Meet Davis Parker, Beacon's institutional giving coordinator, pictured with his son, Ezra, at the 66 West Ice Cream Social in July.
How long have you worked at Beacon (or any of its previous incarnations)?
Almost a year, though I have known about Families Moving Forward for much longer because my church is a hosting congregation.
Describe your job - not necessarily your official job description but what you really do every day.
I’m part of a team that connects people and organizations looking to make a positive impact in the community with our approach to ending homelessness. I mostly do grant writing and support Beacon’s relationship with the congregations, foundations, and companies that make financial contributions to our work. This means I also get to do a lot of learning about strategies to end homelessness, other approaches within the community, the stories of Beacon’s tenants and shelter guests, and nonprofit management.
Why do you like working here?
It’s an honor to be able to have a “job” that is connected to a compelling and relevant mission. Beacon is the sort of nonprofit where you can both see the concrete (sometimes literally!) impact of your work on a trip across town, but also know that you are working to create broad and systemic change in some of the structures that cause folks to lose their homes in the first place. The faith-driven orientation that many volunteers and supporters bring helps us keep our eyes on “imagining the world as it should be” with audacity and determination.
What’s one thing you are most proud of about your work?
Since starting my job here I’ve been consistently impressed by the level of volunteer leadership that drives all of Beacon’s work. I’m proud to be part of making this vision a reality in our community. I grew up in Edina so helping to build 66 West, youth housing near Southdale Mall, hits home for me. I know peers from Edina High School who could have used a stable foundation like 66 West.
What kind of job would you have if you weren’t so busy helping to end homelessness?
Before moving back to Minnesota, I very nearly went to graduate school to become a history professor, though at other points I also almost ended up with a degree in computer science, thought pretty hard about being a teacher, and put in some time working in politics. So who knows?
What is your favorite book, movie, comedian, play, sport, pastime?
I ride my bicycle a lot, mostly to get from A to B but I do enjoy it greatly. With two young children it is often the only time I have to myself. I also read the Lord of the Rings trilogy every few years and fire up an old computer game in stolen moments.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a vegetarian now but during high school I had officially signed up on an “adopt a vegetarian” website, pledging to eat twice as much meat as a regular person just to spite those folks over at PETA.