Meet Our Friend: Kristin McGunnigle

  • Works at: World Vision USA
  • Favorite bands: Said The Whale / Catch Bees / U2 / Passion Pit / The Beatles / Muse
  • Follow on Twitter: @SeattleFan29

83Music Feature Friend Kristin McGunnigle is one of those people with many passions– music among them. She is also someone who sacrifices those passions on a regular basis in order to spend time helping others.  McGunnigle is an event coordinator for the non-profit social justice organization World Vision. She assists in sharing World Vision’s mission with people around the country and is currently focused on education surrounding the continent of Africa.

“I serve with Step into Africa,” says McGunnigle. “It’s an experiential exhibit that transports visitors into the heart of Africa and allows them to experience the life of a child who’s been impacted by the AIDS pandemic. It’s a life-changing exhibit and it’s been an absolute joy to work with.”

Although McGunnigle’s recent efforts are central to serving Africa, according to her, the organization’s mission is much more far reaching.

“We are dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide,” says McGunnigle. “We help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.”

There are no shortages of opportunities for World Vision to effect change and McGunnigle says those opportunities often need the help of people outside the organization.

“There are so many ways folks can help out,” claims McGunnigle. “Sponsoring a child through World Vision is one of the easiest ways to get involved and to get to know the organization. I first got involved with World Vision by sponsoring a little girl from India while I was in college. Step into Africa takes hundreds of volunteers to operate and will be set up locally in the Pacific Northwest late this summer at the Seattle Center.”

Even though McGunnigle travels quite extensively for World Vision, she is still able to make room for one of her earliest passions– music.

“Ever since I was a toddler music has always played a dominate role in my life,” says McGunnigle. “I had a small piano that I used to write songs on and I’ve always enjoyed performing and singing. I was just naturally attracted to anything musical. My parents always had music playing in the house. I particularly remember a lot of Elvis, Elton John and Billy Joel.”

McGunnigle is someone who often passes up chances to see her favorite bands in concert because of her dedication to World Vision. But according to her, she is able to make up for it in other ways.

“Working full-time doesn’t yield itself to attending as many live shows as I’d like but I try to make it to one or two a month,” says McGunnigle. I make up for it by listening to Spotify to fuel the work day. I also love streaming international radio stations. The Peak in Vancouver B.C. has introduced me to a ton of Canadian bands I probably would never heard of otherwise.

What makes it easier for McGunnigle to pass up those concerts is that she loves her job.

“So many aspects of my job are fulfilling,” says McGunnigle. “Hearing stories from the field are generally the most powerful for me. Our team was discussing a recent trip to Ethiopia and the impact World Vision is having in one of the communities I sponsor a child in. I am extremely proud of what we get to do.”

Balancing personal wants against the needs of others is no easy task, yet it’s one that McGunnigle excels at more often than not. When the timing does end up being right for McGunnigle to see some of those elusive concerts, her must see live bucket list includes Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros and Radiohead. As a friend of 83Music and for all the important work she does, we certainly hope she gets tickets to those bands real soon.

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