Clare Rutz is the Director of Development for the Americana Community Center in Louisville, Ky., which provides educational resources, mental health counseling, and other holistic programming to refugees and immigrants in the metro Louisville area. The goal of the organization is that refugees, through the utilization of these programs, will integrate with ease into the community.
Rutz plays a vital role in procuring funds so the organization can function and thrive. She has taken on quite the role, as she has plans to expand the way the organization raises funds. She says that "to rely on small grants is both dangerous to the programming and unsustainable. With that, I am currently working on a 3-year campaign to diversify funding with 6 initiatives in mind. Raise $4 million so that we have the flexibility to invest in expanding a donor base through community engagement, reduce dependency on grants, develop the board of directors, expand the number of events to increase awareness, create a strategic giving program, and create a succession plan."
Originally from Greene, NY, Rutz graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 with a BA in Policy Studies and International Relations. Shortly after graduation, Clare worked at the GlobalGiving Foundation in Washington, DC. During her time there, she designed an implemented a social network on the organization's website to connect international non-profits and volunteers. After her time there, she joined the Peace Corps as an Urban Agricultural Extension Agent in Senegal, where she developed a gardening and field crop demonstration site that provided vegetables to a village and an agricultural training site for local farmers.
Rutz's time at Syracuse, particularly through her work with Maxwell faculty, shows in her post-graduate endeavors. She said that Policy Studies Chairman William Coplin taught her that practical experience is key to identifying problems, and to ultimately solving said problems. She said he gave her many pieces of advice that she carried with her after Syracuse, "just as Professor Coplin told me, college can be the time for life skills. It's not only a place to think about things you'll never use again...There is definitely a time and place for classes 'that teach you how to think,' but you also can find an internship or take part in practical research. My internships (I had four while I was an undergrad) gave me a jump start that was necessary." She also said his encouragement of her studying abroad is what inspired her site visits on behalf of GlobalGiving.
Additionally, she said Professor Michael Schneider taught her to be thoughtful and made her feel as though she had the ability to make a difference. "When I was spending a semester in Washington, DC, I began to think of myself as someone who could contribute to society because he so beautifully showed the class how close we were to those who were making a difference. He taught us how to think through something and how to ask questions. Both of which are necessary to make any sort of change."
Rutz says she would not be where she is today without the financial support that Syracuse University gave her. "I would not have gone to Syracuse University. I would not be sitting where I am now."
For those students looking to make a difference post-grad, Clare's advice to you is "don't be afraid to move to B-Cities. A-Cities (New York, San Francisco, Washington) should be on everyone's bucket list, but it's amazing the impact one can have in a smaller city."