Sang Lee is the Managing Director of Development for City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley. He has been with City Year for nearly 9 years. Hear Sang share why City Year is the right place for him.
What makes City Year an unique organization to work for?
While City Year is laser-focused on education, our mission is broader and speaks to democratic values – an engaged citizenry, servant leadership and common ownership of the greater good. To achieve City Year’s mission implies that we must be inclusive of all citizens, whether from the business, public or social sectors. This broader outreach to private citizens and businesses is the service of development professionals, so a true village is mobilized to teach our children and empower our adults.
What do you love the most about City Year?
What I love most about City Year are the people for sure.We have that special sauce, which encourages our staff and AmeriCorps members people to be sensitive and understanding. It’s most evident in our Senior AmeriCorps members. They commit wholeheartedly to an additional year of service with their eyes wide open and unbroken idealism. The Senior Corps uphold our culture and values.
Why/how is fundraising essential to advancing City Year’s mission?
The need for an effective fundraising apparatus within City Year boils down to impact, inclusiveness and fairness. For nearly 30 years, countless people have done a tremendous amount of work to position City Year to meaningfully serve students. Our values, our program model, our systems and our results are not accidents. City Year can point to real results today, because individuals invested their time and treasure to make it this way.
While largely a result of our AmeriCorps members and their can-do attitudes, City Year’s impact is in small part due to the success of our fundraising efforts. Think about what helps Bruce Wayne put his idealism into action and transform into Batman. Bear with me – not a perfect analogy, but you’ll get the point. Young people often join City Year with the raw skills and passion to save the world. Development, along with other professional departments, makes up Wayne Enterprise. We make sure that our heroes have the best utility belts, a high tech Batcave and, of course, our version of the Batsuit. We aren’t swooping in and saving the day, but we are essential in maximizing Batman’s impact. The same idea applies to equipping our AmeriCorps members to make a measurable, lasting impact.
The final reason is much more personal. I believe that the good folks who work at City Year should be paid adequately, so we can afford to care for our families in homes that we own. Our nation is too wealthy and our citizens are too philanthropic for me to shy away from requesting donations. I am reassured daily that our generous neighbors are happy to invest in effective do-gooders and efficient do-goodery. If our mission is to build democracy, we should be fairly paying our best builders and architects for their many years of fine work.