A Family of Quality Publications Celebrating the Place We Call Home
Name: Kerri Springborn
Job Title: Fundraising Coordinator for Saving Paws Animal Rescue, Inc.
Years on the job: 8 months
While participating with an “engagement team” committee at Kimberly-Clark last year, Kerri Springborn was responsible for organizing a holiday food drive for the Salvation Army. She raised money and collected donations from co-workers, including cases of diapers and Kleenex donated by her products department. The camaraderie and togetherness it created among her co-workers ignited something inside Springborn.
“It was wonderful seeing everyone get really interested and come together at work,” Springborn says with a smile. “And when you walk in [the Salvation Army] with all of these donations and just see their jaws drop; it made me feel good to make all of these people happy.”
It made her want to do more. In April 2012, Springborn became the fundraising coordinator for Saving Paws Animal Rescue, Inc., in addition to working her full-time job. She had been fostering animals in her home for the organization since 2009, providing a temporarily shelter for them until they can find permanent “furever homes,” and they were desperately in need of someone to arrange charity events and fundraisers. Springborn decided to step up.
She is in charge of organizing charity events at local business’s like Northshore Bank, PetSmart, Tanners and even local golf courses. Saving Paws gets involved with an average of 15 to 20 fundraisers a year and it takes about 10-15 hours a week to keep on top of the organizations fundraising events. The money raised provides food, utility and veterinary bills, cat litter, blankets and toys.
“One of my goals is to create a pie chart showing a breakdown of expenses and how much of every dollar donated goes toward which expenses,” Springborn says. She feels it is important for people to know how their money is spent when they donate to a charity.
The organization is operated entirely by volunteers donating their free time to help take care of animals and participate with raising money.
She is currently in the midst of arranging the shelter’s biggest charity event of the year. The Holiday Miracle, every year in November, collects donated items from many local businesses and requires a staff of around 20 volunteers. An event space needs to be rented, dinner needs to be catered and there are raffles to arrange. All of this requires time and energy from many individuals. It is Springborn’s job to keep things running smoothly.
Because the shelter is operated entirely by volunteers, they really depend on people donating their free time to keep the shelter going. Summers are the most difficult to staff because of travel plans and vacations. Everyone wants to enjoy the nice weather.
Additionally, the constant shuffle of people has caused some details from previous fundraisers to fall through the cracks. Springborn plans to organize a central location for storing information about previous fundraisers. For example, knowing contact names, if animals can come to the location, what supplies they need to bring. Additionally she intends on getting an early start on contacting business’s for donations.
“Many businesses want to donate but can’t because it’s too late in the year and their budget has already been exhausted.”
It can be hard work at times, but to Springborn it’s worth it. Keeping this shelter going helps to keep a lot of animals out of harms way.
“You really have to care about the animals and not want to see them get hurt.”
—By Sonia Zimmerman
Name: Kelly Hicks
Occupation: Executive Director of Youth Go/Haunted House Coordinator
Years on the Job: 8
With her sweet personality, you’d never know that during the month of October, Kelly Hicks transforms into a devilish ghoul by night for the annual Youth Go Haunted House. Youth Go, located on Nicolet Boulevard in Neenah, is a volunteer powered, supportive community that aims to help youth learn and grow in a safe and fun environment. The organization provides tutoring, daily games and activities, field trips and youth leadership training.
The first haunted house was actually developed by one of the teens involved in Youth Go. With the support of the staff and board, the idea became a reality. The youth had such a great experience working with the house that it became a permanent fixture for Youth Go, becoming one of the organization’s largest fundraisers.
Along with roaming the inside of the house drawing screams from visitors, it is Executive Director Hicks’s responsibility to coordinate the youth actors and adult volunteers. Anywhere from 40—80 kids show up to help each year, though Hicks says she never knows if there will be enough help.
“It’s a miracle that we always do,” she laughs. “Kids come because it’s fun, they love it, and it directly benefits Youth Go.” Hicks emphasizes the importance of the Youth Go staff leading youth by example and showing their silly and creative sides.
“We want to create an environment where the youth are comfortable acting,” Hicks explains.
Planning for the next year’s Haunted House begins the day the House closes for the season. “Our adult volunteers started construction for this year in the spring, and youth volunteers have started coming in for decorating lessons,” says Hicks.
But Hicks’s responsibilities extend far beyond the House. As executive director, she is responsible for writing grants, community outreach, and working with the kids in the Youth Go center on a day to day basis.
“If I’m going to go out and advocate for the group in the community, I need to understand where the kids are coming from,” she says.
Hicks says she is often asked how long Youth Go will continue doing the Haunted House, now in its 27th year. Her answer runs true to the mission of Youth Go.
“I always tell them the same thing. As long as the kids love doing it, we will continue doing it.”
—By Rebecca Turchan
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