The following testimonial was written by Lucas Richie, a 2018-2019 Philadelphia QVS Fellow.
During his QVS year, Lucas served at Bread & Roses Community Fund. Bread & Roses was one of QVS’ first site placement partners when we expanded to Philadelphia in 2013. Between 2013 and 2019, they have hosted ten QVS Fellows to support their Giving Project and grants administration work.
Translating skills into service
Prior to my QVS year, like many young adults, I had acquired an eclectic collection of knowledge, hobbies, and academic studies. Unfortunately, I had next to no professional experience. With little else to speak about in my QVS interview, I spoke in length about ultimate frisbee. As the captain of a club sports team in college, I had years of experience managing budgets and planning tournaments.
In the weeks after I started at my site placement, Bread & Roses, my supervisor affirmed that these skill sets made them confident that I’d be able to handle the job’s core responsibilities of grants administration. They were able to recognize the skill set even though it came from (what felt like) a silly setting outside the professional world. Plus, they provided me with the support and tools to translate my skills into being an effective and successful part of their organization. The structure of QVS’ application process helped Bread & Roses see the value I could add outside of what was on my resume and transcripts.
To me, this modeled the way that Quakers actively seek the light within us all. I’ve often thought that other organizations would never have given me the chance. Being paired with Bread & Roses Community Fund was a blessing that has transformed my young adulthood.
Bread & Roses helped show me a vision of how money can be a tool to bring people together across lines of difference like race and class.
The Bread & Roses model
Bread & Roses is the leading funder of community organizing and direct action in the Philadelphia area. They use a participatory model to fundraise and make grants to organizations led by those most affected by injustice and inequality organizing to cultivate a new future for their communities. As a QVS Fellow at a small organization like Bread & Roses, I quickly gained experience supporting grant applicants, including many people applying for grants for the first time, and witnessed grassroots fundraising in action.
QVS Fellows served at Bread & Roses since 2013
Every day working at Bread & Roses I could count on sharing a few laughs with my co-workers before settling into my desk overlooking nearby City Hall in center city Philadelphia. When I wasn’t sifting through applications based on our eligibility requirements, I got to pitch in with our grassroots fundraising work or slip out of the office for a few hours to attend a rally or workshop hosted by one of our fantastic grantees. Bread & Roses continued to do a wonderful job providing space for all of us to show up as our whole selves. One of my other favorite memories was facilitating an office wide “Bake-off, Learn-on” to entertain staff as we spent a few hours reviewing and learning from the work of our recently approved grantees.
As the year went on, the trust I built with my co-workers gave me the confidence to effectively advocate within the organization to improve our grant application process to better support our applicants and grantees. As key members of the organization moved on, I got to take on new roles, like leading information sessions and participating in more decision making spaces.
Connecting Quaker Values & Money
As a kid, I had a strong interest in money and math. Thinking that these weren’t necessarily skills that would allow me to live a life of Quaker values and justice, I spent most of high school college distancing myself from most things math or numbers. Instead of keeping people divided, Bread & Roses helped show me a vision of how money can be a tool to bring people together across lines of difference like race and class.
After being exposed to the world of grantmaking during my QVS year, I applied to an open position at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting doing similar grants administration work. I was able to translate the vibrancy of how Bread & Roses approached moving money directly to work within the Quaker community. QVS helped me land a paying job at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which has allowed me to stay connected to my Quaker faith. QVS also prepared me to continue engaging in movement fundraising and community building outside of my 9-5 job. My site placement with QVS prepared me for a specific job, and it provided me with the tools and vision to effectively live out my Quaker values more fully.
Lucas (right) and his site supervisor (left) both atop bikes to help power a boom box at a student organizing event.
Lucas (left of center) leads a spring QVS day in which he shares about the work of Bread & Roses with his housemates.
Lucas (left) and his housemate balance on two posts next to the sidewalk in front of a beautiful mural in Center City (Philadelphia).
Lucas (left back), housemates, and Philadelphia Coordinator raise fists in support of immigrant rights. This photo was taken after a QVS day at Juntos, a QVS site placement that supports immigrant communities in Philadelphia.
More About Lucas
Lucas Richie graduated from Haverford College in 2018 with a major in History, a minor in Astronomy, and concentrations in Africana Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. At Haverford, Lucas worked in the Quaker Affairs Office and the campus dining center, while also captaining the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. Born and raised in Takoma Park, MD, Lucas attended Friends Meeting of Washington, Bethesda Friends Meeting, Catoctin Quaker Camp, Sidwell Friends School, and participated and led workcamps offered by the William Penn House on Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Paired with his investment in these Quaker communities has always been a consistent reflection on how Quakerism can become accessible and relatable to all people.
While at Haverford, he lived communally in on-campus apartments and explored the challenges and fulfillment of living and learning alongside his closest friends. In that setting, and in others, Lucas expressed himself through the relationships in his life, the vegetarian meals he cooked, frequent trips to the pine barrens and attempts to create a living space where people were understood and appreciated. After four years at Haverford full of world-shaping experiences, Lucas was excited by the opportunity to step off the college campus and into the broader Philadelphia community as a QVS Fellow. During his year, he worked as a Program Assistance at Bread & Roses Community Fund. Following his service year, Lucas began working at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as their Grants Associate.