5 Quick Questions with Laura


We sat down with Laura Kleffner, our new Director of Development for a Q&A. Keep reading to find out who her first fundraising donors were, her love for Nelly + her passion for all things Saint Louis.

1. Where'd you come from?

I was born and raised in St. Louis. To answer the perennial “where’d you go to high school?” question, I went to Parkway West. I then went out of state to Michigan State for college (it might've been just for the basketball). From there, I came back for a little bit, went to D.C. + now I’m back to STL. As I say, St. Louis has a gravitational pull + when I was in D.C. I was actually longing to be back in St. Louis working to find a way to improve the city that helped raise me. I am a middle child with an older sister + a younger brother. My parents will always say that I act just like someone who suffers from middle child syndrome. I was always talking + for a family full of accountants I was deemed their spirited child. We lived in Ballwin + for an interesting fact, none of us went to the same high school. I am very close with my family + that helped to guide my decision to move back home especially because of the birth of my first nephew! You can also always hear me trying to convince my brother, his wife + my parents to move back to St. Louis. I am positive that one day I will truly convince them.  

2. No one likes asking for money, how'd it become your dream job?

I don’t know of many people who when they are younger say their dream job is to be a fundraiser. No 5 year old says it + no one goes to college to become a fundraiser. Luckily, a former boss saw that I was outgoing, valued relationships + believed that I could be successful in fundraising. She forced me to be one, but I am grateful to her as development has become my dream job. I will say though that I got my start in fundraising by always asking my parents for money. They were definitely my first donors.

3. What's a at day at M:STL look like?

You never know what you’re going to get. Each day has been different. Activities have included: communicating with donors, getting to know all of the ins and outs of Mission: St. Louis and everything that we offer, + learning about my coworkers and their jobs and roles too. In the future, my job will include meeting with donors, addressing their concerns, getting to know the community better + making sure Mission: St. Louis is known in our city for making a positive impact. I’m most looking forward to empowering people in our city to make St. Louis a land of opportunity.

4. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by helping people. It is what helps me get out of bed + that is why I love working at Mission: St. Louis. I have only been here a short time but I have been lucky enough to attend one of our JLT graduations.  While attending, I looked around the room + it was confirmation that by helping to increase support for Mission: St. Louis, I am able to help in my own way.

5. Who are your champions?

I have a strong love for St. Louis’ one and only Nelly. I also adore Dolly Parton.  Everyday I hope to be as optimistic and giving as Dolly.

Interested in meeting Laura for coffee? Reach her by email or feel free to call her at 636.368.7106.

Mandy Zoelzer