Member Spotlight: Carly Johnson

Carly Johnson

Assistant Director of Development, Cristo Rey Columbus High School

Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

Cristo Rey is a Catholic, college-prep high school with a unique professional work-study program in which students gain real-world job experience and build lasting mentoring relationships. We serve students of all faiths from economically challenged families. I love working in the school and feeling the students’ energy. Every 45 minutes a bell rings, and the hallways are filled with life! It’s a great reminder of why I’m doing this work.

What is one thing your organization does really well?

We do an excellent job of preparing students for professional work. By the time they graduate high school, they have four years of actual work experience and have developed both hard and soft skills. This builds their resumes and also their confidence. Along the way, they form meaningful mentoring relationships with adults at their workplaces which can be invaluable to their success.

How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?

I joined AFP in 2015. I was new to the field of development and a friend recommended I check it out. What a great suggestion! I’ve found excellent education opportunities and built strong relationships with colleagues. I’ve served on the Marketing and Communications, Education, and NPD Nomination committees.

What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

I am grateful to have received three scholarships from AFP that helped me build and then strengthen my foundation in fundraising. The first two were for membership and the Fundamentals of Fundraising course. Recently, I was awarded the chapter’s Chamberlain Scholarship to attend the AFP International Fundraising Conference. It was an outstanding experience, from the educational sessions, to the networking, to the inspiration from speakers like Bryan Stevenson. Thank you, AFP!

How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?
I practiced intellectual property law in Miami, Florida for eight years. When I moved back home to Columbus, I thought it was time to explore something new. I had always volunteered with kids and in education and thought it would be rewarding to work for those passions as well. I am thrilled that my first job in fundraising supports incredible students and an innovative educational model at Cristo Rey!

What has been your biggest learning opportunity in your career?

Working in a small shop as part of a two-person team. By necessity, I have taken on many different projects and learned so much in the process. I’m grateful that my Director, Chris Donovan, has supported my growth by trusting me with new and bigger challenges.

What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to go?

Because I grew up here, it’s been exciting to see Columbus develop over the years. My favorite restaurant is Basi Italia, and I enjoy going to Blue Jackets games, hiking in our Metro Parks, and visiting our galleries and museums.           

Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.
I lived in Italy twice and used to speak Italian! Sadly, that language has faded from my brain.