I left YDS with an unclear plan but a strong desire to work with nonprofit organizations that help women, girls, and the poor. My best advice for anyone who wants to work in a nonprofit is to volunteer! It is how I got my first job as a grant writer for Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. I later worked for the Texas Council on Family Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission, and Trinity Center Austin, an outreach to the homeless. I now contract my services as a consultant in fundraising and program development.
Fundraising and proposal writing turned out to be a great way to use my education and become involved with issues that are important to me. In this position, I serve as an interpreter between people in need and those who want to help, between program staff and administration, and between charitable organizations and the public.
I use my YDS education all the time, primarily because issues of faith are so enmeshed with the issues of sexuality, violence, racism, and poverty-as well as philanthropy-that I encounter in my work. I also think that YDS's interdenominational environment helped me tremendously. I am better able to consider things from another person's point of view, which is essential if your job involves communicating, making personal connections, or problem solving.