Chad Wolbrink '98
Occupation: Chief Financial Officer for DoSomething, a non-profit organization seeking to inspire, empower, and celebrate a generation of doers; teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action.
What impact has Augustana played in your career?
My education taught me to be flexible and open to all learning. It has given me the ability to adapt to new situations, leading to amazing places and unexpected experiences. I started with an undecided major at Augustana, and now with my English and French major I’m developing financial plans and administrative oversight for nonprofit organizations. I still joke that I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up. And ultimately, I am ok with that because if the last 10 years were a result of being undecided, I cannot wait for the next 10.
What does Augustana mean to you?
Since I visited Augustana in October for our 10-year reunion, it was interesting to see how my view of Augustana has changed over the last decade. The first few years after college, Augustana meant the direct experiences (things I learned, friends I met, experiences I had). Currently, I see it as a defining moment of my life where I learned to think critically and develop socially and spirituality. It makes me really curious to see how I will answer this question after my 30- or 40-year reunion.
What was your major at Augustana? What kinds of organizations were you involved in as a student?
I double majored in English and French. I was a member of the Augustana Choir and Chamber Choir and was the UBG Film Board Co-Governor for 3 years. I was also an NSO Leader, a co-chair of Out! (the GLBT organization), a member of the Convocation/Lecture Series Committee, and was a member of Pi Delta Phi (National French Honor Society) and Blue Key.
You have worked for non-profit organizations since you graduated from Augie—what inspired you to pursue this direction for your career?
After graduating from Augustana, I volunteered for two years with Lutheran Volunteers Corps and Americorps*VISTA at Inspiration Cafe, a Chicago nonprofit assisting individuals who are homeless to become self-sufficient. After finishing my volunteer service, I was hired on as the Finance/Administration Manager at Inspiration Cafe. Throughout the last ten years I’ve developed a strong passion for Nonprofit Management. A great benefit to this career is the ability to work in different sectors of the nonprofit world. I’ve worked for some great nonprofits during that time: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (an organization working to invigorate the arts in Downtown Manhattan), StoryCorps (a national oral history project honoring and celebrating one another’s lives through listening), and I’m currently the Chief Financial Officer of Do Something.
How can people become involved in your organization?
We want teenagers taking action in their communities. We’ve got the largest database of teen appropriate volunteer opportunities in the US. We give out grants of $500 every week to young people with an idea or project for social change. There are hundreds of youth-led Do Something clubs all around the country. And every month we have a national cause campaign for teens to participate in. Just visit our website, to find out more how you can encourage your teen family members/relatives to get involved.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I developed a passion for cycling when a friend encouraged me to do an AIDS charity ride in 2000. It was a 525-mile, 6-day ride from Minneapolis to Chicago. Since then I’ve completed 7 similar rides, riding over 3,500 miles and raising over $27,000 for HIV/AIDS research and supportive services.
I’m also a huge film fan. I curate Monday Night Movie Night for a group of friends in NYC. We select films currently playing in the theaters to see every Monday. It’s a great way to start off the week!
How has your liberal arts education at Augustana helped you to be successful in your career?
My education taught me how to be flexible and open to all learning. It has given me the ability to adapt to new situations, leading to amazing places and unexpected experiences. I started with an undecided major at Augustana; and now with my English and French major I’m developing financial plans and administrative oversight for nonprofit organizations. I still joke that I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up. And ultimately, I am ok with that because if the last ten years were a result of being undecided, I cannot wait for the next ten!
Favorite Augustana memory?
There are too many from which to select a favorite. But for me, it always comes back to the people with whom I shared those memories. Whether it was on a choir tour or having a great laugh over lunch in the Commons, I met some pretty amazing people at Augie.