December 27, 2017
HDF staffs are all busy, but we’re lucky today because we are here chatting with our Grant Manager Elizabeth (Liz) Frost. Liz joined HDF in 2016. Meet Liz!
What is your typical day like at HDF?
If I have a grant deadline or a reporting deadline that I’m working on, I work on them first. If I don’t have anything pending, I work on other long-term projects. In this case, we have the Annual Appeal, which we’re sending out in December. We also start to work on the Breakfast. In December, we’re working on a big grant that will be due in February. It depends on the deadlines that I have.
How did you come to work at HDF?
I moved from Boston to Stamford about a year and a half ago for my husband’s job. While he was starting his new job, I was still working remotely for my old job in Boston. I was working for Boston Children Hospital as a research administrative/grant manager for about 4 years. Prior to the Boston Children Hospital, I worked at the fundraising office at the Harvard University, also a huge places with lots of resources. At that point I knew that I didn’t want to spend my entire career in the frontline fundraising, so I ventured off to Boston Children Hospital to take more of a project management role.
When we moved to Stamford, I was looking for a position in nonprofits – that’s how I found HDF. I was pretty fascinated by the type of organization it was. For someone who absolutely had no CDFI experience, never heard of down payment assistance, and never knew that this type of thing even existed, I thought it was really interesting. I basically just cold-emailed the HDF inbox on the website. I did hear back from HDF and started out working part time for HDF for a few months while still working part time for the children hospital. I was offered a full time position here in August 2016.
I think it was a combination of having the right skills, even though it’s in a different industry, that makes me a good fit. Grants are mostly being organized, having project management skills, and doing one-off things such as attending a random event, helping plan the Breakfast, and helping doing some fundraisings. The background is a good fit for me.
How did you come to be interested in fundraising in the first place?
I kind of fell into it. I don’t think it’s one of those things you know you want to do. Components of it suited my personality. I’m relatively organized; I’m comfortable talking with different people from different background. So I think it sort of happened. When I realized that it was a good fit, I started to pursue it more.
Did you know early on that you want to work for a nonprofit sector?
Yes, I basically work for the nonprofits for my whole career. I like to be in a mission-based organization. Also, there were many nonprofits in Boston, which is where I’m from, so there were always opportunities available. But I like to have a central mission that you’re working towards. I think it kind of helps to anchor why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Could you share a rewarding experience you had from working at HDF in the past year?
Certainly working on the Breakfast last year. It has challenges, but it was really fun and really highlighted how collaborative HDF is. People in other positions were really ready and excited to help me plan the event even though that’s not their primary job responsibilities. That was really rewarding that nothing major imploded. That was my most favorite task that I have done thus far. It’s satisfying to work on a project and to see the fruit of your labor. We started working on it about 6-7 months in advance. It’s very tangible – you’re in the room, listening to the speaker and client speaker. That’s one thing that kind of stuck with me.
What’re your work goal over the next two years?
To survive having a new-born baby…haha just kidding (sort of). That’s more of a life plan. I definitely want to take more ownership over the fundraising. This is the first time I am working on the Annual Appeal. I’m getting into the cyclical fundraising aspect of HDF and building on it. To build on the fundraising pipeline is one goal. I also want to get a deeper knowledge of affordable housing realm in general because I’m still very new to this subject matter.
Could you share the most important lesson you have learned from working at HDF?
I think the difference between working at HDF and other large organizations is that, at HDF, you need to be resourceful, because at a small organization, you’re going to be asked to do all sorts of things that may not be strictly within the realm of your job description – and I personally happen to like that. I like my day to be varied and have my hands on different things. So I would say being adaptable to change and being resourceful will serve you well is the biggest lesson that I have learned here. You have to be a little more flexible when working for a small organization.
What do you want to do when you want to take a break during the day?
It depends on the weather actually. If it’s nice outside, I would go for a walk and eat my lunch outside. Other than that, I make phone calls like calling my dog walker and chatting with people because I think everyone at HDF is genuinely nice.
What are your hobbies?
I like to exercise especially running. I find that it put me in a better mood and give me more energy. I really like to eat and cook. During the week, my husband and I go to the gym or run, go cook something quick, and then go to bed. But in the weekends, we take the time to go to a nice dinner and cook a bigger meal. Since we bought a house, Sunday has become the day of homeownership. We usually spend our Sunday doing what we need to get done and setting ourselves up for the rest of the week.
What’s your favorite animal and why?
I will have to say Labrador Retriever because I have one. Her name is Molly, and I call her my angel. She is so social and sweet. She loves everything that moves. She is wonderful. My dog is 3 years old, so she is still very young. She still gets excited easily. Sometimes she listens and sometimes she doesn’t. I also really like horses because I used to ride horses when I was younger; they are such amazing and graceful animals.
If you have 24 hours off from work and have unlimited money, what would you do?
I’ll probably start out by going to a spa for facial treatment or massages -something relaxing like that. Then I’ll meet up with my husband and we ‘ll go have a nice dinner maybe in the city. 🙂
Thanks Liz for taking your time to interview with us and sharing your experience from working in the fundraising role.
Want to help Liz? Donate to HDF HERE!