Evans (IAS '98) is a 'Woman to Watch'
“Do something with your life that nobody else can take away.”
Deirdre Evans, CFRE (IAS ’98) will admit this isn’t her own quote but, rather, a piece of sage wisdom she took to heart over 15 years ago from her college instructor at the time – UW Tacoma history professor Mike Allen.
Among UW Tacoma’s first graduates, Evans has since turned Allen’s advice into action, devoting 15 years of her life to a career in philanthropy, eight years of which have been spent working with international aid organizations.
“I keep thinking that this is so great – to have a job where I am creating opportunities for people to make an investment in other people,” Evans says. “Working in development, we get to be the conduit between those who can really make a difference and the organizations that matter to them the most.”
Evans’ dedication to her long-time profession – raising support for the causes that matter so much to others – has recently earned her the distinction of being named one of Orange County, California’s “20 Women to Watch” by OC Metro magazine.
Taking over in 2010 as Director of Development for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America, Evans has managed fundraising efforts that include a successful $32 million capital campaign. She also oversees direct-mail, corporate giving and planned giving – as well as a team dedicated to alumni services and special events programming, grant writing and major gifts. That’s a lot of responsibility, but you won’t hear Evans complain.
“I love this work,” Evans says. “In philanthropy, you really get to see the best side of people.”
“In the midst of often times frantic activity I frequently pause to reflect upon my own life and how I raised my daughter while I was a student at UW Tacoma. I think of what my alma mater, UWT, is becoming. I think of the beautiful campus and of the impact it is having on so many students’ lives. I am very proud of the impact UWT has had on the revitalization of downtown Tacoma. It’s all incredible.”
In fact, Evans credits much of her motivation for choosing the career she now has to her experiences in the classroom, adding that – as a student in non-profit organization and international studies – she was a big fan of former UW Tacoma professor Rachel May (now Director for the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean at the University of South Florida).
“To be honest, I chose to major and get my degree in International Relations in part due to the fact that Rachel was teaching the courses.”
Before joining BSA Orange County, Evans served five years as the southwest major gifts officer with Catholic Relief Services, three years as a regional director for Heifer International and as a resource development coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon.
In the span of her career, Evans has accompanied donors to view projects in Africa, Central and South America and has traveled to nearly 40 countries. Her biggest career achievement to date: seeking funding to support a program called The Lusubilo Orphan Care project in northern Malawi, which today cares for nearly 9,500 children who have been orphaned or whose futures are vulnerable due to HIV.
Evans earned her MBA in Finance from the University of Redlands in 2010. She now splits her time between the South Sound and Southern California while putting her daughter, Anya, through Bellarmine Preparatory High School in Tacoma.