Lots of young people enter Grassroots Campaigns (GCI) at entry-level and move up the ladder to important managerial positions doing political organizing for progressive candidates and social change organizations. Wilson Karaman did just that.
After being the bookkeeper at a small record store in the East Village of New York City, Wilson’s limited accounting skills found him his first position at GCI working cash flow for a small donor fundraising canvass in 2004. Wilson had zero experience canvassing. He had zero experience working in political activism. But Wilson rose through the ranks of GCI, later managing its small donor fundraising at GCI’s New York City campaign office for its client the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Wilson later became GCI’s Midwest Regional Director (RD) serving GCI partners like America Votes, MoveOn.org, NAACP, and labor organizations on voter registration drives and get out the vote (GOTV) campaigns. He worked for GCI in Ohio with America Votes and NAACP to help President Barack Obama win that state in 2008.
Wilson continued at GCI until 2012, when he left to become lead parent to his new son—after working state and local electoral campaigns for GCI clients in 2010 and thereafter for GCI’s sister organization Telefund, where he managed phone banking for clients like Human Rights Campaign (HRC), NAACP, and Planned Parenthood.
After a 4-year hiatus, Wilson returned to GCI in 2017, as its Director of Strategy and Development—motivated to throw his political organizing-hat back in the ring after the results of the 2016 US presidential election.
In this full interview of Grasstops by GCI, John R. Gagain Jr. delves into Wilson’s story and the goals he has for his new position, as everyone at GCI—with open arms—welcomes him back.