Community & Government

Pick an Issue That Resonates

Melinda French Gates

Lesson time 16:54 min

Join Melinda in thinking about both your personal passions and your community’s needs in order to pick an issue you’d like to get involved with.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Pick an Issue You're Passionate About• Listen to Community Needs• Look for Opportunities to Apply the Multiplier Effect• Always Come Back to Listening• Take a Big Issue and Break It Apart• Case Study: The Gates Foundation Beginnings• Where You Start May Not Be Where You End Up• Just Start


[MUSIC PLAYING] - In addition to looking at your values and also the resources that you have to give, then there's this component now of really looking at, what are the needs out in your community? So in this chapter, we'll talk about, how do you pick a unique area that meets your values and meets the resources that you have and the community needs? You know, no one has endless resources. I don't care who you are. You have to pick a few areas in which you want to give. Ultimately, those are the areas where you will probably affect the most change with your resources. And so if you pick a couple of areas, then you can learn much more deeply about that area, and you can stick with it and with partners and then create the most change that you possibly can, whether you're using your money or your time or your expertise or your voice. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you're just starting out and you're giving, I think ask the questions of yourself like, what do you care about the most? What touches your heart? What are you most concerned about? Are you concerned about the environment? Are you most concerned about poverty in the world? Are you most concerned about homelessness? So go to where your passion is. And I think when you go to the places that really tug at your heart, or sometimes they even cause you anger, right, it's what-- what elicits a response, and why does it elicit that response? Hey, that needs fixing. Then ask yourself, what might my role be? I think if you connect to your heart and the things that really-- you care about in the world, you're much more likely to give more and more and more of your time or your expertise or your voice or your money. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think identifying the needs in your own community comes down to looking around and seeing what's going on there. Why are you seeing that the parks maybe have more litter in them, right? Look around and see what you see that's not going well. Read-- read locally to understand what are people saying about the city council. What are they saying about the needs that they're seeing? And then get curious. Keep learning. Talk to partners who are out there working. Talk to others. If you start to get interested in something going on environmentally in your community, but you don't know much, talk to your friends. What are they doing? How are they thinking about the issue? Go to some meetings. There's lots of organizations that hold weekend or after hours in the evenings meetings to say, hey, we need to band together to deal with this in our community. And ultimately, go out into the community. And I think once you do that, you'll start to see, hmm, I really do or don't want to work on this issue. And if I do, how do I want to start? So when you're looking at needs in a community, it is incredibly important to go out and talk to people in the community about, what are they seeing? What do they need? I learned this early on, beca...

About the Instructor

One of the greatest philanthropists in history, Melinda French Gates has dedicated her life to giving back to the world. Now she’s teaching how you can identify your own unique assets—time, money, specific skills, or even your voice to discover a strategic path that can turn your power into progress.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Melinda French Gates

A philanthropist and advocate for women and girls, Melinda French Gates teaches you how to take what you’re good at and use it to create change.

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