ARLENE CARTER


Arlene Carter , Providence Mount St. Vincent Foundation
Nonprofit Fundraiser
Providence Mount St. Vincent Foundation

When Arlene Carter was laid off from her job working in human resources for a real estate management firm, a severance package cushioned the blow. “It really allowed me to slow down and think about what I really wanted to do,” Carter says. “I was in my mid-50s, and one of my goals was to find a job that would take me through to retirement.”

She spent time meditating, praying and taking walks. She reflected on her past work in public relations, office management and human resources. Increasingly, she thought about the satisfaction she had experienced fundraising as a volunteer. And she knew what she didn’t want: work that was financially rewarding, but devoid of meaning, or a job in a stressful, competitive environment.

A friend suggested she interview for a position at a foundation of a large senior community center near her home in Seattle. The job would combine fundraising, public relations and marketing. It seemed like an auspicious fit, and despite an initial reluctance to give up her summer off, Carter “fell in love” with the facility and the opportunity the job presented.

“I was engaged by the challenge of translating previous experience into success in fundraising and passionate about the mission of providing care for older adults based on respect, dignity and compassion,” she says.

The fact that the family-friendly job was right in her neighborhood and seemed a “supportive, spiritual and empowering” environment sealed the deal.

Carter’s work at the Providence Mount St. Vincent Foundation has proven to be all she hoped for and more. She works closely with the friend who initially suggested she interview for the job and thrives on interactions with the 400 residents at the center.

“The mission, core values, morals and ethics all align with mine in a way that makes it deeply satisfying to do this work,” she says. “Being allowed to work in the home of these residents is an honor and a privilege.”