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Q&A with Pattie Dash Executive Director of NKFMDDE

Pattie Dash, a Maryland native, has been the dynamic leader of the The National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware since 2017. She originally joined as the Vice President of Mission Advancement after a long career at the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland where she had worked for 32 years prior to that. MyCity4HER was able to catch up with the busy nonprofit executive as she prepares for the organization’s larger signature fundraiser – Santé: A Taste of Baltimore,  later this month on February 28th.

Pattie, who has been working in the nonprofit field for 36 years shared the following…

What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about the industry? In my opinion one of the biggest misconceptions people have is that nonprofits do not make money. A nonprofit cannot fulfill its mission without profit – nonprofits would not be able to deliver their programs or services and create impact without raising essential funds to thrive.

What led you to be interested in the mission of the National Kidney Foundation? I have been in the nonprofit sector for a long time and am concerned about our community and the health of those in our community. I wanted to continue to make a difference and was very comfortable in my prior position; however I wanted to deepen my engagement and impact in our community. I found that the National Kidney Foundation was not just another nonprofit doing great work – rather we raise awareness for the prevention and treatment of kidney disease so education is key and by raising awareness about kidney disease we save lives.

Where were you prior? I worked for Girl Scouts of Central Maryland for 32 years.  

What are the TOP 4 Tips you would share regarding “Donor cultivation” to anyone who is either on a board, or in a leadership role with a non-profit?

In my opinion, everything is about relationships! Tips I would share include:

  • Connect your board members to donors. Have them make thank you calls throughout the year and/or write thank you notes. Board members should be provided information about donors and positioned to cultivate current donors and to make asks.
  • Understand the passion and philanthropic interests of donors. Learn about your donors and align your asks to programs that interest them to increase impact.
  • Moves Management is KEY – keep great notes and utilize any/all tools and resources that you have at hand. Investing in a database that will grow with your organization is vital.
  • Develop and implement a Cultivation Plan. Without a solid plan it will be difficult to move forward – research, cultivation, activation, etc. are all key components of your plan.  

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given and why? I have been very lucky in my career to have the right mentor at the right times throughout my career. The best advice I was ever given was to trust my gut, overthinking situations puts a lot of pressure on you.

What if you knew then, what you know now, would you have done differently when starting your career? I don’t live my life with what if or could have, should have ….. I have no regrets and everything happens for a reason. Every step taken is a journey, I look at it as there are many roads on my journey, sometimes there are dead ends and sometimes there are detour, but every step has mattered to shape me in my leadership journey.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions related to Kidney Disease and Illness?

Myth 1: Kidney disease is a rare condition. You may be surprised to learn just how common kidney disease is. In fact, one in seven American adults today is living with some level of kidney disease. What puts you at risk? Having high blood pressurediabetes, a family history of kidney failure, and being over 60 years are major risk factors for kidney disease. Being African-American/Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, or Pacific Islander also increases your risk.

Myth 2: You will know if you have kidney disease.

Unfortunately, most people who have kidney disease don’t know it. Why not? Because in the early stages of kidney disease, most people do not have any symptoms. Symptoms may not appear until kidney disease is in the advanced stages. The best way to find out if you have kidney disease is to get tested—and once you are diagnosed there are many steps you can take to reduce the progression of the disease.

Myth 3: Testing for kidney disease is a long and costly process.

Testing for kidney disease is surprisingly easy. It can be done with two simple, inexpensive tests during a routine visit with your healthcare provider.

You have a HUGE fundraiser coming up on February 28 at AVAM. It’s Santé: A Taste of Baltimore.  What are some of the highlights?

With over 300 guests anticipated, this premier food and beverage event will feature delicious creations from 20 of Baltimore’s best restaurants, caterers and chefs, paired with enticing drinks. Adding to the fun will be celebrity judges, the People’s Choice competition, entertainment, raffles and a silent auction. Admission to this business causal evening is $100/person or $2,500 for a table.

What is your favorite food to serve at a gathering and why? I love to serve pasta dishes, whether it is a simple lemon and basil pasta dish or a traditional meat sauce recipe, most people like pasta and it’s a simple go to for me.  

Do you have a favorite personal recipe – can you share it?

  • 12 ounces dry spaghetti, uncooked
  • 1 pound ground sirloin beef (90% lean)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) OR 2 cartons (14.8 oz each) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • STEP ONE: Cook spaghetti according to package directions, omitting salt.
  • STEP TWO: Meanwhile, cook beef with onion in large skillet over medium-high heat 7 minutes or until beef is crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, oil and brown sugar; blend well.
  • STEP THREE: Simmer covered over medium-low heat 15 minutes or until hot and flavors have blended. Drain spaghetti; serve with sauce.

What is your favorite wine to sip when relaxing? My favorite wine is Riesling, I prefer sweeter than dry.

What is your favorite part about living in the Greater Baltimore region? I was born and raised in Baltimore, I lived primarily in Baltimore County and then Baltimore City. My husband and I moved out of the city to Carroll County and lived there for 18 years before we moved to Hanover, PA 12 years ago.

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time? I love to read, watch movies and spend time with family and friends. I love to volunteer as well.

Above and beyond your job, and work related, what causes are important to you and why?
       –     Youth: Investing in today’s youth is essential; today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. Helping our youth explore their passion and seeing their potential is important to me.

  • Suicide Prevention: Emotional wellness is important to me because my father committed suicide when I was 14 years old. It’s important to show individuals that they have options and the most important option is to LIVE.

What’s your favorite restaurant and if you can have anything on the menu what would it be? Morton’s Steakhouse. My favorite meal is Morton’s Chopped Salad, Center-Cut Filet Mignon and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts.

How do you have fun? Spending time with family and friends and doing anything from having dinner and watching a movie to going on a wine tour.

What’s your definition of success? My definition of success is feeling a sense of accomplishment while doing what I love! It’s knowing that what I am doing helps others lead a better life.

About Pattie Dash

Pattie Dash joined The National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware in 2015 as the Vice President of Mission Advancement and was promoted to Executive Director in 2017. She leads the training and development of staff and volunteers at the local level and carries out NKF’s mission by successfully raising funds, engaging leadership volunteers, influential community members, and ensuring that program goals are met in the designated market. 

Dash previously spent 32 years with Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. She started as an intern and steadily moved up to retail sales manager, business manager, operations manager, chief administrative officer, volunteerism/programs senior vice president, strategy vice president and chief development officer.

Named among Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record, Dash graduated from Leadership Baltimore County and the Network2000 Mentoring Program. She also earned a Certificate of Non- Profit Management from the Mandel Center for Non Profit Organizations – Case Western Reserve University and completed professional development training in preparing successful grant proposals at Indiana University’s Center of Philanthropy.

About NKF

Fueled by passion and urgency, National Kidney Foundation is a lifeline for all people affected by kidney disease. As pioneers of scientific research and innovation, NKF focuses on the whole patient through the lens of kidney health. Relentless in our work, we enhance lives through action, education and accelerating change.

The National Kidney Foundation is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information, visit


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