The Goldie Company is proud to support the careers of up-and-coming fundraisers through two scholarships for students enrolled in Humber College’s Fundraising Management program.
This month, we spoke with Maxine Smitiuch, the latest recipient of the Kevin Allen Scholarship for Student Excellence in Fundraising. Established in memory of passionate fundraiser Kevin Allen, this scholarship is awarded to one Humber College student who embodies his generous spirit and shows great promise in the field.
You just received the Kevin Allen Scholarship. Congratulations! What brought you to Humber College for the Fundraising Management program?
Coming to Humber for the Fundraising Management program was a very natural and easy decision for me. When I was growing up, my family always valued the importance of giving back to our community. My parents are both avid volunteers in my hometown of Brantford, and as a child I often volunteered along with them. This inspired me to choose a career in the non-profit sector.
After my first summer working at my local United Way, I realized that fundraising was my passion. I began researching how people had made a career of it. When I spoke with them, they consistently recommended the Humber program. I thought it would be the perfect fit, and, now that I’ve nearly completed the program, I truly believe it was. I feel very privileged to be going into this field of work.
The Humber program offers a post-graduate certificate. What were you doing before you arrived at the college?
Before coming to Humber, I studied at Queen’s University, where I earned my B.A. in Geography. At the time I thought I wanted to be an urban planner. But when I got a taste of fundraising, I became hooked on the idea of working for a non-profit.
The Humber program requires that students complete an internship. Where will you be completing yours, and what do you hope to gain from the experience?
I’m working in the Stewardship and Donor Relations department at SickKids Foundation. I’ve always been passionate about the hospital’s mission and improving the health of children. Naturally, I’m excited and grateful to work for this organization.
What’s next for you, Maxine? What’s your dream job?
Working with children is a passion of mine, so I’d love to work with an organization that supports child health and wellbeing. Feeling passionately about the cause I work for is important to me. I believe that having genuine enthusiasm for the cause is critical to effective fundraising. It inspires your donors to support your cause.
As far as the type of development work I want to do, I have not quite decided what is best for me. Right now, I’m loving stewardship. I’ve also given some thought to major gifts, and could also see myself loving third-party or community events. No matter what I do, I can see myself being motivated to work with individuals who are also passionate about my organization.
I’m excited for the opportunities that my career will offer. Fundraising is what I want to do, and I feel like I’m exactly where I want to be right now.
One last question: What are a few things you’ve learned at Humber that you’ll apply in your career?
The people in this industry are willing to offer advice to those of us who are just beginning our careers. I’ve never had anybody say no to a quick phone call or coffee. At Humber, I learned the value of having a mentor and a good network of colleagues. Eventually, I want to do the same for other people. Maybe even the next group of Humber students!