Member Spotlight: Jennifer Blank
Director of Major Gifts
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Q: Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?
A: At the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, we are dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of adoptions from the 130,000 waiting children in the U.S. and Canadian foster care systems. Every day, children are either entering into or aging out of foster homes. At DTFA, we are relentless in our pursuit to find more forever families faster for these children and youth in foster care. Created by Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation leads programs such as Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Adoption-Friendly Workplace, and National Adoption Day.
I enjoy working for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption because we make such an amazing impact on the lives of the children and families we serve. These children end up in foster care through no fault of their own, and the trauma that they endure to have been removed from their home, and then moved from foster home to foster home leaves these kids pretty shut down. To be able to give them hope and to see families formed through the work that we do every day is pretty amazing.
Q: How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?
A: I have been a member of AFP for about 5 years, first in North Carolina and now in Central Ohio. As I have grown in my career, so too has my involvement in AFP. This year I have been involved in the Scholarship Committee as well as the Mentorship program.
Q: What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?
A: I find the connection and network of people in AFP to be priceless. As a fundraiser, getting to know people is what I love. AFP gives me the opportunity to do that, but with people who have passions and desires to better a diverse and ever changing community of needs. To be connected to this network of fundraisers makes my day to day work that much easier.
Q: How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?
A: I began my fundraising career right out of graduate school (about 7 years). I was introduced to development/advancement work while earning my MFA in Arts Management from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduation, one of my adjunct professors, who happened to be the Chief Advancement Officer at UNCSA, offered me a job at the University as a development officer.
Q: What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite Restaurant?
A: We are transplants, moving to Columbus about 3.5 years ago. While we are still getting to know the area, we love how both big and small the city feels. We live out near Gahanna and find that when we need a small community, we have that in our backyard. We haven’t ventured out much to explore all that Columbus has to offer just yet (we had our daughter right after we moved here!), but look forward to seeing and finding new places around town.
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.
A: I went to Hope College in Holland, MI. One summer while in college, I worked at the local Tulip Time festival, giving tours of an authentic Dutch windmill, dressed in authentic Dutch attire, including wooden shoes!
Posted November 2016