Fatima Fairfax

April 16, 2020

What is Faces of New Profit? It’s a spotlight on members of the New Profit community, why they do what they do, and who they are. This week, we talk to Fatima Fairfax

What motivated you to work at New Profit and/or in the social sector?

I’ve always known that I want to do work in my life that contributes to improving the human condition and increasing equity. My huge, wonderful, close-knit family taught me the values of compassion, support, and human connectedness and they motivate me to bring those values into the world. This manifested in a passion around supporting others and attempting to fix systems that impede people’s ability to thrive. I have focused this energy and interest in health and healthcare equity as well as criminal justice reform, but that passion and drive started with education. My family instilled in me the importance of learning and having a curious mind. They supported me and they support each other to be able to access educational opportunities and continue learning before, during, and after formal education. In my first semester of college I took a course called Education and Culture that was all about the factors that can contribute to a child’s educational attainment and outcomes; from health, geography, race, gender, family, social networks, and much more. This class illuminated to me in a powerful way that people are complex, and to fix systems that lead to inequitable life outcomes, we need advanced, intentional, and inclusive solutions that attempt to understand more of that nuance and interconnectedness that exists in reality. It made me think that as a society, if we want to support each other, we need to understand each other and trust each other’s lived experience. From there on out I was oriented towards systems. My questions became, How does this all sit together? and What ideas and perspectives are we missing? I became interested in finding ways to capture information about diverse actors so that the information we have and the voices we hear when we attempt to solve issues represent and reflect those who are living and breathing those inequities and solutions every day.

After college, I knew I wanted to continue to learn and expand my understanding of how we can create innovative and inclusive solutions to systemic problems. When I discovered New Profit, its approach immediately resonated with me. I appreciated the model of recognizing the brilliance of those with proximity and deep understanding of their situations and supporting them in their work. I saw it as an opportunity for more people with different experiences and backgrounds to have a platform to make change and have a voice in our collective solution making. I love that I get to see diverse minds and people tackling some of our most pressing issues in a variety of ways. Collectively, it capitalizes on the strength of our difference and our unique perspectives and offers more inclusive solutions. I have been excited to contribute to this work and continue to learn and grow through it.

What are a few things that are on your bucket list?

I want to learn how to play the guitar, take a completely “unplugged” vacation, and I really want to go skydiving 😀

What is the theme song of your life? What songs make up the soundtrack of your life??

This is a truly impossible question to answer. Music is my life force and I’m always looking for new songs (taking suggestions!). So much music has shaped my life in so many ways, but my first favorite album was The Diary of Alicia Keys.