Our fifth grant recipient tells her story of months of job searching, nearly losing her apartment, and finally finding hope.
Hi, My name is Mika and this is my story. In 2015, I experienced a lay-off from a corporate company after 6 years of fighting for a significant promotion. I decided to switch tracks to become a project manager for creative projects or business processes. During the time leading up to me finding The Gelt Foundation, I had been repeatedly rejected by the very few agencies in Orlando because of funding issues or timing. I solely depend on myself and did not qualify for other alternatives for money to cover the gap from my last place of employment to my new one at a local college.
my circumstance did not mirror the ones that usually gain attention
Unbeknownst to me, working part-time at the college also meant not being paid for long holiday breaks on top of limitations to making up time and low wage. I actually searched online and went back and forth between agencies for weeks until I thought to search for foundations. At first, I searched peer funding but realized my circumstance did not mirror the ones that usually gain attention like being an immigrant, fighting a disease, having children to feed or suffering from a disaster. I searched Google for about three to four days using different word phrase combinations until I found the Gelt Foundation which was about 3 or 4 pages deep. The form seemed too simple to be true; it was exactly what I hoped existed, if not the only one in existence through my search, but of course, all the way in California. So I held my breath and took a chance.
When it feels like someone’s got your back, anything is possible.
When Tina contacted me, I was relieved, thrilled, and scared all at once because I knew that this was my only chance. My landlord’s patience was just about exhausted so I was on the brink of being homeless. A full-time job had not surfaced but I was sure the law of numbers was overdue as I had been searching for about 5 months. I could tell Tina had a passion for the mission and her excitement lessened my anxiety. The Gelt Foundation really uplifted my confidence in altruism, that there are people who want to take practical action for the needs of others like me who are authentically building a livelihood for themselves and fostering community. I’m amazed by the generosity and social conscience of the Foundation to support me all the way across the country!
there are people who want to take practical action for the needs of others like me
And working with Allison [Foundation Board Member with expertise in Recruiting] was fantastic. Her energy and attentiveness made me feel like I mattered. She was a breath of fresh air compared to the friends who would thoughtlessly tell me to focus, contradict my decisions or presume that the “eviction process was on my side.” It was easy and comfortable to ask Allison questions that I had always wondered about in the job search process, work through topics that stemmed from doubt, or were just a curious inquiry. She responded with authentic straight talk as well as positive affirmations, which was powerful. I think that’s what was also needed in addition to the grant for me to rock interviews after being so financially vulnerable without sounding desperate. When it feels like someone’s got your back, anything is possible.
Thus, I landed a full-time job at social justice advocacy nonprofit as a Resource Development Coordinator. So far things are going great. I also feel on track to pursue my start-up entrepreneurial goals for elevated self-sufficiency by helping people live in mindful co-living situations. My vision is to provide resources for middle-class folks for building relationships across differences, educating on core adulting skills and dismantling implicit bias. I’m grateful to The Gelt Foundation for doing this work that addresses a national housing crisis through philanthropy. There are no words that justly describe the impact it’s had on me at this moment to keep pursuing a fulfilled life.
In solidarity, peace, and blessings,