For a number of reasons, Ryan Ginard is the type we’re excited to have turning out for Upswell. How many folks do you know in the philanthropic space who work on a live podcast that marries Southern California politics and craft beer? To boot, we can almost hear his Australian accent through his writing when he describes the 2020 Census, not just as a big deal, but with the acronym for big freakin’ deal. Cheers to Upswell living up to the SXSW potential that drew Ryan into our orbit, and to Ryan himself, who by day, serves San Diego Grantmakers’ Director of Strategic Advancement. Here’s a little about him.
Q: In a few sentences, tell us who you are – what drives you, what you’re working on, and why you’re inspired to make the world a better place.
RG: Having been heavily involved in politics for a decade in Australia, I moved to the U.S. in 2011 and transitioned into the philanthropic sector where I worked for a large community foundation running their civic engagement efforts. I now lead communications, policy, and fundraising at a Regional Association of Grantmakers representing 120 members locally and is part of the larger alliance of Philanthropy CA.
I’m motivated by systems change around issues of equity and addressing the inequalities of opportunity. I’m an organizer, connector and movement builder that likes to talk about what our future might look like and fight valiantly for those outcomes. My passion is civic technology, which I see as a great opportunity to get people more engaged in their communities, improve civil discourse, and build power communities.
Q: What’s your favorite way to relax.
RG: Relaxing went out the door with the arrival of our little daughter and second child! Being a parent you have to smartly carve out small pockets of time around the family schedule, yet this has been a real blessing as I have been able to focus on growing and building out a diverse set of civic projects including building civic tech platforms, running a Super PAC, blogging on the future trends in philanthropy, and hosting a live podcast that combines politics and the San Diego craft beer scene. I also like running – helps clear the mind – and I completed my first marathon last year (and when I say my first, I also mean my last!).
Q: What’s the last issue you personally advocated for – and why?
RG: The upcoming Census is a BFD and is quickly becoming a big part of my policy portfolio at work. With billions of dollars in federal funding and business investment at stake, along with the potential loss of political representation for communities that are undercounted, the importance of a fully funded census is an issue with a ten-year negative compounding effect if it isn’t done right.
Q: What excites you most about Upswell?
RG: Upswell came onto my radar when I read an article a year or so ago that a number of funders had come together with Independent Sector in a bid to create the SXSW for nonprofits. Having spoken at SXSW and soaked up the atmosphere associated with it, I knew I had to attend.
I just have a gut feeling this conference will generate an energy unlike any of the traditional conferences I go to in the sector and I look forward to being inspired, challenged, and returning home with a laundry list of ideas to share and implement in my community.