Children's Auction names Jennifer Kelley as executive director
LACONIA — Jennifer Kelley, the coordinator of the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction since October 2018, was recently named executive director of the nonprofit by its Board of Directors.“ I’m thrilled to be continuing my work with the auction,” Kelley said. “I am so inspired and amazed at the level of engagement in this region. The Lakes Region is like no other community I’ve ever seen — so giving and connected — and that’s truly impressive.”
Kelley came to the Children’s Auction with a great deal of experience in managing a nonprofit.
She previously served as executive director of Kids Helping Kids in Stamford, Connecticut, which she founded with her daughter, Lexi, in 2009. That organization has a mission to develop leadership through youth-led service projects to help under resourced children.
Kelley has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in education from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She is also obtaining Diversity Equity and Inclusion certification at the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Children’s Auction, and Kelley is excited at the auction’s growth over the years. She is also impressed that the organization thrives with a 16-member board of directors, and that the annual event is organized and staffed entirely by volunteers.
Since she began working at the auction, Kelley has obtained a Platinum GuideStar rating for the organization, improved communications through a monthly newsblast, blog and increased social media presence, as well as redesigning the website. She has also developed stronger relationships with leaders of local nonprofits by personally visiting almost all the organizations the auction has funded.
Kelley said, “It’s powerful for us to know more about them, learning more about their needs, their struggles, and what they are accomplishing in the area. I’m always looking for ways to share additional resources and recently hosted a webinar to help assist nonprofits in obtaining grants from local corporations and foundations.”
As a child, Kelley spent summers in Moultonborough and moved full time to Gilford five years ago. She has enjoyed that her auction work got her out in the community. “I’ve enjoyed becoming part of the fabric of the area. Being part of the Children’s Auction has allowed me to learn so much and to get to know the community,” she said. “I love making an impact.”
In addition to deepening relationships with local businesspeople and increasing sponsorship, Kelley’s biggest goal is expanding the circle of people who know about and support the auction.
“There are many homeowners in the area who are not aware of this amazing event and our mission to engage the community to financially support children in need in the Greater Lakes Region. I feel confident that when they learn about our impact, they will completely support us.”