Spark loves Millennials who are committed to philanthropy and actively making our world a more equitable place for all. Holiday Bash Honorary Hosts and Spark Members, Kendra & PJ Hyett epitomize our ideals. Kendra’s journey is one that encompasses all types of social impact, from volunteer to major philanthropist. Her husband PJ, Co-Founder of GitHub, is a role model philanthropist and ally for women and minority groups in the tech community. As an inspiration to us and the next generation of philanthropists, we wanted to learn more. We sat down with Kendra & PJ to learn more about their journey, passions, and Harry Potter floo powder.
What has led you on this journey of philanthropy and social impact?
Both of our families have always been very dedicated to volunteering and giving back, so we were both instilled with the desire to give back how we could to our communities and the world around us. Once Kendra had the opportunity in her career path to shift to nonprofit work focused on grantwriting and grantmaking, we had the opportunity to apply that new knowledge of the nonprofit landscape plus new skills to more strategically plan our giving and desired social impact each year.
What causes are you most passionate about and why?
Women & girls empowerment, leadership training & access to quality education both locally and globally; access to quality healthcare; global human rights advocacy; tech training for underserved youth; entrepreneurship training; and animal adoption.
These causes are the near to our hearts due to either opportunities afforded to us, or issues we are passionate about and understand need development to provide steps towards deserved equality for underserved people (and animals who need homes like our own two dear rescue dogs).
What are next steps for you and PJ’s philanthropy?
Expand our giving around leadership and tech training, economic empowerment, and access to reproductive healthcare in this crucial time for women, girls, and minority groups.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
We recently had our first child, so life has, and will be, changing a lot! In reflection of that, we want the world to continue to grow into a more compassionate, equal, and beautiful place for our baby girl and more kids to come. We plan to stay closely tuned to the needs of our community and the nonprofits in it doing such important work, and focus our giving and volunteering where we see the strongest needs, and the strongest potential for meaningful and lasting impact.
What advice do you have for other millennials interested in making social impact?
Find organizations like SparkSF, GiveWell, or giving circles that resonate with your areas of interest to help guide your philanthropy and social impact choices. Making informed, strategic decisions takes more time and research, but it’s well worth it to focus your impact and get to feel connected with it.
What talent (or superpower!) would you like to have?
PJ – Teleportation
Kendra – Harry Potter floo powder… so basically, also teleportation.
What is the quality you most like in a fellow human being?
PJ – Sense of humor
Kendra – Compassion
Who are your heroes in real life?
PJ – My parents
Kendra – My parents, Gloria Steinem, Malala Yousafzai