Giving thanks to Jim
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Jim loved Thanksgiving because it was a time to acknowledge, honor, and thank people. We want to create that space for him here. Join us in sharing your thoughts, memories, and stories of Jim in a perpetual thanks giving...
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2018-12-03 21:18:49 -0500
I first met Jim through Twitter in 2013. I was the ED of a legal advocacy group looking for software to help us scale our public engagement and NationBuilder really fit the bill. I wrote about the experience of using NationBuilder and Jim reached out directly and thanked me for writing about the software. Two years later, I was interviewing for a lead organizer job at NationBuilder and sitting in Jim’s casual and comfortable office in
. In that first brief real life interaction with Jim, I really felt his drive, brilliance, calm, and humanity. Over the next 3 years working at NationBuilder, I watched Jim’s integrity come forward time and time again. I had never met someone so focused, so driven, so values based. He was so clear with his vision and believed so strongly. He inspired drive and passion in everyone at NationBuilder. Like many visionaries (especially ones living on borrowed time), he struggled with delays and did not suffer fools easily. I certainly saw him lose his patience a couple times over the years. We me, however, he was nothing but generous, even when his health was declining. I remember one trip to LA after the 2016 election, I asked if I could have 30 minutes of his time to discuss the mission, Trump, etc. He generously offered it. I remember sitting on a couch at the NationBuilder office and asking him if he really thought we were doing the right thing with the mission. He spoke so passionately and shared his views of the future and the present. He did so in such a humble, thoughtful way. It was the most generous and supportive thing that any
I left NationBuilder more than a year ago, to go be a
myself. I have brought so much of Jim’s wisdom and system to my new gig. Over the last year, I have often reflected on his life and role at NationBuilder. I reflected on all the tough calls that he had to make and deep belief in his values that he lived by. I have come to feel that is the role of a good
– tough calls and values. Jim taught me that and I am forever grateful. I am so sad to see you leave us Jim. Thank you for everything you gave me. I am very glad to have known you.
2018-12-02 21:29:58 -0500
I met Jim at Personal Democracy Forum (
) in 2014. It was my first time at
and I asked him who he thought was really changing the game in this complex and evolving landscape. In true humility and support he named a few incredible emerging players in the civic tech space. I was really taken aback by how sharp and committed he was to nurturing this community and really making a difference in every person’s life and every person he had the privilege of speaking with. Truly a remarkable human.
2018-12-02 16:18:58 -0500
In December 2003, having been laid low by a compound fracture of my right ankle and therefore unable to join the anti-war marches in San Francisco, I went on a desperate search for some way to contribute to the protesting via the internet. Shortly thereafter, I answered an email blast from MoveOn.org and applied for a position as an unpaid researcher for an undisclosed documentary on the topic of media bias. The documentary eventually became
: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, directed by Robert Greenwald. Once enlisted, eight of us, all women, spent many months carefully documenting thousands of examples of propaganda masquerading as news. After the movie was released, we wanted to continue what we came to see as vitally important work calling out
on its daily distortions. Jim Gilliam, whom we had come to know as the technology guru for the documentary, suggested we start a blog. None of us knew what a “blog” was. With the patience of Job and an irrepressible sense of humor, Jim helped us launch News Hounds in July 2004. With his invaluable help, we learned about bandwidth,
scripting, YouTube videos, dealing with trolls, etc. Over the years as News Hounds flourished, Jim became our indispensable and beloved “Blog Father” to whom we turned for advice, trouble-shooting and, yes, comfort in times of darkness. I particularly remember one morning receiving an email from Jim, warning us that the images that were attached would disturb us and telling us that he wanted us to see them privately before they hit the media because he knew how strongly affected we would be. He was right. I still remember clicking the attachment and reacting in horror, disgust and blistering anger at the sight of prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib. Without Jim’s personal commitment and caring guidance, News Hounds would never have manifested and its voice would have remained silent. Even though I’ve known for years about Jim’s intense medical struggles, I am heartbroken to learn that he has lost the final battle with the disease that stalked him for so many years. The world has lost a quiet, gentle and persistent champion for the rights of humankind.
