“What does it mean to be a fundraiser? How do you make a living by asking others for money? Does it make you uncomfortable? Oh I could never do that…”
These are all questions or statements that have been shared with me over the years. I didn’t dream of a career in development when I was a kid. I enjoyed pretending to be the teacher while my siblings were the students. I majored in English and began a career in marketing and public relations. After a stint in real estate sales, I began to reflect on what I wanted to do and what I found meaningful while utilizing my skills and talents.
If you believe in something passionately, it is easy to ask others to be a part of it. I have found this at Hillel. As the Director of Institutional Advancement at Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, I am able to get to know students at campuses that are as diverse as the students who attend them. I see my job as one that enables students at West Chester University to hold their first student-run Seder for 40 students, that assists students at Temple University expand the Cook for a Friend program and one where students at Penn and Drexel can travel to Israel and other exotic locations learning about themselves and others.
In my role at Hillel, I meet and learn from insightful, caring and successful individuals and then connect them to the causes they are passionate about. One donor may have fond childhood memories of celebrating Shabbat and would like to sponsor Friday night dinners at Hillel. Another supporter may be drawn to the inclusive feelings she gets when she sees the diversity of our student population and staff. Every donor who invests their time, energy or resources to Hillel is someone who understands the true meaning of what it means to give. It is a privilege to build relationships with donors and lay leaders and to learn from their varied backgrounds and experiences.
Both of my parents have made their careers in the non-profit arena and they are the ultimate role models and mentors for me.
As Rabbi Hillel said: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
I feel fortunate to do the job I do every day for an organization that enables me to build relationships with the leaders of the past, present and future.
Brooke Schostak serves as the Director of Development for Drexel Hillel and the Director of Institutional Advancement for Hillel of Greater Philadlephia.