Foundation’s micro-giving campaign raises funds for equality 

Twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco sales manager and entrepreneur Aaron McDaniel gave his godmother, Jill Wakeman, an unusual 75th-birthday gift: a foundation in her name, dedicated to supporting the civil rights causes for which she has spent her lifetime fighting. The Jill Wakeman Foundation is raising funds for groups supporting gender and racial equality through its "Cups for Equality" micro-giving campaign at


Who is Jill Wakeman?

Jill is my godmother. Usually a godmother is someone who gives you presents on your birthday, but with her she took it to a whole other level. She really is like a second mom.

Why create a foundation for her?

She has always very much been a civil rights activist, from the Civil Rights era in Mississippi to even a few weeks ago there was a protest at Capuchino High School because there was a gay and lesbian student group, and she went out there to say they had a right to exist. What I wanted to do was give her a gift and continue her legacy.

How did she react when you created the foundation?

She was completely taken aback by it. It was very moving for her.

What is the Cups for Equality campaign?

It’s the initial fundraising campaign. it’s a micro-giving campaign. You go online and select what you would normally get at a coffee shop and instead of getting the latte or the pastry, you make a donation for that amount. For true equality it has to be something that everybody believes in, so I would rather have thousands of people give a little than five people give thousands.

Where will the money go?

There are organizations that Jill has worked with, so we’re going to give grants to them. In the long run we want to create our own community efforts, so those are really still to be developed. There’s no staff or anything like that, once it is all paid for. Everything is going to the causes.

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Sara Gaiser

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