Jennifer Coffey serves as the Director of Advancement at Partners In Housing (PIH). PIH develops affordable housing that helps vulnerable citizens leave homelessness behind forever, while giving them support and a chance to reach their highest level of self-sufficiency. Jennifer is responsible for fundraising, communications, marketing and events for the organization.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Jennifer loves spending time enjoying the city. She also enjoys traveling, camping, hiking and goofing around with her two daughters, Alexandra and Grace and her husband, Noah. If you don’t find her with her family, she is probably out with friends enjoying restaurants and breweries around town.
One of her favorite work moments of 2014 was realizing that she actually really liked The Walking Dead series during one of PIH’s events, Brains & Beer. Watching The Walking Dead season premiere with 150+ people who love the show and were dressed as zombies was an amazing experience and one she can’t wait for again this fall.
Jennifer holds degrees in nonprofit management and marketing through Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. She serves as board president of Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, and volunteers for the ALS Association and Giving Sum. She is also an alumna of Alpha Phi Omega, (co-educational) National Service Fraternity.
1. What is your name?
2. How long have you lived in Indy?
I was born and raised in Indianapolis and I am very proud to be a Hoosier.
3. Why have you focused your career on the nonprofit sector?
Since high school I felt called to work in the nonprofit sector. I always wanted to find a way to give of my time, my life, to help others. I never saw myself as doing anything else. Serving others was ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. A quote by Margaret Mead that many in this field love, called to me at a young age and it stuck with me, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
4. What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?
Follow your passion. Just like you would do for a for-profit job, ask yourself, "what do I want to spend all day, every day doing?" and "what do I love doing as a volunteer?" If it is helping the homeless, work for a nonprofit that serves the homeless. If you love animals, work for a nonprofit that serves animals. You won’t stay around long with the nonprofit if you aren’t passionate or connected to the mission. And once you know where your passion is, start volunteering for the organizations that serve that population, get to know them and who they are. And they will in turn get to know you and who you are. It will make it easier when you want to apply for a position at the nonprofit. They will see how committed you are to the mission and what your skills are in advance.
5. If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?
Cooking. I would love to learn how to cook well. Right now I dislike cooking because I don’t know enough about what works well with an ingredient and it is a chore. I made soup the other day for the second time ever from scratch and it was amazing. And I enjoyed it.
6. If you were an inanimate object, which would you be and why?
I would want to be a camera. I would always be close by for all of life’s best moments. I am with them at their happiest moment when they capture the beauty they see through the lens. I would get to travel with them, see their love through their eyes, and help them remember those moments for all time. Even if used to capture those sad or horrible moments of unrest or hurt, I would be there to see it through their eyes and allow others to hopefully see it and find ways to help whoever is in need.
7. What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
There is so much to accomplish; too much to list. But in the end, I hope that whatever I do in life, I accomplish it with 100 percent of my all. That I will not have any regrets at the end of the day or end of my life.
Want to support Jennifer's work?
The Great Birdhouse Challenge is almost here! A unique event, the Great Birdhouse Challenge features one-of-a-kind birdhouses crafted by local artists, architects, children, woodworkers and other creative types. They’ll be up for auction – along with other cool lots – at Indiana Landmarks on Saturday, April 18. The event runs from 6-8:30pm and it’s free (but you have to RSVP on Eventbrite to save your spot).
See more at: http://www.partnersinhousingindy.org