Director of External Relations & National Giving

Team Strategy 716 380 2262 kathryn.duval@50can.org @kate_duval

Kate grew up in the queen city of Buffalo, New York, trailing her older and only sibling by a whopping 13 years. After finishing high school, she began a slow migration westward to attend Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to study sociology, public policy and art history. She spent her junior year in Boston working for a media firm and inhaling chowder by the (bread) bowl-ful.

After graduating from Case Western, Kate held a brief stint in the Philadelphia corps of Teach For America. While she didn’t last long in the City of Brotherly Love, she realized her passion for the nonprofit sector and education reform in one fell swoop. She headed west again to Chicago to complete her masters degree in nonprofit management at DePaul University and spent a blissful six and a half years working and exploring the most beautiful city in America.

Prior to joining 50CAN, Kate most recently worked at the Chicago Architecture Foundation as the manager of individual giving. She can most frequently be found eating a variety of carbohydrates, leading architecture walking tours or shouting about things that originated in Buffalo (Wegmans, Mighty Taco and Christine Baranski chief among them).

I aspire to be like my mother. Here’s why:

My mom was born the eldest daughter of six children to a career Air Force officer who moved the family around every few years. My mom had to constantly pick up, start over and adapt to new environments. This didn’t slow her down in the slightest: she graduated as high school valedictorian and was one of only a handful of women to attend college. She left school to marry my father and embarked on a whole new adventure at the age of 20. After raising her family and spending more than 30 years in the workforce, my mom re-enrolled in college to finish her degree and graduated summa cum laude in 2014.

To me, my mom is the most fearless woman I know. I aspire to be as brave and ready for the next adventure as she is.

Why I love my job:

My job at 50CAN lets me tell the story of local leaders and community members who tirelessly work to provide quality education to all kids. I feel extremely fortunate to share this work with the public and help build support for our next generation of leaders.

My connection to public schools:

I am the product of a public school, the sister of a public school teacher, and the daughter of lifelong public school attendees. The opportunities and skills that we have all acquired have come from the teachers and school systems that so deeply supported each one of us.

What I’m bad at:

I can’t navigate myself out of a paper bag. If I’m not equipped with step-by-step directions (preferably one version on my phone and one hand written on a post-it note in case the phone dies), I’m not making it to my destination.

The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:

My favorite place when I was in school was the library. I remember participating in summer reading challenges and feeling overwhelmed by the fact that I could choose from thousands of books to go on an adventure with. Children deserve to find a place that makes them excited to learn and discover. I work at 50CAN to make sure that schools can provide that space to all kids.