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49: Exploring Ethical, Community-Based Changemaking While the World Watches with Maggie Doyne

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“Find your partners. Find your people. Find folks on the ground. Because the world doesn’t need us all to go out there to try to make a change. It needs a community lifting itself up.”

– Maggie Doyne
Episode #49

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

What does it look like to use our power and privilege for good? In some cases it involves us speaking out, in others it involves us getting quiet and listening. How do you know what to do when?

Maggie Doyne and I explore all of this and more in this week’s episode of What the Fundraising. Maggie has been hailed as CNN Hero of the Year and criticized for perpetuating the white savior narrative, and she has something to say about both. As many people know, at 19 years old, Maggie set off on a gap year that ultimately led her to Co-Found BlinkNow and personally adopt almost 60 Nepalese children. Her story is complicated, inspiring, nuanced, beautiful, and painful. And through her new book, “Between the Mountain and Sky: A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss, Healing, and Hope” Maggie lets us walk with her through so many of the ups and downs of her journey.

In this episode, Maggie and I untangle some of the duality that Maggie and BlinkNow experienced when the media would cover Maggie’s inspiring story.  For example, opportunities and funding for the nonprofit were realized because Maggie was from a suburban town in New Jersey, while at the same time the media narrative about the organization would often leave out the most important part – that the organization was primarily driven by local leadership and solutions from inside the local community. While Maggie was attempting to partner with the local community in the most humble and ethical way, the media clickbait stories about her work caused harm and, as she reflects back, that is something she wishes she had corrected and spoken up more about at the moment. 

Maggie talks about her commitment to using her whiteness as an ally, to elevate the voices and the stories around her and not be the center of the story. And in this conversation, we explore the learning journey that has led to her stepping back in this way.  We often approach conversations like this in binary ways – good/bad, right/wrong, ethical/unethical but what this conversation creates is an opening for more curiosity, wonder, learning, and listening. 

We talk about how the nonprofit sector as a whole can do better, starting with a commitment to learning from one another. We also discuss the power of vulnerability as a teacher and storytelling as a tool; why it’s important to deploy an inside-out approach that honors the people who know best, the ones on the ground. And, as Maggie reminds us, “We all need to get better. And the answer to getting better at what we do and learning is each other. We are so lucky to be alive in a time where teachers are everywhere.” 

We couldn’t agree more. And if we don’t take on the toughest, most uncomfortable issues the nonprofit sector as a whole cannot progress. Listen now to learn more about Maggie’s story, BlinkNow, and grapple with some of the biggest questions about how to participate in ethical community-based change-making. 

If you’d like to support BlinkNow’s work in Nepal, please consider getting involved with one of their many amazing donor opportunities. You can also visit your favorite independent bookstore or click here to purchase a copy of “Between the Mountain and Sky: A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss, Healing, and Hope.”

Many thanks to our sponsor, Learn Grant Writing, an online learning experience that makes grant writing approachable and fun. If you want to learn more about how to align your fundraising and grant writing practices – watch a FREE fireside chat with me and the Meredith → learngrantwriting.com/mallory 

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Get to know BlinkNow:

The BlinkNow Foundation’s mission is to provide an education and a loving, caring home for orphaned, impoverished, and at-risk children. We also provide community outreach to reduce poverty, empower women, improve health, and encourage sustainability and social justice. The Foundation fulfills its mission by providing financial support and management oversight to the Children’s Home and Kopila Valley School in Surkhet, Nepal. 

Click here to learn more about Maggie and her work at www.blinknow.org

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