Katie Bisbee ’91: Connecting the Public to Public Schools
“The importance of education and social impact was a constant in my family and throughout my childhood,” says Katie Bisbee, a member of the Class of 1991. Katie is the Chief Marketing Officer for DonorsChoose, a nonprofit crowdfunding pioneer that connects donors with public school teachers in need of classroom supplies and funding. Since arriving at DonorsChoose in 2006, she has overseen revenue growth from about $4 million to $150 million.
In addition to her marketing responsibilities, Katie oversees the organization’s partnership teams engaging 2.5 million citizen donors and 500 corporate and foundation partners in supporting public school classrooms. Under her direction, each donor receives a handwritten thank you note from the teacher and students, offering a personalized expression of gratitude that has become a hallmark of the DonorChoose experience.
Katie is also proud of her work championing the I See Me program, designed to get books and educational materials that reflect the cultural diversity of students and their families into classrooms. Katie’s parents, Linda and Gary Bisbee, are not altogether surprised by her career path. Both of her grandparents taught in public schools and fostered in her a deep appreciation for education. “They saw education as a privilege and taught me to never take it for granted,” explains Katie.
Following Country School, Katie attended Choate Rosemary Hall and then Trinity College. After graduation, she worked for a time in public opinion research, but ultimately felt the undeniable call of the nonprofit sector and joined New York City’s Coalition for the Homeless. Realizing that an advanced degree would enable her to have greater impact in her nonprofit career, she returned to school, earning her M.B.A. from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and the Hyde Fellowship for her contributions to the school.
As a member of the DonorsChoose executive team and groundbreaker within the industry, Katie is passionate about empowering women aspiring to leadership roles and mentors many at work. In 2016, she was named to Direct Marketing News’ “Marketing Hall of Femme.” Katie says her time at Country School helped inspire her career path and to develop many skills she uses every day at DonorsChoose. In particular, Katie credits former teachers Al Perry (1982–2003), who “taught me how to write effectively and to outline first,” and Christopher Davenport (1966– 1988), who “taught math in a new style that finally clicked for me.” DonorsChoose is now providing educational supplies and resources directly to children nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic through a pilot program, “Distance Learning Projects.” You can learn more about this program at: www.donorschoose.org/coronavirus-how-to-help