Mary Yoo: Why I’m Part of Firelight

Mary Yoo talked with us about why she's a Firelight donor in our 2012 Annual Report. She's been a part of the Firelight community for years and has been an integral friend and partner to us throughout. MYoo

I’ve always been drawn to Africa – I love the energy and the beauty of it. It’s the children who come first for me as a donor though. We need to invest in children because they really are our future.

It was a grantee’s story that led me to Firelight. In the San Francisco Chronicle, I read about one woman who learned that children were coming to school without breakfast and she had to do something. Firelight helped her to start a goat-rearing project, for nutrition and to raise funds for the school. I immediately found Firelight’s website and made a donation. That was six years ago.

I like Firelight’s model because it responds to the initiative that’s already present in Africa. There’s a sensitivity to what the needs are and it feels like Firelight is supporting their people. As I learned more, I saw how thoughtful Firelight is about the work of building organizations. It made me more comfortable and compelled. I truly feel that by working with those with the greatest need, it helps everyone. We’re all interconnected.

I’m starting my own business and I’m going to collaborate with Firelight. I’m confident with Firelight because I’ve known them a while and stepping into my own new path, I wanted to be more involved again. It’s very attractive to be so personally connected, to know the people you are giving to – it’s not just a donation.

I’m going to have an open house and Firelight will be there. I’ll also hold a fundraiser when a grantee is visiting California this year. I know a lot of people who are looking for places to donate money and there are so many organizations that it can be overwhelming. I can reach out to them and say, I have a place for you.

My hope is for Firelight to continue to thrive and grow. I like that it's supporting organizations that will graduate and that more organizations will receive support. I know it has a strong presence in Africa already, but I want to see it grow more. There’s a lot of work to be done.