This December, it is our honor to highlight major donor, Megan Hollis.
Megan is an outstanding member of the SMYAL Major Donor Committee. She currently serves as Medical Director of Community for Hope’s Conway Health and Resource Center in Southeast DC.
What brought you to SMYAL?
A wise friend introduced me to SMYAL and brought me to my first event. It was immediately clear that SMYAL has such a profound impact on our community, so I wanted to support the organization and become involved.
What about the organization inspired you to become a major donor and get involved on the Major Donor Committee?
It just so happens that my wise friend’s invite to my first event was the inaugural Major Donor Club event and the presentations by SMYAL staff and supporters were so compelling, I was inspired to join SMYAL as a major donor. The staff’s enthusiasm and dedication to the amazing work that SMYAL does made me want to become more involved and join the Major Donor Committee. I also hoped joining the committee would allow me to contribute more than just dollars to the organization.
As part of the Major Donor Committee, you help plan special events and perks for major donors. Do you have any favorite memories from these events? How have these events help you better connect with other major donors and the work SMYAL does to support LGBTQ youth?
Every Major Donor event has been memorable! From getting to mingle at Ari Shapiro’s house, to passing the security protocols at Facebook Headquarters, I love that we are always hosted at interesting venues. But my favorite memories are hearing from youth and families involved in SMYAL programming. One of the most memorable was taking in a view of downtown DC from a rooftop penthouse while hearing from the parents of a child involved in little SMYALs and the impact that program has had on their child. I remember feeling so honored to be a part of an organization that is changing the landscape for LGBTQ youth. It is moments like that highlight the work SMYAL is doing and inspires current members to give and recruits others to join our mission. Even with the transition to virtual events we’ve created some memorable moments like hearing from DC Councilmember Charles Allen and getting to catch up and chat with other members about squash growing problems (actually, maybe it was just me that was having that problem)!
You work with Community of Hope in DC whose mission is to improve health and end family homelessness. As a healthcare professional, how have you seen the communities you serve impacted this year?
The population I work with has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, from the illness itself to the ripple effects on general health to housing to income to mental health. Luckily, the organization I work for has been able to transition to provide support services for this community to help out, but the struggle continues. If there is one good thing that has come out of this pandemic, it has been shining a light on the inequities that have been present for so long so that hopefully we can do the work to start addressing them.
How are you staying connected to community and the causes that matter to you through COVID-19?
Mostly through technology whether it be zoom hangouts, whatsapp group chains or social media.