For more than 30 years, Kathy Kraas has guided some of the nation’s most well regarded nonprofit institutions through periods of high growth and organizational turnaround. As a creative strategist with a can-do approach, Kathy has produced exceptional results for institutions of every size and focus, including education, health and human service organizations and foundations and associations.
In the mid 1980’s Kathy was hired to open and market the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles’ flagship Ketchum-Downtown YMCA on Bunker Hill. The YMCA surpassed its membership goals by 25% in the first week of operation. Within a few months of employment, Kathy was assigned the fundraising portfolio as well, an experience that provided insight into Los Angeles’ greatest social service needs. By lifting the needs of downtown’s less fortunate residents to the attention of those who wanted to make a difference, Kathy helped the Y set a national record for both annual campaign income and number of volunteers among Y’s, engaging 300 volunteers in solicitation. The record is yet to be broken!
Recruited to lead development at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, a then $80 million operation, Kathy oversaw fundraising for 33 individual YMCAs. Over the succeeding years the Y multiplied its annual fund, built three new YMCA’s, made needed renovations at each branch and successfully completed a $65 million campaign. Kathy’s role as strategist and advisor to YMCA executives and board leaders provided an exceptional laboratory for consulting.
National-Louis University, a Chicago-based university with seven campuses in three states and a business school partnership in Poland, approached Kathy in need of its own growth strategy. As Senior Vice President of External Relations, she helped hone NLU’s brand, rebuild its external relations functions, augmented the university’s board with Chicago civic leaders, and launched a new marketing campaign that reversed an enrollment slide.
In forming K2 Consulting Group in 2003, Kathy built on her 18 years in senior leadership positions and capitalized on her extensive experience in building new development programs, engineering organizational turnarounds and executing large, multi-site campaigns
“… insightful strategist with a can-do approach …”
Kathy’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, included a year of study at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. She proudly retains her Spanish language proficiency and sustains her interest in international relations through travel; to date, she has explored 53 countries.
She pursues continual professional development through programs offered by University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, BoardSource, and the Association of Philanthropic Counsel. She received her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) status in 1995 and recertifies every three years. She is also certified by the Institute of Cultural Affairs as a facilitator in the Technology of Participation (ToP) method.
Girl Scout Cookie Sales “Top Producer”