In the nonprofit sector, Tracy Kamen, a passionate Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), is creating a positive impact around the world. In this exclusive interview with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, Tracy shares her story and valuable advice for anyone dreaming of a career making a difference. Get ready to be inspired by Tracy’s unique journey—a journey that’s all about impact!

A Passion Ignited

After graduating from Louisiana State University Shreveport with a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration and the CNP credential in 2019, Tracy’s commitment to the sector was not merely a career choice but a life mission. “I knew I wanted to work with nonprofits since I was in high school,” she shares.

Tracy’s journey as a fundraiser unfolded organically. From undergrad phone-a-thons to internships, she found herself at CCS Fundraising, a consulting firm, running capital campaigns. It was during this time that she recognized the importance of being well-rounded in the sector. “Understanding a budget, equity trends, matching donor preferences to communication—all of that is so important,” Tracy emphasizes.

However, her journey didn’t stop there. Tracy’s fundraising career led her to supporting organizations like the University of Maryland Global Campus, Community Educational Research Group, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and now Global Empowerment Mission.

Bridging the Gap: Navigating Disaster Relief

Global Empowerment Mission, founded in 2011, is Tracy Kamen’s current canvas for creating positive change. Equipped with a diverse skill set, Tracy recently took on the new role of Vice President of Development at Global Empowerment Mission. Reflecting on her promotion, Tracy shares, “I have some footing in government relations. I work with the volunteer department with our in-kind director as well as cash gifts, both individual and institutional.”

Specializing in revolutionizing the disaster relief model, the organization operates with a three-pronged approach—immediate disaster assistance, the gap period, and long-term recovery. Tracy details the significance of the “gap period”, where her organization steps in before government infrastructure and individual assistance can kick in.

From providing food, shelter, and supplies in immediate disaster assistance to overseeing the long-term recovery efforts globally, Tracy’s work at Global Empowerment Mission is a testament to the impact nonprofits can make when disaster strikes.

Local Empowerment: A Unique Approach

Discussing what sets Global Empowerment Mission apart, Tracy emphasizes the importance of empowering the local communities they aid, a principle deeply embedded in the organization’s DNA. In fact, the Global Empowerment Mission celebrates having 9 branches with several offices around the world.

They can do this by developing local teams and partnerships with county and state stakeholders. Together, they begin the relief process from the ground level. Tracy recounts one such instance of the Maui Tools Program, initiated in response to the series of wildfires that broke out in Hawaii this past August. Thanks to Tracy’s hard work, the Global Empowerment Mission was able to provide shopping sprees to contractors who lost their tools and supplies in the fires. This program helped bring more than 50 contractors back to work to begin rebuilding and restoring the homes affected by the fires.

By partnering with the Hawaii Department of Human Services, Tracy’s team also provided 4-12 months of long-term rental assistance to families who have lost their housing. She shares, “It’s the difference between having a home, a job, and sustenance. These programs make sure basic needs are being met when disaster strikes.”

A Mission-Driven Career

For Tracy, the passion behind her work goes beyond titles and missions. “It’s less about the specific mission of the nonprofit for me and more about seeing how much people care and helping them realize their own goals,” Tracy affirms.

As Tracy reflects on her journey, she offers a few words of encouragement to the next generation of leaders. “Staying curious, keeping an open mind, and fostering connectivity is a huge thing,” she emphasizes. She hopes her story resonates with those navigating their own career paths. Tracy Kamen’s story is a narrative of passion, adaptability, and the profound impact one can make in the nonprofit sector.

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