Golden Volunteer

About Us

A Golden Moment is when you're happy where you are, and you know it. We live for Golden Moments, and we know how it feels to go too long without them. Our team's taken totally different paths to arrive here, at our purpose: to encourage all of us to live in more Golden Moments.

Our Story

Sam Fankuchen

Founder & CEO

Prior to Golden, Sam worked in corporate innovation at Penske and as Managing Director of Applico, where he helped Google, HP, Disney and others launch new platform businesses.

Before that, he founded Pinwheel, which became the most comprehensive database of volunteer jobs open to anyone in San Francisco, and a peer counseling program that has served thousands of high school students.

He’s an accomplished entrepreneur and mentor at Launchpad LA, Amplify LA, and Stanford Haas Center for Public Service.

Sam received MA & BA degrees from Stanford, where he studied Social Entrepreneurship, Organizational Behavior, and Design Thinking.

The Stig

Head of Engineering

Golden’s Head of Engineering has three decades of software development experience, most of which has involved mobile and remote computing.

In his past life, he worked in R&D labs within some of the nation’s most admired aerospace companies. Other notable accomplishments include prototyping a wearable for a major manufacturer, and incubating engineering teams within several well-known startups.

He’s a lifelong volunteer and animal lover.

Dan McCarey

Information Designer

Dan is a social sector authority on designing and building beautiful visualizations that present information clearly.

Dan strives to create user experiences that are intuitive and engaging and is interested in data at the persistence level as well as the organization and flow of information to the user.

Prior to Golden, Dan applied his comprehensive skill set toward tracking disaster spending for The Office of the President, mapping the dispersion of Cholera for Pulitzer Center, analyzing global child mortality trends for UNICEF.

Ryan Snell

Growth Hacker

Before Golden, Ryan was an independent growth hacker, working with both B2B and B2C clients. His persistent interest in learning has led him across all technical and marketing disciplines- from ideation and workflow planning to product development and engineering.

Ryan loves to collaborate and learn and prefers not to waste time. You can commonly find Ryan online mentoring, teaching, and motivating the online e-commerce and business community.

Ryan isn’t all work and no play; he is a loving father who loves learning, writing, and spending time with friends and family.

Caroline Portugal

Web Lead

Caroline builds our beautiful and thoughtful software, that helps Golden users creatively solve practical challenges. She believes design is the core tool for good story telling and impactful communication. She is interested in how things look and feel from a user’s point of view, and considers those perspectives while writing code to power Golden.

Caroline earned degrees in Architecture & Urban Planning from the Universidade de Brasília and Graphic Design from MICA. She speaks fluent Portuguese.

Erica Gustafson

Community Designer

Golden’s Community Designer is a a soon-to-be graduate at Loyola Marymount University. She’s responsible for sharing Golden’s story and our community members’ stories through our social and other media.

She applies her experience in the world of social media, from running the LMU Student Affairs Twitter account, to becoming Director of Media for LMU’s student government, where she headed the website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

All in all, she is an athlete, traveler, writer, sister, and friend.

Olivia Soule


Golden’s Editor is responsible for curating and publishing thought leadership material. She’s an MFA student in Creative Writing at University of Nevada, Reno, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and Italian from UCLA.

She has strong interests in humanitarianism, teaching composition, writing poetry, and volunteering for a climate change organization. Three of her poems will be published in the upcoming version of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal.

Steven Du

Community Launcher

Golden’s Community Launcher is a skilled organizer and planner. He seeks to create volunteering networks and strengthen intra-community relationships.

On the side, Steven enjoys playing basketball and reading classical literature. He also creates virtual and augmented reality video games through Unity and Maya.

Steven currently studies Computer Science at the University of California Berkeley.

Johnathan Zhou

Community Launcher

Johnathan is always looking for new experiences and ideas. He strives to create substantial, organic relationships that will push all participants in a given relationship forward.

Prior to Golden, Johnathan founded and ran his own volunteering organization, and served as a junior field sales manager at an international marketing firm. In his free time, he enjoys catching up on internet culture and politics.

Johnathan is currently studying Computer Science and Economics at UC Berkeley.

Maryann Nilsen

Community Development Intern

Golden’s Community Management Intern is responsible for interacting with organizations and schools, and helping them use the platform to their advantage.

Maryann is a current high school student, who, just like everyone else on the team, loves feeling more connected to her hometown. She is a guide in SmartGirl, and is a vigorous, ambitious, hard worker who a member in National Honors Society.

Hailing from Colorado, she’s looking forward to college in the fall. She’ll be studying Pre Medicine in hopes to be an OB/GYN.