Being that Give2Asia works with a slew of highly qualified field advisors in 25 countries, we will be creating profile pieces on one field advisor per country. The intent is to provide on-the-ground insight into each local scene, in addition to interesting projects that have been accomplished or are currently underway. The profile pieces will also present the opportunity to spotlight our local partners - the field advisors - and their interests and accomplishments in your professional and personal lives. We'll continue our spotlight series with Linda Griffith, our field advisor in Australia.
Could you tell us about where you live, and have lived?
I currently live in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and have lived in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. Overseas, I’ve also lived in France to pursue two master’s degrees (French literature and language teaching) and one doctorate (comparative French and English literature), as well as in Asia for many years.
Where in Australia and Asia have you traveled? Is there anywhere you’d like to travel?
My travels have taken me all over Australia. I spent a lot of time in the eastern states as a consultant to universities, and have gone back for holidays as well. I’ve been to the the southernmost island of Tasmania, and all across Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. I enjoy the great variations in topography, history, and culture across the nation - I’ve been to deserts, the outback, lush tropics, and spectacular beaches, all in Australia. As for my time in Asia, I spent quite a long time in Nepal and India, and also taken time in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma (now Myanmar), China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
Can you tell us about the work you do for G2A? Where in Australia and Asia have you traveled? Is there anywhere you’d like to travel?
As a field advisor, my work involves helping donors make effective, impactful grants to nonprofit organizations in Australia and New Zealand. I counsel nonprofits, helping them understand what oversea donors would like to know about their projects, how they would like their philanthropy to make an impact, and how they can extend, or replicate their work across different areas.
Often, nonprofit staff are not used to describing their projects with the level of detail that is necessary for a donor from overseas to commit, nor are they familiar with writing reports on the impact of their project post-completion. Hence, a lot of my work can involve training staff in proposal writing and grant reporting. I find that the staff respond well to our insistence on discipline, and are happy to increase their capacity for effective work.
When and how did you start working with G2A?
Give2Asia approached me actually. Previously I had been counseling universities on their establishment and growing of philanthropic structures, and I believe it was the result of my work securing funds for the Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology that drew Give2Asia’s attention.
What is your favorite Give2Asia project and why?
Instead of my favorite project, I would instead like to identify my favorite type. I am always pleased to see projects that break the cycle of long term unemployment. Relatively small amounts of money can help marginalized populations, as well as those suffering from generational unemployment get into paid work. This impacts their family, and makes a huge difference to the mental and physical well being of these communities.
Can you tell us about some of the things you see as a field advisor in Australia?
There is a significant difference between the standard of living between the wealthy and the less fortunate, which is exacerbated in remote and regional communities. It is difficult to secure funding for projects in these communities, yet it is here that even small grants can make important differences. Despite difficulties in finding support for these rural and regional communities, however, I have found that some innovative nonprofits have been exploring how technology may be used to better serve these remote groups.
And now some lighter questions! What are you reading now?
I am reading F. Scott Fitzgerald; I find his use of language beautiful.
What is your favorite sport?
Swimming. In the warmer months I swim every day in the sea near my home.
Do you have a favorite song?
Music is wonderful, and I wouldn’t restrict myself to just one song. There is such a capacity to evoke memories and emotions depending on one’s mood. I am quite interested in the role of music in healing and care.