Denise Sorom’s first day on the job as director of community philanthropy for the Community Foundation of North Central Washington symbolized why she wanted the job in the first place — to make a difference in the community.
She visited both Rock Island Elementary School to discuss a grant request for their successful reading program, and the Wee Wildcats preschool at Eastmont High School that caters to special needs kids. These are the sorts of meaningful programs that add so much vitality to our region. “It was an inspiring first day at work,” Sorom said.
Sorom describes her position as an “amazing opportunity” to add her knowledge, passion and expertise to the small but highly productive group of professionals at the foundation. She has an impressive background that includes nonprofit management and development work with small and large organizations. She has a master’s degree in arts management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and most recently was the development director for the college of arts and sciences at the University of Oregon and then as marketing and special projects coordinator for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.
Sorom talked about the value she brings of having first-hand knowledge of the kinds of challenges that the 500 nonprofits in North Central Washington face every day. In her position, she’ll be working to grow the foundation’s grant programs and assisting with the Nonprofit Practices Institute, a program that provides training for staff and board members of nonprofits to build their capacity to be successful.
Foundation Executive Director Beth Stipe said the organization’s growth had outstripped the small staff’s ability to keep up with the growing list of donors and nonprofits and created the need for additional staff.
Sorom couldn’t have picked a more accomplished place to make contributions. The Community Foundation has been the most important community-building organization in the region, giving out in excess of $30 million during its 26-year history. During the last decade, remarkable progress has been made, with the foundation growing in assets from about $13 million to more than $50 million today. The foundation is the key driver in the region of enhancing the quality of life in our communities.
Sorom has some personal reasons for wanting to make a difference here. The Seattle native married into a family that has made numerous contributions to the region in the last 40 years. She’s married to Dr. Abe Sorom and the couple has three young children, ages one, three and seven.
With the team that has been assembled at the foundation, we can expect the organization to continue its impressive effort to build stronger communities in North Central Washington.
If you’d like to see my video interview with Sorom, please log onto wenatcheeworld.com and click on videos.