The Bush School provides foundational skills for many of our former students’ careers. Students in our Master of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) program, like Nicole Gabler ’17, are able to deepen their passion for public service through coursework and opportunities outside the classroom. Nicole currently works as a Donor Relations Advisor at the Texas Children’s Hospital and was recently named a 40 Under 40 Honoree by the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy. The 40 Under 40 award recognizes 40 young professionals that are shaping the future of the healthcare philanthropy community through their innovation and dedicated to the profession.
Former students like Nicole are committed to philanthropy through their careers in the nonprofit sector. As a donor relations associate, she’s been able to transform an underperforming donor relations program at the largest children’s hospital in the nation into a thriving, intentional structure that has seen a 200 percent increase in stewardship touches over the last two years. Nicole aims to create authentic stewardship as one of her core fundraising strategies and strives to show donors that they are truly appreciated by her organization. This approach is influenced by her belief that “we have a noble obligation to serve and give back to our communities, and I am dedicated to that on a personal and professional level.”
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has changed the lives of so many around the globe, Nicole’s commitment to philanthropy once again proved essential. She helped her Office of Philanthropy explore new approaches to stay connected to donors while maintaining social distancing. Impactful appreciation videos, digital reports, and a “Family Wellness Activity Kit” were all developed and provided as touchpoints for stewardship.
Additionally, when Harris County’s face mask-mandate when into effect, Nicole dusted off her childhood sewing machine to create masks for her coworkers and their family members after seeing a colleague’s social media post about struggling to hand-sew her own mask. Nicole traveled from door to door across Houston delivering surprise gifts to her coworkers with masks and jars of homemade pickles in hand.
While at the Bush School, Nicole served as the Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President and Public Service Organization Treasurer, and worked as a Graduate Assistant for the Memorial Student Center. She also volunteered with RMHC Healing Hearts Garden, Replant, Habitat for Humanity, and The Big Event. Today, she volunteers with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council; the Association of Donor Relations Professionals; the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Houston Chapter; the Junior League of Galveston County; and the Alzheimer’s Association, which is the organization her capstone at the Bush School focused upon.
The staff at the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy are exceptionally proud of the commitment our former students bring to their work, and it is exciting to see them making a difference in the nonprofit sector.