These past months, we've found ourselves returning to the same question: are our plans still serving their purpose, or is there a greater opportunity made possible by the crises in which we find ourselves?
We asked NCG's board, staff, and membership to weigh-in on how they're balancing this question. Pedro Arista, Director at Hirsch Philanthropy Partners and new Co-Chair of the Bay Area Health Funders Group, joined us to share what inspires him to do this work and what's exciting him about the sector.
How’d you get started in this work?
The way HIV affected those close to me impacted me greatly, so I started my public health journey in nonprofits working to improve HIV prevention efforts for the Latinx community in San Francisco. Then I moved to a national health advocacy organization where I developed a grantmaking approach to fund community-based organizations across the country tackling chronic diseases in Asian and Pacific Islander populations. My favorite part of this work was partnering with communities to build power and resilience while learning directly from them about what was working and what needed to change to ultimately achieve health equity.
Are you new in your role? Been there a while?
I joined Hirsch Philanthropy Partners in 2017. Aside from managing the Hellman Collaborative Change Initiative, I work closely with the Board of the Hellman Foundation, staff, and community partners to respond to racial health disparities impacting our Bay Area communities and fueled deeply by COVID-19.
Since sheltering began, what’s become your favorite part of the day? What’s become your least favorite?
Let me start with my favorite part, it may be random but it’s taking a pause to watch dog videos. Their cute paws & joyful spirits getting into all kinds of trouble brings a great big smile to anyone’s face. My least favorite is succumbing to the urge of watching the news. Likely everyone’s least favorite.
What’s your favorite on-screen guilty pleasure (YouTube channel, Netflix, network show, etc)?
I absolutely love to watch “Golden Girls.” The cast and the lines are brilliant! I recently rediscovered a few oldies but goodies, “Living Single” and “A Different World”, aside from the 90’s fashion choices.
What’s exciting you most about your sector?
Fueled by our challenging times, there’s a need to explore how to do philanthropy differently where we’re truly centering communities and their lived experiences. We’re grappling with questions about power, systems that hold up traditional philanthropy, and best ways to authentically engage with our Bay Area communities. It’s exciting to dig into these issues with other funders and together explore what’s possible.