2018-12-02 15:07:09 -0500
I am just a NationBuilder user. When I ran for city council last year, I needed all the support I could get. Using NationBuilder and taking the “How to Run for Office” course largely taught by Jim, made the whole thing much less scary. I appreciate Jim, his goals, and the work he shared with all of us. Blessings friend.
2018-12-02 03:24:11 -0500
I remember being extremely inspired by his “internet is my religion” video (still one of my fav talks) and was anxious to interview with NB.
That day Inended up being late for my interview and I completely bombed it. It didn’t help that I was struck that I was interviewing w Jim. Needless to say I never had the chance to work w NB but always think back to Jim’s story and his understanding of what you can make possible if you can have people come together with the same point of view. For better or worse that ended up being the same story of NB itself as different groups came together with the platform, yet the power of the vision is undeniable.
I have Jim to thank for pointing out that power through his video, works and NB itself and am genuinely sad to know he is not longer with us. My condolences to his family and loved ones and everybody who had the opportunity to work with him more closely.
2018-12-02 01:37:34 -0500
I came to work at NationBuilder in June 2014 at a pivotal time in my life. I was at a crossroads in my story and didn’t know how I was going to bring the previous version of myself to the table.
Jim and Lea together created a space for me that I will be grateful for the rest of my life. When I was at the company I ended up in a position where I got to share my story with every new hire who joined, along with Jim. We sat next to each other for countless new hire story circles and listened to each other’s story again and again. His life of determination, passion, brilliance and grit are indelibly marked on my heart.
I close my eyes, and I’m right there next to him again. Stunned that my story was given a seat at such a beautiful table.
Jim was simultaneously fierce and kind. He held nothing back. He listened. He deliberately created space to let employees share crushing perspectives to him and about him, because he knew it would make him and the company better. I have never seen anyone, much less the leader of a company, be willing to go through that for the sake of growth.
He earned my trust and love. I had the privilege of sitting with him on some dark days and he was steadfast in his passion and belief.
I am so sad that he’s gone. This world needs more people like Jim. More courage. More leadership. More hope. More hard work. More love. More connection.
He was beautiful and flawed and brave, the very best parts of what it means to be human. And I personally am more connected to the world around me because of how he lived.
2018-12-01 18:34:58 -0500
I am sorry for a lost of someone who gave his life to make a better world. The good die young, may his legacy live on in his work ,his staff and his vision.
2018-12-01 11:37:40 -0500
Wise women and philosophers tell us that the purpose of life is to find our essential self and live in it. We are called to honor the soul that knows our true name and tells us who we are. And they say we are required to use our unique medicine where we can to make life better.
It is not an easy task. As humans we often get lost in the wear and tear of life and lose sight of that which is authentic about us. Those who are able to stay true to their sacred mission, no matter the hardships and challenges placed before them, walk on the earth as Mystics. Jim is a Mystic.
He would have never claimed this for himself. And if in our encounters I would have spoken
of him in this way. I imagine he would say, “Don’t lay that on me, find the mystic in you.” He would say this because he resists anyone seeing him as more extraordinary than they see
their self. But it is how I came to know and treasure him.
Jim discovered very early in his life what he was put here to do. And he was true to it. He lived courageously beyond the hardships and the wear and tear that life handed him. He is a peace maker and a justice seeker. Jim believes a connected humanity is the answer to much that ails us as human beings. And in his brief time with us he used his genius, his medicine to help connect us all.
I have learned much from him in the short time I’ve come to know him. He is my friend and I am his. I am not ready to say good-by. It will take some time to internalize the idea that he is not on this side of the sky. So, for now I will say what I have said in his presence and out of it. You are loved.
2018-12-01 10:51:17 -0500
Ever since I learned about Nationbuilder 4 years ago, I knew it was going to be a powerful force for good, and has helped me immensely in shaping the vision of the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage. Now that I am creating the Livable Future Alliance, having Nationbulder as a platform gives me hope that we can unify like-minded people in Northwest Arkansas and eventually the whole world so that we can create a world where everyone can thrive.
