Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Grassroots Community Foundation: Mathews ’15 at North Star Fund in NYC

I am currently working for the North Star Fund in New York. They are a grassroots community foundation which has supported other grassroots groups that have led the movement for social justice since 1979. They organize donors, raise money for and allocate grants, and provide technical assistance to organizations. The work that they do helps millions of people in NYC, as they support programs that advocate for affordable housing, an end to abusive police practices, equitable access to public transportation, and much more (check out their grantee list for more information).
While working at North Star Fund, I have been given a wide variety of duties, from staffing an event in which new reports regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the current work being done were to be released and discussed, to summarizing funding reports from grantees for the committees so that they can better decide whether or not to renew funding.
I learn best by doing things and asking questions. With that said, this has been a great position for me to learn in. There are always projects that need to be worked on and as I complete them and ask questions about them, I learn more and more about not only how it is done, but why it is done and its significance in the greater scheme of North Star Fund’s work. I was also sent to the Advocacy Institute, one day a week for five weeks, for an in-depth look at how non-profit advocacy organizations work and the process of changing policy in New York, on the city and state levels. All in all, I have gained a lot of knowledge about the work that North Star Fund does and how advocacy organizations work. From this, and previous co-ops, I have realized that I would like to take on a different, perhaps more direct approach to affecting the world around me. I’m stuck, right now, between labor lawyer and masked vigilante.
I’m not sure what’s next, but whatever it is, it’s going to mean a lot of work. North Star Fund has a huge effect on New York and its people and that effect is only becoming greater, as far as I can tell. As for me, I am preparing for the LSAT and eventually attending law school. I plan to take what I have learned at each of my co-ops and build on it until I have what I need to help people and change the world, myself.

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