Danielle Summerville, the manager of corporate partnerships for Big Brothers Big Sisters, has lived in Colorado Springs since 1990.
While a student at Carmel Middle School, one of her teachers suggested that she might consider applying to Fountain Valley School, the nationally-acclaimed private college preparatory school that occupies more than a thousand acres near Fountain.
She attended Fountain Valley for four years, graduating in 1996.
That decision, she said, changed her life.
“It was a small school, with small classes, with kids from all over the country, and all over the world,” Summerville said. “I learned so much – and I think that I just would have been lost in a big public high school.”
After Fountain Valley, Summerville attended Lake Forest College, in Lake Forest, Ill., and graduated in 2000 with a degree in sociology, coupled with a minor in African-American studies.
She returned to Colorado Springs and took a position with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Summerville said she loves the interaction with the corporate world, and especially the opportunity to deliver a different kind of message than corporations are, she believes, accustomed to hearing from nonprofits.
“For so long, corporate donors have just seen nonprofits as people seeking handouts to support the work that they do,” she said. “For the corporation, it’s charitable giving, and that’s it. We’re different. We present ourselves as a business seeking business partners, and we can show them how partnering with us and having their employees participate in our programs bring real, tangible benefits to their companies.”
Since 2001, Summerville has acquired a great deal of experience in the nonprofit social services sector. From 2001-05, she worked with the Carmel Community Living Corp., assisting individuals with developmental disabilities by helping them access community resources. During the same period, she served first as a school coordinator with the HOSTS program and then as program manager/program director with her employer’s community-based mentoring program.
Denise Wisdom, the executive director of America’s Family Inc., has worked with Summerville.
“She’s bright, energetic – just a great community steward – so generous with her time and talents,” Wisdom said. “She has that rare ability to connect both with people of any kind, and with the corporate world. She’s very caring, very compassionate, very professional – we’re lucky to have her.”
Summerville is an active participant in her community. Since 2000 she has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She was a charter member and president of her undergraduate chapter. She’s the hostess of the local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the publicity co-chair of the African-American Youth Leadership Conference, serves as a Big Sister mentor to teenagers and was featured in the 2005 annual listing of “Who’s Who in Black Colorado Springs.”