Randy Pausch’s quote, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other,” are the most prominently displayed words adorning the walls of Cindy Conkle’s cubicle at the Student Advancement Foundation. Giving and gratitude are at the core of Cindy’s personal values in work and in life, and it is evident in everything Cindy does—from a happy note left at a co-worker’s computer to sharing a student’s thank you note on Facebook, to volunteering at one of her favorite organizations, Blandford Nature Center.
This past July, Cindy was promoted to SAF’s Director of the Annual Fund. In this role, Cindy shares the work of SAF and GRPS to the donor community through special events like MindShare, Foundation for the Future Luncheon as well as mailings and social media.
“I love reaching out to our community and sharing the amazing things happening with our students in GRPS and showcasing to donors how their investment is building our community’s future,” Cindy explains.
Cindy’s wealth of knowledge of fund development, the inner workings of GRPS and the Grand Rapids community are a huge asset to SAF. She loves touring the schools and spending time with the teachers, both of which provide an opportunity to observe first-hand the impact of SAF’s fundraising and fuel her passion to fulfill the vision of the organization in providing resources for the students of GRPS to learn, develop and thrive.
When not working, Cindy and her husband, Nick, are the proud parents of two toddlers—Abby and Olive—and can often be found exploring the grounds of Blandford Nature Center, watching the monkeys at John Ball Zoo or playing in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden. They are in the process of moving to the west side of Grand Rapids and nearer to Blandford and the Zoo and are thrilled about the prospect of their oldest daughter Abby attending a GRPS school in the next couple of years. Already Abby is following her mom’s example and giving back to organizations within the community. At Abby’s last birthday party, guests were asked to bring canned goods to be donated to a local food pantry.
Cindy loves all that GRPS and the City of Grand Rapids offer for her children and through her work at SAF she is ensuring the same opportunities are afforded to students at GRPS.