Justin Hargesheimer Did Well at Georgia State, Now He’s Doing Good Globally

Charitable work runs in Justin Hargesheimer’s family. His mother is currently working with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, while he helps support corporate partnerships for Habitat for Humanity International here in Atlanta.

“The idea of community awareness and giving back has always been important in my family,” he says. “I realized a long time ago that whatever I ended up doing 9-to-5, I wanted to come home at the end of the day knowing I’d done something good. I never wanted that to be a question.”

With Habitat, Hargesheimer says he’s found that kind of job. But he says he wouldn’t have gotten it without the knowledge and connections he found at Georgia State. While doing his assistantship in the Andrew Young School for Policy Studies, Roshonda Carter, a former Panther colleague now working with Habitat, told him about a job that had just opened up. “Without Roshonda pointing me out, I might’ve just ended up at the bottom of a stack of papers,” he says.

To express his gratitude for that opportunity, Hargesheimer has made a gift to Georgia State’s chapter of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance — just two years after graduating.

Training Those Who Serve

Nobody goes into the non-profit sector to become a millionaire, and it’s hard for many recent graduates to even think about charitable giving until they get established in a career. For Hargesheimer, though, supporting the NLA was a big priority.

“I’ve dedicated my career to the non-profit sector,” he explains, “and I see it as a great way to give Georgia State students not just a chance to better understand the scope of the work that’s done at non-profits, but also to network with people — both those who are looking for careers in the non-profit sector, the ones who will be their future colleagues, and people who are already working.”

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is a nationwide organization whose mission is to help students who aspire to nonprofit careers learn about the industry and acquire the knowledge and leadership skills to excel in it. Georgia State’s chapter was recognized as the best of 36 chapters nationwide this past January at the organization’s national conference in Chicago.

Hargesheimer credits Maggie Tolan, the NLA’s campus director, with being an important mentor as he worked to earn his master’s degree in public administration. “Maggie played a really strong role in helping enable my success here at Georgia State,” he says. “She was part of the team that accepted me and offered me the assistantship, which is the main reason I moved to Atlanta.

“She’s very wise, very strategic — her guidance and vision were really important. And the nonprofit culture here at Georgia State is truly inspiring.”

Global Reach, Local Impact

Atlanta was definitely a major change of scenery for Hargesheimer — he grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska; earned his undergraduate degree at Wisconsin; and was living in Portland, Oregon, when he applied to Georgia State. He says he also looked at the master’s programs at Rutgers and the University of Washington, but the opportunities available in Atlanta — both within Georgia State and in the working world — were too good to pass up.

Today Hargesheimer is a Corporate Partnership Support Manager for Habitat for Humanity International, which includes nearly 1,500 affiliates here in the United States and National Offices in more than 70 countries around the world. When one of Habitat’s corporate partners designates a donation for a specific project, Hargesheimer works with those affiliate offices or Habitat programs to make sure each dollar ends up making a difference on the ground.

“If we make an agreement with a company to support Habitat’s work, they might say, ‘We want to build a house in Tulsa, build capacity in Atlanta, support a program internationally,’ and so on,” he explains. “When companies donate to specific projects, I coordinate those donations to help make sure the project runs smoothly.”

Hargesheimer says he’s grateful for the opportunity to work for an organization with Habitat’s reputation, as well as its global impact. Ultimately, though, what gives him the greatest satisfaction from his job — that secure knowledge that he’s done something good — is being able to witness Habitat’s resources being deployed in individual communities in partnership with individual families in need of affordable shelter. “Everything’s got to be local in the end,” he says.