harp-weaver is pleased to welcome Administrative and Grants Associate Rachael Gartner to our team! In the first month since she’s been at harp-weaver, Rachael has doven into work for harp-weaver, working with client The Presser Foundation on several grantmaking areas, meeting grantees, attending Committee meetings, and organizing the holiday card.
Find out more about Rachael, her background, and what drew her to harp-weaver.
What is your background?
I grew up in Philadelphia and attended Rosemont College as a Communications and English Literature Major. I edited the student newspaper and served as a Learning Fellow to provide classroom support to first-year students.
After graduating, I taught for 2 years as Pre-K teacher, but realized that teaching was not what I wanted to do! From there, I worked as a legal assistant for a defense litigation firm that specialized in insurance law and then moved to another firm to work as a paralegal. When I had my daughter in 2017, I realized that I wanted a career change in order to be in more of a “helper” position.
I found a position at Cabrini University at its Center for Student Success to provide support services related to enrichment, advising, career guidance, and staying on track for graduation. The part-time position I took allowed me to continue to care for my daughter.
When the university received an Act 101 grant, I became involved in implementing the grant and helping students facing economic and academic need. At the height of the program, called SOAR, we were serving 80 Cabrini students who faced the most challenging life circumstances. I then moved into the Center for Career and Professional Development to help junior and senior students from the program develop their career goals, create resumes, and find jobs and internships.
In addition to your career, you’re also a volunteer with a nonprofit organization called Lisa’s Army – can you talk about that organization and what you do for them?
Lisa’s Army was started more than a decade ago when Lisa Loonstyn-Golden was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Lisa launched the organization herself, which is dedicated to comforting women, men, and children with cancer. Lisa recognized that people battling cancer may not always have the type of support or comfort that she did, so she created comfort care packages for people undergoing treatment in order to let them know that they’re not alone.
Lisa’s Army has seen a lot of growth and change over the years, but that continues to be the mission and focus of the organization.
I learned about the organization from a coworker, Lisa’s cousin, right around the time it was started. Now, I serve as the co-chair of its 5K race, which is hosted in West Philadelphia in October.
Since the race was started in 2014, we’ve raised over $400,000 for Lisa’s Army to create our Comfort Care Packages. I also help with organization communications, including drafting emails and creating fundraising campaigns.
What interested you in the position at harp-weaver?
I was drawn to the work of harp-weaver and how its clients support their communities. I enjoy being in a helper role and knowing that the organizations I work for make a difference in their communities.
Specifically, I liked how The Presser Foundation supports local community and nonprofit efforts of performing, presenting, and teaching music.
I felt like I had a number of transferable skills from my time at Cabrini, specifically in the data and administrative aspects of the harp-weaver position.
What are you looking forward to the most about working here?
I really enjoy the group of people who work here! I’m also excited to learn more about grants from the foundation side and eager to see how harp-weaver’s clients support so many wonderful organizations out in the community.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy being with my family and being out in nature with them!