Although I did not know Jim personally, I feel thankful to him for his dedication, vision, talent, and love. I feel grateful to be part of an organization which has a leader who people seem to love so much, unlike many large corporations where the leaders, when they died, were shown to be people who did not care about the workers.
An organization with a heart is what I want to support. Tears come to my eyes to think about Jim’s passing. Thank you for giving us all an opportunity to express our thanks. I believe that Jim must have empowered all of you to carry on in a way that reflects his values.
2018-11-30 21:45:14 -0500
My condolences to Jim’s family and Nation Builder team. I briefly met Jim back in 2012 and was immediately mesmerized and drawn to his vision. It truly is a very, very sad day for the internet world:(
2018-11-30 14:10:16 -0500
Thoughts and prayers for the loved ones of Jim.
Jim from the Latino Equality Alliance family.
2018-11-30 13:43:07 -0500
Rest In Peace Jim! May God comfort your family through this difficult time.
Bích Ngọc Cao
2018-11-30 05:38:07 -0500
Jim understood my love for the internet in a way that few others do. I am so gutted that we no longer have his leadership and vision. Rest in power, Jim. #
2018-11-30 04:16:39 -0500
I am heartbroken at the news of Jim’s passing. I was told by co workers earlier today of his passing and I just …. stopped. I didn’t know Jim personally, I work in the building of Nation Builder’s downtown L.A. office. I speak with NB staff on the daily and I always ask about him. It truly hurts my heart that he and his brilliance and his heart are no longer physically here. He was always kind and spoke when he passed and we had a few short discussions. His kindness and his support will never be forgotten…. I think it was our first brief conversation where he said to me everyone’s contribution is important. I haven’t forgotten that and I have learned so much from focusing on those words. My heart goes out to all of his friends and family. He is no longer in pain and has been reunited with his mom. May he Rest in Peace and may all that have encountered him share the positivity, knowledge and love that he has bestowed upon them. I know I will.
2018-11-30 03:04:06 -0500
Such sad news – deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues. Grateful to be part of this global community of makers that Jim founded.
2018-11-30 01:41:04 -0500
i met jim only once at a friends party. i spoke with him about his work and walked away from that evening tremendously inspired to do something that mattered with my life. i still remember meeting him and being changed by that single meeting, though it was probably almost 10years ago now. very sad the world has lost such an amazing spirit. thank you jim for inspiring and changing those around you for the better.
2018-11-29 23:50:17 -0500
Jim made a difference in my life. As so many have said, some of that difference changed me for the good – some changes were harder to accept. But in all things, Jim was passion embodied.
May we all do the good in the world Jim would have wanted to see. Remember the best of him. Forget the rest. Follow your passion. Live your life the best way you can.
2018-11-29 21:24:02 -0500
God Bless a great creator given to us to touch lives! May he R.I.P his legacy will forever carry on 🌹💝🌹💝🌹💝🌹💝
2018-11-29 21:04:24 -0500
I was reading an article about Jim on a plane to LA, as I was reading I knew somehow this man had a lung transplant like myself. I made contact with him and he met me while I was there. An extraordinary man with an incredible spirit. He gave me his book and I stayed up all night to read it completely that evening, it was inspiring.
Thank you Jim, I’ll not forget having had the pleasure of meeting you.
2018-11-29 19:51:09 -0500
Jim’s dedication to people and community was clear from the moment we signed on with NB and we were honored for the opportunity to meet him. We remain grateful for the enormous gift of connectedness he has given us through the platform and inspired by the vision with which he led the NB family. On behalf of the Marsy’s Law For All team, we are sending our deepest condolences to the many who loved him.
2018-11-29 18:07:31 -0500
Glad to have met him. He truly touched the world in a way only few can.
2018-11-29 16:03:55 -0500
What a great asset the world has lost? Jim will be missed greatly but his efforts will forever remain with us. Rest in Peace Jim
2018-11-29 14:53:10 -0500
Didn’t know him but I hope that he is resting in peace.
