Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, August 22, 2011

Kruse values giving back to community


After graduating in May 2012, Katie Kruse joined the University of Wisconsin Foundation as a campaign manager.

Dalia Dannenberg from Capitol IndemnityCorporation (middle) presents a donation toRestoring Hope Transplant House Executive Director Cindy Herbst (left) and La Follette School student Katie Kruse, who interned at Restoring Hope Transplant House.

After graduating from Luther College in 2007, Katie Kruse moved to Madison committed to working for a nonprofit organization, preferably one whose mission focused on health and social services.

Kruse spent a couple of years coordinating volunteers for HospiceCare. She worked as a loaned executive on the annual United Way fund-raising campaign, gaining on-the-ground experience in how nonprofits operate, raise money and coordinate people.

To build her management skills, Kruse turned to the La Follette School in 2010 and enrolled in the Master of Public Affairs degree program. "The non-profit management and public management classes have given me practical skills, as well as a broader perspective and way of thinking about issues that arise," Kruse says. "I appreciate the small size of the program and how accessible the professors are."

In addition to her coursework, Kruse volunteers at HospiceCare's hospitality desk and chaired the American Heart Association Heart Ball Silent Auction committee for two years, every summer she does a 500-mile charity bicycle ride to raise money for American Heart Association.

She also works as a community educator with the Rape Crisis Center. "I travel around the county and give presentations in middle and high school classrooms," she says. "I really appreciate the opportunity to share important information about sexual assault with students."

For 2011-12, Kruse is serving as the social coordinator for the La Follette School Student Association by organizing opportunities for students, alumni, friends of the school, faculty and staff to get together.

This summer, Kruse is interning with Restoring Hope Transplant House in Middleton, a suburb of Madison. Kruse finds she is doing a little bit of everything for the nonprofit organization but primarily grant writing, fund-raising and volunteer program development. "My internship has been excellent experience in how non-profits form and develop," she says. "I have also learned so much about fund-raising, relationship-building and capital campaigns."

Restoring Hope Transplant House is raising funds to renovate a 16-bedroom house into a "home away from home" for patients who are in the area for organ, bone marrow or other transplants. "The house will offer a caring environment with high-quality, affordable accommodations for patients and their caregivers," Kruse says. "This environment will provide the emotional support and financial relief that transplant families need during a very difficult time."

All these experiences reinforce Kruse's dedication to public service. "I believe it is very important to give back to the community and world I live in," she says. "I can't imagine working in another field."

— article last updated June 14, 2012