Your Impact:  Philanthropy Gets Personal

Matt Hoidal ES'89


Where do you work or volunteer?

I founded World of Change (WOC) seven years ago and continue to lead the nonprofit organization as its Chief Change Maker. WOC is committed to helping all kids see themselves as change makers, in their communities and in the world at large. We use the estimated $10 billion in spare change sitting idle here in the U.S.A (and who knows how much in foreign change around the world!) as an example and accessible tool by which to rally kids. We provide a framework that encourages research, discovery and learning; fosters group participation; and illustrates in a very tangible way how people of all ages can change the world. Since 2017, we've engaged more than 100,000 kids across 100 schools and camps, spanning 10 states and two countries

What is it about the mission of the organization that resonates with you and why?

Oh, wow, we get to inspire kids, and basically blow their minds about the change they can collect, and the change they can make. I have loved visiting the schools and camps we've worked with and helping youth discover their changemaking superpowers by using concrete examples of community needs that can easily be met by any group of kids or adults alike.

How do you feel your unique skills, experience and perspective further the organization’s cause?

Unbridled optimism goes a long way backed by experience (in both the nonprofit sector and teaching youth), and a commitment to helping kids be the best versions of themselves. I also see infinite possibilities for a youth-led change movement that grows globally.

What have you learned or gained, personally and/or professionally, through your work and/or volunteer experience?

Service to others is, for me, why we're all here together on this planet.  Also, a helpful tip and reminder to those pursuing their passions: don't take "no" personally. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in building their career in the nonprofit sector or volunteering for an organization that resonates with their philanthropic priorities?

Go for it! Follow your heart. Use your talents to change the world. I went to law school, fully intending to practice law. Lucky for me I was introduced (25 years ago) to a nonprofit that made my heart race more than anything else, and I'm glad I took the chance and accepted the opportunity to lead that organization for 14 years. That, and another nonprofit leadership role led me to starting WOC, still getting to do what makes my heart sing.

Did your experience at SYA play a role in your endeavors? If so, how? 

Absolutamente! Yes, 100%. I think I was wired to be independent, and to take healthy risks. I remember leaving for Spain at 16 years old as being an easy decision. My time in Spain and experience with SYA helped build my confidence and enhanced my ability to communicate with others. There really are no limits in a post-SYA world.