Arianne Shaffer Answers the Kindle Questionnaire

Jan 23, 2014
• What do you see as the greatest challenge your community is facing?
I live in Canada. I see two challenges: apathy and distractions. And right now, -50 degrees Celsius.

• What is the strongest asset of your community?
Collaboration. People in Toronto are wildly collaborative and creative. Sometime I misconstrue flirting as networking in this active start-up city. It’s a problem.

• Who are your real-life heroes in your field?
I know it may sound cheesy, but Sadaf and Cate (Kindle’s co-founders) are some of the most intelligent and incredibly creative women I have ever met. They guided me into this field of Indie Philanthropy and showed me how taking risks on people and projects is one small but important way of changing the world.

• When and where did you feel most fulfilled in your work?
As Communications Director, I curate our Nexus page, which features the stories and projects of our grantees. I am most fulfilled when I see how sharing grantee stories sparks inspiration, ideas, collaborations and excitement in the broad Kindle community. I also love it when my mom reads a grantee story and says things like, “Wow, it’s so cool that Kindle supports whistleblowers like John Bolenbaugh! I didn’t know about him and I just sent along his feature to my friends.” Highly satisfying.

• What is the trait you most deplore of your field?
Fear. Fear of scarcity, which is an understandable fear that I share with many. Fear of taking risks. Fear of change. And, fear of not having ‘measurable results’.

• What is one thing you wish the general public knew about your work?
Kindle Project has no association whatsoever to the Kindle eReader and that we do not provide those to the public. I also wish for the general public to know about all of our grantees and how incredibly important their work is. Explore them all here!

• If funding were no object, what would you do?
I would fly all of our grantees from all over the world to a massive treehouse in the jungle for a few days of cooking, scheming, art-making, collaboration and laughter.

• What’s your favourite way to procrastinate at work?
Sadaf and I sometimes get into a YouTube hole that often involves videos of very cute or bizarre animals. There’s a lot of laugher. And this past year, the mayor of my city, the champ Rob Ford himself, provided us with countess hours of procrastinating laughter. Thanks buddy.

• If you weren’t doing this kind of work, what would you be doing?
I would be learning how to grow my own food. I’d be writing one-woman shows and storytelling performances. I’d like to live out my dream of being in a Lebanese music video. I’d like to win backgammon every time I play. I would also love to return one day to my work as a hospital chaplain, and doing leadership work with teenage girls. Perhaps more likely, and most satisfyingly, I’d be scheming and shaking things up with Sadaf in whatever ways we could.

• Favourite moment at work?
Announcing our Makers Muse recipients and grantee every year. It’s the most exiting moment for me, each time.

• Favourite visual artist?
Right now, I’m digging our Makers Muse recipients a lot! I also just discovered that there’s someone in Paris who is making tiny ceramic mice and placing them around the city. I don’t know who that is, but I’m charmed. One more, the just launched photography site by our very own Sadaf. Click here and take the rest of the day off to enjoy…

• Favourite song?
Confession – this is the most played song on my computer. Now you know.

• Favourite historical figure?
Right now, M.F.K. Fisher.

• What did you eat for dinner last night?
Beets, arugula, brussel sprouts, bread, cheese, olives and walnuts. Oh, and one piece of chocolate and a couple tangerines.

• If you could give $10,000 to any organization besides your own, which would it be and why?
I’m thinking so much about the cold right now due to the climate crisis wreaking it’s havoc in the Northeast, so I think I would give it to Covenant House Toronto. It’s a homeless shelter for youth that I used to work with when I was teenager.

• On what occasion do you lie?
Sometimes I say I’m going to the gym, but just end up going to brunch instead. I walk to brunch in gym clothes so it feels like less of a lie.

• What do you think is the greatest social issue of our time?
Too many screens, not enough talking in person. The continued enormous issue of women’s right and lack thereof in almost every part of the world.

• What do you think is the greatest environmental issue of our time?
Climate change—and more importantly those that deny it.

• How do you think we can change the world?
Kindness. Bold, in-your-face kindness.

• What book are you reading right now?
Provence 1970. Telling you this is sharing a secret. I’m a huge dork when it comes to food literature. It tells the story of M.F.K Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and a handful of other great American food icons who met in Provence in December 1970. Reading their letters to each other, the details of their shared meals and what it was like to travel by boat has me enchanted.

• What’s your favourite online resource for news?
Media Co-op

• What’s your favourite online resource for fun?

• What’s your favourite blog?
I like Sam Mullins writing a lot. And, while I’m not really into sports except for during hockey play-offs season, I do love reading The Barnstormer – an incredible literary sports journal that makes me think about sports in a whole new way.

• What’s your personal motto?
Do. Or do not. There is no try – Yoda

• What makes you the most angry?
Homophobia, bottled water, and those ridiculous coffee pods.

• What makes you the most happy?
Making people laugh really hard, the tiny sections of a tangerine, and sharing a pomegranate with a family of chickens.

Arianne Shaffer has been working with Kindle Project for over three years. You can read all about her professional world here. And to read about her work outside of Kindle in the world of storytelling and love letters click away…

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