Dedicated to helping others.
IN TALKING WITH SOME OF THE BEST PROFESSIONAL FUNDRAISERS IN ROCHESTER, THEY ALL MENTION THEIR SERENDIPITOUS PATHS TO THEIR PROFESSION, THEIR PASSION FOR THEIR ORGANIZATION AND ITS MISSION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS WITH DONORS. MEET SOME AMAZING AND GRACIOUS WOMEN IN PHILANTHROPY.
THE JOURNEY TO GIVING
Jennifer Woodford, president of Rochester Area Foundation (RAF), says that as part of her college major she was required to do a practicum. She ended up at a nonprofit, working with a major company sponsor, where she continued to work during college. Fast-forward to her arrival in Rochester, as the executive director of Channel One Food Bank.
Stacey Vanden Heuvel is vice president of marketing and philanthropy for Olmsted Medical Center. Her education includes business, accounting, economics and foreign language as well as a family history of giving. She earned a master’s degree in philanthropy and development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with a focus on creating a culture that fosters giving.
Cheryl Hadaway, chief development officer and chair of the Department of Development at Mayo Clinic, has been serving in her current position for six years and working in fundraising at Mayo for 23 years. She says her professional journey has been “serendipitous.” Her undergraduate degree is in human resource management, and she also has a master’s degree in development and philanthropy. She says many people “fall into the profession, and develop skills through experience, coaching and mentoring.”
A PASSION FOR THE MISSION
“You need to have passion for your organization otherwise it’s just a job,” Woodford says. One thing that she loves about philanthropy is that everyone can participate, whether it’s giving millions or just a few dollars.
At Channel One, Woodford repeatedly heard about the need in the community for affordable housing, transportation and quality, affordable child care. Through First Homes, a joint effort with RAF, she is working to make home ownership much more affordable. “If we can (provide) stable housing, (it can) make a difference in the family for generations.”
Vanden Heuvel loves her job, which she views as a vocation, and thinks of it as “working with people to help further their goals” as they align with the organization’s goals “to make the community better and serve others.”
AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Mary Ann Remick, a Rochester woman who donates to many causes, says that giving “has been a lifelong habit.” She and her husband, Jack, have focused on supporting educational causes “because we believe that is the key to making a difference in everyone’s life.”
She advises women, “Start today, even though you may not think you can give a lot. What’s important is that you start giving and it becomes an ingrained part of your life. It’s good to be aware of others’ needs. All of us have been given talents and abilities, and we’re here on this earth to share what we have to make a difference for someone else.”
Woodford says, “Everybody can make a difference,” and that each gift, no matter how big, is appreciated. She encourages more women, especially younger women to become involved in philanthropy.
To learn more about the Association of Fundraising Professionals, go to afpmnsouthern.afpnet.org.
Emily Watkins is a writer and editor.