Skip to main content
Grant for Good Thumbnail Alt

A Change is Gonna Come

Nov 08, 2018 – by Kristin

I wanted to work at Firebelly long before I worked at Firebelly.

The studio first came into my sights in 2011. I was volunteering with a group of young, bright-eyed professional idealists, coordinating meet-ups to connect aspiring do-gooders with seasoned entrepreneurs. Helping good people meet good people, basically. Which is how I met Dawn. She was seasoned. I aspired. 

I asked her to come talk at one of our happy hours. For some reason, she said yes. 

She came. She spoke. I swooned. 

If you’ve seen Dawn in action, you know what I’m talking about.

She got personal. She cussed real good. (Some people are born gifted.) She spoke to us about being young, ambitious and uncompromising — maybe foolishly so — and in that fiery, hungry foolishness, starting her own design studio. A practice dedicated to good and only good. No assholes allowed. My brain and my heart, in perfect harmony for maybe the first time in my life, screamed YES

She walked us through the studio’s at times uncertain evolution. How it started tiny, serving mostly nonprofits, to slightly-less-tiny, working with clients on both sides of the internal revenue code. How it takes love to make this business work. 

She told us about Reason to Give. Camp Firebelly. The family. The hustle. The Grant for Good. I was toast. By hook or by crook, I would work for this woman one day. And then I did. Took us a few years to get our timing right, but I got my seat at the feast. My first major project: Plant Chicago. The 2015 Grant for Good. I learned a lot.

That there is no such thing as perfect. Everything will change. That mushrooms truly are magic. So is everything that grows. That listening is not an option. It’s the only way. That what we do is show people themselves from a different angle, a new light. That light can be transformative. 

When we see ourselves as we really are, when we know our purpose with renewed clarity, when we understand our strengths and our boundaries, where we’ll shine and where we’ll struggle, the world opens up. The path reveals itself so we can walk it, sure-footed and strong, and bring others with us. 

We must allow this. We must accept new light if we’re going to grow. We have to change the way we see ourselves if we’re going to find our path.

Change is painful. Experienced loss.” It can also be liberating as hell. We’re all trying to get free. From the shackles of our past struggles. From the incomplete stories we tell ourselves, from our own presumptions, from our fears and inherited baggage.

I adore this work because it is terrorsome stuff. Our business is change. It is growth. It is light-loving pure potential. We start every project unsure of the path. We find it together. We bring others with us. My goodness, what a life.

And here is the point: 

The Grant for Good begins again. Another cycle. Another partner. Another year to welcome change. To whomever comes with us, let’s find new light.

In the meantime, there’s music. Thoughtfully curated by Alibaster.