Meet the Bees: Liz Hester

The Beehive Collective 2015 Board of Directors are working hard to continue our mission to pollinate community giving in Raleigh. You may have met these ladies at one of our many events throughout the year, and now, we’re giving you a closer look. Find out why they became a Bee and why they are dedicated to making Raleigh a better place. Meet the Bees!

Next up is Liz Hester, one of our lovely Board Co-Chairs.

What made you want to join The Beehive Collective? What is your favorite part about being a Bee?
When I first moved back to Raleigh from Brooklyn, I was looking for a community and to volunteer my time to a worthy cause – and for a few new friends. My first month back, I went on a group bike ride sponsored by the Beehive on a recommendation. My initial thought was, “I don’t know anything about bees, but it might be a way to meet people.”

As I’m riding, I started chatting with one of the co-founders. I asked her if they were advocating for backyard beehives (this was totally a thing in Brooklyn). She laughed and told me the details about being a Bee and some of the projects they had funded. I was sold and wrote a check that evening to join.

My favorite part about being a Bee is all the amazing people I’ve met around Raleigh doing incredible things. I love feeling as if I belong to our community and I’m working to make it a better place. Now, most of my friends are involved with the Beehive in some way and it’s having this supportive community that makes living here so special.

Why is The Beehive Collective important to you? To community giving in Raleigh?
Any type of donation – time, treasure or talent — is extremely important, but I love the Beehive’s local focus. Often you write a check for cancer research or to another national organization and while it’s helpful, you don’t have personal connection with those you’re assisting. With the Beehive, we are able to see first-hand how our money is being used, the people we are helping and the way we’re bettering our community.

Raleigh is an incredible place to live, but there are problems we need to work together to solve. The Beehive is addressing needs in a variety of areas. I especially like how we change our theme each year, giving us the opportunity to help more people and learn about a variety of issues. We truly are pollinating community giving.

What inspires you about being a part of a giving circle?
I actually really like the collective wisdom of the group. Each year our giving theme changes, which helps make sure we are assisting a variety of causes that are important to various members. For example, if you’re passionate about children’s rights, odds are we have or will fund a project in that space.

Our members are so plugged into the community and thoughtful about how they give away money. It’s also incredibly gratifying to fund a whole project instead of making a one-off donation. It’s a great way to pool resources and show results quickly.

Which grant recipient or project have you been most proud of?
All of our recipients have been incredible, but I was extremely proud of the grant to Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) to help them set up a health clinic for high school students in Southeast Raleigh.

As a former journalist, what the Raleigh Public Record was able to do with their grant was simply inspiring. They took our small grant and leveraged it into $57,000 dollars to bring their DocHive software online. The software takes PDF information and converts it to spreadsheet form, making reporting on areas like campaign finance easier. As someone who’s combed through those files at one point, I understand that this is a powerful tool.

Why should others consider joining The Beehive Collective?
Basically if you want to spend time with awesome and inspiring people in Raleigh, you should join. Collectively, we are helping make our community better and we’d love to have you be a part of it.

I’ve learned so much from being involved in the board and our committees. It’s been a huge opportunity for me personally to develop knowledge and different skills. But mostly, it’s about helping others. And we’re super fun.

What’s your craziest Bee Ball memory?
Memory? Who remembers the Bee Ball?

Join Liz and become a Bee! Clicking here to make your 2015 pledge today!