Meet Gwen Kochman, our Associate Director of Philanthropy

Describe your role so a third grader could understand.

I raise money for important causes in the community that help people who need it most.

What brings you to Wichita?

I was born and raised in Denver, but my parents actually met and married in Wichita. My mom went to K-State, and my dad went to KU, and they both majored in broadcast journalism. They got jobs in Wichita at competing radio stations. They moved to Denver three months before I was born, when my dad got a job at a radio station in Denver. We have family in Wichita – my aunt and uncle, and I have cousins here. I have always been excited to visit. In the post-pandemic evaluation of what is important, my husband and I decided we wanted to be closer to my family in Wichita, and now is a good time to do it. I started looking for jobs, connected with Anne and fell in love with the work United Way is doing.

Tell us about your work background.

I have been doing nonprofit work for close to 20 years. My first “real job” while I was in college was in database management for American Red Cross. I was in fundraising for cultural organizations; I was manager of donor relations for the Children’s Museum of Denver. Most recently, I worked as the manager of development for a supportive affordable housing organization in Denver.

What appeals to you about fundraising?

Everyone has specific skills, and while my skills don’t translate to direct service work, they do translate to telling stories and telling people about important work. I love the fact I can support really important causes by sharing the mission with other people and getting them to feel compelled to support the mission, as well.

What is one thing the staff might be surprised to learn about you?

My husband and I met walking our dogs. We lived across the street from each other and would see each other regularly walking, so we started chatting and started walking together. Then we started dating, and a couple years later I moved across the street. My husband, Adam, works in high school special education.

Tell us about your hobbies.

I have a 15-lb. Terrier mix rescue dog named Porkchop Beardsley. His little back legs look like porkchops, and he has a beard, and his crazy hair looks like a white mohawk.

I really love to walk – I walk every day, between three and four miles. I like to cook, but it turns out I am more of a recipe hoarder than an actual cook. I like anything with pasta or Mexican food,

What are you streaming?

I love The Crown and Schitt’s Creek, and I have watched Arrested Development I don’t know how many times.

What is the No. 1 thing you like about working here?

The team. Everyone has been so incredibly welcoming and friendly, and you can tell the dedication they have to the organization and the true belief they have in the mission.


Published On: October 13, 2021


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