Member Spotlight: Alice Liu
For over 20 years nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals have counted on Full Circle Fund (FCF) to help build a better Bay Area. Every year we count on our Members to share their time and talent to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to fulfill their missions.
We recently caught up with Alice Liu to share her volunteer Member experience as part of the Grant Cycle Health Circle. When she’s not volutneering at FCF, Alice uses data, works with cross-functional teams, and blends the technical with the non-technical at Blend, cloud banking platform.
Why did you become a FCF member?
I had been volunteering at another organization with a similar program to the FCF Grant Cycle and loved being able to work in a small group on a project for a lengthy period of time. In the social impact space, there are often concerns about sustainable impact, but with the project model as well as the resources FCF has on hand, the projects are able to be scoped and delivered with impact in mind.
FCF has also been around for a long time, so through FCF I have been able to get to know different local organizations geared towards causes I care about; connect with a diverse group of like-minded volunteers and folks who have been in the social impact space for a long time; and attend incredible capacity-building workshops and other trainings that really make being a member worthwhile.
What was one of the biggest challenges your volunteer team worked on with the nonprofit partner?
The last project I worked on was with an organization called YLabs, which operates in the Bay Area as well as countries in Africa. Our project focused on finding technologies to help with data collection and data visualization. One of the biggest challenges I think was scoping and finding solutions for them that would work both internationally and locally. Since budgets were limited, we wanted to find one or a few tools that would meet most of their criteria, but because of the range of situations (i.e., not being able to access the internet consistently, diversity in language, etc.), it was difficult to find a technology that met all their needs.
Scheduling and delegating could also be a challenge within our team, but I had a wonderful co-lead, Jennifer Villa, that made the experience easier to manage. Our debriefs were always cathartic.
What was the most rewarding part of your FCF project experience?
I've met some of my closest friends through FCF, which has spurred book club gatherings, lecture and event attendances, and an overall increase of joy in my life. Professionally, it was eye-opening to work with nonprofits and see firsthand the challenges they experience, since I have only worked in the corporate sector. It was also interesting to experience co-leading a remote team.
How would you describe FCF to friends and family?
Simply put, FCF is a community of people who care about making the Bay Area a better place, especially for those in underrepresented groups. FCF fosters connection and growth across people working in all sectors and offers the holy grail--unrestricted funds--to nonprofits for flexibility of use.
Would you like to add anything else?
I know the pandemic has been especially hard on the communities we serve, so I'm looking forward to figuring out new ways to help and bolster the organizations that have been anchoring the Bay Area--and beyond.