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Meet Crystal Des-Ogugua: A Q&A with the New Donor Education Manager 

Why did you want to work for Thousand Currents? What made you apply to the organization?

I was drawn to Thousand Currents by its particular focus in the Global South. As I grow in my work, I have been looking for new ways to expand the frameworks and approaches I use to be broader and more global. I was also excited to explore the range of work, expertise, and creativity of our  movement partners. 

Also, the work at Thousand Currents is so vast, and after reading staff bios—I thought the team seemed to capture a rich multidisciplinary range of perspectives and experiences. 

What will be your new role at Thousand Currents?

I have joined the team as our new Donor Education Manager. I will be supporting the development and implementation of programs catered to advancing the learning spaces for  our community of donors. In this work I will contribute to our donor education efforts by: 

  1. Continuing engaging and building relationships with our current donor base,
  2. Educating and inform our donor base, and as appropriate, deepening their level of connection to our three issue areas (climate justice, economic justice, and food sovereignty),
  3. Practicing solidarity with frontline communities, as they learn about challenges and successes of our grassroots partners, and
  4. Sparking and supporting donors to become effective advocates for grassroots solutions and solidarity-based practices in philanthropy.

What gifts do you hope to share in your new role?

Curriculum design and learning strategy are some of my passions, so I am excited to share the fun and creativity I bring to this work. My learning spaces strive to capture how intergenerational storytelling and sharing can be used to both disrupt legacies of oppression. I also intend to facilitate  alternative, collaborative, and creative spaces where intentional communities can build around shared frameworks, experiences, and approaches to moving towards change. 

I also hope to share the gift of humor and great TV show recommendations.

What is your vision or hope for the communities you work with and the work you’re doing?

I hope that my work contributes to the growth of learning spaces in ways that encourage our communities to embody the practices of the world we hope to create. I also want to continue moving my communities of Black folks, specifically Black women girls, and gender expansive folks, further into our journey of feeling liberation in our lifetimes. 

What do you do when you are not working at Thousand Currents?

When I’m not working at Thousand Currents you can catch me hanging out with my dog Peanut, riding my bike, crocheting hats I’ll never wear, or working on one of my ongoing Black women’s history archival projects. 

  • Crystal with her former students at the Sadie Nash Leadership Summer Institute at their community celebration of their final archival project (2018)
  • Crystal with her sisters and late grandfather in her village Mbaise, Nigeria (2018)
  • Crystal visiting a community fabric center in Ghana (2020)
  • Crystal with a Bisa Butler piece at the Hunter Museum of American Art (Chattanooga, TN) 2022

By Thousand Currents