The Face Behind JFSLA’s GALA: Meet Jasmine Lopez, JFSLA Donor Relations Event Manager
Jasmine Lopez has been working at JFSLA for 13 years. Last year, she was promoted from Donor Relations and Event Coordinator to Donor Relations Event Manager. Although her new position involves most of her previous responsibilities, she took on the role of leading this year’s 30th Annual Gala. Thanks to her leadership and the generosity of donors, JFSLA raised nearly $1.2 million.
“I am ecstatic,” said Jasmine. “I could not be prouder of our fundraising team. It is amazing to have had that kind of reception from our donors coming back from two virtual Gala events. In that evening alone, we raised nearly $235,000 from our live auction, which is close to our highest recorded amount fundraised during a Gala event.”
Behind the scenes of the Gala event, Jasmine managed all stages of event planning, such as working closely with the honorees, tracking incoming event gifts and registration, managing the Gala budget, coordinating the event production, working closely with the Resource Development team to recruit and oversee the Gala fundraising committee, in addition to overseeing communication between vendors, honorees, staff, Board members, and donors, and more.
“I handle everything from the moment we start our planning process,” said Jasmine. “Literally every detail down to the color of the napkin.”
Despite not being able to sit down during the Gala, Jasmine felt she had fulfilled her responsibilities when she saw her team enjoying the event. “Seeing the team sitting down, enjoying the evening, meant that I had done my job, because no one had to worry about anything that night,” said Jasmine. “My primary responsibility was for everything to run as smoothly as possible, which is why communication was key throughout the entire planning process.”
In addition to planning the Gala, Jasmine is responsible for ensuring high quality and outstanding donor experiences, donor tours and briefings, and overseeing the Young Leaders Group, among other tasks. Jasmine thanks her mentors, Susie Forer-Dehrey, JFSLA Executive Vice President; Carol Bar-Or, JFSLA Director of Resource Development; and Remy Bender, former JFSLA Co-Director of Resource Development, for teaching her how to create meaningful relationships with new and established donors. “It’s really important for our donors to know we appreciate them,” said Jasmine. “Picking up the phone to thank donors for their donations, maintaining the constant communication and being able to speak with them on a first-name basis, are all special personal touches they notice and appreciate. Our relationship with our donors is what makes JFSLA so unique.”
Jasmine’s upcoming project is to oversee Tools for School, a fundraising event planned by the Young Leaders to provide low-income students with free supplies they need to succeed at school. Last year, the Young Leaders distributed 430 backpacks filled with school supplies to families at the JFSLA SOVA pantry in Van Nuys, in addition to nearly 100 backpacks distributed to children through JFSLA Hope’s domestic violence services. “The last time Tools for School had a large, in-person event was in 2018,” said Jasmine. “Families would connect to services, receive school supplies, and engage in fun activities. The Young Leaders and I are so excited to see the families again and plan this one in person this year.”
Reflecting back on her career, Jasmine is thankful for JFSLA’s open door policy that allowed her to ask questions, explore ideas, and give suggestions, which ultimately helped her grow in her roles. “These last 13 years have really been the most rewarding years of my life,” said Jasmine. “I started at JFSLA under the public policy team with Nancy Volpert, JFSLA Senior Director of Public Policy & Community Engagement, who taught me a lot about JFSLA and allowed me to develop in my role by asking questions and learning. After learning so much from her, I applied for the Donor Relations and Event Coordinator position, which has led me to where I am now. You really feel like you are part of a family at JFSLA, and I don’t think I can get that anywhere else.”