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Solidarity Not Charity: The Proven, Sustainable Model of Mutual Aid and How it Create True Equity

Shelly Tygielski April 29, 2021

Shelly Tygielski is the Founder of Pandemic of Love, the global, grassroots, volunteer-led mutual aid organization. Her work and the organization was featured in December 2020 on CNN Heroes, and was identified by Forbes magazine as a “non-profit disruptor” and the “Uber of non-profits” for helping to model how efficient philanthropy and direct giving can work, can be scaled globally and can be formalized. This discussion [which can also be run as a workshop] aims to plant a seed with the audience about what is possible when we build formalized communities of care that have mutual aid as a main pillar upholding that community. We will deconstruct the term “self-care” so that it is no longer seen as an individualistic pursuit but rather as a communal one. Shelly will discuss how mutual aid and the redistribution of wealth (loosely defined) is possibly in building true equity and how mutual aid can help with the one thing that can help us bridge divides – proximity which leads to human connection.

Shelly will challenge asset managers and individuals who are in charge of “giving” to really think about how their dollars can make a direct impact in the world with little to no overhead.

To date, Pandemic of Love has been scaling and proving the model. Founded in March of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, Pandemic of Love has connected over 1.5 million people who have directly transacted over $54 million in just 13 months. The non-nonprofit has over 2000 volunteers across 280 chapters in 16 countries. The organization has partnered with Navajo Nation, United Farm Workers Foundation and the American Red Cross (to name a few) to help them more efficiently reach people in need directly.

This chat depending on the date and time will either be between Shelly Tygielski and Xander Shulz the CEO of Galaxy Labs ( or Award-Winning Actor and Activist, Debra Messing.


Fireside Chat

Meta Themes

  • Equity & Inclusion


Mutual Aid, Self-Care, Communities of Care, Inclusion, Equity, Universal Income, Redistribution of Wealth, Direct Giving, Alternatives to Traditional Philanthropy, Human Connection

Purpose and Desired Outcome

The purpose if this talk is to inspire individuals and organizations alike to think about getting to equity in proven, practical and tangible ways. To challenge asset managers and individuals who are making decisions about philanthropic and charitable causes that are supported to make their dollar go further by exploring mutual aid as a vehicle to get there.


  • Asset Managers

  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Service Providers

  • Accelerators & Incubators

  • Academia

  • Government

  • Artists & Culture-makers

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Corporate & SME

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)


  • NameShelly Tygielski
  • TitleFounder
  • OrganizationPandemic of Love
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameXander Schulz
  • TitleCEO
  • OrganizationGalaxy Labs
  • StatusInvited
  • NameDebra Messing
  • TitleActor
  • OrganizationDancing Monkey Productions
  • StatusInvited
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