Island Culture Magazine: So, Leif, tell us about your organization. How did you come up with the name We ALL NOSEY In Baytown? Please share the purpose of your organization.
Lief Lopez: The name is supposed to represent the feel I want our organization to have, sort of like a big gossipy family. We all love to come together and swap neighborhood stories and find out what’s going on in the community; I just took that idea a little further and harnessed those people and that energy into trying to do something positive. Our purpose is to try to improve the lives of every person living in and around our community.
Island Culture Magazine: What makes you the leader?
Leif Lopez: What makes me a good leader is that I get things done. I also try to lead by example, so I’m usually the first one there picking up trash or donating money to help out. I think other people follow me because they can see that this is something that my heart is truly in. People see me and know that helping people is something I’m truly passionate about.
Q/Island Culture Magazine: Why is your organization unique?
Lief Lopez: We are unique in many ways. We are the first legal entity in history that started out life as a Facebook Group. Even today, we are still probably the only Facebook Group that has to submit tax returns to the IRS. Another unique aspect of our organization is the way we operate.
I like to say we crowd source charity. *Maybe you could add a little more information about crowd-sourcing; not everyone knows what that is*
We are quickly closing in on 50,000 members. Having a group that size makes it a lot easier to get things done. Just this week I was asked to help a high school student pay for their High School Prom. Our local radio station did a segment asking for donations for him (the student) the previous week, with no results. But by using our platform and resources, I was able to reach out, harness the power of our community, and in two hours we were able to help make sure he got to his Prom.
Q/Island Culture Magazine: What are your plans to grow your organization?
Lief Lopez: I’m transitioning our organization from something that only exists online into a more traditional brick and mortar type charity presence. I’m also trying to open a store that sells discount construction and home improvement materials to people in our community. Sort of like a Home Depot but applying a business model similar to Good-Will Charity.
Island Culture Magazine: Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your organization for the community.
For me personally, the project that has meant the most was the blood drive we did for a child last year. He battled various types of cancer for most, if not all of his young life. His doctors were going to try an experimental surgery to help save his life and needed blood, so we rallied together and organized a blood drive for him. Can you imagine my elation when a few weeks later his doctors could find no evidence of the disease that had once been weeks away from killing him? Talk about walking on cloud nine! Organizing something that would save a child’s life is not something I ever thought I would ever do.
Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived when a few weeks later his cancer returned, stronger than ever, but this time his doctors could do nothing to stop the progression, and he passed away a soon thereafter.
I never told anyone, but when I was donating blood the phlebotomy tech made a mistake, and I ended up losing a ton of blood. I think that phlebotomy made an impact on me. I tried and tried and tried for him, so much so that I literally spilled my blood; and I still couldn’t help him. It’s something I still think about.
I think that it illustrates that sometimes, no matter how hard you try. There are just some people that can’t be helped. It was an important, albeit painful lesson.