Meet Emily Veldman! Emily just finished up earning her Business degree from Hope College and is hoping to enter into the world of nonprofits by working on the development side of things. She is looking forward to staying in the Grand Rapids area, contributing to and investing in our thriving community.

The Power of a Story

My time with Kennari Consulting has given me a glimpse into the world of nonprofits, the environment of nonprofits in the Great Lakes region, and some of the greatest issues and solutions troubling nonprofits across the globe.  I am forever grateful for the opportunities to shadow client meetings, sit in on conference calls, and work with various clients to get an insider look at what it is like to think critically about the heroic goals of partnering nonprofits and how it is we will work together to achieve these goals.

Although there are countless takeaways that come to mind when thinking about my time at Kennari, perhaps the number one insight I have learned firsthand is the power of a story.  All of the organizations that Kennari Consulting has the opportunity to work with have worthy missions and ambitious goals.  However, whether it be annual fund, capital campaigns, grants, endowments, or planned giving, the question for these nonprofits is how do we communicate our cause in a way that truly connects with people to the point they become invested in movement toward raising money?  Furthermore, how are we to share our mission in a way that welcomes fellow fighters working to make impactful change?

One of the greatest tools nonprofits have are the stories accumulated from both clients and providers.  During my time at Kennari, I have been given the incredible opportunity to work with various clients in documenting just some of these countless stories with the intent to share these stories with potential volunteers, clients, donors, or simply those curious about the work being done through these area nonprofits.  As someone who comes from the outside of these organizations, I can say firsthand that hearing these stories has given me a better understanding of the impact of these organizations in my very own community.

To give you an idea of what this looks like, I think back to one of my first stories collected for Evergreen Commons.  According to their website, ‘Evergreen Commons is a community-based organization that has reimagined what it means for older adults to live independently and vibrantly right where they are.’  This statement was brought to life when I had the opportunity to interview one of their clients.  Through our conversation, I learned about this person and the services she benefited from in being a member of Evergreen Commons.  She explained to me that without Evergreen Commons and the assistance they provided for her, she would be unable to live on her own, a lifestyle she thoroughly enjoys and benefits from.

As a Hope College student, I had driven past the Evergreen Commons building countless times in the heart of Holland.  Yet it wasn’t until meeting and speaking with some of their clients that I began to see the larger impact this organization had on my very own community.

I am thankful to Kennari Consulting for providing me with this and endless other opportunities to better get to know the organizations that are making a real impact in my community.  As I get ready to enter into the world of nonprofits for my career, I owe this insight as well as countless others, to the Kennari team.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the meaningful work being done by Kennari and their clients throughout my community.

Emily was a lovely addition to our office this semester! We appreciated her eagerness to learn and work on new projects, exceptional communication skills, and warm personality!  We are excited to see what Emily does in the nonprofit development world.

To learn more about Kennari Consulting’s internship program, please email Kim Kvorka at