Success Stories

Comm alumnus helps fight poverty

Lignell (left) and Brown

While earning his bachelor's degree in communications, Kevin Lignell discovered his desire to work in the nonprofit industry by working as an intern and volunteer for several nonprofit organizations. Though after graduating in April 2008 he was challenged by the competitive job market in Michigan, he combined his degree with his field of interest to find the perfect position. He is now working for the Kalamazoo County Poverty Reduction Initiative as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer. 

Lignell handles all of the organization's public relations and marketing efforts, as well as its social media and networking. He is responsible for creating the organization's brand marketing materials and updating a blog, which features all of the organization's recent activities. Recently he organized a press conference for the child's poverty data, which featured major local media.

“Once I discovered this position I knew that I wanted to do this,” said Lignell. “I wouldn't have these responsibilities at a lot of entry-level communication positions had I taken them.”

Lignell works under the executive director of the organization, Jeff Brown, who is also a Grand Valley alumnus.

“I'm very committed to the powerful things that a nonprofit organization can do for a community,” said Brown. “When I came across Kevin's application, I was impressed with his experience in communications and the nonprofit industry, but I could also read between the lines and see he was a person that was committed to equity and equal opportunity for all people. His work here has surely reinforced the good things that I first noticed about him.”

After completing his volunteer term in December of 2009, Lignell plans to continue working in the nonprofit industry. “I really want to work for an organization that I could advocate for a particular cause, such as a public mission based organization or a government organization,” he said.   

by Leah Burns