There are individuals who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others. Jennifer Lohse, Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), is one such individual. With a deep-rooted passion for philanthropy and a commitment to making a positive impact, Jennifer has dedicated her life to the nonprofit sector. In a recent interview, Jennifer shares her inspiring story and offers some insights for those considering a career in the social sector.
A Journey Fueled by Passion:
Growing up in a family that valued giving back to the community, she witnessed firsthand the power of philanthropy. This early exposure instilled in her a deep sense of purpose and a desire to make a lasting impact on the lives of others. She fondly recalls, “My mother was a community volunteer, and I used to play ‘go to meetings‘ with my dolls when I was little. I wanted to grow up and be a professional volunteer.” These special moments laid the foundation for her future career.
As a young Girl Scout and later Girl Scout Gold Award Recipient, she was immersed in the world of community service. Jennifer’s involvement with Girl Scouts and other volunteer programs inspired her to pursue a community centric career. “I made it all the way through Girl Scouts up until I became a leader. I was their youngest leader in the service units at the time,” she proudly shared. To this day, you can still find Jennifer supporting her local Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.
The Path to Arizona State University
Jennifer’s journey took an unexpected turn when she met Robert Ashcraft, one of the CNP Campus Directors at ASU and a Board member for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Robert’s enthusiasm about ASU’s nonprofit management program left an impression on Jennifer. She eventually found her way to Arizona State University, despite her family’s connection to the University of Arizona, its rival. She explained, “It was like destiny.” After earning her Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential in 2006 from ASU, Jennifer’s impactful career began.
Jennifer’s passion for the nonprofit sector remains as strong as ever. Since 2009, she has dedicated herself to the Tucson Foundations, founded by her grandfather. The very same organization that inspired her to a career in the nonprofit sector.
In her current role as Vice President of External Relations, she advocates for those difficult-to-fund grantee projects, builds partnerships, and raises awareness. When asked about the driving force behind her work, Jennifer replied, “Passion is what fuels me. It’s the fire that keeps me going, even in the face of challenges. I believe that when you are truly passionate about something, you have the power to create change, to inspire others, and to make a lasting impact.”
Jennifer Lohse’s story serves as a powerful reminder that passion and dedication are the driving forces behind the success of nonprofit professionals. It is their unwavering commitment to their cause that propels them forward, even when the path seems uncertain. In her final words of advice, Jennifer encouraged individuals to take risks. “The nonprofit sector is full of challenges, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. If you’re passionate about making a difference, don’t let fear hold you back.”
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