“I believe the urban library plays a crucial role as a hub of civic engagement and social justice, providing space and resources that inspire learning, imagination, awareness, conversation, warmth, and community. I am honored to join the amazing team at PPL as it constantly evolves and grows to meet the needs of the Portland community.”
We are thrilled to welcome Kristen Smith to the Portland Public Library team as our Director of Development and External Relations. She brings to PPL a lifelong love of books and community, having spent the last 25 years working in a variety of non-profit organizations specializing in fundraising, communications, and storytelling. She collaborates with staff, Boards of Directors, colleagues, and the public to effect change through creative communications, marketing, and development work. Her focus is the strategy, design, and process of engaging annual donors, potential donors, event participants, volunteers, and the community to support an organization’s mission and programs.
Kristen has extensive experience in marketing, fundraising, and communications for a variety of issues addressing multiple constituencies. She came to PPL from Maine Cancer Foundation, where she served as the Director of Community Engagement, telling the story of the Foundation’s work to end the threat of cancer in Maine, and generating support to achieve their mission. Before MCF, she spent 11 years with Maine-based Planet Dog, a designer and developer of premium dog products as the Brand Ambassador. She simultaneously served as the Executive Director of their charitable arm, the Planet Dog Foundation, administering more than $1 million in grants.
She also spent 6 years on the board of Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance, the parent organization of the Portland Buy Local initiative, chairing the Development Committee and serving as President. Her career has also included community development work in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, managing a Spanish language school in Guatemala, running a small business development program for survivors of domestic violence in Boston, advocating for civil legal rights in Massachusetts, and specialty writing for various journals and nonprofits.
Kristen was raised in Waterville, but left Maine to try living in Connecticut, Berkeley, CA, Madison, WI, Costa Rica, and Cambridge, MA. She returned to Maine for good in 2004, and now lives in Portland. She enjoys Maine’s bounty of sustainable and locally-owned businesses, locally sourced food, beer, and spirits, diverse music scene, and breathtaking places to explore with her adorable rescue dog, Lucy. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, often seeking new places to scuba dive and maintain her fluency in Spanish.posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz