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A Passion for Caring

Kristin Replogle is supporting internships for students who are interested in nonprofits.

From the moment she put on a candy striper’s uniform as a child, Kristin Replogle knew she would have a passion for serving her entire life.

“I was raised with the philosophy of ‘paying it forward’ to help others,” Replogle says. “Whether it was volunteering in the hospital as an adolescent or serving on a nonprofit’s board today, service is a major thread woven throughout my life.”

Replogle, a former speech language pathologist who specialized in traumatic brain injuries, recently gave the College of Humanities and Social Sciences a $25,000 endowment that will support students minoring in nonprofit studies who are working in an unpaid internship.

“When I was a student at Miami University in Ohio, I was given a fellowship that really opened doors for me that I might not have been able to go through otherwise,” Replogle says. “I knew that when the time came, I would want to give back in the area of education because it is so important to me.”

Replogle began serving on the college’s Institute for Nonprofits advisory board in 2010. That’s when she decided to make her gift. “Once I met the students in the program, I knew this was the perfect place for me to give back,” she says.

The Institute for Nonprofits enhances the capacity of nonprofit organizations by connecting the university with the community. The Institute offers a nonprofit studies minor — one of only a few such undergraduate programs in the country.

“Our nonprofit studies minor requires an internship,” says institute director Mary Tschirhart. “Most of the internships are unpaid, and some students opt for a local internship so they won’t incur the living expenses involved with an internship outside our area. Kristin wanted to enable students to choose an internship based on their passion for that organization rather than basing it on the expenses that might be involved.”

Replogle’s endowment specifically favors students who have shown a passion in caring for children. “When I worked at Massachusetts General Hospital, I often worked with abused children,” she recalls. “As I got older and had children of my own, my passion for caring for children grew even stronger. And I’ve learned through the years that your passion will always lead you down the right path.”

Replogle lives in Raleigh with her husband, John, CEO of Vermont-based company Seventh Generation. The couple has four daughters. Replogle serves on several local nonprofit organizations that work specifically to protect and support children: SAFEChild, the Girl Scouts and KidzNotes, a Durham-based organization that teaches classical and orchestral music to underserved children. Farther from home, President Obama recently appointed Replogle to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Replogle is a big fan of the Institute for Nonprofits. “I think it’s wonderful that NC State has a nonprofit studies program,” she says. “We need so badly to prepare nonprofit leaders of the future. If we can find young folks who have a passion for service already, it is our obligation to help support them if we can.”

Taylor Elkins is one of four recipients to date of a scholarship from the Kristin Gatchel Replogle Nonprofit Internship Fund. Replogle’s gift allowed Elkins to intern with Outreach360 — formerly Orphanage Outreach — in the Dominican Republic during the summer of 2011. “The scholarship gave me the amazing opportunity to stay at an all-boys orphanage in the town of Jaibon, where I taught English, Spanish literacy and public health to the boys at the home,” Elkins says. “I was also able to work with the local community in weekly summer camps. The relationships I developed with the boys have had a huge impact on my life, and that is what I am most grateful to Kristin for.”

Replogle is grateful to have found students who share her desire to give back. “Because I’m so aware of the many needs of nonprofit organizations, I’m thrilled to find students who have a passion for giving back,” she says. “It is very gratifying to give them the support they need and watch them grow.”

By Caroline Barnhill This article is reposted from the college’s 2012 magazine, Accolades.