

He returned quickly with a paper bag full of elastic bands. “I grabbed these from the back office for you. I hope you have a good day.” I looked in the bag and thanked him over and over.

As I was walking back to the office I thought about how this man had given me a bunch of elastic bands; financially worth little money. Not only that, but he ran after me in the store to help me. He didn’t have to do any of that. I could have walked 5 blocks to the mall and spent $5 but instead I walked the few short steps back to the office and started to package the t-shirts, all the while with a smile on my  face.

What random act of kindness did you practice today? Share with @mevolutionhub and #RAKW.

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Philanthropy as Second Nature; Dan Lombardi


I met Daniel Lombardi in the Humber Fundraising and Volunteer Management program. He was a whiz at everything technological. Both instructors and students turned to him for help. He had a knack for social enterprises and a background in business. Dan is a triple threat.

What’s the first philanthropic thing you did?

“Truthfully I couldn’t think of one situation that would qualify as my first act of philanthropy. I don’t know if that I have ever really thought to track it, or maybe thanks to the lessons my parents taught me it comes as second nature. One philanthropic act that I am currently obsessing over though is giving up my seat on the subway to the elderly or a mother/father with kids. Not enough people do that I feel.”

What drove you to choose a career in philanthropy?

“I feel I have always been interested in making the world a better place but there is one instance that really stands out, that I needed to commit to philanthropy in a bigger way. Sitting in a first year business classes at Brock University, I remember doing a case study that focused on the relationships between a few employees and managers in a restaurant. The common solution in the class was to “fire” the employee that was causing problems. Then the teacher asked us, “Well what if this employee was a single mom, with children to feed and loans to pay off?” It made me realize I never want to be solely about the bottom line, or business models that drive profits, or selling a product like shoes. I went home at Christmas break and thought about switching programs. I talked about it with my mom and decided to stick it out. However, from that day forward I have tried to be more philanthropic. It seemed to work because a friend from University mentioned to me a few years later as were working on a project that he could see me graduating and  changing the world!”

Why is your work important to you?

“The thing I love most about work is being able to help multiple organizations achieve their fundraising goals which in turn empowers them to build their programs or do more research and thus be able to help more people. It makes me thankful that I stuck with business, because a lot of what I do in direct response fundraising is data driven. Using both my analytical and creative senses it is awesome to be able to see what you want to accomplish numerically, yet how that number is reached (be it dollars raised or number of new donors) is achieved through creativity.”

What else could you be doing to make you happy?

“There is the quote attributed to W. Beran Wolfe in the book SOULPANCAKE that states; “If you observe a really happy man, you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his child, growing double dahlias or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that had rolled under the radiator, striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life 24 crowded hours of each day.” I guess in a long-winded way, what I am getting at is I don’t really know. I am happy doing what I do now, both professionally and personally.”

I know you like to volunteer, why?

“The whole premise of volunteering is about being philanthropic. Essentially it is just an extension of what I do at work every day and the values I try to exhibit in my personal life. It allows me to be generous and promote or improve the welfare of others. As fundraisers we should realize that any gift big or small comes from someone with a connection to the organization. However at times maybe those that provide a smaller gift, although significant to them, may not feel they are giving enough. At least for me in this stage of my life as a recent graduate with debts to pay I don’t always feel I am making enough of an impact by donating a small amount. So volunteering lets me physically see and experience the impact I have and the impact other donor’s dollars have on the lives of people served. It is a powerful feeling to know you have made a difference.

Not to mention I have always found the places I volunteer do an amazing job of accepting your ideas and what you want to achieve being there. I appreciate being seen as valuable as a volunteer, something I may not have always gotten in a work setting, especially as a teenager with a part-time job.”

Through your travels, have your experiences effected the way you view the world? The way you view philanthropy? Is there anyone you met along the way that pushed you into this field?

“The greatest thing about travelling is how it forces you out of your comfort zone. Being in a foreign country on few hours of sleep and even fewer people around that might speak English as you try to navigate to a hotel can teach you a lot. In a situation like you aren’t afraid to ask for help or directions. Not everyone you ask will understand you or be able to help you but you have at least opened yourself up for the possibility. I guess it is kind of like fundraising and asking for gifts.  Plus the more open you are the easier it is to develop relationships.

Furthermore when you see how kind people are around the world it makes you want to me kind to. I remember travelling to Korea to visit some friends. After landing I then still had a 3 hour train ride to the city I was meeting friends. I got off in the stations had to call my friend and some anonymous elderly women walked up to me as I stood at the payphones and offered me money to make a call. It was heartfelt and simple. It made me realize that philanthropy and giving is the same premise all over the world. That genuine acts such as that hold significant meaning no matter where you are in the world.”

Finally, what is your dream for your children’s world?

“My hope for future generations is that they still appreciate, value and participate in physical relationships. From the simplicity of having a face-to-face conversation, or just sitting outside and taking in the sights and sounds. I feel that as the world continues to advance, technology will continue to become cheaper and we as a society are more likely to continue to be heavily plugged in. I hope they just appreciate what is truly around them without looking at a screen, they take the chance to travel and they make some mistakes. Doing this will hopefully help them to learn and understand the values of being philanthropic.”

Dan will always work in philanthropy; whether it be professionally or personally. He will always help others, with small or large acts. Daniel Lombardi’s second nature is philanthropy.