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...
Share your thoughts
Rev. Stephen Roach Knight
2018-11-28 15:16:39 -0500
I met Jim Gilliam in 2005 at Liberty University (of all places), through our mutual friend (and his fellow Liberty alum) Will Samson. That one day of conversation with Jim had a deep impact on me. I’ve followed his work ever since.
He’s had the proverbial nine lives, and he’s done so much for the world with every single chance that he got!
His talk “The Internet Is My Religion” is one worth watching again today, as I’m sure it will move you today as deeply as it did me when I first heard him give it back in 2011:
The world — and the progressive movement, in particular — has lost a true giant. But Jim will live on in bits and bytes for eternity. Thanks be to G-d.
2018-11-28 15:14:03 -0500
Jim’s legacy of innovation for better people engagement, ultimately for better collective results, is a good thing. It will no doubt continue to make a difference far into the future.
Condolences to all who love and cherish him.
2018-11-28 15:12:27 -0500
Sad news, Nationbuilder is such a great system with so many great people. Sincere condolences from everyone at UK Unity to Jim’s family.
2018-11-28 15:11:35 -0500
Peace, light and love will be with him on his journey…
2018-11-28 15:11:31 -0500
Praying for the family as well as the office family. We lost our beloved Sister to Breast Cancer a few years ago. My sister’s Moto was “I
ME”. She had so much courage and strength just like Jim had but God knew what was best for them.
Hold on to the Joyful memories, love, smiles and laughs that you shared with Jim, it will not get you over his loss but it will help you get through.
Praying for you
2018-11-28 15:09:38 -0500
Jim: Thank you for all that you have contributed and accomplished. May you rest well.
Dr. Fernando Cascante
2018-11-28 15:09:37 -0500
As we planed to lunch our new website last year, we learned about NationBuilder software. And, soon after, without much hesitation we made it the platform from which we will have a presence online. For
, a small but growing non-for-profit organization, needing to integrate all aspects of serving its members as it works towards sustainability, NationBuilder became and continues to be a blessing. For that, we celebrate the life of Jim and give thanks to God for the way he blessed (with his “religion”) all of us who want to make a difference in the world. He certainly did!
2018-11-28 15:08:08 -0500
While I did not personally know Jim, I know his spirit, innovation, drive, passion, and love all impacted us whether we realize it or not.
Your battle with cancer is hard to swallow but also your strength and grace proves to be an inspiration to us all.
Thank you Jim for all that you have done for the world. You truly made an impact and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this brief time on the planet with you.
Much love to you, your friends, and your family from all of us at the South Carolina Green Party.
2018-11-28 15:05:49 -0500
! thank you Jim
I didn’t know you personally, but believe I know the good work you were accomplishing and that you’ve left behind.
2018-11-28 15:05:31 -0500
Until I read his memoir I never knew about his larger vision for humanity but I use it every day in the platform he created. We’ve all lost an inspiring thinker and maker.
2018-11-28 15:04:48 -0500
I am sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. He will be missed by the many who he influenced to aspire to big and better ideas.
Kristina Leigh Copeland
2018-11-28 15:03:06 -0500
Dear friends and family,
We also lost our Mom this year too cancer.
Our hearts and prayers are with you !
2018-11-28 15:02:43 -0500
Back in 2003 or so, I put out word I was looking to hire a researcher who could find their way around the internet for a new documentary about the Iraq War, Uncovered. And into my office walked one of the tallest, skinniest, whitest – and smartest – people I had ever met.
That was my introduction Jim Gilliam. I learned he had left a lucrative career in the tech world to do something meaningful. Jim’s powerful mind, technical expertise and belief in ideas impacted and inspired everyone he came in contact with during the time we worked together.
During the making of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, Jim spent countless hours researching Fox News and working with a group of volunteers called the “Newshounds.” Their motto: “We watch Fox so you don’t have to.” We distributed the film through a combination of house party screenings in collaboration with MoveOn.org, and online
sales, completely bypassing the normal documentary distribution system.
When the attacks and pushback to the film began, with Bill O’Reilly and others calling me names and attempting to smear us, Jim was thrilled. “Robert,” he said, “this will get the film so much more attention!” And of course, he was right.
I remember Jim being frustrated at my lack of computer interest. He decided to personally come to my house to set up what he thought was a more appropriate, sophisticated computer and monitor for me, with actual speakers. Watching him crawl under my desk to untangle wires was quite a sight. He was undoubtedly the most overqualified installer ever.
Several years into our collaboration, illness struck Jim. He had already survived cancer, but a side effect of the treatment was that his lungs were damaged, and his breathing became increasingly labored. Eventually he could barely walk, but he would drag himself, and his oxygen tank, slowly across the office courtyard. We helped him fight to get insurance coverage for a double lung transplant. On paper, he was not a good risk. But damn, they didn’t know this guy’s heart and soul, or his courage. With a combination of carrot, stick and internet outreach, the powers that be were convinced, and he was added to a waitlist for new lungs.
The wait for the transplant seemed endless, but there was never a word of complaint from Jim. His fortitude was off the charts. Eventually he got the call – and got his new lungs. And he got back to work.
