In her first year at Rainbows, Development Specialist Kelsey “Billie” Genschorck played a major part in the record-breaking successes of both Fashion Passion (raising over $1 million) and Blarney Breakfast (raising more than $72,500).
“My favorite memory so far? The end of Fashion Passion 2022,” said Billie. “Our team was running on fumes and adrenaline by 10:30 in the evening. The numbers were totaled, and we had broken the record. We made 1.2 million dollars that night. Our little Development team of four (along with plenty of help) had done it! We gathered together and watched the confetti cannons go off, and it was a really incredible moment knowing how much we had pulled off with a small, new team and a lot of hard work. (My least favorite moments may have been kneeling on the floor the next morning to pick up individual bits of super clingy metallic confetti for several hours.)”
Billie is the database guru of the Development team. “Development is a confusing sounding department to people who aren’t familiar with the term,” she said. “It’s really the fundraising department that cares for relationships. We are here to serve the organization’s needs, our donors, and to build relationships with organizations, foundations, and the general community.”
With an associate’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship, Billie likes to joke “the one degree was just preparing me for spelling the other, but really it means I have had a lot of practice at analyzing things and building out step- by-step plans”.
Before moving to Wichita, Billie worked in development and marketing at the Cosmosphere, International Science Education Center and Space Museum in Hutchinson for five and a half years. That was her introduction to the world of nonprofits, event planning, and fundraising. “I picked up skills in database management, fundraising campaigns, research techniques, donor stewardship, along with plenty of space history facts that just live in my head now,” she said. “While I do miss walking into work past a Redstone rocket and under a massive SR-71 Blackbird jet, the sheer variety of events and tasks I participated in there have really prepared me to take on new challenges and have confidence in presenting new ideas and solutions to my team here at Rainbows. Fundraising is all about shooting for the moon, right? “
Billie’s family moved to Wichita so Tyler, her husband could start a training program to become an aircraft mechanic. “I hadn’t heard of Rainbows before I started looking for a career in Wichita,” said Billie. “I was looking for a development role, and the job at Rainbows just kept popping up in my searches, so I looked around on the website. It sounded like a great place, and I love that a service organization like this exists. I actually was born a preemie, by three months. I believe I was in the NICU for something like three months, home for a week, back for a month. My parents were told I was likely to have learning disabilities. I was never given a label for anything, but there were definitely early education subjects that were really difficult for me.”
“I’ve never been told that I had anything like the services that Rainbows provides as a child,” said Billie. “What I did have was a parent who worked really hard to get me ahead wherever I struggled in elementary school. I sort of offset the areas I had difficulty in by becoming a strong reader and a good test taker. Without that, I don’t really know what my educational outcomes would have been or where I would be now. That’s a degree of time and effort that not every parent or family has. I’m really grateful that a place like Rainbows exists to help families and be a support and resource for so many different situations and kids with their own individual struggles and needs.”
The main bulk of Billie’s job is working in the database that houses information about donations Rainbows receives. She enters donations as they come in the mail or through the website and makes sure those people receive a thank you letter in a timely manner. And if they need a special touch like a hand-written card, she makes a note of that too. She keeps track of connections and tasks and keeps the database information orderly and up-to-date.
“A typical day for me includes coffee, data entry, research, and always watching for connections and ways to build relationships that support Rainbows,” said Billie. “That’s not just big monetary donors. It’s advocates for Rainbows’ services, people who give items to Rainbows’ programs, it’s engaged volunteer groups that might be interested in Rainbows, it’s the wonderful people who love Rainbows so much that want to give us a five-dollar donation because that’s what they can give. It’s everyone who has a relationship to Rainbows—on every level. Each is important and vital. Development is tending those relationships, and for my part, it’s through taking care of the data. And whatever else comes up for the team–I’m here to help!”
Billie’s the employee that shows up with boxes of baked goods. “I love to cook, and I hate to follow recipes,” she said. “I’m incapable of making just one batch of anything. If I’m here with cookies or cupcakes, there’s usually enough for everyone in the building!”
She’s also interested in hydroponics and has a greenhouse ready to be set up at some point. “That’s still a hobby in progress—call me an aspirational gardener, I guess,” she said.
What else? “I am a big thrift adventurer,” said Billie. “I love to search for weird treasures at thrift stores, estate sales, and antique malls. I play video games and get friends together for board games and card games fairly often. I’m getting into fitness right now with some resistance training. I’m looking for more active activities to do, and I love getting out at lunch and walking the trails across the way from Kids’ Point. It’s a nice way to break up the day and get out into nature.”
At home, they’re a family of five: Billie, Tyler, two dogs that like to destroy their house, and their daughter. “I get to share Rainbows with her now!” said Billie. “She’s a preschooler here, and it’s been just fantastic getting to share my day with her. She absolutely loves Rainbows and all her teachers. She’s involved in so many engaging activities, and she’s in an environment that’s really supportive and open. She has asked me to work late just so she can play longer. When family asks her about Rainbows, her response is usually: “I’m going to go back and back and back and back and back. Then I’m going to go to Kindergarten.” Of course, she also asks me if Kindergarten will be just like Rainbows.”