By Amanda Clayton
Krystal Kappeler (B.S., ’13) is passionate about helping our Colorado community thrive. As Boettcher Foundation’s alumni and scholarship program coordinator, she focuses on connecting current and alumni Scholars to leadership development opportunities. She creates and facilitates educational programming, builds relationships with Colorado leaders, and much more.
“While my day to day is as diverse as the multitude of majors our Scholars select, I most enjoy creatively enriching the lives of others,” said Kappeler.
As a Fort Collins native, Kappeler selected CSU because of its impressive Honors Undergraduate Research Program, the Honors Program, and ability to participate in the CSU Marching Band. She studied International Finance within the College of Business and completed a leadership certificate through the President’s Leadership Program.
Kappeler has also chosen to pursue higher education at CSU. Having completed her required coursework, she is currently working on her master’s thesis in economics. Her research examines the impact of philanthropy on the capitalist economy. This topic stems from the immense gratitude she has from receiving scholarship support from the Boettcher Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.
“I would have a completely different life without the Boettcher Foundation scholarship,” says Kappeler. “Having their financial support allowed me to engage in extracurricular activities, including playing first chair clarinet in the CSU Marching Band, studying abroad in Sicily, presenting my CSU research at an international conference, conducting research in the Caribbean, joining the President’s Leadership Program, and serving as the Philanthropy Chair of Presidential Ambassadors; opportunities I never would have had if I had to work my way through college.”
It turns out that having the time to participate in these leadership programs were key to discovering her passion for philanthropy.
“I loved the Presidential Ambassadors program! I really felt like my studies and my interests were falling into alignment,” Kappeler recount. “I enjoyed working with Dr. Tony Frank and donors, meeting alumni, educating current students about philanthropy, and sharing my CSU story. I came to an understanding that you can give back and pay it forward at any stage in your life.”
In efforts to give back to those who supported her, Kappeler serves as a guest lecturer, helping college students generate strategic business plans and improve negotiation tactics. She also volunteers for the Coca-Cola Scholar’s Foundation as a coach to first-year students and as a member of their Alumni Advisory Board.
As a way of paying it forward, Kappeler volunteers for the Coca-Cola Scholar’s Foundation as a support coach, where she trains other alumni as coaches to support first-year Scholars, as Programs Chair of their Alumni Advisory Board, and as a Leadership Development Institute facilitator.
“While COVID-19 has presented many challenges within higher education and philanthropy, it’s been an incredible time to be a part of these organizations,” said Kappeler. “It’s truly inspiring to work with and support alumni who come forward offering to share their time, talent, and treasure with our communities during this global health crisis.”
Boettcher Foundation and its Scholars have been hosting virtual programming to provide extra support during this pandemic, because people’s wellbeing is just as important as the financial support they provide. Alumni-led topics include sessions from pandemic experts on COVID-19, sessions on resiliency and mindfulness, sessions on creativity, and sessions specifically for graduates dealing with lost opportunities.
How does Kappeler feel about Boettcher Foundation?
“I am exceptionally grateful for the way they’ve forever positively impacted my life. ‘Thank you’ isn’t enough,” she said. “I think when you show a student that you believe in them by investing in them, whether it’s investing dollars through a scholarship or investing your time and talent to help coach, tutor, mentor, or educate them, that’s the kind of gift that has ripple effects. I think those types of gifts are the most valuable gifts in the world that we give.”
Kappeler has two-pieces of advice for current CSU students and graduates:
“You don’t have to have it all figured out to take a step forward. We all put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, but PROGRESS and a step forward is way more important than being perfect.”
“You truly become a product of the people with whom you surround yourself. The networks you create during your time at CSU will become invaluable gifts in your life, so stay in touch!”