Part of Chinook Fund’s Giving Project leadership team, Sanjay Roberts participated in the Fall 2017 Giving Project. After the Project he stepped up as a leader in the Giving Project Alumni community, serving as Co-Chair for the past year.
Q: What have you been most excited to be working on with Chinook Fund & the Alumni Committee?
A: The alumni co-chair has been a very fluid role, and I have been lucky enough to help in a variety of ways for Chinook. From co-leading the fundraising session for the current GP (Giving Project), tabling at nonprofit networking events, organizing an Alumni joint caucus event, visiting our sister organization, Social Justice Fund, in Seattle for a conference, to hopefully aiding in the design of a new integrated donor database, I’ve gotten to see behind the curtain of Chinook Fund and get a clearer understanding of all the juggling pieces in a community organization. What I have seen, from the awesome staff, the invigorating mission, to the dedicated GP members and volunteers, Chinook and the GP have an amazing road ahead. As the GP matures, I hope to help solidify the roles and responsibilities of the Alumni Chair and find the best niche for aiding the staff and keeping GP alum plugged in and up-to-date on the happenings at Chinook.
Q: What professional or volunteer roles do you hold outside of Chinook?
A: My background is in software consulting. After finishing the GP, I decided to quit my soulless office job, take some time off to travel, and eventually attend a Master’s Program in Data Science at University of Denver in the fall. These past few months I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Kenya, New Orleans, Seattle, California, and my home state of Missouri. Outside of travel, I have been hitting the books hard and studying programming and software implementation. .
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
A: I would definitely choose to have dinner with Maya Angelou. My parents gave me my middle name in her honor (Emma Maya). She has a very beautiful radical softness and I think I’d just melt in her presence. As much as I’d love to hear her step-by-step instructions on how to change the world, I’d imagine us having a lovely conversation about our personal experiences and just get to know each other.
Q: What was your motivation in joining the Chinook Fund community ?
A: I originally joined Chinook on a recommendation of a few friends who had also completed the GP. At the time, I had recently moved to Denver and was looking to plug into a cool community, check out what the nonprofit scene had to offer, and get involved with community activism. I found a great home with great people by joining Chinook. I have had my eyes opened to various issues in my locality that I was not aware about before, and have seen how new grassroots and established organizations have joined forces to address these problems at the systemic and political levels. It has definitely been one of those beautiful experiences where I have received more than I ever anticipated, where one truly feels apart of something BIG. Most importantly, it has filled me with a new optimism about the future of our community.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling. It’s a great pick-me-up book especially in light of the recent political landscape, diving into a layman’s explanation on the statistics of progress, such as the dramatic decreases in extreme poverty and child mortality, and large upswings in standards of living, human rights, access to education, and longevity of life. It points out that, though we still have a mountain of work ahead of us, we need to take a minute to contextualize our advancements and realize that the world is not as bad off as the media portrays, or our own brains believe it to be.