Eva Schmidt was placed as director of development at Horizons for Youth in Chicago, the city's only organization providing need-based scholarships, comprehensive support programs, and educational resources for students of all academic ability levels from kindergarten through the start of their careers. The not-for-profit, founded in 1991, serves over 200 students in over 30 neighborhoods each year, with a personalized approach that targets school fit, academic monitoring and interventions, and family coaching, resulting in a 100% high school graduation rate and 84% college persistence rate for participants. In her role, Eva will serve as a champion of the organization's mission, partnering with community leaders, corporations, foundations, and donors to build enthusiasm. She will also work with the executive director to develop and execute major gifts and planned giving programs – cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding donors and prospects.
Eva comes to Horizons for Youth from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she most recently served as associate director of advancement, playing a key role in helping increase revenue to support the university's academic programs and ensure its long-term success. She was responsible for major gifts fundraising and for fundraising in Texas and the District of Columbia, cultivating and stewarding relationships with donors. Eva had a portfolio of 55 individuals and achieved significant success, including securing a $500,000 gift from a lapsed donor.
Eva began her career at the University of Illinois in 2012, progressing through the roles of assistant director for special events and stewardship in the athletic department, and then assistant director of advancement for the university, before being promoted to associate director of advancement. In the midst of this tenure, Eva departed the university for a year to serve as a customer service executive with the Chicago Blackhawks professional hockey team.
Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Eva holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in recreation, sport, and tourism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of work, she enjoys playing tennis and volunteering.
QLK's Steve Derks and Shay Owens led the search to recruit Eva to Horizons for Youth, where her duties will begin on April 25, 2022.