Around the Fox Advancement office, Paul Rasmussen is known for having great restaurant recommendations and an eye for hidden treasure. This week, he celebrates one year of working at the firm, and shares why the unexpected is at the heart of fundraising.
Paul, you were with the United Way before joining the firm, and you spent some time in Atlanta earning an MBA, but how did you begin working with nonprofits?
Nonprofit development isn’t really something that you plan on doing. It definitely wasn’t on my radar as a career track in high school or most of college. That changed when I did a project in college with a non-profit that was building a camp for kids with special needs. As I worked with them through what we would call a Feasibility Study to help them assess whether the project was attainable, I found myself energized by the ways that the community’s need and donors’ excitement about the project came together.
Ever since then, I’ve been working at the intersection between philanthropy and community. The place where those two meet is a dynamic space where I get to help an organization think big about their impact and vision for the future, while also inviting donors into that space to co-create that vision.
Where do you see that intersection between philanthropy and community happening in the Twin Cities?
I see that intersection all the time in my work at Fox. Most recently, I saw that partnership between great nonprofits and mission-driven people who want to share their resources and passion for improving the community come together in the launch of Communities In Schools of the Twin Cities. All of the partners and stakeholders came together to meet a huge need in the community. So much reflection and community building went into getting CIS up and running, and I’m very proud of our team’s role in taking a project that started as an idea and bringing it to life.
Besides team lunches over tots from Uncle Frankie’s and Friday bring-your-dog-to-work days, what are you most looking forward to at Fox this year?
I’m really excited to continue learning from our clients, and building experience in capital campaigns and feasibility. That’s one of the things that energizes me about working at Fox: I get to help organizations build great teams and set up systems for success while I’m also continuing to learn about the nonprofit landscape in the Twin Cities. The challenge and fun of the variety of clients we serve and the work that we do is what it’s all about.