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Why I Support the Fund: A Q&A with Joy Alferness

In high school, Joy Alferness jumped into activism, volunteering on a student AIDS action committee. She went on to study acting in college, where she explored empathy through art. Today, the nonprofit governance pro and mom of two serves on the boards of several human rights organizations, including the Fund for Global Human Rights.

We sat down with Joy to discuss her dedication to human rights and to the Fund.


You’re involved in a number of human rights organizations. What’s different about the Fund?

I support the Fund because I want to move my resources the way that they do—to grassroots activists. And I love the Fund’s mandate, how it empowers people, makes their circumstances better. Those who are directly impacted by these problems, they know best. And the Fund works to fulfill their needs. There’s an implicit trust.

The Fund has been so ahead of its time. They were doing the right things before people realized they were the right things to do.

Why do human rights matter to you personally?

Activism has always been my calling. I’ve always believed that every life is equal to every other life. But there’s so much inequality in the world.

Once I had children, my commitment to human rights strengthened. My children have lots of privilege. There are children in other places, not just with fewer resources but who are suffering. So, to me, it wasn’t an option to allow that to continue without being part of the solution.

Joy smiles on a family vacation with her husband and two children
Joy with her family

What inspires you about human rights activism?

In the world, and especially in human rights, every day there’s a new problem—but every day there’s also a big win. We don’t often notice that.

People sometimes say to me, “How do you sleep at night focusing on all these problems?” But I think it’s so important I do what I can. And whether you do that with your time, your skills, your dollars, or all three, it matters.

What would you say to people who are considering giving to the Fund?

Investing in the Fund is money well spent! When we invest in the stock market, we know it can go up or down. But for some reason, we’re not always willing to invest in humanity without knowing what the outcome will be.

The Fund is so well connected. The groups they support know what they’re doing. And it’s powerful to be a part of making long-term change possible.