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February 5, 2021

Meet Sheldon Fisher

As an Associate, Individual Giving/Development, Sheldon Fisher works closely with the Individual Giving Director and Individual Giving Officer to execute a detailed strategy and solicitation timeline for the WNET mid-level giving program. “Some of my responsibilities include managing a portfolio of $1,500 to $5,000 donors, curating copy for the monthly Patron Newsletter, facilitating Patron cultivation, and operating the Patron Hotline,” Sheldon says. Read on to learn about the path that led Sheldon to WNET, the strategies that help him create a serene home office environment, and more.

Sheldon Fisher

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

I believe my journey through community-focused work prepared me to obtain my role at WNET. I attended the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (vocal performance). While there, I toured with the University choir nationally and internationally and learned that my purpose in life is to increase access to arts and education for historically marginalized groups. This inspired me to pursue an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University.

While studying at NYU, I was fortunate to work at various performing arts organizations, including TheaterWorksUSA, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, the Apollo Theater, The Metropolitan Opera Guild and City Parks Foundation’s Summer Stage. Through my professional experiences within music, event planning, and programming, I’ve been able to artistically enhance community programming within the Presbyterian Church of St. Albans, the National Association of Negro Musicians, and Beta Gamma Chi Fraternity Inc. I strive to give others who may not have had my experience the opportunity to gain a deeper association with their artistic passions.

The Development Department has been hosting many virtual events for donors during the pandemic. Are there events you’ve worked on that were especially memorable or upcoming events you’re particularly excited about?

I am proud to have launched the first-ever Patron Game night at WNET with my team and colleagues in Special Events. The trivia night, which took place in October, featured some of the patrons’ favorite topics ranging from British programming to Nature, to arts and culture. All who participated enjoyed the “great test of PBS history.”

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

Kids THIRTEEN (now called THIRTEEN PBSKids) made a major impact on my childhood. It provided educational programming that allowed me to dream and explore creativity. Watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Cyberchase, Between The Lions, Teletubbies, Sesame Street, Arthur, Zoboomafoo, Zoom, and so many more enforced not only classroom lessons but influenced social interactions throughout the community.

Which shows airing on our stations this month are you most likely to watch, stream, or record?

I am looking forward to American Experience: Voice of Freedom, airing Monday, February 15 at 9 p.m. I look forward to relearning the experience of Marian Anderson.

The company has been working remotely for nearly a year. Are there things you appreciate about working remotely? Do you have any strategies that have helped alleviate some of the challenges associated with working from home?

One of the work-from-home benefits that I appreciate is being able to create a serene environment while I work. Not having to commute to work has allowed me to spend more time with family, and I began writing music again. With all that is going on in the world, it feels good to be able to have a sense of peace at home while engaging with my team.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I currently live in Rosedale, Queens. I love going to my local health store, Di Juice for smoothies, teas and/or Jamaican patties. Going there feels like home as it is Jamaican-owned and the staff are extremely friendly.

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently reading George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto — a critically acclaimed book recently optioned by Gabrielle Union and Sony TV for television — in preparation for a live reading. Presented by The Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC) and powered by AHF in partnership with iN-Hale Entertainment & All Tea, No Shade Productions in support of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the filmed dramatic reading and special virtual event will take place Monday, February 8 at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST and will explore the theme of “Stigma Gotta Go.” The cast includes Jenifer Lewis (Black-ish), Dyll´on Burnside (Pose), Bernard David Jones (The Mayor), and Thomas Hobson (Sherman’s Showcase). If you’re interested in attending, you can  RSVP HERE.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

I have an affinity for community work, specifically in the arts, education and Black queer spaces. I recently launched a project called CODE RED in honor of world AIDS Day. The program was designed to spread awareness, celebrate the lives of those living with HIV, and raise funds for HIV & AIDS research.

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