Vice President of Advancement, Make-A-Wish Alabama
With over 15 years of nonprofit experience, Valerie has played a pivotal role in increasing Make-A-Wish Alabama’s revenue by more than 150% since she began in 2015. She has held numerous leadership positions in community organizations and was named one of the “Women Who Shape the State” in Alabama in 2020. In addition to procuring the chapter’s first million-dollar corporate partner, Valerie also launched Alabama’s Trailblaze Challenge program, which has grossed nearly 4 million dollars in six years. She has established two volunteer regional councils, spearheaded numerous new events, and helped retool the chapter’s volunteer program. Seeing donors become volunteers, volunteers become Trailblazers, Trailblazers become board members, and wish parents become donors—these full circle moments are her favorite parts of her job. Valerie is a proud graduate of Auburn University, an Enneagram 3, an ENTJ, and the mother of two daughters who share her love of the sun, Harry Potter, and personality tests.
Chapter Events Fundraising Manager, Make-A-Wish America
Katie brings over 15 years of relationship-based fundraising, program and project development, and event management knowledge. She has worked in a forward-facing leadership role for much of her professional career and has found a home supporting mission-driven organizations dedicated to transforming lives. Katie previously worked at Make-A-Wish Illinois on the Mission Delivery team, and at Make-A-Wish San Diego, most recently as their Director of Event Giving. She joined Make-A-Wish America in May as the Chapter Event Fundraising Manager, supporting fundraising, event strategy and execution, across 58 Make-A-Wish chapters enterprise-wide – specifically Walk For Wishes, the Trailblaze Challenge, and Gala and social events.
Katie’s strengths lie in creating radical connection with donors to support RORI – return on relationship investment, and ROE–return on engagement. As a fundraiser, Katie believes in prioritizing donors by better understanding their unique entry points into an organization and then acting as a driver and a champion for their unique donor journeys. In this way, Katie prioritizes both the organization’s revenue and relationship goals, while curating donor specific outreach and development efforts based on each supporter’s needs and interests. Her deep understanding of donors as real people has driven charitable giving commitments up to $1million dollars, six-figure multi-year corporate and community partnership agreements and has contributed to the identification and onboarding of new board members and long-time, dedicated volunteers. She is proud and grateful to have played a part in creating community, and to both lead and learn from so many impactful change-makers.
Katie innately understands the value of creating human connections. Her experience has allowed her to live and work with purpose and execute her job with passion – not only transforming the lives of wish kids and donors, but her own life as well.