Staff Profile – Heidi James
Heidi James, our V.P. of Development, came to Bread & Roses Presents a little over a year and a half ago with decades of experience leading successful fundraising campaigns for nonprofits throughout the Bay Area. A natural relationship builder, mixed with creativity and a passion for the community, Heidi has brought a new level of donor stewardship to our organization. Jordan Moore, our newest hire, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Heidi to learn more about her journey in the world of nonprofits, what she loves most about Bread & Roses and her successful revamping of the Mimi Fariña Heritage Society. Q. When did you realize you had a passion for fundraising?
A. I was asked to lead an endowment campaign for a nonprofit I worked for previously when I first realized the importance of effective communication with donors. I saw an opportunity to take each relationship beyond a transaction into a deeper more personalized connection. Using this approach, Bread & Roses is able to enhance our engagement with the community, better communicate our mission and create longer-lasting relationships with each of our amazing donors. Each donor has a unique story about why they support Bread & Roses. Being able to learn first-hand why someone is passionate about helping our organization spread the healing power of music to our community makes coming into work each day a new adventure. Q. So have you always wanted to work for a nonprofit?
A. Surprisingly no. I originally wanted to be an Aerobics Instructor and work in the corporate health and fitness world. (Which wasn’t really that surprising to me considering how active Heidi is. She usually spends her weekends on the fairway and bikes to work every day.) I was actually teaching a senior aerobics class when I learned that a few of my class participants were volunteer performers for Bread & Roses. Looking back it’s interesting to think I was introduced to the organization twenty years ago and am now the V.P. of Development. I am so happy to be where I am today and work for such a great organization.
Q. How would you describe your first year and a half at Bread & Roses?
A. Honestly, it has just been so much fun. I have learned so much about our rich history and built so many great relationships with our performers, volunteers and donors. I’m still blown away by how many volunteers and donors have been supporting Bread & Roses for three to four decades. It’s rare to find an organization that has that level of support and commitment from the community. My favorite days at the office are when someone stops by to tell us a story about Mimi, or about a concert they did for us in years past, or to drop off a box of cookies from Schubert’s Bakery in San Francisco (Mimi’s favorite). Everyone that comes to visit is so caring and truly embraces our mission.
Q. What can you tell me about the Mimi Fariña Heritage Society?
A. The Mimi Fariña Heritage Society is a planned giving society that was created to allow individuals to leave a legacy for years to come. Our planned giving donors will have a lasting impact on future generations, helping us to continue to bridge the gap between the performing arts and social services by supporting live music for isolated individuals. Reaching out to our current members in the Mimi Fariña Heritage Society has been an incredible opportunity to connect with and hear the stories of each person.