In honor of our 30th anniversary year, Ploughshares Fund is conducting interviews with some of our first donors - recording their stories of why they initially took a risk on Sally Lilienthal’s big idea. Board member and former Ploughshares executive director Dr. Gloria Duffy interviews Carol Field below. The interview has been edited and condensed for space.
Gloria: How did you first hear about Ploughshares Fund?
Carol: Sally was my mother's bridesmaid. So I knew her literally all my life. When I got to be a grown-up, Sally and I became close friends.
G: And you kept in touch with Ploughshares over the years?
C: What Ploughshares has done on a relative shoe string over the years is so remarkable, and the people they find and the organizations they support are amazing. Before Joe was the head of Ploughshares he would come and talk. He was so impressive. Very articulate, extremely well informed, and with a great sense of humor. I am sure Sally would be thrilled that he’s at the helm now.
G: So, what particularly concerns you in more recent years about the global nuclear threat?
C: I think North Korea is terrifying. I think A.Q. Khan is terrifying, because we aren't talking about one nuclear weapon, but a method of making and disseminating them. And he has a country behind him that is proud of what he has done. To me that's just completely terrifying. And, Iran, because I think we, by going into Iraq, essentially caused Iran to become much more powerful in that whole region than it was at the beginning of the Iraq war.
G: Do you keep reading and learning about these issues partly through Ploughshares Fund?
C: Exactly. I so truly trust them. If I hadn't known Sally, if I hadn't watched my friends who were on the board, people I know, and know how wonderful and remarkable they are, would I still feel that way? I would, I really would. Ploughshares has a proven track record, but it's not a showy one. We are living in this terrible political mash-up, and Ploughshares goes around that. They're solving problems, they're not creating them or deepening them or showing off.
G: What would you say to someone of your kids' generation about your commitment on this issue and the importance?
C: Well, we're talking about the future of the world, aren't we? Don't wait to get informed, don't stay on the sidelines, until it's too late. As we all saw in the Obama election and the Gore/Bush election, every single vote counts. Getting people together really matters. Leadership is really so important.