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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2018-11-28 16:14:13 -0500
I gave Jim his first job when he was 16. I was the Director of Computing at Liberty University, and the librarian called me to say that some super tall punk kid with shocking red hair was hacking into my network. Peering through the librarian’s office window, I could see what he was doing. Everyone expected I was going to turn him in and get him in trouble. Instead, I hired Jim Gilliam on the spot, maybe the best hiring decision I’ve made in my career.
The small role I played in Jim’s amazing life was to provide him opportunities and get out of his way. In the two short years he worked in my department, Jim was a transformative force, pulling together the first major website for the university, automating many of our support services, and (most importantly) turning our main academic lab into an awesome after-hours gaming platform (Quake was big at the time). Jim found joy in taking the most mundane task or process and making it better. He was one of the most naturally driven and curious people I’ve ever known.
Sadly, Jim was still working for me when he began his first bout with cancer. It was such a contrast to see health struggles hold down someone with such a natural zeal for life, people and making the world a better place. I visited him over the first few years of his treatment, including a memorable trip to the South End of Boston. Over time I lost regular contact with Jim, but he remained an inspiration to me throughout the years. During the few times we saw each other, including a dinner together in Pasadena a few years back, it was clear that we remained close in spirit, even though we were no longer close in person.
Jim’s person will be missed, but his spirit lives on in all who were blessed to spend time with him. His spirit will live on in those who find inspiration in his story. And his spirit will live on in the people seeking to make the world better using tools Jim built.
2018-11-28 16:12:00 -0500
Truly saddened to hear about Jim Gilliam’s passing. My heart goes out to all the team at Nationbuilder in this difficult period. May his legacy continue to live on through your work!
2018-11-28 16:11:14 -0500
My heart goes out to Jim’s loved ones and colleagues. His vision to help anyone use the internet and information for good in a transparent way, divinely inspired, broke me open. Achieving the opportunities opened by NationBuilder for sacred service and more is huge – much more than a life’s journey. I’m grateful this came to me while Jim was among us, creating works of integrity, value and beauty. Only a world with a divine power could have brought me as bright a light and as big a heart as Jim!
2018-11-28 16:06:16 -0500
Jim you left this world too soon but thanks for changing lives!!
Michelle Engelman Berns
2018-11-28 16:02:07 -0500
I am so sorry to his family and friends, and the NationBuilder for the loss of the community and the lives of everyone he and his work touched. What a genuine Pioneer.
2018-11-28 15:58:46 -0500
Sorry for you loss. Sounds like Jim was one of the best. Far too young. Certainly a tough battle for him and everyone close.
All the best.
2018-11-28 15:57:26 -0500
Jim was an amazing, gifted person, who was stubborn in all the right ways. I met him in Washington DC and he gave me great advice on a project I was working on, no less influenced by his work on the earliest versions of Nation Builder. He will be missed, and shall remain an inspiration to us all.
2018-11-28 15:55:53 -0500
Very sad to hear about Jim’s passing. I had the pleasure of working at NationBuilder for about a year, right after I graduated from nearby
. He created a work environment that made me feel at home, surrounded by so many other dedicated, exciting, and loving folks. Though I moved away, I still feel like a small part of the growing NB community, and I know that’s because of the love for community that Jim and Lea helped foster in all of us. He was fiercely smart, kind, and deeply passionate in his belief that everyone was meant to create something. His loss is a great one. Sending love and light to his family, the NationBuilder staff, and the NB community as a whole.
2018-11-28 15:53:46 -0500
NationBuilder is a wonderful legacy, it helps make the world a better place – than you Jim
2018-11-28 15:53:43 -0500
I first got involved with this platform after getting in too the political process , my grandparents was a part of the civil rights movement if they had this platform it would have been even Moore successful in organizing people…”RIP Jim My You Wing Spead Wider Now’’’
2018-11-28 15:48:37 -0500
Thank you so much Jim for creating an online platform for political parties worldwide, it’s awesome, thank you so much. Much love to your family at this truly difficult time – God bless Cllr Vix xxx Cheltenham Liberal Democrat’s UK
2018-11-28 15:47:30 -0500
I did not know Jim but knew the system he created. I could not have run a campaign without Nationbuilder. My first time running for office and Nationbuilder was instrumental throughout the campaign.
