State of the Union January 2020

Best of 2019

Every year, The Borgen Project selects one member from each team who went above and beyond in their work with the organization. This year, we asked eight team members, “What motivated you to go the extra mile?”

Regional Director, Julian Mok 

A strong force in the fight to end global poverty, Julian began her time with The Borgen Project as a writer, fundraising over $1,000 for the cause. Following the completion of her internship, Julian was offered the role of Regional Director on the Political Team and held 3 successful lobbying meetings with her Members of Congress. Now, Julian is on her third volunteer contract with The Borgen Project! “I go the extra mile because I know whatever work I put in is minute compared to the hardships of those living in poverty. I contribute however I can to help solve the problem of global poverty.”

Political Affairs Team, Emma Smith

Emma surpassed the internship requirements and secured 5 lobbying meetings. Following Emma’s meeting with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12th), the Congresswoman cosponsored the Keeping Girls in School Act, proving the power of advocacy. Emma also completed 2 bird dogs, called into CSPAN and fundraised over $2,000. “My main motivation was being able to create sustainable, positive change across the globe simply by using my voice and speaking on behalf of those who cannot […] The Borgen Project helped me to enact real change with tangible results, such as gaining cosponsors for bills, which motivated me even further to fight for the world’s poor.”

HR Team, Jasmine Hooper 

Jasmine was an invaluable resource for the HR Team and maintained the organization’s Indeed postings. Following the internship, Jasmine volunteered at a small village in Tanzania where she donated Borgen Project t-shirts.

She was motivated to go the extra mile because, “I wanted to make an impact on the world. The Borgen Project gave me an opportunity to do that, and I didn’t want to waste that opportunity.”



PR/Marketing Team, Ashley Strand

Ashley made extraordinary leaps to fight global poverty by partnering with local NGOs for fundraising, using social media as a tool to inform and assisting with media content creation. Through the course of the internship, Ashley created over 50 infographics for The Borgen Project. What motivated Ashley? “Knowing that what I did would have at least some impact on the lives of others, even if it’s something I’m not able to see firsthand or be directly impacted by […] With small steps, changes can be made.”


Content Team, Brena Stanski 

This brilliant writer mobilized over 50 people to fight global poverty and fundraised over $1,500 for the cause. Breana said her motivation in the internship was realizing the impact one can make on the world. 

“Writing articles pertaining to poverty reduction efforts, reaching out to my friends and family about supporting U.S. aid legislation, as well as receiving positive responses from my congressional leaders through correspondence, has resulted in me feeling as though I can truly making a positive difference in the world.”

Advocacy Team, Kristina Pecora 

As a part of the Advocacy Team, Kristina made great strides with lobbying meetings and fundraising. During her 12 weeks with The Borgen Project, Kristina secured 3 meetings and fundraised over $900 to end global poverty. “What motivates me? In addition to the cause itself and that warm, fuzzy feeling when one is doing good, is feedback. “What really motivates me is feedback […] [It] lets me know I’m making some kind of impact.” 

In-Office Team, MacKenzie Dougan 

During her time with us, MacKenzie raised $754 and attended a group meeting with Senator Murray’s office. All this whilst ensuring that all team member’s fundraising letters were sent out, donations tracked as well as being the face of the organization, speaking with visitors to the office and answering questions about the organization. “The Borgen Project’s mission to advocate for the United States to address poverty worldwide is a worthy and valuable pursuit. This goal was very motivating because it allowed me to be involved and to advocate for something close to my heart. I have seen poverty first hand in South Africa and appreciated the chance to feel empowered to make real change through this internship. Each day, I reflected on how much time I had been able to put into fighting for the world’s poor, and that motivated me to work even harder the next day.” 


Top Fundraiser: Sophia Wanyonyi

As an intern for the Content Team, based in Kenya, Sophia became the top fundraiser in the organization’s history, raising more than $5,000 (508,000 Kenyan shillings) for the cause! Sophia sought out creative means to fundraise, organizing both a dance party and a whiskey party for friends and family to attend: “I thought that the best way to get people to give would be by making it fun for them […] I always strive to go the extra mile in all I do. It is a lesson that was taught to me pretty early on in life, by my parents and at school. Everything I do, I try to give it my all.” 


