Veteran Fund Raiser Joins Center for Environment Staff

09/18/09 by Staff Writer

Jay Laurens

An experienced fund raiser has joined the staff at the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.

Jay Laurens, the center’s new director of resource development, most recently served as executive director of the non-profit multi-agency Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson. He directed the efforts of a variety of health and human service components designed to assist those struggling with issues related to poverty. Services included a free medical clinic, a mobile community dental clinic, a food pantry, rent/utility assistance and an after-school tutoring program for at-risk students.

Center Executive Director John Wear notes that the Center for the Environment functions as a non-profit organization. Consequently, it must raise virtually all its funds. Laurens will focus his efforts in that area.

“Jay Laurens not only brings a wealth of management and development experience to the position,” Wear says. “He also has a keen understanding of the region and has committed time and effort to helping others. He brings a deep concern for sustainability in our communities, and a strong background in community-oriented non-profit management. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber as part of our team.”

Laurens has 18 years of non-profit management experience and was, for eight years, the executive director of Rowan Homes Inc. in Salisbury. This organization provided residential and support services for adults with developmental disabilities.

A native of South Carolina, Laurens has lived in North Carolina for more than 25 years. He received his education from Clemson University, Pfeiffer University, Lenoir Rhyne College and Duke University, where he studied non-profit management. His training and work experience have included grant writing, fund raising and community campaigns.

Laurens is eager to concentrate on resource development at the Center. “I’ve never had the opportunity to focus exclusively on development and fund raising,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the chance to do so without also having responsibility for day-to-day operations.”

“The mission of the center has never been more relevant than it is today,” Laurens says. “Due to the dramatic downturn in our economy, individuals who may not have had a commitment to the cause in the past are now realizing the need to conserve resources. In addition, the reports of air pollution in Rowan County and the surrounding region have raised awareness about the impact of ground-level ozone on the health of residents and the health of the local economy.”

He also shares his belief that “the time is right to raise support for the center and potentially pursue establishing an endowment that would allow the center to be self-sustaining in the years to come.”

Laurens and his wife, Neely, have four children: Drew, 17; Matt, 16; Ashley, 13; and Harley, 10.

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