Member Spotlight: Kristen Pedersen & The Love of Humanity

Kristen Pedersen joined Full Circle Fund last year and jumped right into our grant cycle, co-leading our 2013 partnership with Economic Opportunity Grant Partner, WE CARE Solar. This dynamic member of the Full Circle Family continues to extend her passion for social impact through joining our pilot Health Circle this year and supporting individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at The Arc San Francisco. What keeps her inspired, engaged, and motivated? Find out here in our latest Member Spotlight!

Kristen Pedersen

Director of Employment & Independent Living Services

The Arc San Francisco

Member Since January 2013

FCF: What drew you to Full Circle Fund's work, and what compelled you to become a Member?

KP: I joined Full Circle Fund because I was looking for a like-minded group of people who I could share my passion for social justice and high impact change with. I was really inspired by the diversity of skill set within the membership. I also love project based work and felt like this was a unique way to use my professional skills to help organizations get off the ground or fortify their work.

FCF: What is the most meaningful aspect of being a Member?

KP: For me it is all about the end result. We come together with many ideas of how we can help organizations reach their goals. It tends to morph and change throughout the process, but in the end I am confident that we have improved the chances for success and we have all learned a lot and had fun along the way. I am also consistently impressed and humbled by the talent around the table. I feel like I am not only part of doing good work, but I am also becoming a stronger leader and a more well informed participant in the fabric of social change.

FCF: In three words, how would you describe Full Circle Fund?

KP: Dynamic, Transformational, Diverse

FCF: What has been your highlight with Full Circle Fund thus far?

KP: I loved the inquiry process for the EO Health Circle that I co-led last year. It was so interesting to meet all of the different organizations and hear why the team members had chosen each one. They were all so different, yet they encompassed our interest areas. The process of narrowing helped me as a new member get to the heart of the type of projects we would do well.The second is starting the Health Circle. I am very excited to be part of the kickoff of a new effort and the team is full of experts in many different facets of health. I know I am going to learn a lot and am looking forward to the organizations we will partner with as this is such an important time for health care and public health.

FCF: How does Full Circle Fund align with your values and view of philanthropy?

KP: I found this a little challenging to answer because it is hard to identify when in my life philanthropy became important, it seems like it has always just been there. I have always wanted to help. Philanthropy literally means ‘the love of humanity’, and I feel that there are many ways that we can engage with organizations to express that love for humanity. I feel like a lot of people experience walls in philanthropy. They either can’t give as much as they want do not have the schedule that allows for ongoing volunteering, or in the case of the international organizations we support, they don't have the opportunity to be on the ground. I know that I have faced that challenge when wanting to get involved.The unique thing about Full Circle is that you are given many different entry points to make a difference. Whether it is leading a group or participating in a onetime flexible engagement, Full Circle works with members to best utilize their talents despite that other constraints they may have. Full Circle is aligned with my values of philanthropy because we are taking a unique approach to leveraging both financial support and professional expertise. This is an invaluable support for an NPO. It allows the leaders of young and changing organizations access to a strategic team and to unpack some of their most challenging struggles. As someone who has always worked in social service, I wish I had known about Full Circle in some of my previous roles!

FCF: What are you most passionate about?

KP: I am most passionate about giving access and a voice to people who are overlooked and under-recognized in our local communities and throughout the world.In my current role at The Arc San Francisco, I support people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to uncover their strengths and abilities and to live productive, independent lives where they are valued and appreciated for their unique abilities. Matching a client’s unique skill set to the needs of a local business is transformational for someone who only seeks to be self-reliant like anyone else.It is exciting to change the minds of people in the corporate world as they experience first-hand the capacity and dedication of my clients, and their awareness that we are all more alike than different.In addition to my day job, being a Full Circle Fund member has given me the opportunity to support organizations that give a voice to other overlooked populations throughout the world. Working with We Care Solar was nothing short of inspiring. A simple solution that is empowering not only the women who now can deliver safely, but also the health care providers in some of the most challenging areas of the world provide better and safer conditions for child birth.

FCF: Who is the one person you're most interested in meeting?

KP: The person I am most interested in meeting is Melinda Gates. I have been very impressed by the focus and impact of the Gates foundation and feel that they have revolutionized giving by creating a strong focus and holding their programs to a high standard of efficacy. She has been on the front lines of providing birth control to women throughout the world in a way that works best for their living conditions. She has been unwavering in this effort and is giving these women the opportunity to take control of their futures. I have found her stance on reproductive rights energizing and would love to pick her brain and see what the next frontier is for her organization.

FCF: What do you love most about San Francisco?

KP: Other than the fact that it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, San Francisco is a small city that packs a punch. We are an engaged community that is not afraid to fail in the face of innovation. Good enough does not tend to fly for long and I am constantly inspired by the desire to embrace change and strive for improvement. This mindset has great reach, from our legacy of tech developments to how we approach our most underserved communities. I feel that San Francisco is the perfect city to do the work that I do. The community has led the nation in being inclusive of many different groups, and the city supporting individuals with disabilities is no different. San Francisco is a city of networkers, it is unavoidable and wonderful! There are many companies like PG&E, and Hanson Bridgett, who support The Arc, employ our clients and also support Full Circle Fund. Being a Full Circle Fund Member, I have the opportunity to interact with and learn from a group of people who are as diverse as the city its self. Thank you so much for participating in our Member Spotlight series, Kristen!

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