2018-11-29 14:44:11 -0500
Jim. I am sorry we never got to meet up. Let’s hope your dreams and aspirations live on.
2018-11-29 13:56:53 -0500
I’m saddened by the news of Jim’s passing. I worked as an Organizer at NationBuilder in 2015 and had a few brief interactions with Jim while there. What I remember most was speaking with him during my interview; it was relaxed, almost peaceful. It’s not common for a founder/executive to put a person at ease in an interview – let alone for him to want to meet with the recruits for entry-level positions – but that is exactly what Jim did. He made me feel comfortable to be and express myself around him. It’s no wonder that he built a company of great purpose, filled with great people. My thoughts are with Jim’s family, those nearest to him, and everyone in the NB community who is feeling this loss.
2018-11-29 13:45:40 -0500
Jim is an incredible person. A rock in the ocean. A bird in the sky. An example of a human being that gives hopes to the humanity for positive future.
Let the stars shine upon you on your way up there above us, Big Dreamer, Big Doer, Big Brave Heart!
2018-11-29 13:43:34 -0500
Jim donated his platform to us when we were first getting our non-profit off the ground, even though Nation Builder was also just getting off the ground itself. A very thoughtful man driven to make a difference. Thankful for you, Jim.
2018-11-29 12:54:38 -0500
The challenge of writing anything about Jim is that there are no words that can accurately capture his story or the significance of what he spent his whole life trying to achieve. I know that well from my time at NationBuilder trying to do just that. Jim was the most vibrant, fascinating, creative, inspiring, challenging, and fearless person I’ve ever met and probably ever will meet. He pushed the boundaries of what is possible for someone to achieve in a human existence. At 18, his body started throwing curveballs at him that most people do not survive; but it only made him stronger and more determined.
Jim had unbelievable conviction and belief in what he was trying to do. He did things differently. He took chances and he made hard decisions. He had to do things that way because he was trying to achieve something that most people never attempt – he was trying to change the world and he had to believe that he could do it.
As many people have said, Jim was intimidating. That’s because you couldn’t hide with Jim. He had this way of cutting through the bullshit in any and every conversation that made you feel vulnerable. Jim didn’t have time for bullshit because he knew he was on borrowed time. And having faced death, he lived fearlessly.
Jim challenged everyone that he came into contact with to think differently about the world and to question everything including their own limitations. Like many people, I had a complicated relationship with Jim. He gave me many opportunities to push myself and take on new challenges and I probably learned more in my time at NationBuilder than I have in any other job.
One of my favorite things to do with Jim was brainstorm. I don’t consider myself to be the most creative person but Jim brought that side out of me. He had some insane ideas and he really pushed us to try to make them reality. I remember in one meeting brainstorming about a particularly off the wall event we were putting together, laughing as I watched a new employee’s face as they tried to comprehend bringing his crazy ideas to life.
We talk a lot about leadership. Well, Jim was a true leader. He inspired people to adopt his mission as their own. But leaders are human. They have weaknesses and they make mistakes and he was no exception. But as a leader he also saw peoples’ potential and he knew how to get the best out of them and out of himself. There was no one that he pushed harder than himself. Physically he pushed himself through challenges that no other human being on earth would have been able to overcome.
Now that Jim is gone, I hope that we can all honor him by being fearless, living like we’re on borrowed time, and believing in our own missions.
2018-11-29 12:53:34 -0500
God Bless Your Soul Jim,
2018-11-29 12:41:01 -0500
God Bless Your Soul Jim,
Although, I did not know you personally and never met you in person you have my heartfelt blessings and my heart goes to your loved ones left behind!
I opened several Premium accounts with Nation Builder different times within the last 10 years and paid a lot of money to the company for years , unfortunately, I was never delivered what I had paid for! I could never have a functioning and useful website! The Application never worked, or worked properly! All my money went done the drain! Even, when my domains were expired and no longer had the websites, I was continually charged and I’m still being charged monthly! I hope now that you have past, the ones who are left behind change the behaviour of the company and rectify all the wrongdoings in the Nation Builder! God Bless!