Matchmaking for a Cause
Matchmaking for a Cause

Matchmaking for a Cause

Introducing Rae Wood, who joined Dunrovin in February 2024 as our Director of Mission Advancement! In this role, Rae works alongside Dunrovin leadership, Board of Directors, and staff to sustain and grow Dunrovin’s capacity to offer an encounter with Christ, particularly for underserved youth, through exceptional hospitality in the Catholic Lasallian tradition. We asked Rae a few questions to provide her an opportunity to introduce herself and share thoughts on her role and the work of Dunrovin.

Tell us about your background and how you came to Dunrovin.

I am Minnesota born and raised, growing up in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. I graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, double majoring in English and Psychology. I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector for over five years, with a focus on programs that benefit underserved communities. My family background emphasized the importance of faith and of educational opportunities for young people, which has continuously informed my path in work and life. Therefore, when I saw the opening for a Director of Mission Advancement at Dunrovin, I jumped at the chance to be part of the team and mission, knowing their amazing history and reputation providing opportunities for encounters with Christ, especially for youth! 

What draws you to the work of fundraising?

I came to fundraising first through grant writing, looking for a way to use my writing skills and background to help the causes and communities I care about. I continue to deepen my work in fundraising because it offers a unique opportunity to build relationships and connect with those who share our values and are passionate about our cause. It is exciting to connect someone to their passion, whether it is helping underprivileged kids or growing the church – it is sort of like matchmaking for a cause! (Laughter)

What have you noticed about Dunrovin so far? Does anything surprise you?

I will echo a lot of what our guests say, in that it really does feel like a place that has the feeling of “home.” The setting is very peaceful and welcoming when you walk in. But it really is the people who make the work happen. When I come onsite, I’m excited to say hello to the people who are there. It is exciting to see guests and groups enjoying their time. The organization leads from the heart.

I [saw this] from my first day on the job when I shadowed the Twin Cities LEAD group, seeing the passion everyone had for the work with the kids and how that translated to the kids’ excitement to be in the program. That environment was created because of the genuine lead-in from the heart and the spirit. That authenticity is unique these days.

Has anything surprised you?

As I’ve been digging more into the work, there are so many exciting things than can happen in the growth of the LEAD program. There are years and years of experience in developing this program for youth. Dunrovin is at a stage where we are engaging more Twin Cities middle schoolers and high schoolers, and that makes it an especially exciting time to join the Dunrovin team!


Before the kids arrived, we prayed in Adoration together.

Being able to show up with my faith, which is a big part of my identity, and to have that part of me welcomed and centered! It leads how the work is done. This is pretty special and is still a bit of a novel experience for me.

What was it like from the very first hour on your first day to jump into a retreat with 7th & 8th grade students from Community of Saints School?

I liken the experience to that of the kids in the summer camp going off the rope swing into the pond the first time – a little bit exciting and scary at the same time, because it is something new! I related a lot to the kids because I was learning about Dunrovin’s work by experiencing LEAD firsthand, and “experiential learning” comes up a lot as an approach of LEAD. It is one thing to write about a program in a grant, but another thing to see and experience the shyest middle schoolers – a little nervous, coming into the day a bit stressed. A teen leader sits down beside them, and by the end of the day they are goofing around and jumping into the final game. I think this is really special to see kids making genuine connections to their peers and teen leaders. Experiencing the program alongside the students from Community of Saints connected me with the heart of Dunrovin’s mission.

Girl on the rope swing
Boy on rope swing making the peace sign
Boy jumping off rope swing

What do you want every donor to understand about the mission of Dunrovin?

Whoever comes into the space of the Retreat Center, feels the fullness of hospitality – all the important ingredients of warm, loving homecooked meals, clean beds, supportive staff -and all this especially to help the youth feel seen and cared for. The donor’s support is what helps make it accessible to kids from the lower-income communities. All of that is very Lasallian at heart – doing justice work with the poor, for Jesus.

Dunrovin LEAD – teaching teen leaders to serve young students with their hearts | 651-433-2486