Giving Tuesday: Q&A with Monashee Alonso

In Hye Lee, Social Media Coordinator Monashee Alonso -2014On the morning of December 2, this year's Giving Tuesday, CEF Project Pillar Chair Sue Dick and photographer Monashee Alonso will be promoting the Peer Literacy Program and CEF on Global Morning News. Monashee sat down with us to answer some questions about her upcoming shoot with CEF, Giving Tuesday, and what inspires her to volunteer.

CEF: Tell us about the concept of the shoot.

Monashee: It's a women in business concept, so the idea would be in a business location with women being the focus. Whether that means women in leadership roles, women who are mothers, women who choose not to be mothers. It'll touch on the specifics of being a woman in the business place. There might be something like a woman bringing her child to work for the day, or dropping her kid off at day care, or power women within different roles in a company.

CEF: What would be the typical audience for this theme?

Monashee: It's stock photography, so the end user could be anywhere from a financial institution to a blog about working mothers balancing home life and work life. But probably some of the images could be used in more than that specific sense, and used in more areas, such as a banking ad.

CEF: Have you been a part of Giving Tuesday before? What does Giving Tuesday mean to you?

Monashee: This was the first time I had heard about Giving Tuesday. Susan McDonald told me what the concept was, the idea being that after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when people are spending money on themselves and their families, they give to people out of the goodness of their heart. I think that it's a nice idea to bring to people's attention, to be able to give and have a day that recognizes that so that it's brought into public consciousness. 

CEF: How and why did you become involved with CEF?

Monashee: I've been involved since not quite the very beginning, but close to the beginning. It was through work, so I got involved because I was working with a lot of the people who were involved. I sat on the board for a year. After that, I moved to LA and I was mostly involved as a photographer, doing some of the production. I did that in Vancouver as well, before leaving for LA.

For me, it's always been such a great concept, because it was a natural thing for me to do and be involved in, because it's something that I love to do. I don't have a lot of money, so what I can give monetarily is not going to go as far as my time and my skills. The fact that I can give my time and my skills to generate money for people in other parts of the world who maybe don't have the resources or just need some basic health care. That is really cool to me, that we can do that without handing over dollars. It ends up being dollars, but the fact that it's royalties and it accrues over time...that a photoshoot that everyone is contributing to can raise thousands of dollars is great.

The community factor has always been really amazing to me. When we originally started, the shoots happened once a year, all on the same day. It's not realistic to do it that way anymore, but when that happened, that communal feeling that there was another crew in another city doing a photoshoot and that there were communities receiving our funds to build schools or put in irrigation systems is brilliant. And it makes you feel that sense of community, that we're all working together.

CEF: Which of CEF’s development projects do you find most inspiring?

Monashee: The thing about the women in business concept is that CEF funds some projects working with women and giving women educational tools. That's something that I'm passionate about. That tie-in is really nice, that there's this concept of women in business and that there's women in Guatemala or Sierra Leone or wherever the project is, working to build their communities up. If you teach a woman how to read, she takes that back to her community and teaches others. Women in a lot of the cultures that CEF is involved with play that role of disseminating knowledge. 

Thank you to Monashee for all her hard work. Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming photoshoot with Monashee and more on Giving Tuesday!