VOICE Workshop #4: What can I do?

Jina Kim, 2017 CAUSE VOICE Fellowship

Pasadena, CA – On Thursday, December 7th, we had our fourth and final workshop as VOICE fellows. We were able to not only have a candid chat with campaign strategist Mac Zilber, but also started thinking about next steps as we wrap up our 4-month fellowship at CAUSE.

Mac Zilber speaking to the 2017 VOICE fellows

After we introduced ourselves, Mac, who is a Partner at Jacobson & Zilber Strategies, shared details on the consulting process. He talked about his strategic guidelines with an emphasis on working with quality candidates and campaigns.

He gave the impression of a strategic businessman, which, as an aspiring consultant, I found very laudable. He also came across as an earnest philanthropist, truly caring about the people he works with. To that, Zilber added “all [campaign] wins feel good, but I feel most rewarded when the ballot measures I worked for have been passed.”

Kim Yamasaki speaking to the 2017 CAUSE VOICE Fellows

I believe it was intentional that we had someone business-savvy and philanthropic as our last workshop speaker. After lunch, Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of CAUSE, led the “Philanthropy and Stewardship Workshop,” through which I had a reality check on just how much philanthropic causes depend on money. Out of all foundation dollars donated to philanthropic causes in the United States, only 0.4% of it is allocated to APA community nonprofits. Not even a dollar out of every hundred dollars goes to the issues that directly affect my community and others like it. What can be done about this number? What can we do about this? What can I do?

These are questions I need to ask myself more rigorously, especially as my fellowship comes to an end. Knowing that I was able to help 25 students feel better informed of the importance of voting through a high school civic engagement workshop, and even register 10 of them as future voters encourages me to do more. I’m particularly grateful for this workshop as it got me to reflect on my time with CAUSE and how I can become a more effective ambassador for similar organizations in my community.

About the CAUSE VOICE Fellowship:

The Voter Outreach & Immigrant Community Engagement (VOICE) Fellowship (nee CELF Fellowship) is designed to connect APA immigrant communities to civic engagement opportunities. In this intensive fellowship program, fellows actively engage and build trust with APA immigrant citizens to support the community’s self-empowerment and civic engagement.