Meet Amber Smith

Amber Smith

Activate Good

An introduction: Activate Good is a nonprofit that unites locals around the Triangle to improve our community through service. We believe humans have the power and responsibility to work towards a better world for all — so we partner with over 500 nonprofits and schools to get good done through volunteer initiatives. These projects can be anything from making sure the shelter or Food Bank gets regular volunteer support, to organizing large-scale, high-impact projects.

I started Activate Good with my friend in 2005, after we went on a two-and-a-half-month road trip around the country doing acts of kindness and volunteering in over 20 states. We learned so much from that trip — but mostly, at their core, people want to make an impact and contribute to their communities and the world. Sometimes though, it can be hard to get started, so Activate Good helps folks get started!

I’m proud that we’ve grown from a handful of do-gooders to a network of over 28,000 volunteers around the Triangle.

Inspiration: It’s easy to stay passionate about this work, because I always get to meet new people with such a great heart for helping others, and learn about amazing causes in our area tackling specific problems. I’m especially passionate about helping people see their own capacity to make an impact and solve problems in our community.

Biggest risk: I think just getting started! Amazing mentors, team members, volunteers, and donors helped this dream grow from nothing and keep it going today. I’ve loved this work, and all the people I’ve had a chance to meet. There were times it was extremely hard and I wasn’t sure if we’d make it, or that I was on the brink of burning out. But there’s so much need out there, especially now, in a pandemic world.

Core values: When someone is capable of doing great things, and they just don’t believe in themselves, or if someone else tells them they’re not capable of doing something, that really bothers me. I believe we, as a society, have so much potential to do better in a million different ways.

I want to be a part of creating a world in which everyone can truly meet their potential, and collectively, we’re all working together to build a community and world that meets its potential — so everyone can truly thrive.

Greatest challenge: This work can be hard, and physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing at times. I think a big challenge, not just for me, but for most people in the nonprofit world, is the risk of burnout we face. Personally, I’ve committed myself to taking at least one day off of work per week, and learning (with difficulty) how to say ‘no’ when I have to.

Professional highlight: I’m just proud of where we started and how much we’ve grown and learned. I’m also very proud of the team I have the privilege of doing this work with. Every single one of them believes in the potential of our work and of our community to thrive.

Fun fact: Before I considered a role in the world of nonprofits, I was thinking about a career as a singer!

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