In honour of National Volunteer Week 2019, Fig Tree Foundation would like to highlight one of our many great volunteers! We plan to showcase three of our volunteers a year, as part of our new strategy to promote the amazing work happening in our organization and acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our volunteers.
As Chair of the Board, it was my privilege to interview Sarah Piwowarczyk and to get to know a little more about the woman behind the work. Sarah recently graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Political Science. She is starting her Master of Arts at Carleton in Political Science this fall. Besides her favorite pass-times of watching cartoon shows and going out for dinner (she’s a foodie), her driving passions for her studies and volunteer work are development, gender equality, and public policy solutions. Here’s what she had to say about her work with the Fig Tree Foundation…
What drew you to Fig Tree Foundation?
I’ve been involved with a lot of non-profits in Calgary but really liked that FTF was trying to be innovative with international development. I had become frustrated with previous non-profits and really appreciated how involved Fig Tree is trying to push a new model of sustainable development.
What’s your definition of development?
Development should centre around community ownership and self-empowerment of those participants who benefit from our programs and projects; all of which comes from grass-roots initiatives and forming collaborative, holistic solutions to social and economic challenges.
How long have you been with Fig Tree Foundation?
I started in September 2017 as Round Table Liaison, which I still do today. Then, in the summer of 2018, I became an Intern and have been working on a Board diversity strategy, volunteer retention, evaluating our project matrix, and writing up the lessons learned from our previously funded projects.
What’s your favorite part of working with Fig Tree Foundation?
The community of people, how Fig Tree specifically tries to utilize the skills that their volunteers bring to the table, they build off people’s strengths and it has made it a great experience for me.
Do you have a favorite FTF experience or moment?
Our Round Table events, the holiday events where everyone comes together, and you get to know people a lot more.
If you could offer one incentive to get new volunteers, what would it be?
I think it would be that Fig Tree wants you to build your skills, and if you’re passionate about development then this is a place you can actually feel they’re innovating on social change. Especially as a student, what I was learning in class was a big disconnect with what I was doing with non-profits. So, Fig Tree really helps me impart the kind of change I would like to see in the development sector.
Where do you hope to see FTF in five years?
I would really love to see Fig Tree be a well-established hub for non-profits in Calgary, we offer really great ideas, we have a lot of potential to offer.
What is your dream job?
Running my own social enterprise… at the moment. Or something where I get to actively work creating policy solutions, but not in government (she laughs). At the moment what’s most important to me is that I build a career in which I can dedicate myself to not only addressing current social challenges but also innovate and expand the realm of future possible solutions.
Fig Tree grants
Through our endowment fund, we are committed to supporting collaborative development projects and programs that demonstrate the best potential return on every dollar raised; as measured by the net positive impact on the lives of communities in need.
With a focus on four key Development Principles; sustainability, effectiveness, transparency and collaboration, our grants works to enable ethical international development.
Our Roundtable Network provides Calgary-based international non-governmental organizations with the opportunities to connect, collaborate and learn from each other, with the goal of reinforcing best practices in international development.
The Fig Tree Foundation does not implement projects on our own. Instead, we work with Roundtable members already implementing projects in the field and the partners that they are working with.