The Spotlight this month is on WCA Philanthropy Manager, Diana Burrell (pronounced: Dee Anna). Diana started serving at the WCA as a volunteer in 2011, when she became one of the first WCA Ambassadors, and joined the staff on April Fool’s Day 2016.
Diana manages the five member Philanthropy Team, which is responsible for engaging and educating the public about the WCA’s mission, vision and services so that people are motivated to donate their time, talent or treasure to the WCA. They manage 700 active volunteers, 125 Ambassadors and work with thousands of donors. Together, they raise almost half of the WCA’s annual budget and manage the equivalent of an additional five full time employees through volunteers.
Immediately prior to joining the WCA team, Diana was the Development Officer at the Discovery Center of Idaho – Idaho’s only hands-on science center. She made the move to the nonprofit sector as the Programs Director with the Idaho Nonprofit Center in 2013 after working in financial services 19 years. She continues to maintain her Certified Financial Planner™ certification.
Service and philanthropy have always been important to Diana. Her first taste of volunteering was when she was seven years-old in Butte, MT, and she assisted her mom in delivering Meals on Wheels to hospice patients. Of that experience, Diana said “It taught me about humility, giving back and how even the smallest gesture – a smile, sharing a pot of tea, listening to someone – can have a huge impact on someone else’s life.” She has volunteered somewhere, somehow ever since then. Her current volunteer commitment is as a board member and trail angel for the Idaho Trails Association. In that role over the last five years she has worked with a dedicated team of volunteers to grow the young nonprofit from an annual budget to $20,000 a year to over $100,000 and zero to two full-time employees.
Volunteering then working at the WCA has given Diana insight into the nuances of domestic abuse, and the subtle and insidious ways in which an abuser will exert power and control over someone. In her work, Diana is grateful to meet and work with generous members in our community who are willing to help total strangers. The most rewarding part?: ”The hugs. I get a lot of hugs from donors and volunteers who are so moved by what the WCA does, they don’t have words, but have a comforting gesture.”
Diana shared a memorable story she experienced just recently at the WCA: “Just a few days ago one of our former clients shared some of her story at a donor appreciation event. The story of her abuse makes my skin crawl, but she is incredibly brave and strong. She took her baby girl out of that situation. When she left her abusive husband, she had no job (she had never been allowed to work), no money and no place to live. After living in our shelter and working with all of the wrap-around programs we offer, she and her daughter are thriving. She just closed on her first house. The smile on her face and pride in her voice when she told me she bought a house on her own will fill my memory, and feed my soul, for years to come.”
Thank you, Diana, for your many contributions to the work of the WCA!
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