Staff Spotlight: Andrew Kerr, Director of Development August 11, 2014 by Nick Johnson
By: Sophia Wilhelm, Communications Intern
Andrew was drawn to Carolina for Kibera by new professional challenges, as well as its location. Though he had extensive prior experience with international non-profit work, the one area Andrew had never visited was the continent of Africa. After traveling to Kibera, Andrew found that it was similar to places he had been before. “It felt familiar. The sight, sounds, and smell all reminded me of places that I had traveled to with other organizations.”
Fundraising for CFK also presented an exciting, new challenge. Whereas his previous work focused on short-term projects in multiple places, CFK’s work focuses on developing long-term projects in one specific, multi-faceted place. To help develop these projects, Andrew knew that CFK’s U.S. office location on UNC’s campus in the FedEx Global Education Center provided unique opportunities to partner with neighboring professional schools, including the School of Social Work, School of Public Health, and UNC’s prestigious Medical School.
For CFK, Andrew’s past accomplishments made him an ideal candidate for the organization’s first Director of Development. Before Andrew joined the team, the U.S. office only had one full-time staff member. In an effort to grow and move forward, it was clear that another staff member with an in-depth knowledge of development would be needed. Andrew previously served as the Director of Development for All Hands Volunteers, an international disaster relief non-profit, staying in that position for a total of 4 ½ years. Under his direction, the organization’s revenue soared tremendously from $500,000 to $3 million a year. When Andrew made his way to CFK, he knew he could set similar goals to create a better and broader impact.
In addition to his work with All Hands, Andrew has completed both Duke University’s Non-Profit Management Certificate Program at Duke and Boston University’s Professional Fundraising Certificate Program. He is also on the Executive Board of the Research Triangle Park Rotary Club. These credentials and experiences further cement Andrew as an experienced fundraiser in non-profit settings.
Fitting with his area of expertise, he views CFK’s Economic and Entrepreneurship Department as its most compelling and exciting initiative. “It’s often the case that a steady income helps solve a wide range of problems,” he explains. “If you get sick, you need to be able to afford going to a doctor. With more funds, people can also lead healthier lifestyles.” He adds that this applies to more than just health, citing education as another example. “When you educate children, it creates a positive effect for them and their families down the road. It takes an initial investment to do that.”
Andrew recognizes that sometimes big changes can be intimidating, but that in order to move forward, you have to embrace them. “What people think and feel all change as we go through life. Organizations are no different.” Among CFK’s upcoming projects, Andrew is particularly energized for the construction of CFK’s new center for the Daughters United program, saying, “It will be fascinating to watch the impact the Center will have on girls in Kibera.” He also believes that building fundraising capacity is necessary for CFK’s stability and sustainability. “Growing our financial base in both the U.S. and Kenya will be critical for CFK’s success as an organization.”
Andrew’s experience, insight, and innovative spirit help him carry out the duties of his position. We are lucky to have him as a member of the U.S. team, dedicated to expanding our reach and helping CFK provide more services to more people.