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Learn How to Identify Your Community’s Needs with Ashley Sundquist ‘09

Learn How to Identify Your Community’s Needs with Ashley Sundquist ‘09

Screen Shot 2021 04 29 at 1 02 20 PM

By Abby Humbel ‘21

Ashley Sundquist ‘09 has a passion for service, and she found her calling when she noticed a need for help in the homeless community in her home of Santa Monica, California. Sundquist studied journalism with a minor in history and moved from her home of Maryland to Santa Monica in 2016 to work in the entertainment business with her husband. While spending her days doing backend management for his work as a talented motivational speaker, influencer and comedian, she started her service work. 

Sundquist started her service journey last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic when she struck up a friendship with a neighbor who is unhoused and asked how she could help. He said that he would love a map, so Sundquist got to work with Google Maps to create custom maps tailored to the homeless community.

These maps, called “Lists For Good,” are curated to include places where unhoused people can find food, charge their phones, get shelter and other necessities, near Los Angeles. 

Ashley Sundquist ‘09

“There is a specific need in each community, and help for the homelessness is Santa Monica’s need,” she says. 

Sundquist has since trained a few nonprofits on using the maps, utilizing her previous experience of working for nonprofits. However, she regrets not being more involved in service activities during college. She remembers the joy it brought her when she worked on one project to clean up the river when she was a student, and encourages current students to get consistently involved in community service. She has a great motivation to help people now.

Sundquist finds that knowing your neighbors and building relationships with them can help you identify your community’s needs and she offers this guide to create your own “List for Good.”

“I hope my work inspires people to reach out and get to know the people in their community and reminds them we are all hurting,” Sundquist said. “We should try to improve the communities we live in and leave them better than when we got here.” 

She feels strongly that people should not make assumptions about what others need, and suggests getting to know someone who has been marginalized or underserved. 

“Bottom line, be a good neighbor and don’t look away. This year we have seen so many people shuddering and we all have the ability to reach out and alleviate the burden of others,” Sundquist said. 

If you are interested in more information about “Lists for Good,” have questions about how to get involved in your community, or have anything else you would like to discuss with Sundquist, feel free to reach out using her contact information here. You can read more about her journey here.



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