Natalie Reilly-Finch, CFRE
Ascension St. Vincent's Foundation
Why is a 40 under 40 winner
- Natalie has moved from volunteer to phonathon caller, to executive assistant, to development officer, to major gifts and is now a director of a major gifts program–all in the span of 10 years. She has earned a promotion twice within Ascension Health due to her success with six and seven-figure gifts.
- In a previous role, she increased annual giving appeal revenue by 100% in one year and led a successful $1 million capital campaign.
- Natalie’s volunteer experience includes serving as Vice President of the Scleroderma Foundation Michigan Chapter, a board member for the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Rochester University School of Business Advisory Board.
Q & A
1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
I had always felt called toward a career in philanthropy, but hadn’t turned my focus to healthcare until I had an up-close look at the medical industry through my significant other. As he worked through medical school and became a physician, I realized that healthcare isn’t just about clinical care. The things that physicians and medical staff do for people outside of curing them physically—the emotional and spiritual wraparound support that these individuals offer—brought light to a new passion for me. It was this realization that led me to seek out a career at Ascension. Ascension's focus on care for the poor and vulnerable was the perfect fit for me, and five years later I am proud to still be on their fundraising team.
2. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
I originally sought a career in fundraising for political campaigns and earned my Masters in Public Policy. During an internship with the Chicago Mayor's Office, I saw first hand the impact that smaller nonprofits throughout the city were making. I chose to step away from the political world and head into fundraising for local nonprofits. Specifically, I started out as an Executive Assistant at Gads Hill Center for a wonderful CEO, Maricela Garcia, who taught me all aspects of nonprofit management. I believe that job changed my career trajectory.
3. What piece of advice would you give aspiring 40 Under 40 recipients?
If you keep the Mission of your work at the forefront of your day to day responsibilities, anything is possible!