Rest in peace Jim. Job well done.
Former Candidate for Cook County Board of Commissioners, 4th District
2018-11-28 15:45:53 -0500
Although I only met Jim once, his generosity was felt by me, and the men and women of Homeboy Industries in a profound way. You see, he gave us your beautiful office space to hold the Homeboy Industries staff Christmas party. Your offices were filled with dozens of men and women who after surviving poverty, violence, gangs and incarceration had the courage to not to just change their lives through the programs at Homeboy Industries,but to share their experience and wisdom with the thousands who walk through the doors annually. There are no cash and prizes for this dedication, only a lean non-profit salary.
There’s no precendent for a
staff christmas party overlooking Pershing Square with twinkly lights, exposed brick, Biltmore proximity and ping pong tables. We held the party for 3 years running and have incredible memories, like the sight of former gang enemies decorating our founder Fr. Greg Boyle as a Christmas tree, dancing and dining on Homegirl Cafe delicasies,and doing normal stuff like photo booths and ugly sweater contests.
NationBuilder stood with Homeboy and enabled us to create an experience taken for granted by many, but unfathomable to those on the margins, often demonized, and usually excluded. We thank you for the gift of your space, support for the men and women of reentry, and and the opportunity to share the goodwill of NationBuilder with Homeboy Industries.
2018-11-28 15:45:10 -0500
Sorry to read the news. Nation Builder, although way too complex for me to learn, was a system that many I know used to further progressive causes.
2018-11-28 15:44:27 -0500
Thank you for leading and creating a powerful tool for passion and good. Your company culture is a lasting legacy.
2018-11-28 15:43:58 -0500
In many ways, Jim was a really inspiring man. It wasn’t just his inspiring previous fights with cancer, which he wrote and talked about extensively. It was manifest in the technical work that Jim led that he had a deep commitment to professional best practices and he inspired/required a similar commitment from those he worked with. Surprising (extremely surprising) to many, but not to me was the fact that Jim placed the growth of his business and the personal growth of those around him above (far above) his personal politics.
When I interviewed for a job at Nationbuilder many years ago with Jim and Adriel Hampton, we quickly established that I couldn’t work at Nationbuilder because I was a minor party official at the time – but the manifest respect that Jim held for me stuck in my mind for years and that’s what made me so certain (as I had to explain at length to so many conservative campaigns) that 3DNA and Nationbuilder would (and did) treat conservative campaigns fairly and even-handedly (they always did and never wavered in that). That conversation quickly evolved from a job interview into a conversation about how we could work together to make Nationbuilder prosper (it was the very early years for NB) and about issues that people from disparate ends of the political spectrum could work together on – with joy and respect.
Jim, you brilliantly led a startup into becoming a major force in the online influence market, you inspired the personal growth of hundreds of thousands of people with whom you worked.
You were a positive force in my life, Jim and I’m very glad that we got to walk a few miles together.
2018-11-28 15:43:45 -0500
I had the pleasure of working with Jim at Lycos where it became clear to me that Jim was an incredibly special individual. Even at this early stage in the Internet, Jim’s belief that the “Internet is my religion” was clear. Jim created a taxonomy management tool called Link that suck in the
open directory and allowed us to have our way with it. Jim made it clear that it was not a tool named after me. Jim was awesome and I will miss him.
2018-11-28 15:42:58 -0500
Jim was one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. I loved having him on my show to talk about elections and “The Internet is My Religion”. He truly changed the world for the better and I treasure each and every conversation we had.
2018-11-28 15:39:13 -0500
I didn’t personally know Jim but I did get involved with this incredible platform. He had a vision that is so impressive, we all need to continue his dream with Nation Builder.
God bless his soul.
