WESTMINSTER -- Kurn Hattin Homes for Children just completed its first academic year with Kim Fine and F. Lisa Bloch anchoring the school's development department following the promotion of Connie Sanderson.
Sanderson joined Tom Fahner as co-executive director in January 2012 and for a while continued to also serve in her role as director of development and public relations. Fine was promoted from senior development officer to the vacant position in September 2013, the same time Bloch was hired as assistant director of development at the non-profit organization.
Fine told the Reformer her department focuses on sustainability, fundraising and "friend-raising," or developing relationships with donors and allies for Kurn Hattin.
"For a small office, for so few people, we get a lot done," she said, adding that the nonprofit's donors truly love the Westminster-based organization. "We do a great job of helping the families, and the children that reside with us, for whatever reason the kids are here. The kids are remarkable. I'm humbled to be a part of what goes on here. It's an unbelievable organization. We really do transform the lives of children, and their families, forever."
Fine, a certified fundraising executive (CFRE) and a member of the Northern New England Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP-NNE), served Kurn Hattin's Development Department for a decade before becoming the director.
Kurn Hattin was established in 1894 as a year-round home and school for children ages 5- through 15-year-olds that are affected by family tragedy, or social or economic hardship. The organization is run entirely on donations and no child's family is charged tuition.
According to the school, Bloch served as director of planning and development at Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) from 2007 to 2013 and was its family outreach specialist for the three years before that. She is also a member of the AFP-NNE and a board member of the Women's Freedom Center.
Bloch told the Reformer the objectives of both development jobs are the similar, though the approaches are considerably different. She said her work at SEVCA pertained mostly to grant writing and event planning, but the strengthening donor relationships is the focus for her at Kurn Hattin.
"They really have cultivated the attitude of gratitude here," she said. "They actually take the time to thank all their donors. ... It's every effective."
Bloch said one the most satisfying aspects of her job is hearing the success stories of alumni. She said Kurn Hattin has a perfect blend of time-tested methods and new approaches to education.
"I think one the things that surprised me the most is ... I knew it had been around for 120 years and so I knew it was steeped in a lot of tradition, but what was surprising was seeing how incredibly innovative it is," she said. "It says a lot about the people who run the school. ... It's like everyone is growing together."
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.