A moment with: Ramona Charles

Ramona Charles

Ramona Charles serves as the Gift Services and Database Manager for the CHI Foundations of Texas in Houston. In September of 2020 she celebrated seventeen years with our ministry.

Prior to joining the team in Texas Ramona worked on NASA’s Houston campus for a contractor that managed the database that housed training records for the Mission Control team, ensuring that their trainings and certifications were up-to-date. She arrived to the foundations just as the office converted to Raiser’s Edge and through her familiarity with databases management was able to become engaged in the foundation’s philanthropy programs.

Tell us about your role at the CHI Foundations of Texas.
I wear many hats and I consider myself a technical fundraiser. I’m responsible for gift services, accounting, database management, project management, and training and development for the staff in our office. The work that I do produces lists and reports that drive gift officers with solicitations for annual giving as well as major gifts fundraising.

What keeps you going…what do you love most about your job?
I love that our core values embrace integrity and reverence. It makes for a culture that promotes positivity and growth that pushes you to be your professional best. You know a lot is expected of you so you have to stay on top of your game.
But also the people I work with because it’s a faith-based organization with all faiths across every walk. I like that inclusivity and diversity and that I’m pushed to be my best.

What would you tell someone who is just entering our field?
I would encourage them and tell them it’s very rewarding work, especially when you see firsthand what some of the programs we raise funds for can do. At St. Joseph’s, for example, we’re raising money for mammography machines for the early detection of breast cancer. Several years ago when we had Hurricane Harvey we raised funds for employees who lost their homes….we’re raising those funds and you can see the impact it has on our community. It’s very rewarding!

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you want to be doing?
I think it would be teaching. My passion would be to teach the things that I needed coming out of high school or college which are the “soft skills”…learning to collaborate, learning critical thinking, how to work with diverse groups of people, and how to communicate effectively. All of the things you have to develop as you enter the work world I’d like to help teach whether it be in a church, school setting or professional development within the organization.

Outside of the office, what does relaxation look like to you?
I’m very family-oriented. I come from a big family and pre-pandemic we’d get together pretty much every weekend. I’m sad that we can’t get together because that’s what I do to relax. I’m energized by my social circles. When I’m with friends or family that gives me life.

Finally, finish this sentence: Philanthropy is….
For me, philanthropy means community. It is the desire to serve and to fund people and programs that improve the welfare of others in our community with compassion, kindness and respect and, in our case, to improve their health in our communities. To me a healthy community is a productive community and it thrives on positivity, inclusivity and fellowship.