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 Jaya Mootoo, 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.
Jaya, congratulations on receiving this scholarship! What brought you to Humber College for the Fundraising Management program?
Five years ago, after having my third child, I had the opportunity to go back to school for the Event Management program at Humber College. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I put my work career on hold and went for it. I completed the program with the highest GPA in my class and a love for the study of wine – but I still wanted more.
Upon graduation, I was looking to further expand my education. The coordinator of my program suggested I look into the Fundraising Management program – she felt I was a natural fundraiser. Last summer, I spoke with Denny Young and decided to enroll. I wanted to get the formal education to complement my professional experience and knowledge. This program would also connect me to a vast network of talented professionals, which would be fundamental to my future and success in the fundraising sector.
Did you have any other chances work in the field before coming to Humber?
My background is in social services and community development, with expertise in diversity and inclusion, food security, youth empowerment, and supporting victims of domestic violence. Through this work, I was involved in creating, planning, and executing many community engagement and fundraising events.
In 2007, I created the “Cram a Cruiser” food drive and fundraiser with Peel Regional Police. This is a volunteer-driven event, involving police officers collecting food and monetary donations outside of grocery stores for local food banks and other community initiatives. Toronto Police Services and the Ontario Provincial Police adopted the event shortly thereafter. It has now spread across North America, raising funds and helping many people. I consider this initiative one of my life’s legacies.
What’s next for you, Jaya? How do you see the next steps of your career progressing?
In the near term, I’m interested in finding a position where I can really expand and apply my skills, experience, and knowledge. I want to apply the theory we learned in class to real-world practice. I’m also hoping to add to my experience in departmental management in the fundraising sector. Working with a supportive and inclusive organization where I can be creative and innovative is important to me. I’m planning to apply for the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy, so finding an organization that would support that learning is a priority. I also love teaching and I would like to continue educating people and being a mentor in my field.
I believe it’s a perfect time for me to be bringing my experience in community development to the fundraising sector. In particular, I’d like to help address workplace violence and harassment and make it easier and safer for fundraising professionals, volunteers, and others to come forward and get access to help. Many employers don’t know how to help people who disclose workplace violence, so I’d also like to help organizations prepare to more effectively support them.
Long term, I’d love to open my own business or social enterprise, either as a consultant or connect my experiences to feed people. Feeding people is one of my main passions.
One last question: What are a few things you’ve learned at Humber that you’ll apply in your continued career?
Resiliency and adaptability are key in life and fundraising. While attending the AFP Congress last year, I met many professionals who have managed to overcome challenges and negativity in their careers. It was impressive to see that they were still positive and passionate about their work! This year, I will be presenting at AFP on the importance of resiliency, with some truly resilient and brilliant fundraising colleagues.
I also learned that fundraising is changing. As a sector, we need to truthfully look at diversity, inclusion, and leadership. If we don’t take this seriously, and if we don’t create environments where people feel appreciated and safe, we will miss out – on people and fundraising opportunities.
On a very practical level, the Humber Fundraising Management program taught me how to run an organization and fundraising department, from the art of storytelling and managing finances and budgeting resources to the importance of saying thank you and best practices when working with people, data and technology.
On a deeper level, the program and people associated with it have taught me that when you have people who truly support and believe in you, you can succeed, no matter what life throws at you. I hope to be that person for the people I encounter in my daily life.
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