and Donor Engagement
Akron Community Foundation
is the most rewarding part of your job?
Most rewarding is the fact that I am able to represent all of
the organizations in the Summit County community who do such great work.
When I meet with a prospective or current fund holder, I have the
capacity to share with them the foundation’s wide range of supporting
opportunities throughout the community.
What made you choose/led you to a career in
Fundraising found me. I owned and operated a restaurant for many years,
was introduced to the local leadership program, invited to join the
United Way board of directors and my understanding and knowledge base
for the importance of fundraising was formed. When I sold the business I
was asked to assist in the founding of the Portage Foundation, Portage
County’s community foundation and since then I have had the privilege of
working in this field.
Tell us about a memorable event/grant
request/gift solicitation/donor experience.
I met over lunch with a significant philanthropist in our community so
that we could request $100,000 for a capital campaign. The response is
forever etched in my memory. The philanthropist stated: “I am flattered
that you asked, but I do not know your organization, and I only give to
organizations that I know.” Lesson learned: donors of every size
need to know your organization. Over the following years you can bet
that I engaged the donor in quarterly updates of needs, successes and
impact. This donor eventually became a major donor to the organization
and I never asked for a dime.
What is the best piece of career advice
you've received and who gave it to you?
Amie Bruggeman and Ann Brennan – You don’t need to go to Law School!
What has been your most noteworthy
professional accomplishment so far?
Being a mentor to young professionals has been the most meaningful
accomplishment at this point.
Why is AFP important to you?
AFP provides the opportunity to network with peers. It also allows for
best practices to be front and center everyday. I love that we have a
code of ethics that we honor as professionals. Many times I have been
able to reference it.
What is the most thoughtful gift you've ever
My very first major gift was made in honor of a neighbor of the husband
and wife donors. A fund was established in the name of this woman, a
retired nurse, because of her care and compassion of checking in on all
of her neighbors over the years.
What are you currently reading?
The Foundation is laser-focused on Donor Engagement, so I have been
reading quite a few books on donor retention and stewardship.
Building Donor Loyalty by Adrian Sargent and Elaine Jay is on the
top of the pile right now.
What is something people would be surprise
to learn about you?
I have duel citizenship with Italy.
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