By Hannah Sinclair
University of Iowa PRSSA members were fortunate to meet with Jenifer Vick of Four Oaks, a non-profit organization promoting child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health. Currently, Jenifer is the grants director. She writes new grants and manages a multi-million dollar portfolio for the agency.
Jenifer has always worked in human services, primarily in the fundraising department. She had been the development director for two organizations before she began at Four Oaks in 2011, where she recently got a promotion as grants director. Jenifer offered a very informative overview as to what grants entail. She points out that most grants are competitive in nature so while it is important to make a grant simple and straightforward, it is also vital to make the grant stand out. She suggested incorporating a personal story of how the program has helped someone in the past because it would be useful in illustrating what exactly the money would go towards. Further, she emphasized really uplifting the mission of the organization, a task not hard for Jenifer as her passion for Four Oak’s objectives was evident.
Jenifer highlighted how rewarding and satisfying her time working for non-profit organizations has been. She says she feels lucky to help fulfill a mission she believes in that contributes to her community in such a positive way. She believes working in a non-profit setting has permitted for more of a work-life balance, which has allowed her to spend more time with her child. Jenifer says she loves every aspect of her job and genuinely looks forward to going to work every morning. Her advice to students is to pay attention in classes and see what intrigues them and makes them excited and ideally find a job that can incorporate these components. Overall, Jenifer offered many useful insights as to what working for a non-profit organization entails and left students feeling inspired and hopeful as to how gratifying their potential job could be.