A Minute With Jennifer Klopp of Helen Keller International
I recently had a chance to sit down with Jennifer Klopp, vice president of development and communications at Helen Keller International. Jennifer has been a lightning rod for growth during her eight-year tenure.
"Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, Helen Keller International's (HKI) mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. We currently work in 22 countries: 13 in Africa, eight in Asia-Pacific and the United States."
"HKI is fortunate to have incredibly strong, proven and effective programs that have translated into significant growth over the last few years. In fact, our 2013 fiscal year budget is going to be nearly $60 million, up from $29 million in FY06. We've more than doubled in size over the last seven years. In fact, more often than not, funders seek us out to implement our programs to prevent blindness and reduce malnutrition. The part of our portfolio that has seen the most growth has been our nutrition program — there's an understanding now that good nutrition is the critical foundation needed for children to live and thrive, which is a smart investment in the health of not only children, but their families, communities and entire countries."
"More than 50 percent of our funding comes from government funding, primarily the U.S. and Canada, with the balance coming from private foundations, corporations and individuals. Believe it or not, individual giving is currently less than 2 percent of our overall giving, so we have identified this as a huge growth potential for the organization. HKI is evolving from an organization that had been entrepreneurial in terms of its approach to fundraising where much of that work was done in the field, to a more centralized approach with a dedicated development team based at our headquarters that includes a team focused on building our unrestricted resources to support the infrastructure needed to keep up with our growth."