Faith FULL member spotlight: ‘I had a very narrow perspective of religious liberty’

We asked Carlton to share about her experiences working at BJC and why she decided to support the organization each month.

Mar 31, 2021

Carlton Grace Gay serves as the executive assistant at BJC. She first came to BJC as an intern in spring 2019, and she is leaving for law school this summer. Carlton also is a monthly giver, making her part of BJC’s Faith FULL Community. We asked Carlton to share about her experiences working at BJC and why she decided to support the organization each month, including after she is no longer on staff.

What was it like to move from being a BJC intern to a full-time staff member?
It was a big adjustment for me in my personal life as it was my first “real” full-time job. BJC has been so gracious in teaching me the ins and outs of the organization while also helping me on my professional journey to become the kind of lawyer that I aspire to be.

Was it helpful to be at BJC for your gap year before law school?
I think everyone would agree that learning from some of the top constitutional law experts in the nation is a beneficial experience at any juncture, but especially just before attending law school. Our legal team has given me so many pro tips from their wealth of knowledge about law and life as I embark on my own legal career.

Everyone at BJC knows you are a huge fan of “The Office.” What at BJC reminds you the most of that TV show?
Definitely the PPC, or “Party Planning Committee” for those who may not be familiar with “The Office” culture. As a staff, we have our own PPC to plan celebrations for birthdays and holidays with treats, games and singing that would make Michael Scott proud.

Part of your job is opening the mail and answering phones. What have you learned from being that “front line” at BJC?
I love interacting with our constituents. We receive a lot of correspondence included with donations that are mailed to us. People will write a note to describe their affinity for our work or an event we’ve recently held and how much our work impacts their perspective on religious liberty for all. I’ve found that on days when I’m focused on the task at hand and I forget the magnitude of BJC’s impact, reading a personal note from a constituent telling us why they donate always reignites my gratitude for our work.

Why did you decide to give monthly to BJC?
I had a very narrow perspective of religious liberty when I first came to the organization almost 2 ½ years ago. If I had known about BJC sooner, perhaps my frame of mind wouldn’t have been so limited. If my monthly donation broadens BJC’s scope to reach people like me in any way, I will continue to faithfully give, and I’d invite others to do the same.

Do many of your friends give monthly to a nonprofit? Do they find it strange that you do?
I’ve found most of my friends who have a faith tradition give to their congregations. Few give to other organizations, and they find it commendable that I do. My mother was the director of a nonprofit for a time, so I’ve always had a predisposition for nonprofit work and enjoy giving to organizations whose missions I believe in.

Become a monthly donor today. Learn more about joining BJC’s Faith FULL Community by visiting BJConline.org/give-monthly. For more information or for assistance, you can contact Danielle Tyler, associate director of development, at 202-544-4226, ext. 308, or by email at [email protected]

This Q&A also appears in the spring 2021 edition of Report from the Capital. You can read the entire magazine as a PDF or as a digital flip-through edition.