Katie Kirouac joined the SowHope Board of Directors in 2016 and currently serves as the Board’s Vice Chair. Before beginning her current role as the Director of Development for Emmanuel Hospice, Katie served in the Peace Corps in Ghana for 2 years. Her passion for local and international causes is what brought her to SowHope. “During my time in West Africa,” says Katie, “I saw many dry wells, worn-out shoes, and broken infrastructure left from well-intentioned international aid organizations. But I saw few people investing in the ideas and dreams of the community to improve their own lives…I was immediately drawn to SowHope’s approach of partnering with local leaders using local solutions to solve local problems.”
Along with serving on the Board, Katie actively volunteers for SowHope, including being engaged on the Fund Development and Marketing Team, assisting with fundraising, event planning, and donor engagement. She is also active on several boards and committees in the Grand Rapids community. Katie amuses that volunteerism has been ingrained in her since she was a child. “I grew up in a family where volunteering was just a part of life”, Katie shares, “My Dad served as a chaplain in a prison ministry, my brother was a missionary, and my Mom spent years delivering meals to seniors for Meals and Wheels. So in some ways, I keep volunteering because I don’t know any better!” Katie says she loves volunteering for SowHope because every gift creates a partnership with an incredible woman around the world and she delights in being a part of a world-wide movement that sows hope.
As for the upcoming generations, Katie explains, “You can be generous with the gifts you have, no matter how old you are. Whether it’s making cookies for a bake sale or joining a school club for a cause…you will never regret giving your time and resources to something bigger than yourself. our world NEEDS generous people.” Katie believes there is enormous power in investing in women, “Every woman, no matter her background or culture, needs to hear that she is loves, that she matters, and that she can always find the strength to do hard things, no matter her circumstances.”
There are still tremendous healthcare inequalities around the world, and many deaths and illnesses could be prevented by increasing access to clean, safe, and local clinics, community healthcare workers, and childbirth centers”, Katie explains, “Even though I’m certainly not rich famous, or in a position of power, I’ve found small ways to share my gifts with others. If each of us gave a little of our own talent and treasure to care for our neighbor (whoever that may be), I truly believe we would find greater peace in ourselves and in the world.”