She's passionate about helping nonprofits

Congratulations to Kari Brill, newly appointed Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida. Nonprofit Center is just one of the many organizations Front Street supports as part of our INVESTED program. It's wonderful to see growth in such amazing organizations such as the Nonprofit Center right here in Gainesville. 

From The Gainesville Sun - By Carla Vianna

When former executive director Chris Johnson left the Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida, co-founder Kari Brill stepped up to the plate — a transition deemed natural by board members considering she has been involved since day one.

Brill, 35, left her position as director of business and program development to assume the role of executive director.

"Kari was the obvious choice," said Bryan McDonald, the center's board chairman, adding that the decision was a "no-brainer" that was unanimously approved by the seven-member board.

Aiming to strengthen the nonprofit community, the NCNCF provides workshops, individual consultations and networking opportunities for professionals in the nonprofit realm whose recurrent theme is "having to do more with less," Brill said. Through its programs, the center helps nonprofits work more efficiently.

Brill is now the sole staff member, but the center is recruiting more board members.

Although her workload has doubled, Brill said she remains steadfast to the center's goals.

"I was a co-founder," she said. "This is kind of my baby, so I really understand the functionality of it."

"We're a 3-year-old organization, and any organization goes through their ups and downs, their growing pains. It's kind of a regrouping time for us — taking a step back and still having the same passion and desire to fulfill our mission, but maybe in a different way."

Brill plans to create a more tailored approach, addressing specific issues of individual organizations rather than a one-size-fits-all programming.

Brill left her job as marketing director for The Orthopaedic Institute to found the center with Johnson in 2010.

While a member of Leadership Gainesville, a yearlong community leadership program, Brill noticed a lack of resources for nonprofit organizations in the Gainesville area. After contacting the National Council of Nonprofits in Washington, D.C., she learned that North Central Florida was the only area in the state lacking a resource center for nonprofits.

It was then that Brill reached out to Johnson, who was membership director of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. Instantly inspired by the idea, the duo set out to make it a reality.

"In my opinion, nonprofits are a necessity for any community," she said. "There needs to be a healthy balance between the private, public and nonprofit sector. That relies on community members providing donations to their charities of choice and supporting them with time, talent and treasure."

Although she grew up in Jacksonville, Brill has deep roots in Gainesville. Her parents moved here in 1992, making her a fourth-generation resident stretching back to her great-grandfather, who taught at the University of Florida.

After completing a high school boarding program in Jacksonville, Brill received her bachelor of arts in advertising from Southern Methodist University in Texas. Brill also received a master's in business administration in marketing and international business from Northeastern University, which she completed online last year.

The phrase "giving back" was a familiar one in Brill's home growing up — especially for her mother.

"When I was younger, I thought my mom worked full-time. But she's never worked. She volunteered so much that she was never at home," Brill said, adding that she hopes to pass that example along to her children.

Brill moved back to Gainesville in 2000 to start a family of her own. Every year on Thanksgiving, 12-year-old Kloe and 8-year-old Jackson go to the St. Francis House with their mother to help feed the homeless.

Although the increased workload has limited her volunteer time, Brill has been an active member in local nonprofits such as Girls on the Run.

As for the nonprofit center's future, planning for the 2014 Nonprofit Summit has already begun, she said. The center partners with the University of Florida Department of Family, Youth & Community Sciences to put on the educational conference for nonprofit professionals, community leaders and students.

The annual gathering brings more than 200 people together representing as many as 100 organizations. This year's event will take place May 22 at Emerson Alumni Hall.

"I'm still just as passionate three years later," Brill said. "The plans are to help as many nonprofits be as successful at achieving their mission as possible."


Kari Brill

Age: 35
Occupation: Executive director, Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida
Personal: Single with two children: Kloe, 12, sixth grade; and Jackson, 8, third grade
Pets: Two cats, Rocket and Racer; one dog, Partner
Dream partners for lunch: Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou
Last book read: "The Inferno" by Dan Brown
Favorite TV shows: "New Girl" and "Parenthood"
Favorite listening: Coldplay, OneRepublic
Current obsession: Pinterest
Top of her bucket list: Travel to Peru to climb Machu Picchu
Favorite pastime: "Watching my kids play sports. Go Blue Wave and Gainesville Juniors!"


Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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