Fundraising for nonprofits is a heavy lift even in the best of times, but during a global pandemic followed by an economic shutdown, it’s brutal – especially since many rely on large, well-attended events for major chunks of their budgets. With traditional fundraisers on hold for at least another several months, many nonprofits are looking for answers. Ting Barnard may have one.
She’s leveraging her personal and professional networks to establish “leadership pods,” small groups of eight to 10 people that are carefully selected and highly targeted. They’re essentially bespoke fundraising committees pairing motivated, connected, high net worth individuals with organizations like Leadership Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Philharmonic, both of which count Barnard as a board member. The goal is to raise both money and awareness.
“I am developing these pods from a network of individuals I’ve had years of relationship building and partnerships with, so it’s not a random selection of individuals,” she explains. “It’s a well-curated pod that consists of the right people that will be even more powerful when their forces combine.”
Barnard’s desire to do good is rooted in her personal story. She’s the daughter of Laotian refugees who emigrated when she was just a year old, eventually settling in North Providence. Her father worked second and third shifts as a factory machinist while her mother, with only a sixth-grade education, helped build a small family jewelry business. Barnard and her three siblings often spent weekends at public libraries and skating rinks while her parents worked to fund their education. Her mother would assemble jewelry in the car while shuffling her children to extracurriculars.
The hard work paid off. She attended Boston University and went to work on Wall Street for Lehman Brothers – until the crash of 2008. After taking some time off to start a family and move back to Providence, and a stint at Oppenheimer & Co., Barnard is on her own as a marketing consultant and brand strategist.
“I worked in marketing and client relations for over 10 years, but philanthropy has always been at the heart of my day-to-day and serves as my guiding compass in both business and community work,” she explains. “It’s all about building deep relationships, connections and advocating for and investing in the causes that will create impact.”
Her Reason for Optimism: “I am constantly meeting individuals who believe in the work they do. Good people bring me energy, hope, and keep my optimism alive. Witnessing how our community has come together during this time has given me the strength and motivation to stay true to my mission. Seeing young leaders take charge and champion causes that make this world a little bit brighter keeps me hopeful and energized.”