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Profiles in Philanthropy: Crystal Ayala-Goldstein, WFCO Programs Manager

// August 3, 2022

Meet Crystal Ayala-Goldstein, WFCO Programs Manager

Crystal dishes on The Beatles, dancing, bean bags, and the importance of intersectionality

Crystal Ayala-Goldstein, WFCO programs manager since June 2022, was born and raised in Denver and is enjoying living in Aurora. She primarily oversees our WINcome grantmaking program, which works with direct-service organizations providing holistic resources to women (including direct cash assistance to women) and with public policy organizations supporting systems change. “It’s truly a privilege to work with such amazing community partners doing life-changing work,” she says.

Tell us something not many people know about you?

I’m an avid music fan, with particular taste in heavy metal, indie & psychedelic rock, and nostalgic regional Mexicano hits from my childhood. I share this passion with my husband, an amazing guitar player in a local Denver band. I love to dance and have a talent for dancing cumbias (genre from Colombia) and norteñas (music from Mexico’s northern regions). My playlist is super eclectic and I’m very proud of it.

If you had a personal philanthropic mission statement or slogan, what would it say?

We can do and be better. Envisioning a future that works for us all, a time when we are rejoicing in our collective liberation, is possible. I frequently think of these words as I grapple with the many inequitable, unjust, painful realities of our society – and I deeply hold that we can do better, I can do and be better, and part of that begins with envisioning a better world for all.

What about The Women’s Foundation’s mission inspires you?

WFCO holds, at its core, a goal of achieving gender, racial, and economic equity that is intersectional. I am inspired by our commitment to intersectionality and our understanding that, as we focus on supporting members of our state community that are most marginalized, we advance an equitable society that works for everyone.

What do you believe is the most pressing issue women and families are facing in Colorado?

Among the many issues that impact women in our state, one of the most pressing is economic instability and the role that unreliable and inaccessible options for child care have on working parents’ economic advancement. Inequity, racism, sexism, ableism, non-citizenship hardships, all of these truths in our society create additional barriers that continue to hold back women, especially BIPOC women, from achieving their goals. In order to progress, change is needed at the policy level and getting more money into women’s pockets.

Who have been the leaders/mentors on your journey?

I’ve had the privilege of knowing many incredible mentors and life-guides who have believed in my abilities, taught me about living a life of service to the common good, and held me accountable. From Mrs. R who nurtured a love of reading in me in middle school, to my parents that sacrificed so much to provide opportunities for their children in a new country, I am grateful to have so many teachers of life in my circle.

What is the best personal decision you’ve ever made? Why?

This one is tough! It’s a tie between adding Spanish to my psychology major in college and purchasing a giant bean bag for a small family that I consistently rest on, solo-style. The former really supported me in keeping and expanding my bilingualism in Spanish and English during a time when I almost exclusively communicated in English. The latter is the best self-care investment I’ve made thus far in life!

Be confident and comfortable in your intelligence, nerdiness, kindness, and your power. It will take you far. The fear of being authentic, of being “too much,” on the other hand, will hold you back. – Crystal Ayala-Goldstein

If you had to teach a class, what would it be?

Probably The Beatles. Like a teen in the 1960s, I was obsessed with The Beatles for about two full years in my teen years. I read a TON about them, listened to their entire discography, watched their films and documentaries made about them, I even (constantly) played a music video game called The Beatles: Rock Band. I could certainly fill up a semester’s worth of class time.

Where do you find the most joy in your life?

Connecting with loved ones. Experiencing artwork in all its forms. Witnessing the beauty of the natural world.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Don’t hold yourself back, girl! Be confident and comfortable in your intelligence, nerdiness, kindness, and your power. It will take you far. The fear of being authentic, of being “too much,” on the other hand, will hold you back.

At what point in your life did philanthropy become important to you?

In high school, when I started to become fully aware that systemic issues need an “all hands-on deck” approach. I realized that communities need care in a number of forms, one of which being the very important fact of funding. It’s a reality and it left an imprint on me as I searched for scholarships for my own educational journey.

Who is your dream speaker for the Annual Luncheon?

Dr. Aisha Nyandoro, CEO of Springboard To Opportunities, founder of Magnolia Mother’s Trust and 2022 McNulty Prize winner. She is an incredible thought leader and expert in the universal guaranteed income space and her quote, “When we invest in our most vulnerable, that is when society flourishes,” guides my work as the programs manager at The Women’s Foundation. It would be an honor to experience a Dr. Nyandoro speech at an Annual Luncheon!

What is the most binge-worthy show? No judgement😊

Currently, “Only Murders in the Building.” I just like it!

 

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