Kendra Hyett is a Chicago suburbs native who moved to San Francisco in 2006 after earning a BA in English Writing and minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from North Central College. She is a girls’ and women’s empowerment advocate, an avid traveler, reader, writer, plus TV and goldfish cracker addict. After five years of getting paid to be a professional TV addict at a successful internet startup, she followed her passion for giving back by shifting to nonprofit work where she focuses on grant writing, development, and volunteer recruitment. She serves on the Associate Board of About-Face, the Advisory Board of First Book SF, is part of Girls, Inc.’s Volunteer Department team, plus serves as a volunteer grant writer for Operation Rainbow.
Kendra’s Spark Story:
When attending an event last fall for local Spark grantee, Oasis for Girls, I met one of Spark’s founding board members, Fiona Hsu. She told me all about Spark’s work and invited me to the upcoming holiday party. Already excited about Spark’s work after talking to Fiona, I became a member online, and then fell in love with the amazing Spark network at the packed holiday party! I developed a strong interest in grantmaking for girls and women’s organizations after working with many nonprofits through my career transition, so I was excited to see the fellowship opportunity as a way I could get even more involved in Spark’s work and learn more about this potential career direction. Now about 6 months into the fellowship, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning the inner-workings of Spark as a grantmaking nonprofit, a changemaker for grassroots women’s organizations, and as a successful membership-based organization.
Who is your favorite grantee?
Young Feminist Movement in Pakistan – I think these young women are so brave for fighting for their rights to gender equality in a place where it’s risky to even call oneself a feminist.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Exploring the streets of a new (to me) international city or town with someone I love.
What talent (or superpower!) would you like to have?
Instant travel. I would love to be able to say where I want to go, and be there immediately – whether to get to work on time without bothering with public transit, or to be in Paris for breakfast! (And lunch, and dinner, and the whole month…)
What is your most marked characteristic?
Compassion – I’ve always had a strong desire to help others and make a difference for others from supporting a friend to volunteering.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
JK Rowling. To be a writer famous while still alive, and to have written such adored stories would be a dream. And then to have the money and influence to help change the world – perfect combo!
What is the quality you most like in a fellow human being?
Drive to follow a passion and love of dogs.
What is your favorite journey?
Studying abroad in China and Japan my junior year of college. I have always loved to travel, but that was the most foreign place I had visited and the longest time I had spent being constantly out of my comfort zone. It was a wonderful adventure to be in a completely different kind of world every day I stepped outside to go to class, and every time my group and I got to explore new places in interesting ways from climbing up and sliding down the Great Wall to sleeping in a yurt in Inner Mongolia.
Who are your heroes in real life?
All four of my grandparents who were open-minded and loving to people from all walks of life before it was cool. Also Malala, Nicholas Kristof, and others bringing much-needed attention to the plights of girls and women around the world.