My Coro Story

Elly Matsumura

Elly Matsumura FPPA 2002_optCoro Fellows Program, 2002

I first learned of Coro when I was a college senior and saw an email over the mailing list for Feminist Studies majors. The program spoke to me immediately: a chance to learn about the real world in the real world – to gorge my never-ending curiosity while making a difference in the community. I also hoped to gain a network and professional experience that could help me skip the famous “quarter-life crisis “and find a meaningful job right away.

I graduated from the Fellows Program in Public Affairs in San Francisco in 2002 and Coro did help me to find my first job after college – managing the Exploring Leadership youth program. It was an honor to watch young people blossom when given the challenge and support to do so by Coro’s approach of pushing participants to self-govern and direct their own learning. EL participants hear “What do YOU think?” more times in one Coro week than they may have in the rest of their lives.

Coro participants have donated thousands of hours to hundreds of organizations every year for decades. Their inquisitiveness, insight and commitment to making change have inspired and rejuvenated every public leader who has served as Field Faculty and Selection Day judges. Yet despite the breadth and depth of this impact, there is no one who feels the power of Coro more profoundly or more enduringly than its alumni. Coro taught me to roll with the punches, to learn and grow every day and to make excellence my standard. Coro also taught me the power of one. And it never let me forget on whose shoulders I stand. These are the reasons that I am a monthly donor to Coro. Nonprofit funding all too often follows trends or pays to start new things but not sustain them. The quality of Coro’s contribution to its community and its alumni has endured. I believe that we as alumni should give Coro the lion’s share of what it needs to share with other leaders what it has given us. And if I don’t live out that belief, who will?