In my 33 years of professional life, I’ve had the privilege of only working for causes that I believed in. It all started in 1991 with the group of a dozen college students I led to a remote favela outside Tijuana, Mexico to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. And to this day, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work professionally for eleven incredible organizations.
Here is every cause that I’ve spent at least a year of my life working on (so far):
- Building homes for poor communities in the US and around the world. (Habitat for Humanity, Los Angeles)
- Protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the US (Las Americas Refugee Asylum Project, El Paso, Texas)
- Creating a more just, peaceful world order through more effective and democratic international institutions like the United Nations. (The World Federalist Movement, New York City)
- Advocating for a global human rights court to try violators of the worst crimes against humanity. (NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court, New York City)
- Supporting better access and participation by civil society groups at the United Nations and other intergovernmental bodies (The Conference of NGOs at the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland)
- Supporting youth to become local and global change-makers using digital technology. (Global Kids, New York City)
- Creating virtual communities of civil society organizations and activists. (TechSoup – Nonprofit Commons in Second Life, San Francisco)
- Educating youth in STEM and digital citizenship. (California Academy of Sciences, Digital Learning Program, San Francisco)
- Bringing middle school science and nature experiences to tens of thousands of students around the US (California Academy of Sciences, Science Action Club, San Francisco)
- Elevating diverse youth voices in the public sphere. (KQED, San Francisco)
- Preserving and spreading the art of lindy hop in NYC, nationally and around the world. (Yehoodi, New York City)
Wow, that’s a lot of causes! And there are a few that I left off.
I recognize that most people on the planet don’t have the opportunities that I’ve had to live and work in this manner. I’m thankful for my parents for providing the support that made it possible for me to live this purpose-driven life. And for the many mentors I have had along the way that have guided and pushed me. And for the communities of activists, artists, organizers, and do-gooders that have welcomed and loved me, even when I didn’t feel loveable or worthy.
I wish for you all a purpose-ful life, in whatever ways that makes sense for you.