Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Moore ’07
In 2011, Sarah Moore, 27, a second-generation Westminster alumna, started at Americans for Prosperity (AFP) as a development assistant, eventually began fundraising for the group, and was appointed as director of development in December 2014. The conservative advocacy group operates chapters in 35 states where it advocates for free enterprise and limited government, especially in the areas of healthcare, energy, and economics.
While Sarah was an engaged member of the We the People team at Westminster and pursued a political science degree from Wheaton College, she never had a desire for a career in politics or even fundraising. “I hate politics,” she says. “So many in D.C. view politics as an end in and of itself, instead of as a means to help others.”
Her interest had always been in political philosophy – specifically the intersection of politics and faith, government and church, power struggles and human nature. “Thought leaders like Kuyper, Aquinas, Rousseau, and Machiavelli piqued my interest in exploring where political philosophy meets policy, but it was ultimately civitas, love for one’s neighbor, that led me to this work,” says Sarah. “The political industry is a really dark place. So to work for an organization that seeks to positively disrupt a broken political system by advancing free market policies that help those our government has alienated instead of harming the poor, is an incredible gift. This is the work that God has called me to at AFP.”
When she first joined the development team, Sarah supported a group of major gift officers, helped plan events, and assisted with logistics and the planning – a diverse set of experiences that would be invaluable when she was promoted to lead the team a few years later. Although she initially felt unqualified, her track record has proved otherwise. She has raised more money than anyone else on the team.
“I had to start from scratch and build my own caseload,” says Sarah. “It was a numbers game – ‘how many meetings can I get?’ I traveled constantly because I wanted to figure out how to build as many relationships as possible. The numbers themselves are just a byproduct of relationships that are functioning well.”
From a young age, Sarah has worked hard with a healthy dose of integrity – two reasons she was promoted so quickly. “Authentic production doesn’t occur if you don’t exhibit humility and respect for one another,” says Sarah, noting how her own growth in these areas was encouraged by her family, church, and mentors at Westminster. “There were so many people focused on challenging me. My coaches’ and teachers’ willingness to make investments in me always humbled me,” she says, noting Scott Vonder Bruegge’s poignant journalism lessons and Mark Hearne’s deep love of history, passed on to many of his students. “Papa Hearne’s class is the only reason I remember key dates in history!” she says. “Westminster always made me hungry to learn. It’s rare to be in a Christian school where you actually get sound doctrine and a strong education.”
That education, like the one she received at Wheaton, she says, helped shape her worldview and, in turn, her political viewpoints. “God has called me to work for an organization that shrinks the scope of government in order to allow the church and other institutions to do their jobs, in turn allowing humanity to thrive and flourish the way God intended.”
In her role at AFP, Sarah manages 34 people, including the major gifts team, events team, support team, and communications team. She spends about a quarter of her time fundraising with the group’s high-level donors. How does she convince people her grandparents’ age to give? “At first, I thought my age was a disadvantage,” she says. “But then I realized I was the product they wanted to see. When they see a young person who shares their vision and values — who understands the threats
politically and culturally to our society — they get really excited.”
For Sarah, the most challenging part of the job is being the coach and the player at the same time. “It’s finding a balance between building out my portfolio and leading the team well,” she says. “People are the most important thing. Making time to invest in those people, to cultivate their talent and leadership, is my priority. In all organizations, it’s either ‘I’m here to serve you’ or ‘you’re here to serve me.’ Unfortunately in the political space, it’s usually the latter. But for me, my faith informs the way I want to lead. It’s about pouring into others so that they might succeed.”
This challenge also happens to be the reward. “I love seeing authentic, transformational growth in others – whether a donor, a peer, or someone on my team,” says Sarah. “There are two things that ‘sell’ in politics: crisis and hope. There is a great need, in both the private and public sectors, for Christian leaders who are able to expose others to the hope we have in Christ. I believe in exposing people to the gospel without smacking them in the face with it. This means loving people well. It is the greatest blessing to see others’ lives changed when they are exposed to the benefits of living a Christ-centered life,” she says. “Regardless of your industry or job title, because of this hope, we can see and encourage a better version of a person than he/she might ever have for himself/herself. The same for a team, the same for a country.”
“My time in D.C. has been characterized by learning God’s faithfulness as He consistently (and lovingly) nudges me outside of my comfort zone, giving me new responsibilities and opportunities for leadership, even when against my will,” says Sarah. “I would have never picked this job for myself, and frankly didn’t even know jobs like this existed! But the desire that God has placed on my heart is to build teams, inspire others, and cultivate leaders. It just so happens that in doing so, I get to work at a place where I can advance free market policies that allow for human flourishing. What could be more fun than that?”