Better Markets is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month. To mark the event, Better Markets will publish a series of blog posts profiling members of its staff and highlighting the work they do as lawyers, regulatory and legislative specialists, researchers, administrators, and fundraisers as they fight for the economic security, opportunity and prosperity of all Americans, particularly those who are disenfranchised.
Spotlight: Maryan Abdelmesih, Director of Development
Background: As Director of Development, Maryan is responsible for designing, implementing and managing Better Markets’ fundraising activities. She joined Better Markets nearly three years ago, and since that time, has built a strong, effective engagement network that provides Better Markets with the support needed to maximize its efforts as a successful counter to the well-funded financial industry.
Prior to joining Better Markets, Maryan served as Director of Development at UNRWA USA, a nonprofit that supports the humanitarian and human development work of UNRWA through fundraising, education and advocacy. Her fundraising work builds on a career in the nonprofit field, including positions at Global Witness and the Bipartisan Policy Center.
What are you most proud of regarding your development work at Better Markets?
As an immigrant, the idea of the American dream seemed like something that wasn’t really accessible for me and many others. After coming on board at Better Markets, it became clear to me that the dream can indeed become a reality.
Here at Better Markets, we fight each day to ensure that everyone, especially communities of color, have access to this dream. Events from this year—from the killing of George Floyd and so many others—showed an indifference to human life and the humanity of our fellow citizens. These tragedies proved that it’s more important than ever to fight for a fair, equitable, nondiscriminatory and inclusive economy, financial system and financial industry.
And Better Markets does just that and has been doing this for the past 10 years. Our mission, method and work are unique and extremely important.
It makes me extremely proud that we are not only retaining our existing philanthropic partners, but we are also bringing on new partners in the fight for an equitable financial and economic system.
What work has Better Markets’ done to address structural inequalities in the financial reform?
The pandemic has made it painfully clear that the economic system doesn’t work for everyone, particularly communities of color. With the financial industry playing a huge rule in creating, embedding and perpetuating structural inequalities in the financial system, Better Markets’ has developed the Arc of Advocacy™ to fight inequality at all stages of the rulemaking process.
In addition, we’ve worked on issues that disproportionately impact communities of color, such as student loans, debt collection processes and payday lending. More work still needs to be done, and we continue to push for fair regulations as well as accountability and transparency at the financial regulatory agencies.
What has made Better Markets so successful over the years?
We have been successful over the years for a number of reasons. From my perspective, I believe that having a substantive staff (small but mighty) made up of banking, securities, derivatives, political and communications expertise, along with creating the Arc of Advocacy™, has made it possible for us to successfully push against the financial industry and its allies.
In addition, our partners over the years have proven invaluable—not just financially but also through their engagement and support—whether it’s sharing our work on social, reading one of our many reports or attending our various webinars and conferences.
This recipe has allowed Better Markets to fight for everyone’s access to the American dream.