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Antay Bilgutay

Senior Director of Development

Why I work at Everyday Democracy:

We find ourselves living in extraordinary times. Many people look at racial inequities and throw up their hands, wondering, “What can I do?” Everyday Democracy answers that question through its proven community engagement work. Everyday Democracy brings people together in dialogue to address community issues through the lens of racial justice. It empowers people from all backgrounds and sectors to participate, to make their voices heard, and to work together toward positive change.

 

What I love about what I do:

Development is about nurturing relationships between donors and causes they care about. I like the process of getting to the heart of what motivates a donor, whether they are an institutional funder or an individual, and I enjoy developing a strong case statement that communicates the vitality of a nonprofit’s work. It’s exciting when you find the perfect alignment between a project and a donor’s values. You become partners in realizing a shared vision. And I love sharing results with donors – offering them opportunities to observe their support in action and letting them know how their support made an impact when a project is over. It’s powerful when a donor understands the difference they made.

How I got here:

I have been a professional fundraiser for nearly 30 years, primarily in the arena of the arts. When a college classmate, who has served as a consultant for Everyday Democracy, told me about this position and the work of the organization, I was intrigued. Even from my earliest days as a grantwriter for Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to my most recent work as Director of Development for Hartford Stage, expanding the diversity of the work presented, the artists involved, and the audiences engaged has been a throughline. As in a healthy democracy, a vibrant arts organization must reflect, represent, and respond to the diversity of the community it serves. I am excited by the prospect of working for these same values in a “real world” setting, where giving diverse voices a platform can affect changes in policies and practices and promote greater equity.

What I do when I’m not helping communities create change:

My husband and I have two crazy dogs, and we enjoy traveling with them, hiking and exploring all corners of New England. We know most of the dog-friendly hotels and restaurants between New York and Maine! In addition, I am an avid collector of midcentury modern design, and have written about some of my favorite designers, including two chapters in a book on Eva Zeisel. I love rooting around thrift stores and dusty antique shops looking for hidden treasure. Although I feel like I don’t do it as often as I would like, I am also a creative writer: plays, poems, short stories. I have written two full-length plays that were produced in Minneapolis, as well as several short plays that were performed in Dallas. (A couple of them even won awards.)

Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.