Taproot Foundation is proud to announce our first-ever Pro Bono Role Model of the Year! After reading through dozens of amazing and inspiring submissions, 25-year-old James from Oakland, Calif., stood out for his unwavering commitment to pro bono service in every area of his life. One nomination described him as “a force to be reckoned with: Boundless enthusiasm, action, concrete results.”
James works as a partner at a Web development company called Twomile, which builds Web sites for nonprofits and grassroots organizations, and has helped develop a volunteer tracking system and social networking applications. But although his day job already promotes social change, he still continues to use his skills pro bono beyond the office by helping creating sites in his spare time for “other people’s dreams of using technology to build communities.”
Four times in the past two years, James has led professionals and educators abroad to update the outdated computer networks for schools in rural Honduras. And he continues to provide long-term ongoing support, assembling a team through Engineers Without Borders to continue the pro bono work and inspiring his volunteers to take additional trips in the upcoming year. In addition, he assisted in providing online support after the devastating Haiti earthquakes earlier this year.
In James’ own words, it’s not his project management or technical skills that make him an effective pro bono hero; it’s his ability to encourage and empower others. “I want to help in the hardest situations, fix the biggest problems in the world, but I can’t. Not alone at least. The pro bono work I contribute to the world is supporting others. I seriously believe helping other people’s dreams, being their first follower, and making them feel like a super hero can make the biggest change.”
In his own community, he’s made an impact through one of his personal interest: swing dancing. Over the last five years, he has turned a small group of four enthusiasts into a full-fledged 1920s dance scene that has reached more than 3,000 people through teaching and mentoring.
And finally, James has been dedicated to raising his little sister and taking on a paternal role in his family since the untimely death of their father. “He devotes time and energy with her, being a role model,” his nominators say, “inspiring her to become be a confident, caring, and giving person.”
Congratulations, James, and thank you for everything you do to MAKE IT MATTER. We look forward to meeting you in New Orleans!