Q. Describe a day in the life of Fannie.
A typical day starts with emails and phone calls: responding to inquiries about funding opportunities, resolving issues with our grantee portals or answering/asking questions related to specific grants. Even at times when we don’t have active grant cycles, there is still so much to do. Of course there are also meetings, and the ones I really enjoy are with our community partners, because that’s where I get to learn more about the great work our partners are doing. Those meetings also give me the opportunity to get to know the people doing that work and what inspires and motivates them.
These days I’ve been spending a lot of time on a data migration project. We’re moving our grants management system to a new platform. It’s probably not exciting for most people, but it’s been exciting for me to learn something new and create a more user friendly process for our staff and community partners.
There is also a lot of laughter thrown in there too throughout the day. We love to laugh in the office!
Q. What do you enjoy most about working at NWHF?
I really enjoy learning about our community partners and the work that they’re doing. Before coming to the Foundation, I really wasn’t aware of all the nonprofits in Oregon and SW Washington doing amazing work to improve the overall health of the region. There were some organizations I was familiar with, but I didn’t know what they actually did. It’s also great to see how those organizations partner with each other to make their visions a reality.
I also enjoy working with my colleagues here at the Foundation, as I said before, we love to laugh in the office. We don’t just get along here. The care and respect we have for each other shows every day in how we engage and work with each other. I think the teasing and joking around helps us keep a good balance of work and play in the office. Although our days are busy, we find time to throw some fun in the mix.
Q. How are you currently involved with the Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative?
As the Grant Administrator, I handle a lot of the behind the scenes work to bring our grant opportunities to our partners. From building the grant application, to resolving any technical issues, to ensuring applications are complete, and finally generating grant agreements, I am involved before the grant cycle opens and well after it closes.
Q. If you could change any one thing in your community, what would you change?
My “community” is always expanding. As a multiracial individual, I am part of multiple communities of color, and as an Alaskan my geographic community has expanded to Oregon. Among all of these communities there are some unique issues each faces, but there are some overlapping issues, around social inequity for example, that I would like to see changed. Since coming to the Foundation, I’ve learned so much about the external factors that impact one’s health and the health of communities. One change I would like to see is for the focus of health to be more holistic and community-focused rather than just focused on an individual’s physical health. Our social and physical environment, families, education, access to healthy food options, access to parks, access to affordable healthcare... all of these things impact our health. When focusing just on the physical health of an individual, you miss the whole picture by not taking into account all of those other factors that we may not necessarily have control of.
Q. How do you relate to NWHF’s mission?
The Foundation’s holistic vision of health and support of community-led solutions definitely resonates with me personally. As a Yup’ik Eskimo, a lot of our traditional cultural practices promote and support a healthy lifestyle. Those practices are not only physical, but emotional, spiritual and environmental. For example, subsistence hunting touches on all of these aspects. You have to be physically fit to hunt for wild game. When you get your first catch it is celebrated and the food is shared with the community. You give thanks for a successful hunt, and you don’t hunt for more than what you need. When someone doesn’t have the ability or resources to hunt for their food, they are not forgotten but are supported by the community. I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization that has a mission and values that align with my own.
Q. What was/is your favorite subject in school?
A. I love math. I looked forward to doing my math homework, and then I chose a college degree where I got to do math all the time. I don’t get to do much math in my graduate studies, but when I do I definitely look forward to it. In my 5th grade class we had these timed math tests: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with a bunch of problems. You had to see how many you could complete in the time allotted, and of those how many you got correct. It always came down to me and one other student.
I loved those quizzes! And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I recreated them when I was in college, and I’ve recently thought about doing that again. I actually have a couple friends who are interested in taking them with me. It’ll be fun, and I play to win!
Q. If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A. So I have a friend that loves to sing that “Take a load off Fannie” song to me almost every time we see each other. It’s kind of become my song now, so many people have sung it to me, and I just love that it inspires people to serenade me! So please, sing away!
I have to be honest though. I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics, but I definitely connect with the chorus line. I don’t just love it because it has my name in it. We all feel the weight of things every day, in our personal and work lives, and sometimes it’s not easy to lighten that weight, or there may be factors that are out of your control. But, having colleagues or friends and family that can help lighten that load is so important. I feel fortunate that I have that kind of support here at the Foundation.