Catherine Covington, BSM 2005, helps facilitate the grant-making process around the globe.
During her undergraduate years, Catherine Covington (BSM 2005) found regularly tutoring local schoolchildren so rewarding that she began to see career possibilities outside of her concentration in accounting. She became interested in pursuing job opportunities with a philanthropic bent.
(published September 2010)
She got the opportunity after graduating from Tech with highest honors, winning a one-year fellowship with the Robert W. Woodruff and Whitehead Foundations – an experience that would set the stage for her career in philanthropy. "Meeting with nonprofit leaders in the community who were driven not by money but by service to others was such a positive, uplifting environment," Covington remembers.
Following Her Dream
Though she did pass the CPA exam and work a stint as an audit associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers after completing the fellowship, she was drawn back into the world of philanthropy by the opportunity to be a trust officer and grants manager in SunTrust Bank's Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice.
In that role, she provided specialized services to 30 foundations ranging from $1 million to $50 million. For these foundations, which were mostly too small to employ their own staff, she served as a liaison with the nonprofit community, helping facilitate donors' decision-making process in a neutral way, managing the application process, conducting due diligence and regulatory compliance, and conducting site visits.
"It was wonderful to be around families who are passionate about philanthropy and help facilitate their wishes through the grantmaking process," says Covington, who worked for SunTrust from 2007 to 2010.
She continues in a similar role – though on a global scale – as a philanthropic services associate at the Tides Foundation, a career move motivated in part by her desire to join her fiancé Paul Supawanich (IE 2006) in San Francisco, where he works in transportation planning at Nelson\Nygaard. They married right after her move and just a few weeks before the start of her new job at Tides.
Founded in 1976, the Tides organization connects philanthropists with organizations and nonprofits around the world. The organization's mission includes promoting positive social change, human rights, justice, and a healthy, sustainable environment.
"In a nutshell, I am working on a team that supports individuals, foundations, and corporations interested in grant-making both internationally and domestically across a range of issues," Covington says. "Clients come to me to facilitate their grant-making to organizations in many different countries."
Benefits of Tech
A native of Douglasville, Georgia, she says her Georgia Tech education prepared her well for career success and continues to benefit her professional development. "Even out in California, people definitely know what it means to attend Georgia Tech," says Covington, a President's Scholar who was inducted into the prestigious ANAK Society for her academic achievement and campus leadership. "My Georgia Tech experience definitely helped make me marketable."
She adds: "I was very proud to be a part of the Management program at Tech. It was a wonderful environment providing me with lots of opportunities to explore and really make the major my own. I was very pleased with the course content and availability of professors."