Five Questions with Kate O’Hara

Kate O’Hara, a Program Associate with NEO’s Four Freedoms Fund shares what she finds most rewarding about working in philanthropy, what has surprised her most about the field and more.

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

When I’m outside of the office you can find me exploring New York through long walks. Whether its different neighborhoods of the city itself or venturing out to nearby green spaces it’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy New York. I also spend a lot of my free time reading books, listening to music and when the summer hits I try to get to the beach as often as possible – nothing beats trading in the city sounds for the relaxing sounds of the Atlantic.

What has surprised you most about working in philanthropy?

I previously thought that working in philanthropy, as opposed to working on the frontlines in advocacy, would make me feel isolated from the issues we were fighting for. Thankfully, I don’t feel that way at NEO. I’m lucky to work for an organization that doesn’t believe in supporting organizations from a distance. Instead, there is a real hands on, interactive relationship that makes me feel not only connected to the work, but an integral part of the movement.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I am an avid soccer fan and former player who is very excited for the World Cup during the month of June. The only good thing about the U.S. not qualifying this year is I can relax and enjoy watching the tournament without the constant nerves!

What is the most challenging part of working in social justice?

I think the most challenging part of working in social justice is feeling like you are never doing enough. There are so many important issues that deserve to be represented and fought for and there are only so many hours in a day. When we choose to work on one issue, like I chose to work on immigration, it is hard not think about the issues you are leaving behind. Luckily at NEO, I’m privileged to sit next to people every day that are supporting a wide variety of social justice issues, so I get comfort knowing that someone else is fighting for them.

What do you find most rewarding about working at NEO?

The exposure I get to such a variety of social justice issues at NEO is invaluable. I am constantly impressed by the positive impact NEO has and its drive to make the world a better place. Every day our organization is collaborating on new causes and providing an unparalleled level of support to organizations so they can have best chance of making the biggest possible impact. I feel so lucky to get to be a part of that.

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