HPLM director of development retiring after 12 years with organization


FREMONT — A 12-year Hayes Presidential Library & Museum director is to retire at the end of the month.

Kathy Boukissen plans to retire May 31 as the organization’s director of development.

“I have mixed emotions about leaving,” Boukissen said. “It has been exciting to be a part of a team of people who work very hard to carry out on-going initiatives and also be creative and find ways to grow as an organization.

“I will miss being a part of new projects and programming” she said. “As I retire, I do feel proud that I have helped contribute to the success thus far.”

Boukissen led the organization’s largest fundraising campaign and introduced new ways of raising money for the organization, which is what she is most proud of.

During her years at Hayes Presidential, she introduced sponsorships for events and programs, helped connect numerous Hayes family members with the organization, started the Gateway to the Future annual fundraising appeal and began the annual membership appeal to recruit and retain Hayes Presidential members. Also, she has written grants to obtain funding for programs and exhibits.

“We’ve really worked as a team here, and people feel the passion we have,” Boukissen said. “I’ve never felt like it was a job or career because of my love for the organization and what we stand for. I truly believe in it.”

She also led the Centennial Campaign, which was the largest fundraising campaign in HPLM’s history and its first major private funding campaign, during 2015-2016. The organization celebrated its centennial in 2016 with a complete renovation of the museum and new, handicapped-accessible main entrance, among other improvements.

The campaign goal was $1 million, and the organization far surpassed that by raising $1.8 million for the project. Boukissen’s experience with running fundraising campaigns allowed Hayes Presidential to rely on her instead of hiring a consultant, saving thousands of dollars.

“Kathy has made a huge impact on the forward motion of this organization,” Christie Weininger, Hayes Presidential executive director, said in a release provided by HPLM. “I have developed a healthy respect for Kathy’s philosophy behind fundraising. She is sincere and energetic in meetings with potential donors, taking the time to facilitate strong relationships between Hayes Presidential and our investors.”

Building relationships is what Boukissen said she has enjoyed most about her job.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, and I enjoy finding a way to coordinate where their passion for giving is with an area that benefits both them and Hayes Presidential,” she said.

Before coming to Hayes Presidential, she was the director of development at St. Joseph Central Catholic High School for 10 years. Before her job at SJCC, she owned The Fanatic Sporting and Gift Store that was located in Potter Village Shopping Center in Fremont.

In her years at Hayes Presidential, Boukissen has seen difficult times and plenty of growth. During the recession in 2008, the organization lost $230,000 in state funding, which caused it to cut staff salaries and close on Mondays all year until 2015.

“During my 12 years, when there were budget restraints, I’ve enjoyed watching how our staff pulled together,” she said. “We never discontinued any type of programming. People just pulled together and did want they needed to do. We also continued to raise more private dollars each year.”

In recent years, the organization has grown, adding more programming and staff. Social media has made it easier to connect with supporters and Hayes family members, really helping people feel a part of what Hayes Presidential does, she said.

Boukissen said she just hopes to simplify her life in retirement.

“After 22 years in development work and the 24/7 efforts I mentally gave to it, I just want to simplify my life and enjoy my children and grandchildren, family and friends,” she said. “My husband, Rob, has always been so supportive of my career and as he still continues to work in real estate, we will find more time to enjoy our cottage and travel.”

She said she will miss the staff and the many people who help Hayes Presidential, and she will continue to support the organization and its efforts.

“I’ve had a wonderful experience here, and I hope people continue to generously support (HPLM),” she said.