State of the Union September 2023


Congratulations Mary Blake Brock – Fundraising Competition Winner!

This summer we have been running our annual fundraising competition and we are so proud to announce our winner for 2023, Mary Blake Brock. Mary has really gone above and beyond what we all thought was possible and has raised an amazing $10,000!

Here is a little summary of what Mary has been up to during her time with us, along with a few words from Mary.

Hi Everybody! My name is Mary Blake Brock and I’m a passionate UK Political Affairs Ambassador located in Leeds, England! I started working with The Borgen Project in July 2023 and since then, I’ve had amazing networking opportunities that have allowed me to present The Borgen Project to the Kirkstall Girl Guides, run letter-writing and social media campaigns on both Instagram and Tik Tok, write to my local MPs and California Representatives, and surpass my £5,000 fundraising goal. I feel so grateful to represent The Borgen Project and to advocate for foreign policy reform in both the United Kingdom and United States, as nothing in the world is more important than standing up for our international neighbors who live on less than $1.00/day.

To accomplish some of the goals I’ve had the first 6 weeks of the internship, I’ve focused not only on the weekly tracker tasks, but set my own impact objectives before the internship! To achieve my £5,000 fundraising goal, I started early and advertised my fundraising portal on Instagram and TikTok, and gained a following for my political advocacy. When I sent personalized fundraising letters to my family and friends, I explained that because The Borgen Project operates at the political level, a donation as little as £1.00 helps dozens of people attain global development aid, which eradicates systemic poverty. This took financial pressure away from giving large donations, and because they understood the political impact, my donors gave more than £1.00. Additionally, in these letters I encouraged my family and friends to write to their government representatives in support of the UK ODA and US International Affairs Budget, as their political participation is just as valuable as fundraising. I broke down my fundraising goals by asking for intentional £0.50, £1.00, and £5.00 donations to hit my target political impact goal. Because I set small incremental objectives, people surpassed my wildest expectations!

While I’ve recently hit my financial goal, it is important to note that I’ve had several weeks of sitting in stagnant zones, where I make zero progress on hitting my own impact objectives. If you find yourself in this place, keep moving forward and remember why you give a damn about The Borgen Project. Think about what your impact objectives are, why you want to reach those goals, and most importantly, how you are actively growing as a lobbyist and advocate. At the end of the day, we’re here because we are passionate about eradicating systemic poverty for over a billion people who live on less than $1.00/day and 162,000,000 individuals who live on less than $0.50/day. In points of discouragement, celebrate the milestones you’ve overcome and continue to go out, go do, and go bloom. Let’s get to work to change the world!


Political Updates

Lobbying and Advocacy Efforts

  • Total # of Lobbying Meetings in August: 17
  • Total # of Lobbying Meetings in 2023: 239
  • Lobbying Meetings Goal for 2023: 405

Advocacy Emails

  • Total # of Advocacy Emails in August: 9,438
  • Total # of Advocacy Emails in 2023: 51,256
  • Advocacy Emails Goal for 2023: 115,000
  • % of Congress Emailed Year to Date: 96%

Congressional Office Meetings and Bird Dogging

Amy Pettigrew and Dylan Bemis met with Sarah Silverstein, Legislative Correspondent from Senator Carper’s office [D-DE]

Amy Pettigrew and our Team members met with Graham Gunter, Legislative Correspondent from Senator Budd’s office [R-NC]

Amy Pettigrew and our Team members met with Beimnet Abraha, Legislative Correspondent from Senator Warner’s office [D-VA]

Senator Warnock’s staff [D-GA] and Georgia team members, Zenee Theophille and Sarah Aliche

Senator Casey’s staff [D-PA], Kim Thelwell and Pennsylvanian Team members Aaron Hunt, Yaj Gupta, Navid Sheikhzadeh, Nicholas Jaramillo and Michael DeRenzo

Senator Menendez staff [D-NJ] and NJ volunteers Navya Sirandasu and Jay Chavan

Political Affairs Team member, Cole Zickwolff attended a town hall hosted by Representative Mike Levin [D-CA-49] and asked him a question about the International Affairs Budget

Political Affairs Team member, David Shaw met with his MP Oliver Heald


Updates from DC

Listen in to hear all of the latest updates from DC.



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

      • Big Kahuna Award (raised $5,000 or more): 
        • Political Affairs Team: Mary Blake Brock – $10,000
      • Chief Closer Award (raised $1,000 or more):  
        • Political Affairs Team: Ellie Hewes, Emile Maloney, Abbie Siu, Hitesh Turaka
        • Content Team: Nina Donlin, Izzy Grout, Dimitri Lykidis
        • Nonprofit Leadership Team: Tyne Klammer
      • Bird-Dog Award: 
        • Political Team: Cole Zickwolff, Mark-David Muego, Shreyan Singha, Emily Higley
      • President’s Circle Award (Mobilized 50+ people):
        • Political Team: Benjamin Marti, Gulnaz Bibi, Assel Mukasheva, Caroline Williams, Lillian Hoffer, Lexi Coghe, Emile Maloney, Emily Higley, Ariana Lewis, Donell Dunlap, Yasharth Pandey, Yajat Gupta, Kefei Xu
      • Articles of the Month: 

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

Getting the Word Out

Calls to C-SPAN

Political Affairs Team member, Christian SolisTrujillo

Nonprofit Leadership Team member, Destiny Dunmore

Nonprofit Leadership Team member, Grace Naegelen

Information Events

Political Affairs Team member, Isabel Medrano presented to a few classes at a high school.

One-Mile Campaigns & Mobilizing

Content Team Member Aysu Usubova from Azerbaijan


Letters to the Editor

Political Affairs Team

PR/Marketing Team 

Outreach & Mobilizing Materials

Content Team member, Aysu Usubova from Azerbaijan transformed her window


PR/Marketing Team member, Agnes Wang organized a fundraiser with Edinburgh University Chinese Dance Society

Political Affairs Team member, Lexi Coghe made her own strawberry and watermelon strawberry popsicles and set up a stand to sell them

Nonprofit Leadership Team member, Aniella Lisse Mutoni is creating bracelets for her fundraiser


Here is a selection of  the amazing videos from our teams:

Content Team member, Noel Teter drumming for The Borgen Project

Carol Krein Robinson

Nikolina Nava

Sophie Matta

Nicholas Maccani


Simon Hermes

Content Team member, Manasvi Kadian