BE THE CHANGE: Helping others is in Crystal Taylor’s bloodFor Superior native Crystal Taylor, volunteering and giving back to the community is a family affair. And Taylor wouldn’t have it any other way.
By: Sarah Packingham, Budgeteer News
For Superior native Crystal Taylor, volunteering and giving back to the community is a family affair. And Taylor wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a child, Taylor went and helped while her mom was volunteering at various organizations around the area. Now, her mom is helping her out with different volunteer projects she’s involved in.
“She’s amazing,” Taylor said of her mother. “She taught me everything I know. I can always depend on her. My mom was active and I followed her through. Seeing her passion helped grow my passion.”
Those in Duluth and the surrounding communities might know Taylor from her time with Arc Northland, where she worked various jobs — most recently with the organization’s development projects.
However, she is now working as a cheerleading coach through Cheer America and is the chair of the Lake Superior Fundraising Executives (LSFRE).
LSFRE is an organization that works with professionals in the field of philanthropy. Taylor said that they look to help develop fundraising executives in the area so they are able to serve their profession and their clients.
“I’ve always taken pride in working with the community,” Taylor said. “I’ve been here my whole life. It starts with kids — and I don’t want to forget about the adults either. I want to be helping people and doing everything I can.”
Taylor has modeled in fundraising shows for the American Cancer Society and next year will be modeling for the Douglas County Historical Society. She’s helped the Memorial Blood Center with its annual gala event and also used her network of people to get information out about events.
When the Extreme Home Makeover project was in the area, Taylor was asked to try to get $100,000 in donations in three weeks; she came close to $60,000, which was the most she’s ever received.
In fact, it was her first major gift donation, and she said it was extremely rewarding.
Taylor started working with Arc Northland as a personal care assistant and then was offered a full-time job in the office doing various tasks. She ended up doing a lot of the major fundraisers for Arc, such as Death by Chocolate.
“I love working on special events, and I enjoy the face-to-face conversations with people,” she said. “I thrive off it.”
Taylor gets dozens of messages daily from Northlanders on social networks like Facebook, asking her to help plan or promote an event. She tries her best to get back to everyone and help in any way she can.
Taylor has a self-created major from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in youth development and has a minor in special-needs learning.
When she enrolled at UWS, she envisioned being a teacher, then a principal, and, one day, a superintendent of a school district.
She said that when she got to the student-teaching aspect of her program, she was burnt out on the idea of teaching, and her self-created major was born.
Taylor said she knew that helping people was what she loved and, with the support of a dedicated professor, she was able to do it.
Taylor is still in school; she will be receiving her certificate in non-profit administration in February.
Through that program she has taken various classes such as marketing, financial management and human resources.
“You learn everything about running a successful non-profit organization,” she said.
In addition to helping others, Taylor’s main passion is traveling. This year she’s already been to Turkey, New York and Chicago (and she already has more trips planned).
She also works out frequently and completed her first half-marathon over the summer.
Ideally, some day Taylor would like to work as a major-gifts officer for a successful nonprofit.
“I don’t know what the future will hold,” she said. “I have a strong faith, and I have a belief God will put me where he wants me to be.”
A few years ago, Taylor was sick and fought for her life. She said that really changed her perspective.
“Life’s too short,” she said. “I don’t judge people and I’m thankful I have that ability. I like to relay the positive. I want to do the best I can to change [the world].”