I love when my life and my work collide.

As a corporate social responsibility professional working in philanthropy and volunteerism every day, nonprofits, their leaders and the work they do are a huge part of my life.  It’s not unusual, especially in the community where I live, for these very same people to be friends and colleagues.

So while it isn’t unusual for me to see these partners in good out and about, it is a bit of surprise when that person turns out to be the leader of an international non-governmental organization (NGO) based many states and hundreds of miles away (who also happens to be a Blackbaud customer).

That’s exactly what happened when I walked into my church and learned that Dr. Rob Radtke, the president of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), was our special guest.  ERD is “an international relief and development agency seeking to provide a compassionate response to human suffering.”

Dr. Radtke was in my community as a part of a special exhibit ERD has put together to mark its 75th anniversary.  The exhibit is designed to walk the viewer through a meaningful exploration of ERD’s humanitarian work, which is focused on alleviating hunger and improving the food supply; creating economic opportunity and strengthening communities; promoting health and fighting disease; and responding to disasters and rebuilding communities.

photo exhibit

And again, I felt my worlds colliding.  For, a mere 20 miles away in the atrium of another building, sits an exhibit focused on bringing the work of many nonprofits to life through photography.  That building is where I work every day, and the exhibit is called Blackbaud’s Mission in Action.

This exhibit highlights the work of Sean Sheridan, a world-renowned photojournalist who works to tell organizations’ stories through the lens of his camera.  One of my colleagues, Catherine LaCour, got to know Sean and learned that we had many nonprofit customers in common.  Thus the idea was born to share his images with our own people who work hard to help nonprofits every day but who oftentimes don’t get to see what those organizations ultimately accomplish.  The people they help.  The issues they tackle.

lacour-sheridan-blackbaud-exhibit (1)

Sean recently spent a day with us, as well, sharing the lessons he has learned about humanity, the universal appeal of a child’s smile, about strength against adversity, and more.  That day was a gift for all of us, as are the images that greet us in our atrium.

As for what’s next, both of these exhibits are on the move, ERD’s to 25 congregations across the United States and Blackbaud’s to our many offices across the US and around the world.  Two travelling exhibits, many fantastic images, and a connection through a commitment to service…life and work have collided.  And I love it.

photo of Catherine LaCour and Sean Sheridan courtesy of Silicon Harbor Mag


Rachel Hutchisson is the vice president of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Blackbaud, headquartered in Charleston, SC.  She is responsible for the company’s global corporate citizenship efforts, a role that allows her to leverage her 20+ years of experience of working with nonprofit partners.  She is a member of the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International, the Giving Institute (producers of Giving USA), and the Coastal Community Foundation.  She is also a Past President of the AFP SC Lowcountry chapter. Rachel is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she is a Renaissance Weekend participant and was the recipient of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Influential Women in Business Rising Star Award.  Rachel is an avid soccer fan and spends far too much time driving to remote parts of the state to watch her children play.  Connect with Rachel on Twitter at @RachelHutchssn or on LinkedIn.

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