Conversations in Abundance and Wealth: How We Stay Grounded and Visionary as Grassroots Fundraisers

By Sophia Kizilbash, Native Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA)

Round 1: Learning from Our Ancestors and Elders

With this post, we set an intention for conversations and learning on the deeper layers that get stirred up in us as fundraisers.  This is a space of support to get rooted, get present and to build courage to bridge the legacy of our ancestors and traditions with our visionary futures.

This is our opening – bismillah, let’s begin!

When I think of abundance and scarcity, I think of the image in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ where she has the choice to eat from the opposite sides of the mushroom.  With one side – she grows small, with the other – she grows large.  With each choice she views the world from a different perspective.

When I lead from my visionary self, my view is clear to the horizon.  I see the star patterns and the complex beauty of full night sky.  I am a whole and complete person, and my energy is rooted in my power, agency and my highest self.  In our Native Youth Leadership Alliance community, abundance shows up in the synergy of our relationships, how we are able to bring our gifts fully to the table and see dimensions others of us don’t have eyes to see.  Our energy is rooted in the inherent power of what we are creating, and we steward theresources that come with this higher vision in mind.


anais nin

When scarcity creeps in, internalized oppression creeps in with it and wreaks its havoc.  Where in abundance I can only see the horizon, with scarcity, I can only see my feet.  I open the door to my day and – boom! I easily get triggered by all the landmines around me of inequality, structural barriers, small mindedness and insecurities.  I spend up all my energy in a short amount of time, feel depleted and find myself surrounded by people who only want to me to eat from the same side of the mushroom, to be small so others don’t feel out of proportion.

In our Native Youth Leadership Alliance community, this is where our traumas come out and rear their ugly, generational and deeply conditioned heads.  This is the dark side, and if we stay too long here, everything we have so beautifully woven will be unraveled.

Relationships are very sacred to me, they are the channels through which we learn and love.  In NYLA we are very rich in our relationships, especially with our elders.  We would like to begin our learning here by bringing together some of the wealth from our elders. 

Over the coming months, we will feature interviews with insights and inspirations for us to grow with.  We will begin here!  Let us know if there is an elder you would like to interview, or have interviewed by another leader.

Special thanks to GIFT for providing and creating spaces for our collective growth.  We look forward to learning and growing together as community!

Questions to Simmer With and Share On:

What does abundance mean to you? 

What does abundance mean in your culture and traditions? In your family and community? 

How is wealth defined and expressed?

How do you lead from abundance?

What comes out when you lead from scarcity?

*Got something to say, but not used to putting your voice out there in the internet ethers? Please speak up!  Your courage to share inspires others of us who are simmering just to ourselves.  The world needs the insights and experiences only you have!  Share them in service of our growth as a community and movement.  Thank you!

Sophia is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Native Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA).  NYLA invests in young Native American leaders to spark culturally-based community change.  She is also a Certified Transformative Leadership Coach.  Visit NYLA’s website at