Brandon Mond is open about his political allegiances. The 22-year-old is a development associate at Berger Hirschberg Strategies, a downtown Washington firm that raises funds for Democratic candidates and progressive causes. The firm targets potential donors and makes strategic development planning for nonprofit groups.
Mond worked first as a fellow at the firm while he was a senior at University of Texas-Austin before being hired this year.
What do you do at Berger Hirschberg Strategies?
Essentially we host fundraisers all around the country for our clients. The mission is to assist in fundraising for Democratic politicians [and their goals]. We primarily work with senators and governors. We also work with progressive nonprofits, but when we fundraise for a senator or governor, we raise money for the campaign and not for a specific issue.
And you’re a freshly minted guy in the political workforce?
Yeah, I graduated a semester early at The University of Texas-Austin, and I was interning this past fall at the firm, and they just happened to have an associate leaving as I was prepared to go back to Austin. My boss said to me, “You’re a little young, but we’re willing to offer you a job if you graduate early and stay.” And that’s what happened.
So your political seeds were planted as a college student?
While at UT-Austin, I was the campus organizer for Steve Adler, a Jewish guy who ran for mayor in the city, and he won. I was also part of the UT Students Against Guns on Campus campaign. The Texas Legislature ultimately voted to enable students and faculty members at public and private universities to be allowed to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories and other buildings. I was part of the opposition. Unfortunately, we lost but I learned a lot about grassroots organizing.
Do you have friends on the other side of political aisle?
I have good friends who are conservative, and being from Texas you learn to deal with a lot of people with a broad array of ideologies, and some of my best friends who are Republicans and who live [in Washington] give me a lot of hope for the ability for Democrats and Republicans to work together.
What gives you that hope?
I think that young people, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, have the same vision, as they generally want an equitable distribution of wealth. But we just have radically different ideas of how we should do that. I really believe we can find a lot of common ground.
How do you apply Jewish values to your career?
We need to take ownership of our community, and to decide what direction we want to be going in and what our values are going to be. As a member and resident of the Moishe House on Capitol Hill, I have the ability to create and organize the young Jewish community here. The most important role is to be the conveners of our community, bringing people together.