Juliette Winningham is the CEO and Founder of the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, CO. Winningham worked in the energy industry and then turned her attentions to nonprofit fundraising and leadership.
The FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, CO is concerned with helping children and families from needy and underprivileged backgrounds. Helping children and families grow is very important to Winningham, and she believes that by supporting the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society, we can create a fair and equitable environment.
The Foundation has recently released its first children’s book. As the first entry in Bruno’s Amazing Adventures, a planned 30-volume series by Juliette Winningham and Nicolas Kistler, the book Rocky Mountain High follows the adventures of a friendly Bernese Mountain Dog and his fellow animals.
Juliette Winningham believes that children should spend more time outdoors, but that they should be educated to make good choices. The first book focuses on the need for hiking and camping safety. This is especially important in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, where many possible dangers await unwary hikers.
Juliette Winningham has become an important voice in the nonprofit community in Colorado. Her tireless work to help needy children and families has not gone unnoticed. Her book series and other fundraising avenues will go toward helping families create a safe and happy life for their children.
How did you get involved in the nonprofit industry?
I got involved in the nonprofit world because I wanted to give back to the community. I did not want to see children and families go without the help and services they needed to stay safe and healthy. I used to work in the energy sector, and I networked with some former colleagues to help my nonprofit get off the ground.
Did you ever doubt your business idea?
Everyone has doubts about their business ideas from time to time. I was passionate about my goal to help children, but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make as much money by simply fundraising. I then had the idea of creating a book series to help my foundation make money.
Did you have a mentor?
I did have a mentor in my previous job, but I have not had one as a nonprofit CEO. In my previous job, I found that having a mentor was invaluable. They were able to give me the right balance of handholding and more abstract support that I needed to become a fully effective employee. I was saddened when my mentor retired, but we have kept in touch over the years.
Do you have any regrets about your career choices?
I have absolutely no regrets. I have been very happy in my choice of careers. I am especially fulfilled now that I am using my time and talents to benefit the less fortunate.
Which business leaders do you admire most?
I look up to many nonprofit CEOs as well as industry leaders in many industries. I am the most interested in people who have used their business success to make a difference in the world. Bill and Melinda Gates are the best example of this phenomenon. They are two of the richest people in the world, and they give their money freely to many important causes around the world. They do so without any hope of extra fame or publicity.
What does the future hold for your company?
I hope that the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, Colorado will be able to support itself through its fundraising efforts. I plan to keep the foundation running for many years, and to continue my book series well into the future. It can be nerve-wracking to start a nonprofit because you are never sure where your money is coming from, but I hope that we will gain more of a public reputation and expand our charitable activities outside Colorado.
What is the most important aspect of your brand?
At the FreeBird Foundation, the most important aspect of our brand is helping children from underprivileged backgrounds. I am passionate about supporting children because I have a family of my own and I would hate to see them lacking in any basic needs. My brand as a nonprofit depends on honesty, integrity, and the need for our services among the community as a whole.
What motivates you?
There is a clear and demonstrated need for my talents in the community. I am motivated by knowing that there are children who would go without food or services if our nonprofit and others like it were not in operation. I can’t slow down with the foundation because I am afraid that children would be left behind if I did.
How do you unwind?
I enjoy yoga, hiking, and reading for pleasure. I recently read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series, which is a fascinating exploration of Tudor culture in sixteenth-century England. Reading is one of my passions.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
I do have advice for your readers. I would suggest that they look into ways of helping nonprofits if they are worried about the state of the world. There are so many deserving organizations that need help. Especially today, when so much is uncertain, nonprofits need both volunteers and funding. If you don’t have the money to give, you can also give your time.