Faces of WID - December 2021

Headshot of Molly, wearing a blue geometric patterned shirt and a green necklaceName:  Molly Richter
Title & Organization: Associate Director of Development, Talent Management at Massachusetts General Hospital
WID Role: At-Large Board Member, DEI Committee Member
Education: MBA from Boston University, BA from NYU
Hobbies: To quote Glennon Doyle, “What is fun? I don’t do fun. I am a grown-up. I do family, work, and trash TV. Repeat forever.”

When and how did you join the development field? What path brought you to your current role?

I count the start of my development career as the fall of 2006 when I wrote my first successful grant application while working at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. From there, I was focused on a career in fundraising. I worked in a few small shops where I got to wear all the hats. I thought I wanted to be a CDO and was eager to take on major gift work, but then learned that wasn’t really for me. As I was thinking about what I wanted to next now that the career path I was on no longer looked like the right journey for me, I came across a posting on the WID job board for a Senior Officer position focused on recruiting and talent acquisition for the fundraising offices across the Partners HealthCare system (which rebranded to Mass General Brigham in the spring of 2020). I was ultimately hired into that position in the spring of 2016 and I stayed for 5.5 years. Just as I was beginning to think about wanting to move beyond recruitment and focus more on talent management (in other words, how we retain and grow these talented individuals we are hiring), an opportunity opened up in the MGH Development Office doing exactly that. I had formed a great working relationship with the team at MGH during my time in the central office, so I was very fortunate that they chose me to join their team.

Tell us a bit about the organization for which you currently work and why fundraising is important to it.

Massachusetts General Hospital was founded in 1811 and has been home to some of the greatest advances in medicine and healthcare in history. On October 1, 2021, we publicly launched The Campaign for Mass General, which is a $3 billion comprehensive campaign centered on four pillars: transform patient care, break ground in research, trailblaze medical education, and build healthier communities. To quote from our campaign prospectus, “We’re on the verge of a new generation of discoveries that will empower patients, strengthen communities of color and create a healthier world.”
Why did you join WIDGB? How long have you been a member?: I don’t actually remember joining WID. It just feels like it’s always been part of my development career in Boston. According to WID, I became a member in 2013, but I believe I was attending events for a couple of years prior to that. It’s always been a welcoming community and I’ve felt like I can reach out to any member for an informational conversation. Any time I speak to someone who is new to Boston or new to fundraising, I always recommend WID as a place for them to find community.

Describe your biggest development success story to date Or can you share with us an inspiring development story from your career?

If you’ve read this far, then you know I failed as a major gift fundraiser, so this is not going to be a story about closing a big gift. When I think about the work that I’m most proud of, it’s the opportunities I’ve had to support fundraisers of color and to increase the racial diversity of the field of fundraising. An obvious highlight is AADO Next: Boston, which I planned in partnership with Faith Eutsay of Lindauer (and fellow WID DEI Committee member) and Birgit Smith Burton, the founder and ED of AADO (the African American Development Officers Network). This panel conversation and networking event took place in October 2019 and featured fundraisers of color and allies discussing what actionable steps we all can make in order to increase the representation of BIPOC within our profession.

What advice would you offer to someone new in the field of development?

Be open. In my experience as a recruiter, most people come in to the profession thinking that fundraising is one thing, and that one thing usually looks like being a major gifts officer. MGOs are actually a small (but important!) percentage of all the people who work in development. Be open to career paths you might not have considered when you first entered this field. And question anything that is labeled as a “best practice”

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