Although Wings of Hope Vice President Laura Helling has been telling us of her plans to retire in early 2020 for quite some time, Wings of Hope staff and volunteers had been hoping the day would never come. Since joining Wings of Hope in July 2013, Laura has introduced an annual appeal that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, reinvigorated the airplane raffle program to the point that we now run two per year – with our last two raising in excess of $600,000 to support our MAT program – and played a key role in growing our endowment from about $1.9 million when she started to nearly $8 million today.
“Laura will be greatly missed. She is a consummate professional and an exemplary nonprofit leader. Before I arrived at Wings of Hope, Laura wore two hats as development director and interim president. It would have been a realistic expectation that she maintained the status quo, but she did far more,” said Wings of Hope President and CEO Bret Heinrich. “Her leadership helped move Wings of Hope in a positive new direction. From the very beginning, I have relied heavily on Laura’s insight, her humor and her steadfast commitment to our donors – and I will continue to rely on those qualities until her very last day with us.”
“Leaving will be bittersweet,” Laura said. “Although I will miss my Wings of Hope family, I feel good leaving the organization on such solid footing. Wings of Hope has never been stronger financially, in terms of staffing and volunteer support, and in the quality of our programs and our partners. The organization is poised for growth, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds – for both of us!”