The Members Spotlight logo

Each month, we shine a spotlight on one of our chapter members with a series of questions. We hope you enjoy learning more about our spotlight nominee this month.

A picture of Jennifer Chu smiling at the cameraAUGUST 2022 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Jennifer Chu (She/Her)
Membership and Donor Relations Manager, Center for Asian American Media

How long have you been involved in the nonprofit sector? And in fundraising?
I have been involved in the nonprofit sector since 2004, primarily with arts and media organizations. I got my start in fundraising as a development intern with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) and have served on the Center for Asian American Media’s (CAAM) development team since 2012.

Please describe why you chose to work in nonprofit fundraising.
Though I did not expect to work in nonprofit fundraising, I realized early on during my first fundraising job at OACC, that working in nonprofit fundraising is one of the ways I can serve the community, support artists and art. I am incredibly proud to work with donors and supporters to help them realize their philanthropic goals through supporting our community.

Please tell us about your current role and responsibilities.
I manage CAAM’s membership program, our member and individual donor stewardship and cultivation activities and events, and our email communications with members and donors.

How has Covid-19 affected your current role, organization, and career path?
A few of the impacts of COVID-19 include: the restrictions on hosting in-person member and supporter engagement programs, our community’s understandable concerns for their health, safety, and well-being, the economic impact on our businesses, supporters, artists, and their livelihood, and those who have lost loved ones and friends. I am grateful that my work can be completed remotely and appreciate those in our community who have made it possible for me and others to work remotely.

What are some silver linings since the pandemic began in March 2020?
The few silver linings since the pandemic began include learning virtual program skills that I have used to help produce virtual programs for our members, supporters, and prospective supporters to keep them engaged with CAAM’s programs. The pandemic has also reinforced the importance of regular voice and video calls with supporters and members who are located in the Bay Area (where CAAM’s office is located) and outside of the Bay Area. I have also appreciated the ability to work from home and still be productive.

What are some highlights in your current role and in your career?
A few of the highlights in my current role and career include the wonderful donors, supporters, and community members who have donated, volunteered their time, and supported the artists, programs, and communities served by CAAM. Another highlight is the fundraising campaign I worked on to raise funds for the development and distribution of community outreach and educational materials for, and screenings of the CAAM co-produced PBS documentary The Chinese Exclusion Act.

How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?
Balancing my personal and professional life is an ever-evolving process that has shifted over the years based on my priorities at any given time. I have learned that decompressing and taking care of myself is important. Over the last few years, I have tried to better communicate my needs, boundaries, and concerns to those in my personal and professional life while supporting my colleagues and loved ones in their efforts to balance their personal and professional life.

What are some activities you enjoy outside of work?
Outside of work, I serve on the boards of the arts organizations Kearny Street Workshop and World Arts West. I also enjoy spending time with my family, hiking and car camping with my partner, and attending arts programs and events. Spending time around water is very calming and important to me. 

What is the last book you read or movie you watched?
The last movie I watched is Bad Axe, a documentary that CAAM supported that is an intimate portrait of the struggles of a Cambodian-Mexican family in Bad Axe, Michigan to sustain the American Dream amidst a pandemic and cloud of deep-set biases. 

What career goals do you still want to pursue or accomplish?
I would like to continue to hone my skills in donor stewardship and cultivation, program production, and public speaking.