Amelia Tuminaro: Why I Give

Amelia Tuminaro epitomizes a North Star Fund donor activist. She gives as much as she can each year from her own checkbook. And she doubles her support of grassroots activism through North Star Fund by organizing her network of friends to give together.

As a member of our Community Gala host committee for the last three years, Amelia reaches out to her network to get, for example, $10 from three friends, $50 from two of her officemates, and prevails upon her parents to match it. Amelia then wraps it all together and sends it to North Star Fund as one lump sum through the fundraising practice known as ‘bundling.’

Amelia is a busy activist and public interest lawyer with Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, LLP. But she took time to sit down with us and explore why she gives - and why she gets her friends to give.

How did you first learn about North Star Fund?

When I was a political activist in high school I attended a North Star Fund conference in 1993 called “Organizing for Social Change: Fighting Racism & The Politics of Division.” Years later I reconnected with North Star while I was a legal intern at Make the Road New York. My work with North Star Fund grantees like Make the Road New York and the Chinese Staff and Workers Association reinforced that there is a place for me in the law where I can defend the rights of immigrants and low-wage workers.

Why did you become a donor to North Star Fund?

It was a natural fit to become a donor because North Star Fund supports economic justice issues that are strongly connected to my experience as a tenants’ and workers’ rights activist, and my work as a public interest lawyer. I rely on North Star Fund to keep me in the loop about brave activist groups around the city. By supporting North Star Fund I get to support these incredible groups.

How does bundling donations work? Why do it?

I don’t have the capacity to make large contributions by myself so I “bundle” donations. That is, I get my friends and colleagues to make a range of contributions that I turn over to North Star as one large annual donation. Rather than making a bunch of separate donations, we all go in together.

It’s the power of organizing—you may not be able to give $1,000 alone, but if you get a number of people to make a donation, and then these people ask their friends to make donations, our collective efforts can make a real difference for grassroots groups.

What do you tell your friends who may not have heard about North Star Fund?

It doesn’t take a lot of time, and it’s not hard to sell North Star Fund. I send people links to North Star Fund’s website and publications and say, “It’s a really innovative progressive organization that funds grassroots economic justice groups and empowers activists from the community to make grantmaking decisions.” Once people learn about the groups that North Star Fund supports, I don’t need to say much more.


tags: Donor Voices
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