Board Member Continues a Family Tradition
Monique Nunes joined the Board of Directors in 2017, but her experience with We Raise Foundation dates back to her childhood. One of her earliest memories is helping her father, a Lutheran pastor, distribute the very popular Christmas Seals to their congregation for the annual Wheat Ridge fundraising drive. In the 1990s, her husband, the Rev. Dr. John Nunes, served on the board.
“In some form or fashion I’ve been connected with We Raise since the 1970s,” Monique says. As Senior Director of Student Experience for Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., she cares for the health, academic success, and post-graduate career opportunities for students. Monique brings this holistic approach to her work on the board of directors, where she serves as Secretary.
We Raise inspires Monique because it takes her back to her days growing up on the South Side of Chicago. Monique and her three siblings really wanted for nothing (“we didn’t get everything we ever wanted but it wasn’t a poverty”), but she remembers many of their parishioners weren’t so fortunate. “It really inspires me to be able to give back and see individuals getting a helping hand but also taking that other hand to bless as they climb,” she says. “Our grantees are able to do miraculous things with the resources that We Raise gives them.”
One of her favorite activities is when the board visits a grantee site to see the programs in action and make a personal connection. During her visit to Kidz Express, an after-school center dedicated to providing a nurturing environment for adolescents in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood, she met a young man who in the past year had witnessed the shooting death of his brother.
“This young man was truly trying make a difference. He was getting out his aggression and anger through rap, and serving at Kidz Express to give back what wasn’t given to him through his situation,” she says. “I was able to take him aside and tell him that he doesn’t always have to look in the rear view mirror but look at what’s ahead. I told him: ‘What’s ahead for you is a bright future if you just stay the course.”
Joining the board during a time of transition and repositioning was a challenge Monique thrived on. “It was wonderful walking through the processes, wrestling with ideas, and having those ah-ha moments,” she says. At the end of the day, Monique champions We Raise because it supports neighborhood programs and ministries with accountability. For her, grantee six-month and annual follow up reports are key, but truly it’s the site visits that set We Raise apart. “We’re not micromanaging, but we want to see the benefits for these individuals – be it elderly, be it adolescents – that We Raise is making a difference in the neighborhood and in the world,” she says. For Monique, We Raise allows supporters and donors to give back to what was given to them by the goodness and graciousness of God through the love of Jesus Christ.