Oct. 2, 2017 – Hollywood, FL – The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) recently appointed Kathleen “Kit” Wills as Director of Development of its Florida Region which is based out of the organization’s national headquarters in Hollywood, FL. With more than 23 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Wills brings superior expertise in cultivating relationships and donor stewardships as well as experience in major gift solicitations to the DRIF.
She last served as Development Director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School in Miami, where sharing the school’s story of innovation and change with stakeholders was paramount. Wills’ responsibilities included directing the annual fund, major gift efforts and signature fundraising events in a thoughtfully planned way in order to be meaningful to the school’s community. One of her greatest accomplishments there was achieving 100 percent participation in the institution’s annual fund for five consecutive years.
In her new role, Wills’ primary focus is donor and prospect development, working in partnership with other members of both the Florida and national fundraising teams.
The DRIF supports the world-renowned Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine, a recognized leader in cure-focused diabetes research. Wills is excited about the DRI’s advanced research to find a cure as type 1 diabetes has greatly affected both her own family and families of children from her former school.
“I admire the resilience of everyone affected by type 1 diabetes as their stories have made a profound impact on me and that is why I am here at the Foundation,” Wills said. “My mantra and goal in my new role is to inspire others to get involved by participating in DRIF special events and to help fund the important research being conducted at the Diabetes Research Institute. I believe that by supporting this research we will see a world without diabetes.”
Wills will also work to identify, recruit and motivate leaders to serve on the Florida Region Board and its committees.
“Kit’s level of professional skill and expertise are the perfect fit for the position at the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation,” said Josh Rednik, President and CEO of DRIF. “Her level of dedication and ability to inspire donors will be great assets in raising needed funds to achieve our mission of finding a biological cure to diabetes.”
During her tenure at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School, Wills served as an educator before transitioning into the development field. Wills earned a master’s in education leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan. Residing in Miami, Wills is a mother of four grown children and a proud grandmother.
About the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation
The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing a DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity. For more information, please visit DiabetesResearch.org, tweet @Diabetes_DRI or call 1-800-321-3437.