Five Questions for Angela Kahres

Angela Kahres, a Program Manager for NEO’s State Infrastructure Fund, shares what she finds most rewarding about working at NEO, what has surprised her most about the field and more.

What has been your biggest accomplishment at NEO?

I started at NEO Philanthropy in 2008 as a temp who was tasked with organizing and auditing some files. Five titles and nearly ten years later, I’m still going strong. I don’t know if there’s any one accomplishment that is “the biggest,” but serving on NEO’s change management team as the organization went through a period of transition feels the most significant. Transition is never easy, but when I consider NEO today, I see a stronger and healthier organization than ever before.

How do you see your role pushing NEO’s mission forward?

Voting is the foundation of our democracy—it’s an essential tool in realizing lasting change and holding our representatives accountable. SIF’s grantees are on the front lines of monitoring potentially discriminatory changes to election policy; educating, registering and engaging voters; and fighting back when bad policy or laws are put in place that erect barriers to voting. By doing this work, we are directly moving NEO’s mission forward to empower our country’s most disenfranchised communities.

What do you find most rewarding about working at NEO?

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the people at NEO are the soul of the organization. Working at NEO, you’re surrounded by people who are truly passionate about social justice, people whose expertise spans a wide variety of issue areas. It’s a naturally inspirational and educational space.

What has surprised you most about working in philanthropy?

Perhaps this shouldn’t have been surprising, but when I was first starting out I had this vague notion of philanthropy/philanthropists as one unified entity. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. From highly involved to hands off, from spending out to endowed foundations, from prescriptive to responsive, there are as wide a variety of approaches, theories and personalities among philanthropies as there are in the field of nonprofits.

Give us a peek of Angela outside of the office. What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t at work?

My husband and I moved to the Hudson Valley last year, and we spend most of our spare time exploring all the area has to offer. Between craft beverage trails, hiking, amazing restaurants, historic sites, independent book and music stores, drive-in and historic movie theaters…the list goes on and on. It seems like we’ll never run out of new things to do and explore!

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