B612 Interview with Ruth Sears

Adam Bader

January 21, 2016

Written by Hillary Aiken

“I am supporting B612 on behalf of my grandfather, Howard Sears: in honor of his encouraging us to search for knowledge, and to work to improve the lives of others.” Ruth Sears

With supporters from across the globe, we have the great honor to read why people choose to support B612’s asteroid hunting mission. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ruth Sears, a new supporter to B612. Along with her donation, she sent a note that her gift was in honor of her grandfather, a man who inspired her to search for knowledge and work to improve the lives of others. We hope you enjoy reading about her desire to support B612.

How did you first learn of B612’s asteroid hunting mission?

My partner Dwain has been meaning for quite some time to donate to B612, and has talked about it over the years. He initially learned about B612 from a TED podcast. Listen to the podcast, here.

What inspired you to donate to B612?
I wanted to make a donation in my grandfather’s honor as a Christmas gift, and when Dwain suggested donating to B612 it seemed like a perfect choice. My grandfather is interested in outer space—he spent much of his career at Aerojet Electro-Systems, frequently traveling to Florida for shuttle launches—and he also has a strong interest in improving the lives of others. Preventing people from being killed by giant asteroids seems like a pretty surefire way to improve their well-being! While other non-profits might be more likely to provide benefits that improve people’s lives, we felt like B612 was a good investment option for our donation because a large asteroid impact in a heavily populated area would be so catastrophic. If B612 does successfully help to prevent such an impact, the benefits will be huge.


Ruth Sears with her grandfather, Howard.


Can you tell us a bit about your grandfather and his encouraging you to search for knowledge and to work to improve the lives of others? What kind of impact have his wishes had on your life?

In addition to having spent much of his life working in engineering, Grandpa enjoys learning about new ideas and schools of thought. He also spends quite a bit of time volunteering, including helping to coordinate the efforts of other volunteers at the Episcopal church I grew up in: Church of the Transfiguration, in Arcadia, CA. He’s helped me develop a desire to improve the world we live in, and to feel that individuals can make a positive difference in society. This mindset led me first to earn an MBA with a concentration in Socially Responsible Business (from Mills College in Oakland, CA), and then to pursue employment with a socially responsible company. I’m now a Senior Technical Writer at Salesforce, where I frequently take advantage of benefits like donation-matching (including to B612!) and paid time off to volunteer. Salesforce really puts its money where its mouth is with regard to corporate social responsibility, and I enjoy sharing news articles about the company’s CSR efforts with my grandfather.

What did your grandfather say when he learned of your donation to B612, made in his honor?

Grandpa seemed pleased and honored to learn of the donation Dwain and I made in his honor. We also gave him a book from the San Francisco Exploratorium’s gift shop about our solar system (not just planets—it shows and discusses a variety of celestial bodies, including asteroids), which we thought would tie in nicely with the donation. We also included some printed information from the B612 website about the organization’s mission. Grandpa commented that he enjoys this sort of thing, and took some time to start looking over the information and flipping through the book before we moved on to opening the next Christmas gift.

Adam Bader