Kimberly Bowers Rollins, ’05, adjusted quickly so Goodwill of Greater Washington could serve new needs.
Photograph by Ana Isabel

Stronger together

September 8, 2021

Community

At its pre-pandemic peak, Goodwill of Greater Washington employed more than 1,000 team members. When it was forced to temporarily shut retail operations, the nonprofit had to furlough the majority of its staff, many of whom were also its clients, for three months.

“My job immediately shifted from traditional fundraising to securing emergency funds to keep our doors open,” said Kimberly Bowers Rollins, ’05, vice president of development for Goodwill of Greater Washington. “Our fundraising centered on everything COVID exacerbated.”

Her efforts as the organization’s fundraiser-in-chief allowed the organization to ramp up its client outreach at a time it was desperately needed. The nonprofit opened a virtual career center, loaned out laptops, partnered with Comcast to provide internet access, and launched an emergency assistance fund. It also raised money to cover furloughed employees’ health insurance.

“I take seriously my role as a connector of people, causes, passions, and resources,” she said. She continues doing this today. A favorite moment is the graduations that follow Goodwill’s employment training programs.

“Dressed in their caps and gowns, our graduates smile and cry with their family members,” she said. “Graduation is never the end — it’s the beginning that sets our participants on the path to securing and retaining employment. It’s exciting to know that the fundraising I do supports not only individual participants, but the trajectories of entire families.”