2019 40 Under 40 Winners

2019 40 Under 40 Logo

Lauren Kiger

Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters
Norfolk, VA

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

1. In 2018, Lauren and her team launched TeamCHKD.org, an online community for grateful patients, community and corporate teams to fundraise in honor of, in memory of, or in celebration of an event or milestone. In its first year, the community generated over $200,000 in support.

2. She has secured 10 new corporate partners over the past two years at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and has seen considerable growth in revenue from existing partners.

3. In a previous role at VCU Massey Cancer Center, Lauren's work resulted in more than $549,000 raised in 2016 for the Massey Challenge, a peer to peer fundraising event. This was the largest fundraising year in the history of the Massey Challenge.

4. While living in Richmond, VA, Lauren volunteered as a board member for Sportable, a nonprofit organization that provides adaptive sports and recreational opportunities for people with physical and visual disabilities. She also served as the founding chair of Young Women’s Leadership Alliance of the YWCA of Richmond, a leadership board for rising professional women.

Q & A

1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

Like most great things, by accident. I grew up volunteering for several organizations. In 2014, I was working in crisis intervention for the YWCA of Richmond and pursuing my master’s in public administration at the same time at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) but planned to leave direct service work in favor nonprofit management. As fate would have it, a neighbor worked for VCU’s Massey Cancer Center at the time and over cocktails and conversation one afternoon, she peaked my interest in her work at the cancer center, and the interconnectedness of grateful patients, community relations and fundraising. The next day, she offered me a job. Shout out to networking! While at Massey, I had the opportunity to work with events, cause marketing, board relations and major gift solicitation. At a public university like VCU, philanthropy is intertwined with higher education and medical research while connecting back to a mission rooted in saving lives and caring for the patients we served. 

2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?

I have always been drawn to work for organizations whose mission I connected to on a personal level. Since college, I’ve worked for domestic and sexual violence shelters, organizations fighting hunger and conducting cancer research, all paralleling experiences I’ve had or was facing at that time in my own life. When I became Alice’s mother in 2017, and especially when she was hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD), pediatric health care rocketed to the top of my list of important causes so when I was offered a position at CHKD, it was a natural fit. Since then, with the desperate need of pediatric mental health care, I am committed to ensuring children receive access to not just medical care, but mental health care. Health is at the root of all children’s future and should be a priority in our communities. 

3. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

As an events manager, I worked with a grateful family on hosting a run to benefit the organization. In just two years, with the help of family, friends and their small town about an hour outside the city, they raised more than $100,000 for our organization. In all of our interactions and time together, I never asked him for a gift until one day, he said, “Aren’t you going to ask me for a gift?” So, I did. That was my first major gift solicitation and gift to the organization. We hear about process and strategies for soliciting gifts frequently, but in reality, it’s just about the relationships we build with our donors. As a person, he shaped my understanding of philanthropy and gave me the confidence to know when to just make the ask. I’ve been a major gift officer ever since. 

4. What was your first job, and what is something it taught you?

Hostess at O’Sullivans Wharf, or “Sully’s.” Sully’s was a local dive that attracted a diverse group of people on any given day. It was the greatest people watching opportunity. I learned quickly how to adapt to the person(s) before me and meet them where they are. Customer service in restaurants is no joke – I’m a little more patient and definitely a better tipper.  

5. What are your future aspirations?

Through 2022, I’m dedicated to CHKD’s construction of a pediatric mental health facility. Though it’ll take the entire village, for my part, I am deeply passionate and personally committed to seeing our hospital exceed our goals in expanding mental health services for children in the inpatient and outpatient settings as well as developing outreach programs for our communities. I love our hospital’s efforts in preventing the need for medical intervention and look forward to exploring opportunities with our health care system in the future. 

Mental health is also a passion I share with my mother, who spent many years serving on boards for children’s causes and has joined our Mental Health Campaign Cabinet, so having an opportunity to work professionally with her is rewarding. Her work with organizations like the Virginia Zoo, Virginia Opera and CHKD’s Child Abuse Program is what inspired me to become a volunteer in the first place. 

After that, the sky is the limit! Maybe be the one who gives the money instead of asking for it?
Lauren Kiger

Fun Fact:

I learned how to scuba dive at 15 years old in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Since my certification, I’ve been to Costa Rica, Fiji, Dominican Republic and along the VA/NC coast.