I don’t think I have ever heard any child say, ‘I want to be a fundraiser when I grow up,’” jokes Angela Ciminello, vice president of development and marketing at Wartburg, a senior-care provider in Mount Vernon. “I was no different, but I did know at a young age that I liked to help people. My mother says I was the champion of the underdog.”
At 23, Ciminello was the associate director of the Annual Fund at her alma mater, Iona College. When she got pulled over for speeding one day, instead of getting a ticket, she managed to solicit a donation from the police officer. Ciminello next worked for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising money for blood-cancer research. She went on to serve as director of development at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains.
In February 2014, she joined the team at Wartburg as head of development. Her initial goal was to raise $670,000 to help Wartburg expand its programs and services. Her team wound up raising $1.47 million. She courted 52 new donors and received the organization’s largest-ever donation from a private foundation, $116,250, which allowed Wartburg to expand its Creative Aging & Lifelong Learning Program for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
One of her biggest accomplishments was raising funds to produce a documentary about Wartburg’s work. It aired on PBS’ Visionaries last year and this year won a Telly Award.
“If something seems insurmountable, I think of ways to overcome said obstacle,” she says. “Forward is my favorite direction.”