See Kids Dream names new executive director

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
Jill Hofmans

See Kids Dream has named Jill Hofmans to the role of executive director. She began the role in February and oversees the nonprofit’s fundraising and strategy efforts. 

Hofmans steps into the new role with two decades of nonprofit and program management experience. Most recently, she served as the executive director and vice president at the Conway Center for Family Business.

For Hofmans, the decision to take the new role wasn’t one made lightly. When stepping down from her role with the Conway Center, she didn't see being an executive director again in the future. However, the mission of See Kids Dream to empower youth to make change reignited her desire to serve.

“I had goosebumps,” Hofmans says. “I watched videos of how this program impacts the kids in our schools, so here I am. It’s unbelievably inspiring to watch.” 

See Kids Dream partners with local schools to offer service-learning programs that help children in the community develop skills for long-term success. Together, the kids identify a community in need and work together to create impactful change. While the program currently serves elementary-aged students, Hofmans and her team of four hope to also serve middle school and high school students.

“I can’t even imagine these kids who get to go through it (the program) their whole education career, what they’re gonna come out with," Hofmans says. "They’re going to change the world." 

Filling the role during the pandemic, Hofmans faces unique circumstances including adjustments to all-digital operations. Still, the organization shifted and now offers kids the same programs online with the support of teachers, facilitators and other partners. 

As the first non-founder to be appointed to executive director, Hofmans says she has big shoes to fill and a legacy to uphold. She isn't afraid to make change, however. Hofmans brings plans for new corporate-focused approaches —something she recognizes will be an adjustment not just for her, but the entire team.

With Hofmans now assuming the role, former executive director and co-founder Laura Grindle will redirect her efforts to the organization's social enterprise, Engage Good, a new project offering corporate team building programs similar to the services offered by See Kids Dream.

To better get in touch with the business community is something Hofmans most looks forward to, from inviting community leaders to speak at events to encouraging them to advocate for the organization on a higher level. 

“The thing I want to impart most is that I’m so passionate about the mission,” Hofmans says. “It’s not even a job. I’m living and breathing and it’s just a joy and delight for me to be able to be a part of this journey for these kids and get to impact them in some small way, and that’s incredible.”