A face in the crowd: Emily
Emily has been interning with us since October and has recently decided to run the Hackney Half in support of the Young Funding Network. We chatted with her about why she got involved and how she’s feeling about her upcoming run.
Why did you want to be a part of the Young Funding Network?
When I first got to London in October I was looking for a job that would help me get involved and invested in the community. As an exchange student, I think it was important for me to use my time at LSE to learn more about local social issues in London. I've always been frustrated by the exclusivity of the charity sector. As a student in the US, I felt there was little I could do to make real difference in the world. When I first heard about what YFN does, I realised the disenchantment I felt was not because I didn't have anything valuable to give, but because the traditional mechanisms of the third sector are not geared toward young people - there is an assumption that charity and giving is a luxury hobby for rich, retired people and traditional fundraising techniques reflect that. What YFN does is so important to me because it turns that on its head. Young people have so much to give in terms of time, skills and money and until YFN I had not seen an organisation effectively leveraging this power. I truly believe YFN can transform how we think about young people’s role in charity. It's not just about giving a tenner to a gigantic charity and never thinking about it again, it's about understanding the problems we want to fix in the world and making solving them part of our lives.
Why do you think it’s important for people to start giving to charity early on in life?
For me, giving is much deeper than handing over spare change. For every dollar/pound I’ve given I’ve received something much greater in return. One of the beautiful things about the YFN is the transparency of the giving process - you can see exactly how your money will be used and who will benefit. I think it's a very rare thing to be able to see the ripple effects of a single donation with such clarity. This has helped me see giving not just as something I do on the side, but as an integral part of my life going forward. Starting to give early on in life has made me feel more connected to my community and more conscious of how my actions impact the world.
What’s a project you’re proud that the Young Funding Network supported?
I'm definitely most proud of HiHere, which is an app for refugees created by two LSE students, Martina and Caterina. I met Martina at an event in December, and have since become good friends with her. It's amazing to see her project grow and volunteer my time to help her get closer to launching the app - something I wouldn't have done if YFN hadn't connected us.
Why did you decide to run the Hackney Half in support of the Young Funding Network?
The money I raise will go towards match funding at YFN events - that means it'll be used to leverage donations from the audience and increase their giving power, ultimately giving the organisations we fund a much bigger financial boost. Match funding is so integral to the work we do at YFN and a huge part of what motivates students and young people to give at our events. I specifically wanted to run the Hackney Half to build up YFN’s match funding pot because for every pound I raise, I know it will be used to motivate other young people to give. The organisations we support are so inspiring, I want to do everything I can to make sure they excel.
How do you feel about your upcoming half marathon?
Cautiously optimistic. I've been training with a charity called GoodGym and it's really kicking my butt! I won't be breaking any Olympic records anytime soon, but I hope to raise a good amount of money for the YFN and not completely embarrass myself in the process. I would say come watch me at the race, but I think people around the office think I know what I'm doing and I don't want to shatter that image with my complete lack of athleticism. If you're feeling charitable, however, the link to my funding page is here - I'd really appreciate your support!