Our Hidden Volunteer – April’s GoAbroad Foundation Philanthropist of the Month

There are some people who expect to receive attention and glory for their volunteer work, and are unhappy if they don’t get it. Then there are other people who believe strongly in a cause and want to do anything they can to support it, and don’t care a bit about acknowledgment or praise.

Our Philanthropist of the Month for April fits into the latter category. Even though she does not presume to be rewarded or recognized for her efforts, we want our community to know how much our very own Philanthropist does for the GoAbroad Foundation!

Rachael supporting the GoAbroad Foundation on #GivingTuesday in 2014
Rachael supporting the GoAbroad Foundation on #GivingTuesday in 2014

Rachael VanDerWerff has supported the GoAbroad Foundation for three years from the Fort Collins office of GoAbroad.com. You might recognize her name from emails and tax-deductible receipts, or from answering questions about the donation process or general inquiries about the foundation.

We’d love to tell you a little more about Rachael, and all the amazing things she does to keep the GoAbroad Foundation running smoothly, as well as her very own family.

Rachael has always had a big passion for helping others, especially children. She has a degree in education and was a kindergarten teacher for several years. Originally from South Dakota, Rachael became connected with GoAbroad because of her passion for travel. After studying abroad in Sweden during college, she worked in her university study abroad office and got to know other people working in the field.

Rachael supporting relief efforts in Colorado

Racheal is humble in her work for the GoAbroad Foundation. She focuses on supporting others and takes joy in knowing that she has played a part in getting needed funds to projects around the world. She never asks for extra recognition for all of the things she does, but she deserves it! Rachael’s attention to detail, budgeting abilities, and time management skills have made the GoAbroad Foundation more organized and efficient in our communication with donors and partners.

After Typhoon Haiyan, the GoAbroad Foundation received a huge influx of donations in order to support relief and rebuilding projects around the Philippines. All at once, Rachael had hundreds more donors to contact and emails to send with tax deductible receipts or answers to questions, but she never blinked at the additional work in front of her. As usual, at the time we needed her most, Rachael volunteered to go above and beyond to help support the immediate needs we had in the Philippines. She even knitted boot cuffs and other handmade items to sell in order to further support relief efforts!

Rachael's beautifully made boot cuffs with a personal note to donors.
Rachael’s beautifully made boot cuffs with a personal note to donors.

Today Rachael is responsible for a variety of financial and accounting tasks for the GoAbroad Foundation. She is in charge of tracking funds to sending tax-deductible receipts to donors, to categorizing payments for specific projects, transferring funds to our partners, and ensuring the donation process is running smoothly. Rachael has also sponsored a child in the Philippines for multiple years, illustrating yet again her dedication to our mission to support projects that help people.

Rachael has an impressive ability to plan, schedule, follow up on, and keep track of many different moving parts at the same time. She has an excellent memory and does not lose track of even the smallest tasks that are needed to support larger projects. This makes her a great fit for the GoAbroad Foundation, where no two months are the same! Rachael is always able to make time for the items she does to support the foundation, and understands the importance of her tasks to the operation running smoothly.

Rachael and her husband Jay
Rachael and her husband Jay

In every aspect of her life, Rachael truly values people and displays the same compassion towards donors and fund recipients as she does to her family and friends. Her genuinely caring attitude is apparent from even the most brief of interactions, whether through email, phone, or in person, and we hope you have taken notice through your own interactions.

As someone who understands equality, kindness, hard work, and open-mindedness, Rachael has been an incredible asset to the GoAbroad Foundation and we are forever grateful for all she has done over the years; without ever asking for recognition, she is a volunteer that deserves it every day!

Welcome Baby Archer!
Welcome Baby Archer!

We are happy to also announce that last week Rachael gave birth to an impossibly cute baby boy! She has always wanted to be a mother and we know she will be an amazing one! That being said, you may notice your tax deductible receipts coming from Kayla, our Social Media & Marketing Advisor, or Elsa, our Director, over the next few months, as we are letting Rachael take a much needed break.

This month we thank Rachael, for all her hard work, dedication, and volunteered contributions to the Foundation, our partners, and our donors. And in honor of National Volunteer Week, we also celebrate the outstanding service you have provided to the GoAbroad Foundation through the years. We are sending you and your family lots of love and happiness!

Show Rachael how she has helped you support the GoAbroad Foundation or inspired you in the comments!

Rachael Vanderwerff