These are just a few of our wonderful team members who helped to fight global poverty in 2019. With your help, we will continue to advocate on behalf of the world’s poor in 2020 and beyond!

Political Updates


Global Fragility Act and End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act Pass Congress!

Last month, Congress passed its final State and Foreign Operations budget bill for FY2020. The foreign affairs spending package included the Global Fragility Act and the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act. Both bills were signed into law on Friday, December 20th!

None of these achievements would be possible without your advocacy and dedication to the cause. Congratulations!

Lobbying and Advocacy Efforts

  • Total # of Lobbying Meetings in December: 23
  • Total # of Lobbying Meetings in 2019: 762
  • Lobbying Meetings Goal for 2019: 775
  • Bills passed in 2019: 2

Advocacy Emails

  • Total # of Advocacy Emails in December: 3,007
  • Total # of Advocacy Emails in 2019: 98,249
  • Advocacy Emails Goal for 2019: 80,000
  • % of Congress Emailed in December: 99%

Congressional Office Meetings

Regional Director Gaytri Riya Vasa met with Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX-3rd) to discuss the Malala Scholarship Act which passed in the House soon after.

Political Affairs Team member Robert Contraction met with Hannah Benson, New Bedford Staff Rep. to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The two discussed the International Affairs Budget and the End Tuberculosis Now Act.

Volunteer Team member Hannah Reznik met with John Hollinrake, Regional Director to Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).



Warren’s Address

Listen to the latest from Warren about the goings-on in D.C.


Content Team Updates

Thanks to all the hard work of our Content Team members, we smashed our goal of having 5 million visitors to in 2019. A grand total of 6.9 million people visited the site. Well done everyone. 


Congratulations to the following team members who have achieved Borgen Project Honors & Recognition.

Visit the Our Team Members page and read about success stories with our organization.


Getting the Word Out


The Borgen Project on Twitter

We received a shoutout tweet from Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala Yousafzai’s father, in support of The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act. The legislation will ensure that the next generation of Pakistani women have the chance to receive an education and provide for their families, communities and country.

The Borgen Project on Buzzfeed

6 Myths About Poverty, Busted
PR Team member Alina Meletta addresses the most common preconceptions and myths about global poverty in a December feature on Buzzfeed Community


Letters to the Editor


PR/Marketing Team
Nonprofit Leadership Team


One-Mile Campaigns

Political Affairs Team member Mehak Rajpal completed her 1-Mile Campaign in Los Angeles, CA

Political Affairs Team member Louisa Whitaker also completed her campaign in Los Angeles, CA

In-Office Team member Grace Whitten completed her campaign at the University of Washington in Seattle

Political Affairs Team member Kyle Coburn posted QR codes on the campus of the University of Delaware’s main street


Tabling Events

HR Team member Michael Nguyen of Austin,  TX took a one-mile radius around the UT Tower near the center of his campus and posted flyers on the provided billboards. Michael also created a swarm with his friends.

PR/Marketing Team member Hannah Pennant held an End Global Poverty event.


Other  Ideas

Political Affairs Team member Louisa Whitaker wrote in pizza boxes for the delivery drivers she works with to take to customer’s houses.

HR Team member Juan Gonzalez of Rexburg, ID printed out QR codes and placed them around campus. The QR code led to The Borgen Project website.


Outreach & Mobilizing Materials

Created by HR Team member Michael Nguyen

Content Team member Michelle White created a business card to garner donations for The Borgen Project.




Over the holiday season, Political Affairs Team member Mahzarin Mistry held a “Thanksgiving Throwdown” fundraiser with family and friends: “The premise of the fundraiser was to dish out the same amount of food on everyone’s plate. The last person to finish, or not finish at all, had to donate to my online fundraising campaign. Most people tried to finish, but to no avail.”