Miranda is the Director of Philanthropy at WellPower, Denver’s Community Behavioral Health Center.
Miranda joined the SVP Denver Board in November 2022 as the Board Treasurer.
What inspired you to become an SVP Denver Board member?
I have worked in nonprofits the entirety of my career, and I had the opportunity to work with SVP Denver in the past through two different non-profits: Child Advocates-Denver CASA and Denver Kids.
I appreciated the model of working with folks who have expertise and knowledge along with a desire to give back to the community. This effort is really vital to nonprofits that are doing great work but don’t have the resources they need. When I worked with SVP Denver, it was a great collaborative effort.
Now I am working for an organization that doesn’t need these resources, so it created an opportunity for me to consider my own involvement in the community.
Please share about the first time you ever remember volunteering.
I went to an experiential Montessori school and volunteerism was baked into the curriculum. I can remember the first time I fundraised and it likely paved the way to my career in fundraising.
All of the kids in my school were involved in fundraising. Whenever opportunities arose, I went full force into it. Quite honestly, part of it was because they incentivized us with this catalog of silly prizes you could receive if you raised a certain amount.
So, at the ripe age of eight, I went door to door and knocked on strangers’ doors and asked them to contribute to our Leafathon. We would break up leaves in a park and then donors would sponsor our efforts per pound. One year I was the top fundraiser which was very exciting.
If you could learn one new skill, what would it be?
I would like to be better at foreign languages. I speak limited Spanish now, but at one point I was actually very good at it. I just haven’t kept up with it. I am in awe of people who can speak multiple different languages. So, I would like to have the ability to acquire new languages in a much more efficient manner.
What’s the last book you read that you would recommend to a friend?
I’m a hoarder when it comes to books. I love the Sapiens series and the books Homo Deus and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
The first Sapien book is a historical telling of humans through a sociological lens. It talks about the constructs of society and humans and how we’ve gotten to where we are today in arenas such as religion and racism.
Homo Deus contains lessons for the here and now but also makes some predictions for the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century makes predictions based on where the author thinks humans are going.
So, what are some of the things you learned or found striking or surprising from the 21 Lessons book?
The book was written prior to Covid. But, in the book, he wrote about how some of the things that had plagued us as humans in the past, such as famine and disease and war, are not as prevalent in our world as they once were.
But, then, Covid hit. As a result of Covid, we ended up having unprecedented food access issues. He also discussed AI and, especially with ChatGPT right now, I found it fascinating.
What is your role at WellPower? How did you become involved?
I am the Director of Philanthropy. One thing this entails is building a culture of philanthropy internally here with our large staff of nearly a thousand employees. We’re working hard on building a community centered fundraising atmosphere for the organization.
WellPower is the public mental health center for all of Denver. Because of this, we are an organization born by the public and are therefore really dedicated to it.
When I came to WellPower, my greatest desire was to ensure that the fundraising that we were doing was carried out in a way that was equity based. This entails challenging previous notions of what philanthropy looks like since it is based in white dominant culture. So, I am building out something that fits with the values of our organization. This really allows everyone to take part in the act of philanthropy.
Mental health is also my core issue as I have had family members with lived experience as well as having experienced the suicide of some close friends. Those are all factors that have influenced the path that I have taken in terms of my career.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
One of the things that I’m most passionate about is the opportunity for people to find meaningful opportunities within philanthropy. I think philanthropy can provide a sense of purpose that you can’t find in a lot of other things in life, and a sense of purpose is so crucial to your well being and satisfaction.
I don’t say this from a place of “do good things for others because you should”, but “do good things for others because it helps you realize how amazing this life that we get to live is”. I think you really find value when you are able to contribute to the betterment of the world.