Donor Profiles: “Accidental Activist” • Friends of the Earth

Donor Profiles: “Accidental Activist”

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Tim Wilson pic

Tim Wilson, the son of a chemical engineer in West Virginia, grew up with firsthand knowledge of how fossil fuel companies negatively impact their immediate environment and the communities that surround them. Though unrealized at the time, these experiences led him to be the “accidental activist” he is today.

While at Ohio State University, Tim was struggling with the realization that he was gay. In the late 1960s, there were few support systems in place for LGBTQ+ communities, and Tim felt isolated. After a career in bank operations, Tim entered the nonprofit world to work with organizations focused on LGBTQ+ equality and HIV/AIDS-related causes. Now retired, he is the volunteer program director for an LGBTQ+ program at a spiritual center in Denver.

Long before becoming an LGBTQ+ activist, Tim considered himself an environmental activist. “In hindsight, I wasn’t really active, but rather a modest financial supporter of several conservation organizations. Now I really appreciate the work of Friends of the Earth,” Tim shares.  

“FOE is the one organization that really understands the interconnectedness of issues affecting our world, and its work and priorities reflect that understanding. I value how Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, demonstrates that intersectionality in much of his communication,” continues Tim. “Much of my LGBTQ+ volunteer work has involved people of color communities, so that understanding is important as someone who has learned to be aware of privilege.”

Tim has supported FOE for several years, but it was only recently, in 2018, that he organized a fundraising effort in memory of a dear friend, raising $1,000.  Since then, Tim has been inspired to grow his impact.

As someone on a limited income, Tim decided the way to be able to help the most would be to make Friends of the Earth the beneficiary of his 401(k) plan. He found setting up the beneficiary designation to be easy, and he is confident that this gift will help Friends of the Earth continue its work for years to come. 

“To paraphrase a quote from Swiss theologian and Catholic priest, Hans Urs von Balthasar, “You are a gift from God; what you do with your life is your gift to God,” Tim says.

Tim believes God will be very happy if we can succeed in saving our beautiful Earth from our self-destruction.