“A girl who believes in herself can change the world,” says Chrissy Shea, executive director of Project Glimmer. The nonprofit provides holiday gifts to at-risk girls and women, letting them know their community cares.
1. What was the inspiration behind Project Glimmer? Our story begins in 2009 when our founder, Sonja Hoel Perkins, attended a holiday benefit for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. Inspired by their giving, she called the program leaders to learn how she could give more and discovered that while there were plenty of gifts for kids, there were never enough for teenage girls. That year, Sonja launched the first Glimmer Drive.
2. What is a Glimmer Drive? A Glimmer Drive is the collecting of new or like-new gifts for underserved women and teenage girls. It’s like a toy drive, except we collect jewelry, accessories, heat styling tools, new makeup/beauty products, journals, water bottles and gift cards.
3. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Anything is possible. My parents instilled a no-limits mindset at an early age. When faced with a problem, I do my best to see it as a challenge that can be overcome, not a limitation.
4. What aspect of your work is the most challenging? Honestly, just keeping up with it all. We’re growing so fast and now give to almost 300 nonprofit organizations year-round. Last year we served over 100,000 women and girls across the U.S., and since the founding, we have given over 300,000 gifts to underserved girls and women across the U.S., primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area.
5. The most surprising gift someone donated? We see luxury gifts like pearl necklaces and Burberry handbags, but the most unique gifts are those where time and consideration are spent, when people put together gift packages and include handwritten notes expressing warm sentiments for a girl they don’t even know. One gift arrived with a yellow Post-it attached that read, “You Are Loved.”