Jessica Rogers, associate vice president of advancement for New College of Florida and associate director of the New College Foundation, is moving on after more than a decade of service to the College.
Rogers has accepted a position as vice president of philanthropy at Children First, a non-profit organization that is Sarasota County’s designated provider of Head Start and Early Head Start programming. Children First ranks in the top 1% of Head Starts in the nation, with the prestigious Program of Excellence designation.
New College President Don O’Shea praised Rogers’ dedication to the College, its students and its alumnae/i.
“Jessica Rogers joined the New College Foundation eleven years ago, and has become a part of the fabric of the institution,” O’Shea said. “She unquestionably knows more alumni than any other individual, including the handful of senior professors who are themselves alums. She is compassionate, unflappable, resourceful, directive, and beloved. We will miss her, but are very grateful to have had her with us so long.”
Rogers said the decision to leave New College was not easy, but that Children First will allow her the chance to work in a field she originally planned to pursue. She joined New College in July 2006 as executive director of the New College Alumnae/i Association after working in banking and, prior to that, nonprofit and teaching work within higher education.
“When I moved to Sarasota, my intention was to explore opportunities in the human services sector, and then New College presented itself to me,” Rogers said. “It has been a transformational eleven years.
“My time at New College has to date, been the most rewarding and challenging endeavor in my professional life. I will deeply miss working with my colleagues at the college and the foundation, our many board members, community friends and alums in helping to further New College’s mission.
“I am, at the same time, excited to be moving into a position where I can be of help to an organization that is also a leader in its area of expertise, providing a high level of support for children and families that most need it in our community. It was an opportunity that I could not let pass by.
“While I am not an alumnus of New College,” she said, “I will always remain a loyal and outspoken supporter.”
Rogers praised MaryAnne Young, the Foundation’s executive director and the College’s vice president of advancement, for her leadership and their strong working relationship, and said the College’s success and planned growth makes it easier for her to transition into a new role.
During her tenure at New College, Rogers has been the chief liaison with the New College Alumnae/i Association and its fundraising and engagement programs, working with five board presidents and its many regional chapters statewide and across the country, and most notably, working with the Charter Classes to raise more than $2 million in outright and planned gifts in celebration of their 50th anniversary and completing the goal two years in advance.
She has managed donor relations for the Foundation and developed philanthropic giving programs, serving as a leader in team fundraising efforts in securing over $36 million in outright and planned gifts since 2010. Rogers has also evaluated and transformed fundraising events, most recently helping to lead the refresh of New College’s Clambake into the college’s signature scholarship fundraising event, tripling net revenue in one year’s time and achieving the largest profit in the history of the event.
In addition to providing staff mentorship, coaching and supervision, Rogers has also served New College during times of transition. She has served in the interim leadership role twice, assuming responsibility for the management and operational oversight of the foundation, and an advancement office of 11 staff and two student interns representing development, finance, data management, gift processing, events, alumnae/i engagement and stewardship.
She has worked closely with two college presidents, has served on the president’s direct report team and has worked with five Foundation Board presidents and numerous College Board presidents. She directs the College’s publications, including the Nimbus magazine and Nimb-e electronic monthly.
“Over the many years that she has worked for the alums and the Foundation, Jessica has been fully committed and invaluable employee, and her dedication and skills are a loss to us all,” said Cindy Hill, chair of the New College Alumnae/i Association, who introduced Rogers to New College.
“What she leaves us though through the leadership and guidance she gave New College so whole-heartedly is equally invaluable, and we will not ever be able to fully compensate her for that. What we can do is thank her with all of our hearts and wish her such success and more at Children First.”
At Children First, Rogers’ responsibilities will include providing leadership and mentorship to the staff of the development department and providing the strategic direction for philanthropy in particular for growth areas including, emotional and behavioral support, increased individual classroom attention, intensifying family advocacy services and serving more children and families in need.
Children First, founded in 1961 as the Sarasota Day Nursery, now provides early childhood education and meals to more than 600 children at 13 sites daily across Sarasota County.
“While Jessica’s skills, knowledge, and vibrant personality are clearly evident, it is the passion for and commitment to the Children First mission that truly shines through,” said Philip Tavill, chief executive officer of Children First. “We are delighted with her joining the Children First family in serving our community’s most vulnerable young Children and their families.”
Rogers begins her new position on December 6, and her last day at New College will be November 2.