Date: March 17, 2015

Meet Steve John and Jason Snyder (pictured above right to left), a Friend of Public Advocates couple since 2013. Learn how Steve and Jason got involved and what excites them about their ongoing support in a recent interview with Director of Development Debi Harris.

Debi: How did you first get involved with Public Advocates?

Steve: First through meeting the former President & CEO, Jamienne Studley. She and my mentor, the late Marty Africa, were longtime friends and had worked on several legal issues together. Then, board member Leo Martinez asked me to assist in the search for a new Public Advocates CEO to replace Jamienne. My in-depth research on the organization’s work and attorneys piqued my interest. I told Jason that what Public Advocates was doing to ensure equal access for the most disadvantaged in our community warranted our attention. We’ve followed the firm’s work ever since.

DebiHow do you, as a family, decide what organizations you will support annually? What is your process for considering organizations to give to?

Jason: I manage our household finances, including giving at least 10% of our earnings annually to organizations and causes that we believe in, like hunger, child welfare, minority equality, animal rights, education and the arts. Steve and I tend to focus on smaller organizations that work on these causes that are often overlooked. Additionally, we tend to direct our giving to local organizations that have proven longevity. Overall, Public Advocates fits what we consider important.

Debi: What is it about Public Advocate’s work and mission that inspires your annual donation?

Jason: Simply, it was hearing Steve’s excitement about all he learned during the CEO search. Public Advocates knits together a number of issues – like fair housing and transportation as it affects people of color – in a way that seems powerful to us. We talked about how the attorneys and board members are issue experts on so many equal rights challenges where we want to see action happen but can’t take on ourselves. We like the idea that Public Advocates is in the trenches with local community organizations and has done so for 44 years. Through supporting its work, we support much unsung community-lead action happening locally.

Debi: Can you share one of your most memorable Public Advocates experiences?

Steve: Public Advocates hosted a holiday party in December 2013 – an activity to publicly introduce Guillermo Mayer, the new CEO installed.  Guillermo vividly painted the picture of his life and growth, from immigrant beginnings, with humility and grace.  He was inspiring that evening and I glowed with pride.

Steve and Jason will be in attendance at Public Advocates’ Voices of Conscience Celebration on Thursday, April 23rd, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. We hope you’ll attend and meet them!

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