Volunteer Spotlight: Kate Sievers


Our grant reviewers are integral to the work we do for the young adult cancer community.


After each grant cycle, our volunteers gather together (virtually) to review and discuss submitted applications—thanks to them, we’re able to both better evaluate the numerous applications we receive and fund more grants. Oftentimes cancer survivors themselves, our reviewers contribute incredibly important insights and perspectives and help us to better support the young adult community.


Read below to hear more about Kate’s experience with our Samfund programs team!



Q: How long have you been a grant reviewer for Expect Miracles Foundation?


If I am remembering correctly, I believe I've been reviewing grants since 2013 or so. Almost a decade!


Q: What inspired you to volunteer?


I started volunteering almost immediately after receiving my grant in 2008.


I am a young adult cancer survivor—I applied for and received a grant after my treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At the time I was 22, about to graduate college. The grant was life-changing for me. My medical debt was so high and my credit was ruined. I felt really hopeless at that time.


After I received my grant, I wanted to give back and repay for what the organization did for me. I started to volunteer in different ways, and eventually started reviewing grants after a few years of various volunteer and/or committee work. I absolutely love it, and will always volunteer. This nonprofit changed my life, and I feel so honored to be a part of helping other YAs move forward.


Q: What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for the Foundation?


I know firsthand what it feels like to receive a grant, and I will continue to pay it forward. Mine was life-changing for me, and I want to do as much as I can to help a YA survivor who is in the shoes that I once was in. It literally brings me tears of joy when we end a review call and see how many applicants we are able to grant. It moves me EVERY time. 


Q: What does the mission of Expect Miracles Foundation and our Samfund programs mean to you?


The mission speaks to me—I am a YA survivor and someone who received a grant. There are so few resources for people who are in the shoes I was once in and the grant was like a silver lining, or the light at the end of the tunnel. For some people, it's a lifeline. The Foundation prevents you from feeling lost and forgotten. 


Q: Aside from feeling good about supporting the cancer community, what are some other benefits of volunteering that you've enjoyed? 


Volunteering has really taught me a lot. I've volunteered in many capacities, and have sat on various committees. The professional experience that it brings is extremely helpful to add onto my resume (it is a perk, but certainly not the reason that I do it).


I have learned so much about event planning and public speaking—in regards to grant reviewing and serving as a call lead, I've gained a lot of confidence. It may sound silly, but leading a call, and looking into each applicant with great detail for a group discussion, has made me very confident. I am usually soft-spoken, but it has pushed me to stand up and lead.


I’ve also enjoyed meeting the other reviewers and learning about their lives and connections. Volunteering is a huge part of my life, and one other huge benefit is that my volunteer work shows my daughters how important it is to give back. I find a lot of meaning in the work I do, and I truly believe my daughters can see the passion that I have for it.


Q: What would you say to someone else who is considering volunteering as a grant reviewer?


I would tell them this: it's not easy. It can be heartbreaking. You cannot say yes to everyone. BUT, to those who you are able to say yes to, that grant will be life-changing for them. You get to work with an amazing group of reviewers and Expect Miracles staff and see directly how the money helps people. You will go to sleep at night with a smile on your face knowing that your dedication to the Foundation, and the grant that you helped to review, will play a huge role in someone's life.


We’re incredibly lucky to have such a dedicated group of volunteers who are looking to give back. Their contributions to our mission make a difference for those who need it most.


If you’re interested in volunteering, check out our website!


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