Fundraising Five with Kim Bowman
Describe your role with Way to Grow. Why are you passionate about Way to Grow's work?
I am serving as the first Director of Major and Planned Giving for Way to Grow, an early childhood education organization that walks with the most isolated parents to equip them to prepare their children for school. We are growing and it’s exciting to see the high success rates we are achieving even in challenging times. I am deeply inspired by Way to Grow’s vision that every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and life. Who can disagree? With racial disparities in the spotlight, our work has become even more urgent. We’re strengthening families and the whole community benefits when everyone is contributing and can enjoy the rewards of life. I am so grateful for the daily efforts of our Family Educators who are engaging parents in their children’s education so that their little ones can shine.
How long have you worked with Fox Advancement, and in what capacity? What do you appreciate about your partnership with Fox Advancement?
Way to Grow has used Fox’s grant writing services for many years, and this spring, we hired Fox to assist us with a capital campaign. I appreciate the wisdom and insight they have earned from their work with different charities, as well as their understanding of current trends and best practices. They bring clarity to complex situations and deliver helpful solutions.
What do you enjoy most about fundraising? What is an example of a fundraising challenge you faced, and how did you overcome it?
It’s a beautiful thing to witness when individuals and couples are moved to share their own resources in service to others. Generosity makes my heart sing, and it’s a joy to be part of those inspired conversations and transformations. These are the people who are making new things happen in our world, and there is a seat at the table for everyone to do what they can.
During the pandemic, Way to Grow doubled-down on staying in business to continue serving children and families when they needed us most – despite the uncertainty – but we did pause our capacity building and expansion campaign to focus on support for operations. Truly, we were blown away by the generosity of our donors, and lots of new donors found us as part of the solution to addressing racial disparities in our community.
To re-launch our campaign, we sought advice and insight from Fox Advancement on how to create new momentum and engagement with our donors and campaign volunteers. Fox has been leading us through a helpful process that is coming along nicely.
What is a particularly memorable interaction you've had with a donor, board member, or volunteer?
A lovely couple comes to mind where we had some very purposeful conversations about Way to Grow’s programs that help parents prepare their children for school. Their support leaped from a first modest gift to a major gift and soon after that, they announced a significant 10 year pledge. What’s really nifty is that the inspiration for this gift began years earlier when they heard our Board Member, Dr. Art Rolnick, speak to the power of early childhood education in transforming lives and reducing poverty, and learned of Art’s studies on the very high return on investment in early childhood education. Art had planted the seeds, so when I met this thoughtful couple, they were ready to jump in.
On a personal note: Describe your perfect day from beginning to end!
Waking up at the cozy lake cabin, windows thrown open, hearing the birds sing and anticipating the sunny day ahead, a kayaking adventure, supper on the grill and a bonfire under the stars!