2012 Forward under 40 Award Honoree
UW Major: International Studies
Age: 29 | New York City
Major Gifts Officer and Manager, UNICEF Next Generation
Casey Rotter was committed to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as a campus member of the UW UNICEF Club. But it was her conversation with a Sudanese student at a UW educational forum on the Sudanese crisis that sealed the deal on her "dream job."
UNICEF was always a sign of hope while he was growing up, he told her. "I knew at that moment that UNICEF would be a prominent part of my future," she says.
In the meantime, Rotter has become a prominent part of UNICEF's future.
To prepare herself for the challenge, Rotter earned a master's in the science of fundraising philanthropy at New York University, graduating at the top of her class. It was not long at her first job at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF before she noticed that something was missing: people her age.
The entrepreneurial fundraiser proposed UNICEF's Next Generation, which focuses on attracting younger donors. The effort has blossomed during the past three years into a steering committee, a membership group, several other subcommittees, and more than a million dollars in donations for the global humanitarian relief organization that provides children with health care and immunizations, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, and emergency relief. Rotter was instrumental in engaging Jenna Bush Hager — the daughter of President George W. Bush, UNICEF advocate and contributing correspondent for NBC's Today show — as a founder of the effort in February 2009.
The group raised money for UNICEF's micronutrient programs in Guatemala, its emergency relief efforts in Haiti, a neonatology unit in Ethiopia, and for an initiative known as the Community and Lady Health Worker program in Pakistan. Recently, Rotter spoke on the importance of engaging young donors at Fundraising Day, a prestigious one-day conference in New York City.
In addition to Next Generation, Rotter is responsible for a portfolio of 160 donors with an additional goal of one million dollars-plus for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She also manages the organization's partnership with FEED Projects, in which former model and fashion designer Lauren Bush markets FEED bags and other products to provide funding for UNICEF childhood nutrition programs.
In her own words
What do you miss most about campus?
I miss sitting at the Terrace with my friends. I miss the food stands on Library Mall, all the students sitting outside reading on the lawn. And I miss the chocolate peanut butter ice cream at the Union.
What is the one thing every UW student must do?
Go to a night football home game.
Who is your hero?
My hero is my grandmother. She was such a strong woman who stood up for what she believed in. She was a Holocaust survivor, and her resilience and strength stay with me and inspire me every day.
What was your first job?
I consider working at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF my first job, but technically my first job after I graduated was in Rome, Italy. I was an au pair to three of the most adorable little girls, and I helped teach them English for about a year.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Sitting on my couch, watching a Law & Order marathon with my dog while eating ice cream (chocolate peanut butter or dulce de leche).