Student Spotlight: Shepard Riley, The University of Manchester

Hi there! My name is Shep Riley, and I’m excited to share my recent journey with One World Together with you. I want to tell you about my interest in joining One World Together and a bit about my own background working in the nonprofit sector.

I’m currently a first-year Politics and Philosophy student at The University of Manchester from the United States, but I have had an interest in the nonprofit sector for a few years now. Back home, I volunteered with YouthLine, the youth-supporting branch of the US National Suicide Hotline. In this role I experienced a serious duality: the amazing work we were able to get done, and the intense frustration of not being able to fund the expansion and legislative lobbying we wanted to see happen. We were a small, passionate team, but that also meant that the same people who were on the front lines helping others were also the ones who were advocating for more resources and more equitable funding opportunities.

My experience with Youthline left me pretty frustrated and disillusioned with the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector in general. This is not to say I don’t believe in the sector, I really do believe in the power of nonprofits. I’ve also a big supporter for GiveWell and its associated projects. However, while these organizations have an immediate and real impact, they often do not address the deeper issues that would lead to long-term change in the funding system. From my experiences, I’ve found myself increasingly wanting to address the systemic issues that prevent larger changes from happening. This is what has led me to begin my journey with One World Together.

One World Together focuses on supporting partners in their work instead of starting a new project. This resonated with me strongly after my experience at Youthline. Securing long-term, unrestricted funding creates agency and empowers people and organizations involved to have a serious impact in their communities. It feels more sustainable, and I appreciate the feeling of being able to aim to do more than just put a bandaid on problems. It’s about creating real, lasting change.

I’m looking forward to seeing what One World Together can achieve! Throughout my journey with OWT, I would love to chat with more people who are excited by the idea of not letting the system stop you from making a difference.

Become a Global Citizen – One World Together

Written by Shepard Riley