Meet our New Development Director

by Zoe Hardwick

Q: What motivates you to come to work every day?  

The mission of the organization. I truly believe in the power of education and providing access to those who are further from it. I worked in organizations, specifically youth development organizations, and saw how the impact of programs like Rainier Scholars. Our young people are the future of our world, communities, and planet, and if we don’t give them the support and opportunities they deserve, then we are doing them a disservice.  

I am also inspired by the people I work with. I work with a great group of folks, and they certainly inspire me to come to work every day. In any workplace, your team is incredibly important. Fundraising isn’t for everyone, most people don’t want to do that. My team and I view it as a positive thing! Data shows that the number one reason people give is the joy it brings them. It feels good to give, and it supports the community.  

Q: What led you to Rainier Scholars?  

I have been working in nonprofits for about 15 years and was formerly living and working in the Bay area. I worked for a Silicon Valley organization that supported foster youth through education and employment programming. We started with them freshman year of high school and continued for the next 10+, so in some ways it was like Rainier Scholars—in for the long haul. I saw the students in multiple phases of their lives, from graduating high school, to college, and beyond. I fell in love with watching youth grow into their dreams. When I moved back to Seattle and saw this opportunity with Rainier Scholars, I jumped at it. I met Rafael and thought he was awesome! I believed we would work well together, and I wasn’t wrong.  

Q: Give some words of advice to your younger middle school self.  

I would say, to be patient, be nice to yourself, and that you don’t have to do everything all at once.  

Q: If Rainier Scholars was a book title, what would it be?  

Our luncheon theme was Catalyst for Change. I think that is an accurate book title!  

Q: What is something that made you smile recently?  

Watching my daughter in the wading pool. Little kids are never-ending exploration and discovery. 

Q: What is the coolest personal project you are working on?  

Starting a compostable diaper business in Seattle.