Alum Lauren Moore Uses Communication Skills to Fundraise for Academic Healthcare Institutions
Applying to go to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was what public relations alumna Lauren Moore (’07, ’09) calls a “no-brainer.” Though she grew up as a Navy brat, her final move landed her in a small West Tennessee town outside of Memphis, Bolivar, a move that ultimately led her to answer the call to attend the state’s flagship institution. She’s grateful she did, as the university not only became her alma mater, but also her first place of employment after graduation.
“I had the best experience at UT. I joined a sorority and was involved in student leadership programming, Alternative Fall Breaks, and I was a member of what they called Orange Pride, which were the football recruitment ambassadors. I have a group of 12 women I talk to every day on chat who I met there. I met the friends I have had for life at UT,” she said.
Completing her undergraduate in 2007, in the midst of a recession, was tough. A half-hearted try at law school (“I would have been a terrible lawyer,” Moore said), thrust her into a thin job market. Moore applied for and was hired by UT into a position designed to train development officers. It turned out to be a role in which she thrived and was able to deploy what she learned during her time as an undergraduate student at the College of Communication and Information.
“You don’t generally go to school for a degree in fundraising but my experience with advertising and public relations really helped me to develop foundational communication skills needed in my work. Understanding my internal and external audiences and using story-telling as a means of communicating the impact of a donor’s involvement has been a powerful skillset,” Moore explained. “Whereas a lot of my fellow graduates might be selling products and services in a marketing sense, I’m selling a cause to support. So it’s very relatable skills that gave me the ability to move into this work.”
That position exposed her to the varying aspects of development and fundraising work, and from there she went on to become the first dedicated development officer for major gifts for the UT Division of Student Affairs. While she was working Moore also decided to continue her education and earned her master’s degree in public relations from CCI.
Now, after moving around for her husband’s career, Moore has found an even more specific niche in the world of fundraising in academic healthcare. She is currently president and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Richmond, Virginia, a role she’s held for four years. Prior to that, she worked for Virginia Commonwealth University Health and the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
“I have the best job in the world; I get to help people make a difference and improve the lives of kids, and help resources to go to things that are very important,” Moore said. “I didn’t go to medical school but I’m deeply ingrained in what’s happening in the pediatric field. Access to health care and quality of health care and being someone who can connect donors to actively improve that in our community is a really fun and gratifying career.”
She’s led her current team to raise more than $73 million dollars and continues to work towards the goal of raising $100 million to build a freestanding hospital for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
Moore says she credits UT with setting her up for a successful career, both in the education she received and the job experience she earned; since the university has already given her so much, to add the Volunteer 40 Under 40 to that list was truly an honor, Moore said.
“I feel like I owe so much to UT, so to be getting an award when I feel I’ve already been given so much is very humbling,” she said.