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Meet the Awesome Teen Founders of Alt-Philanthropy

Contributor – Anjana Chowhiah

Recently, I was asked to write an essay in my English class on maturity and answer if it comes with age. To sum up the very long essay, I said something like: “Maturity comes with experience and you gain experience over time. For some, you’re not going to gain a lot of experience over a short amount of time. This is why adults link maturity with age (age=time).”

Teens before were not able to get experiences like the teens of today are. For example, I started my company, MATTH right after I turned 15. At that point in my very unprofessional teen fangirl life, I imminently had to learn so much and this came with me changing as a person. I had attended my first professional ‘business meeting’ and hired writers. The only thing I could think of for a teen in the 80s to gain experience was working at a store. That isn’t quite the same experience I’m talking about when I think of teens such as Tavi Gevenson with the founding of the style rookie or Ramisha the co-founder of Alt-Philanthropy.

For people like us ‘creatives’, ‘designers’ and ‘innovators’, we see the internet as a gallery, a website being a canvas and our mouse being a paintbrush.

I wanted to interview someone who could tell us what their life is like falling under one of these categories. So you, the reader, can see what it’s like to be in their shoes running an organization.

Welcome, Caitlin Ferguson & Ramisha Sattar, the founders of Alt Philanthropy.

What’s the reason behind the name?

Caitlin: Misha (Ramisha) and I were at lunch one day and brought up the idea of starting a music magazine. We wanted to do something different and were trying to think of different ways to do something other than just a typical music blog. I have always been very involved in philanthropic work, I’ve been involved in National Charity League since I was in 6th grade, so the idea of combining music and charity came pretty naturally.

What motivated you to start up Alt Philanthropy, and did y’all have any previous experience that contributed to it?

Caitlin: My experiences were more on the philanthropic side of things. National Charity League and family, in general, has taught me how important helping others is. In terms of writing, I’ve worked on my friend’s website, but I feel like Misha and I bring the two different sides together and that’s what makes ALTP what it is.

How do y’all establish a relationship with a band?

Ramisha: It can be awkward or it won’t be, it really depends on whether you know the band or not. Also, the bands bounce off your vibes so if you go backstage awkward then the interview will be awkward. But if you go back there confident then the interview will turn out great. Also before the interview starts, we jog up a conversation while setting up.

How do you pick the charities you donate to and what was the most impactful donation so far?

Caitlin: The most impactful donation was definitely the signed The 1975 shirts. They sold in seconds and raised lots of money. We have a few general charities picked out for bands, however, we prefer it when the artist chooses a charity they are passionate about. The more the band cares about the charity, the more impactful I feel the interview is.

What are some roadblocks you guys have faced so far and how y’all deal with them?

Ramisha: Our age is definitely the biggest thing. We’ll go backstage and management or bands will be expecting much older people. I’m sure you have the same problem. You’ll walk back there and they’ll be like oh wow. And they start treating you differently than they would with someone older. “You guys only have 15 backstage and we’ll walk you back after” and we will be like okay we know! (small note: Ramisha, I believe was passionate about answering this question so yes young creatives sometimes aren’t taken seriously and we notice it and hate it.)

How do you plan on incorporating local and national issues into the goal of your organization?

Ramisha: For local we are planning on putting on a charity show soon. We don’t have the details as of now but we can say that local bands will be a part of it and we plan on working with local venues. For international, I believe we’re wanting our social issues page is going to have more articles published weekly covering issues around the globe. Also reaching out to different organizations; recently we started selling shirts and the profit is going fully to The Syrian Relief.

Any plans to expand (networking/staff)?

Ramisha: We don’t have an exact set plan but Caitlin is going to Nashville for college and Tara(Contributor) is going to Chicago. So we possibly will open new branches bring more opportunity to get interviews with different bands and overall we are interested in growing.

Dream interview and Future goals?

Caitlin: My dream interview would have been The 1975, but Misha and I have already done that for a local radio station which is weird to say hahaha. But I would probably say Stevie Nicks because she has made such an impact on my from a young age and to talk to her would be a dream. My future goals for ALTP are just to expand a lot. The more we expand the more awareness and money we can raise for important charities.

Advice for anyone who wants to endeavor into the same type of thing?

Caitlin: Honestly just go for it. Misha and I were literally sitting up in a cafe talking when this idea came up, probably cracking jokes 2 min before we started planning to do this. You just have to make sure to keep working at what you’re doing, and eventually, things will happen. When we first started out, we were getting turned down by the smallest bands ever. It’s just about not giving up, and understanding that getting started takes time.

I would like to thank GoodRecords for sharing some space with us! Check out GoodRecords in Dallas for some awesome music and live bands.

Voted Thanks!
Matthew Van der Bach

Matthew. 18. Southern American. A human rights activist & community volunteer. Member of the World Affairs Council Dallas. Founder of MATTH. AVID concert goer.

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