You’ve likely met Carmin Dalziel at an event in Northshore. She might have sat next to you at a chamber of commerce luncheon, or perhaps you’ve seen her at an event auction where she jumped in to help the auctioneer see the bidders in the crowd.
One way or another, Dalziel likely had a welcoming smile on her face, and you were probably compelled to smile back and even strike up a conversation.
She grew up in Northshore and following her graduation from Washington State University she joined the workforce in the nonprofit sector. She’s been succeeding in this area every since. This August, she’ll be celebrating her eighth year as the Executive Director of the Northshore Schools Foundation (NSDF).
In this position, Dalziel is responsible for managing a $500,000 annual budget, fund-raising, board development and recruitment, community relations (internally and externally), and organizing numerous events annually for the foundation.
It is no small task, but she takes it in stride. “I live my work…always do,” she said.
Dalziel stated that she really focuses on nurturing authentic relationships in all aspects of her life. Developing this authenticity leads to good communication and problem solving. When faced with an issue, she always works to find a solution that works well for all the parties involved.
I was impressed with her philosophy on fund raising. She said, “It has to be good for someone to donate.” She tries to find a real fit on what a donor may want to fund (or be interested in) matched with what the school needs. If you are not necessarily interested in the NSDF or kids, she’ll help you find a charity to help. To Dalziel, donors become partners so it has to be a fit. She referenced the $200 emergency fund that is available to families in the school district as an example of a great partnership. She said, “It is really a matter of meeting the needs.”
The NSDF is completely funded by private contributions and operates separately from the school district. Ultimately, everything they are involved in supports children, teachers and administration in the district in areas that the regular budget cannot support.
She is very proud of her camaraderie with the Northshore School District (NSD) and its’ administration. They have been working together on plans for the future. Dalziel said, “The new strategic plan is mind boggling.” She is very excited about what is coming in the future with the school district working towards finding solutions and helping those who are less fortunate in the area. “It is paradigm shifting,” she said. “Stay tuned and pay attention to your schools.”
We talked about working with a nonprofit board of directors, and how it isn’t always easy. Dalziel has created a thorough vetting process and due to that she has recruited a very passionate board that is really a great fit for the NSDF.
She’s grateful for her parents and looks forward to her annual backpacking trip with her dad. They have gone on some wonderful adventures together. “It means the world to me,” she said. This fall they are venturing further and taking a trip to Scotland.
Dalziel’s eyes lit up when asked about her grown foster daughter, Dominique. They met when Dominique was 16 at the Boys and Girls club and Dalziel become her co-guardian. When Dominique turned 18, Dalziel became her foster mother. “She brings me more joy than I can explain. It is a great equalizer in my life,” she said. She explained that they have a great relationship and you can see her pride in her daughter now 33 years old.
Regarding Dominique and with a smile, she said, “I want to be the person she thinks I am.”
Lastly, on more of a self-serving sidebar, I asked Dalziel if she thought locally owned, community minded newspapers were important?
“You can’t have a community without a small town paper,” she said. “It gives us the opportunity to see our neighbors and their accomplishments.”
For more information on the Northshore Schools Foundation, visit www.northshoreschools foundation.org or call 425-408-7680.