Striking a Balance and Pushing Boundaries

What does the world need? What am I good at? What do I love? How do I get paid for it?

These were the questions I asked myself on February 23, 2018. As I reflect a whole year since I publicly shared these questions on Twitter, I realized that there is no linear and/or structured way of answering such questions. As we progress through life, society changes; passions grow and die; attention increases and withers; interests intersect and differentiate.

2018-2019 Fellow Erick Guajardo with Paul Newman

What does the world need?

For my Newman’s Own Foundation Fellowship experience I am placed at Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP). An Oakland, California based organization that partners with a transitional network of foundations to make impactful investments in the Latino community to help effectively address the most pressing issues facing our communities. During the first couple of months of my Fellowship my organization was identifying ways to respond to the administration’s policies affecting our immigrant communities. We quickly mobilized a delegation of funders and took to the San Diego/Tijuana border. At the time, it was difficult for me to see the benefit of how gathering a group of people would help those directly in need.

Flash forward to present day, I am able to piece together how this action sparked a philanthropic chain of events, that has lead our organization, and partners in our network, contribute towards organizations supporting the needs and well-being of immigrant families. The value in this story is simple; there is no clear outline that creates the change we want to see. In order to meet the needs of this world, systems in place, need to be utilized and molded to the benefit of the greater good, even if it is not so apparent at first glance.

What am I good at? What do I love?

Serving as a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow at Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) has given me the opportunity to think about these questions at a deeper level, and has helped me discover new layers to the answers. At HIP, I have learned about the philanthropic sector, while defining my skills and realigning my interests. I have been fortunate enough to work in a range of areas at HIP, from programs to research, to logistics and operations, to helping manage our crowdfunding platform, HIPGive. Wearing many hats has allowed me to gain a holistic understanding of our organization, and how a not-for-profit organization can mobilize towards social good.

How do I get paid for it?

As I enter the eighth month, of my twelve month Fellowship experience, I look forward to the challenges and new opportunities at growing our mission at HIP. As far as the million dollar question, I believe the underlying importance is to have fun & love what I do. For the moment, the joy lies in exploring and learning about my interests & knowing I am working towards uplifting my community at HIP.


By Erick Guajardo, NOF Fellow at Hispanics in Philanthropy, Oakland, CA