This September we were excited to welcome Lindsey Padjen as our newest Program Associate! She will be supporting grantees and Portfolio Directors, as well as sourcing pipeline. Here is a message from Lindsey with a little more background about herself and her journey to the Peery Foundation:
Hello! I’m Lindsey, the newest member of the Peery Foundation team, joining in the role of Program Associate. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, I enjoy spending time in the mountains, hiking, backpacking, and when I am feeling brave, mountain biking. When not adventuring outside, I spend time reading, cooking, and being mom to an energetic cattle dog. I am excited to have joined a passionate and fun-loving team, committed to supporting great leaders across the bay area and the globe. Here’s a little bit of information about my journey to the Peery Foundation.
My introduction to the social sector began as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, working for Utah Health and Human Rights (UHHR) a small nonprofit in Salt Lake City, Utah. UHHR provides refugees and asylum-seekers with mental health, medical, and social services to assist them in building lives of dignity and self reliance. Following my tenure as an AmeriCorps member, I joined the San Francisco AIDS Foundation as HIV Data Manager and HIV/STI Test Counselor. Both of these organizations serve communities that are marginalized, stigmatized, and oftentimes reluctant to access needed services. In each of these roles I learned the importance of being culturally informed and providing services that are culturally appropriate. As a test counselor it was critical for me to build trust with my clients, acknowledging and helping address the unique barriers they face. This open and empathic approach promoted ongoing access to services and increased the impact of the organizations.
Following the AIDS Foundation I began working for Harder+Company Community Research, providing evaluation consulting for nonprofits, foundations, and government programs. In this role, I conducted focus groups and interviews and administered surveys, ensuring that the approach to data collection was community-centric. This meant designing methodologies and questions that honored the expertise of the individuals, were accessible, and reduced burden. We also encouraged clients to share results and outcomes with community stakeholders.
As I reflect back on my work experience, I am pleased to identify the common thread of working for organizations that are dedicated to being community-centric. I am grateful to have joined the Peery Foundation, which similarly holds being grantee-centric as one of its primary tenets, working to build trust and mutual respects through listening, supporting, and holding itself accountable to the same expectations as grantees. I am looking forward learning more about what it means to execute this approach while also utilizing my skills to identify and elevate the needs and perspectives of our grantees and the communities they serve.