Nonprofit Portfolio Alumni Profile: Sarah Crocker

Graduation Year: 2012

Degree: Master of Science in Social Work, Concentration - Community and Administrative Leadership

Current Employer: Lutheran Social Services of the South

Position: Transitioning Services Program Director

My experience at UT prepared me for a successful career in the nonprofit sector and most notably how to make effective contributions to my community. Since graduation I have worked for Lutheran Social Services on the grant writing team. I spent the last year developing and seeking funding for a new program to serve young adults aging out of the foster care system. I recently transitioned from the grants team and am now the director for a new program, BeREAL Austin. We will provide housing and support young adults as they transition to self-sufficiency and independence. Many adults who had involvement in foster care as children end up incarcerated, homeless, and struggle with substance abuse, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and abuse. Our goal is to help break that cycle and prepare our participants for successful adulthood. 

My coursework at the RGK center, in combination with my work experience, has prepared me to take on this new and exciting role. As the program director, I wear many hats, including managing staff, fundraising, managing outcomes and program evaluation, promoting the program, collaborating with community partners and more. We also plan to incorporate a social enterprise component. My favorite class was Social Entrepreneurship. Learning that it is possible to do good without having to sacrifice money changed the way I think about nonprofits. This class taught me to think on a grander scale and be creative and innovative in my work. If an idea seems out there and crazy, it just might be a good one! I still have all of my books and course materials, which I refer to often. 

I have a well-rounded understanding of the nonprofit sector and how nonprofits operate because of the knowledge I obtained from my RGK classes and completing the nonprofit portfolio program. I am so grateful for my RGK family. I especially appreciate that the center continues to be a valuable resource as I progress in my career.