2018-11-28 15:39:08 -0500
Thank you Jim for your amazing inspiration to me and so many others here in Downtown Los Angeles and across the globe.
2018-11-28 15:36:56 -0500
I found Jim on the internet and was very inspired by his personal story, especially as I was then recovering from a life-threatening illness. I was later invited to an event at Nationbuilder and recognized him leaning against the wall in a corner. When there was a lull in the crowds around him, I introduced myself and thanked him for sharing the story of his life and medical journey and how his life had been informed by faith. We shared a lovely conversation, briefly bonded over how health challenges had unexpectedly impacted our lives.
Jim packed a lot of living into a tragically short number of years. I’m thankful for him and send condolences to all those touched by his life. Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory.
2018-11-28 15:36:45 -0500
I’m having such a hard time believing you are gone Jim. 💔 i remember so many good times over the years like when you came and got me in Texas when my life had hit rock bottom and told me we were going to California. It was a long road trip and we got pulled over because you had to stop and throw up on the side of the road and the cops thought you were intoxicated and saw you drive off like it was no big deal. They pulled us over and jim stepped out of the car and went and talked to the cops on the side and explained his story and my story. They gave us a warning for my taillight being out and shook my brothers hand. You never let the sickness hold you back from anything. We finally got to California and it was a fresh start. I lived with you till I got everything straighten out and started college.
You were so proud of me when I got elected as trustee of the school. I’ll never forget how proud you were. Jim was not a gift giving type of person but on this occasion he had gotten me a special pen engraved with my name on it and told me that I needed a nice pen to sign all those important documents and minutes that I’d be doing. I still to this day have the pen and only use it when signing an important document. ❤️
I could go on for hours telling stories of my brother but I think the most cherished memory I had of him was before all the cancer started when we were young. I remember every week sneaking into his room because he had a TV in there and the two of us would sit there and watch the X-Files together. Every commercial break id ask him what just happened since I was too young to understand what was even going on in the show and my brother everytime would explain to me all that we had watch. That is one of my favorite memories of us. Bonding over the X-Files and if my parents came in the room my brother would cover for me. Since I wasn’t allowed to watch X-Files back then. I miss those days. I miss you Jim bro. ❤️
2018-11-28 15:36:23 -0500
I never knew Jim, but I love the system he helped create.
2018-11-28 15:35:52 -0500
I went to some events at Nation Builder and found Jim to be very inspiring. I am sad to hear of his passing and my thoughts are with his friends and family
2018-11-28 15:34:50 -0500
I met Jim back in 2016 because a business partner suggested we should change CRMs to NationBuilder. I flew down to LA to meet with the NationBuilder team and really knew very little about NationBuilder and nothing about Jim. Jim dropped in on our meeting with the team and I first thought this tall, thin, and very pale guy was just another NationBuilder Engineer coming into our meeting. As we started to talk, it was clear he was a very talented Engineer, and it was just as clear that he was a visionary. We had a great conversation with Jim for about 10 to 15 minutes and then he had to go to another meeting but said that he would rather stay and talk. I wish that would have been the case. I would have missed my flight just to continue the conversation with Jim.
After our meeting, I watched some of the YouTube videos with Jim and read his memoir. He was truly a remarkable person and he will be missed, but his legacy will live on.
2018-11-28 15:34:29 -0500
Gone too soon. May he rest in peace. Our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
From all of us at Lynn Valley Services Society.
2018-11-28 15:34:15 -0500
2018-11-28 15:31:44 -0500
I will always be grateful for Jim’s leadership in creating a platform for more effective community organizing. NationBuilder is truly revolutionary, and democracy is better for it. Wordsworth wrote " Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind…" Jim Gilliam left an immortal legacy.
2018-11-28 15:28:13 -0500
All these people saying they are going to pray… have a little respect for Jim’s memories and keep it to yourselves, please.
2018-11-28 15:23:54 -0500
Our deepest sympathy goes to the family for such a great lost but God has once again gotten a beautiful Angel never had the opportunity to meet him but heard of him he was truly a great man of God