What a year it has been. A global pandemic, a year of racial reckoning, and for many GoPhil partners, an onslaught of climate-related natural disasters like hurricanes, devastating floods, and landslides.

In March 2020, just as the pandemic began, GoPhil Travel was in India finishing what we didn’t know would be our last philanthropic journey of the year. Togetherness is woven into GoPhil’s fabric, and it was a shock when we realized that we didn’t know when we would next see our partners. Times have been extraordinarily challenging this year, yet we have witnessed outstanding levels of resilience, ingenuity, and determination from partners across the globe. 

We recently asked the GoPhil Team to share where their hearts and minds are now as the year comes to a close, and the following is what they shared.

It’s not what happens in life that matters, but how we react.

“During a year that brought so much instability, pain, and loss, Gophil remained a place I could draw from hope. Seeing how the network of partner programs, community members, volunteers, and staff members responded in the moment reminded me that it’s not what happens in life that matters, but how we react. I am grateful to be surrounded by people and programs who reveal the better side of our humanity. Thank you to all who are a part of that reflection.”

– Lydia Dean, Co-Founder & Board Chair

Grateful to play a small role in making our world a better place. 

“Wishing everyone a calm and healthy holiday season to end what has been an extremely challenging year for everyone across the world. Being part of the wonderful GoPhil community, and in particular, witnessing how our incredible partners have managed to respond to this crisis, has provided me with so much hope and motivation during the hardest moments this year. I’m so very grateful to be able to play a small role in helping to make our world a better and more just place for all.

– Emily Bild, Director of Programs

Imagining a new kind of philanthropy.

“If 2020 showed us anything, it showed us that the world as it is, the systems we have in place, are broken. They are letting us down, and they are leaving the most vulnerable among us to fend for themselves. 2020 has forced us, especially those of us who hold privilege, to take a hard look in the mirror and reckon with the inequalities in the world and how we ourselves have contributed to and benefitted from them. 2020 has called on all that consider ourselves philanthropists and humanitarians to come together to imagine a new kind of philanthropy. This philanthropy breaks down traditional power structures brought on by colonization and gives the power back to the grassroots for transformative change and a better world. We hope you’ll join us on this journey in 2021.”

– Allegra Mangione, Development & Marketing Coordinator

What might we do a little differently? 

“This has been a year of tremendous change and challenge, and deep sadness for those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic and for those who have been isolated in their time of greatest need. There has been a sense of loss of control for many, with the added burden of natural disasters devastating the world. At the same time, it has been a time that calls for reflection and reimagining what the future might look likewhat might we do a little differently? For my small part in the coming year, I want to listen more deeply, approach life with more compassion, awareness, curiosity, and creativity; bring light to others where I can; take better care of Mother Earth; and appreciate all those in my life, especially dear family and friends. Last, take time to look at what we have in front of us: NGO partners who are brave and resilient; a GoPhil community that has opened their hearts and brought generosity beyond belief, and a staff and board of directors who work their hearts out every day on behalf of inclusivity and justice.”

– Linda DeWolf, Co-Founder

GoPhil is my bunker of hope.

“After returning home from GoPhil Travel’s last Journey to India in mid-March, the world as we knew it turned upside down. The pandemic’s implications, uncertainty, and fear at every turn have weighed heavy on my soul. Yet every day, I am uplifted in witnessing the remarkable strength and resilience of GoPhil partners battling on the frontlines, bolder, and braver than ever before. Reading about innovative rapid response has been nothing short of heroic. GoPhil partners are gladiators who teach us to never underestimate the power of hard work, determination, and care. Similarly, to the GoPhil Community – donors, staff, and friends – your collective care has quite literally been the medicine needed to maintain mental health during this troubling year. When I reflect on 2020 – a year we will certainly never forget – I can confidently say that GoPhil is my bunker of hope, and I hold so much gratitude for everyone who commits to making the world a better place.”

– Travis Day, Director of External Communications

Awestruck by generosity.

“Joining GoPhil has been the highlight of my year as it has restored my faith in humanity. I feel immense pride and gratitude for being part of a global community that is working so hard to make the world a better place. I have been awestruck by the generosity of GoPhil donors and volunteers and their commitment to creating a just and equitable world. THANK YOU to everyone who stepped up during these challenging times! Similarly, the resilience and strength of GoPhil partners and their communities has inspired me and filled me with hope for the future. We are definitely entering 2021 stronger than before and I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together next year.”

– Mehdeen Abbasi, Director of Development

An abundance of love and care. 

“Thus far, with GoPhil, I am honored to work with such an amazing group of talented individuals. Everyone on the team has an abundance of love and care for the world we live in, manifested each day through their devotion to GoPhil’s mission. As a young and aspiring professional, I am thankful to have this insight into an impactful international nonprofit’s inner workings. I look forward to what the New Year will bring, furthering the team’s ambitions of creating an inclusive and empowered society.”

– Olivia McConnell, Intern

Important lessons in solidarity. 

“The GoPhil Community has been a source of light and positivity for me this year, contributing to my life in ways that have impacted me forever. 2020 has been one of the most difficult years, but it is undeniable that it has also brought important lessons in solidarity, resilience, and adaptability, and that it has reminded us of what truly matters. I have great gratitude for GoPhil partners, who inspired me on a daily basis with commitments to their communities, innovative solutions, and hard work. For everyone supporting these programs, reaching out and sending encouraging messages. And for the GoPhil Team: what an extraordinary and supportive group of people. I feel inspired and motivated constantly for working with them. As difficult as this year has been in every aspect, I will hold it close to my heart, for these reasons. Thank you 2020 and the GoPhil Community for reminding me of what truly matters.”

– Mae Ardón, Guatemala Programs Assistant

We send our very best wishes and immense gratitude to the entire GoPhil Community this holiday season and we look forward to a bolder and brighter year ahead in which we will continue to join hands for humanity.