After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, FLC’s new Vice President of Advancement and CEO of the FLC Foundation Melissa Mount felt compelled to leave the Midwest and explore the Southwest. Prompted by an adventurous uncle, she submitted a lottery application for a noncommercial trip through Grand Canyon and won on the first try. In 2008, Mount joined family and friends for the legendary journey down the Colorado River, and, like many Canyon voyagers, emerged transformed.
“That trip changed the trajectory of my life,” says Mount. “I recognized that places like Grand Canyon aren’t wild places; these are sacred places.”
She wasted no time moving to Flagstaff, Ariz., to work for AmeriCorps in conservation. Soon after, she landed a marketing position with Second Chance Center for Animals, where Mount says she cut her teeth in fundraising.
“I love getting at the heart of what motivates people, helping them articulate what problems they want to confront, and then matching them with opportunities to get involved through volunteerism and philanthropy,” says Mount.
Guided by her strong curiosity, ability to ask good questions, and active listening skills, Mount believes she has the best tools for promoting causes she believes in. The vanguard of her vocation is education, which led her to Northern Arizona University working in principal gifts and fundraising efforts. Ten years later, Mount is thrilled to align her passion and skills with FLC’s strategic plan.
"FLC’s commitment to students first is the guiding star for engaging the community and philanthropists. And philanthropy is fueled by that commitment to seeing success for students."
“FLC’s commitment to students first is the guiding star for engaging the community and philanthropists,” says Mount. “And philanthropy is fueled by that commitment to seeing success for students.”
Thanks to her experiences as a first-generation college student, Mount appreciates the positive impact of a community with a student-centered mission that fosters growth and innovation through inclusion, engagement, and experiential learning.
“I want to help advance the notion that a college education is accessible to anyone who is hungry to learn,” she says. “Faculty and staff at a small institution, like FLC, are here to help students build that social capital to better understand and navigate their college experiences; they see students and want to know how they can help them succeed.”
Aligned with FLC's unique mission
She’s most excited about FLC’s place-based learning opportunities, research and hands-on projects, partnerships with the broader community, and outstanding faculty. Mount’s keen interest lies in building relationships with people who have the enthusiasm and capacity to develop and support these one-of-a-kind academic ramparts. Matching donors’ passions with the perfect opportunity to share their gifts with students is, as Mount says, “deeply rewarding” and fuels her work on the Advancement team.
“The Advancement team and the FLC Foundation are here to help accelerate the success of FLC, and ultimately the success of our students,” she says. “We’re not here to move forward with the status quo; FLC is not okay with the status quo. That’s the beauty of Advancement: we provide the conduit for our philanthropic partners to help FLC get work done.”
As FLC celebrates record-setting fundraising feats from the last two years, Mount is joining the leadership team at the perfect time.
“There’s momentum on campus, and philanthropy can help take that to the next level,” she says. “My team and the FLC Foundation Board want to make our most ambitious goals possible.”
To keep her energy up while chasing FLC’s biggest dreams, Mount enjoys riding her bike around Durango or floating down the Animas River with her husband, Andrew, and rescue mutt, Zia.