Joining a nonprofit: Alum Jenna Cox describes how she connected with the non-profit Direct Relief

Views 175 | Time to read: 2 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 13 - 2014 | By: Bunty Drewitt

Only twenty minutes north on the 101 in Goleta sits the headquarters of California’s largest international humanitarian nonprofit organization, Direct Relief, where Westmont alumna Jenna Cox now works full-time in the human resources department. The nonprofit brings critical medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers worldwide, in an effort to improve the quality of life of people in need.

“Direct Relief has four main areas of focus: strengthening fragile health systems, emergency preparedness and response, maternal and child health and disease prevention and treatment,” Cox enumerated. During her post-graduate career search, Cox came across Direct Relief and recognized that the organization would allow her to apply both her business and economics background and her interest in social service.

Initially, Direct Relief hired Cox as their administrative assistant and volunteer and intern coordinator. Cox rushed to glean all the information she could about the organization’s background and vision — before sitting at the front desk of their headquarters only two weeks later! “Not knowing what Direct Relief was, I did my research and to my surprise, learned about this amazing organization [that] provides ongoing and emergency medical assistance to people in need locally, domestically and internationally,” said Cox.

After a year and a half, she was promoted to her current role as human resources associate. Her positions have focused on recruiting well-educated employees (or volunteers) who are enthusiastic to serve, like Cox herself upon graduating from Westmont. “The Westmont liberal arts education, and specifically my focus on economics and business, better enabled me to view life beyond college through a more entrepreneurial and global lens,” Cox said.

Dr. Morgan’s World Poverty and Economic Development class and her trip to Uganda with the womens’ soccer team exposed Cox to the disparities of wealth and the desperation experienced by much of the world’s populations. “. . . Thus my heart and care grew for those who do not have access to basic life necessities, healthcare being one of them,” said Cox.

“We encourage and welcome students who are interested in our specific areas of focus,” said Cox, “or who want to learn how a four-star, ranked 100 percent [efficient] nonprofit is run, to come volunteer, intern or take a tour of our facility.”


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