Katie Kauffman became the executive director of the Lake Travis Education Foundation on Aug. 6, and since then she has been working to provide more funding for Lake Travis ISD.
Since 1985 the LTEF has provided more than $4 million to help boost LTISD projects and programs, according to its website.
Kauffman spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about her new position, her past experience and its relevance to the job she has now, her goals as she moves forward and her ambitions toward securing funding for LTISD.
What attracted you to the LTEF position?
I definitely have a heart for philanthropy. The power of giving has the ability to transform communities and transform lives. I’ve seen it work. Previously, I had this role in a hospital setting in Nebraska as a director of planning and development. It was a dual role very similar to this. I did all of the marketing and advertising for the hospital, and I was the executive director of the hospital foundation. I loved the community engagement of it and the power of connecting folks’ desires and what they hope for their communities and the mission of the organization. And in this case, I have three sons myself, two of which are already in the Lake Travis schools, and one 4-year-old who is going to be soon. So for me there was a real personal connection to the position.
What are the job’s biggest challenges so far?
It’s hard to say because I love the position so much. You can feel the heart of the people in this school district and in this foundation. You know that they really care about the kids and the families. So it’s fun to link those passions up. I really don’t have a challenge thus far.
Are organizations like the LTEF becoming more important from a public education perspective?
They are. The LTEF is about giving for excellence. Through philanthropy we can ensure all of our students can have access to all of our programs. This includes STEM, robotics, access to technology, even things like 3-D printers—all of those things that are above what would be the state-funded education.
What other fundraising moving into the 2018-19 school year, on top of scheduled LTEF events, do you think might benefit LTISD?
One of the things I’m excited about is to meet with donors, corporations and other organizations and understand what their passions are. Some might have a real affinity for our debate club or for different programs happening throughout the school district. So we’re really trying to understand where their heart is, and then develop and create specific programs around that. So I think there is a ton of opportunity outside of event giving that has potential.