So many memories stand out:
Like: Jim walking into my office. We had just released Iraq for Sale, Jim said, “Robert, there’s this thing on the internet, we should take a clip from the film and post it. They let you post for free.” (Back then it usually cost money to post video online.) I said, “Why would anyone watch that?” Jim said, “Let’s try it – it’s called YouTube.” I looked at the site – it was filled with cat videos and people slipping in the shower. It made no sense. But we posted, and in two days, Jim walked back into my office. He said we had 10,000 views! It was amazing, exciting – truly a brave new world for distribution.
Like: In staff meetings, back when we only had three or four people – I remember someone pleading to not have Jim in the meeting because he was SO intimidating. And, well… tolerance was not his greatest quality.
Like: Going to Washington, DC to testify on war profiteering after “Iraq for Sale” launched. The Republicans refused to allow me to show a clip of the film. Jim was, again, ecstatic. “The internet will go crazy over them censoring you.” Right again.
Eventually Jim decided to go out on his own and start NationBuilder, which was perhaps the bravest thing he ever did, given that he was an introvert and basically hated talking to people.
In 2008, I introduced Jim as he was presented with Campaign for America’s Future’s second annual Maria Leavey Tribute Award, recognizing the social justice impact of his technology work in reaching audiences directly.
In 2011, he gave his now famous talk at Personal Democracy Forum, The Internet is My Religion.
Throughout this time, Jim struggled with recurring health issues, but he continued celebrating each birthday and remained committed to living his life as fully as possible.
I never heard him complain. He always had a clear-eyed commitment to tech, to the internet, to progress.
Jim, I hate talking about you in the past tense.
I will miss you – my warrior, Brainiac friend.
President, Brave New Films
2018-11-28 15:01:11 -0500
I didn’t know Jim personally but I have read a lot about him and have admired his brilliance and his courage. I am so sorry to hear about his passing. I want to send my condolences and my thanks for everything that Jim made possible. His inspiration, his humanity, and his warrior attitude at a time of personal challenge. He will be missed. Thank you.
2018-11-28 15:01:09 -0500
It always so much sadness when a brilliant and thoughtful person passes, Jim brought community together and he will always be celebrated through the people he touch directly and indirectly.
My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
2018-11-28 15:00:26 -0500
I’ve used Nationbuilder on a number of campaigns for community engagement and outreach. I don’t know what I would have done without it.
I am also a cancer survivor, I take no moment for granted.
Grieving with all of you and so sorry for your loss.
2018-11-28 14:59:17 -0500
Amazing man! Amazing thoughts! A big loss for the world for sure. No one can replace him. Let him rest in peace.
2018-11-28 14:59:15 -0500
My condolences and prayers for Jim’s loved ones.
2018-11-28 14:59:13 -0500
Terrible Terrible .. sad I have a son 36 yrs old I can relate to “god forbid” losing him ..terrible ..life is so unfair. So sad, there should be a cosmological law against death before the age of 100.
2018-11-28 14:58:17 -0500
Jim, thank you for creating a wonderful platform. I love NationBuilder.
2018-11-28 14:57:07 -0500
! This hits hard for some weird reason. Not because I knew Jim, we never met. However, he impacted my life for the better; with every new campaign season and with every new charitable organization who wanted a website, including Wheelchairs for Warriors, which I am the Executive Director of. His brilliance and leadership has made my work-life, and the work-life of my staff, clients, and partners more streamlined than ever before. We have “Built their Nations”, one website at a time! Marina Bay Marketing is eternally grateful for his vision and his leadership and for giving us the opportunity to connect our worlds… however vast and different. Well played Jim, well played.
2018-11-28 14:56:39 -0500
We are new customers at The Congress for the New Urbanism, thanks to our new Membership Engagement Manager who swears by NationBuilder and talked us into becoming part of it. Already, it is helping us transform our network of support for a vision of more walkable, bikable, equitable, and lively places. I am sad to know of Jim’s loss, but his life is part of every keystroke his team has used to build this wonderful connective technology.
2018-11-28 14:56:24 -0500
from For Britain @
2018-11-28 14:56:04 -0500
Jim was an inspiration, a visionary followed by action, leading to transformational change. His vision helped us to create a positive impact for hundreds of thousands of kids, and will continue to do so for a long time.
2018-11-28 14:55:26 -0500
I did not know Jim personally but I can tell by the expression of words he was a remarkable human being and as a user of his creativity, a talented man.
I am sorry for your loss.
2018-11-28 14:54:03 -0500
When I was hired to do the user experience design for a nationwide campaign I needed help integrating my designs into the NationBuilder framework. Jim actually emailed me back and forth answering questions I had even though he had team members that could answer my questions; he didn’t have to get involved in those questions but he did. I gained a huge amount of respect for NationBuilder and the company culture, because of Jim’s compassion and dedication to excellent customer service. I’m sorry to hear about his passing. He will be missed.
2018-11-28 14:53:13 -0500
Jim had a grand ambition that came from a personal place and journey that change is real and possible if you act. I am thankful that he put into the world that hope > fear. #
2018-11-28 14:53:10 -0500
Jim, Thank you for leaving this world a more connected and meaningful place through your work and vision.
2018-11-28 14:52:35 -0500
Sorry to hear! You’ll be in our prayers! He built a great company!
2018-11-28 14:52:29 -0500
Oh man. I loved Jim. I worked with him when he was just a kid and knew he was something truly special. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.