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Chauncey’s Champion Someone making a difference.

Kim Gomez 'thoroughly excited' to impact lives

by Mona Prufer Bookmark and Share
At a Rotary Club meeting, Kim Gomez decided to do something about homelessness.
At a Rotary Club meeting, Kim Gomez decided to do something about homelessness.

Kimberley Causey Gomez is in the business of helping people – students, to be precise. In her position as project coordinator in Coastal Carolina University’s Office of Philanthropy, she helps raise money for scholarships and academic excellence, focusing on the Spadoni College of Education, Campus Life and Student Engagement, and the TEAL 1000 campaign. 

“I think the most important goalin our office is creating a consistent culture of giving,” says Gomez. “When we as a University tell our story well, people feel the connection and know that their gift is impacting our community and helping students succeed.”

During her three years at CCU, she has worked formally and informally with students on campus through a mentoring program, and helps student clubs and organizations on fundraising and setting goals.

Gomez volunteered with the CINO Legacy program and has stayed in touch with her mentee beyond the program’s completion. “She took the student to lunch, provided support and guidance and a voice of reason," said Eileen Soisson, executive director of training, development and service excellence. “She lights up when she talks about her mentee and being able to be a part of her college experiences.”

Recently, when a student had to drop out of school for financial reasons and then kept missing registration deadlines, Gomez made a point to go by his workplace and talk with him about balancing work and life; she also emailed him registration deadlines to make sure he met them. He eventually returned to CCU, and, armed with a letter of reference she provided, he joined a fraternity.

She met another student’s cousin while visiting the Virgin Islands recently. “He said, ‘You’re working at CCU, my cousin goes there, would you mind checking up on her?’ I did, and we met regularly,” recalled Gomez, who mentored the student through her graduation from CCU in May 2016. “We still keep in touch and have begun writing a book together.”

Another example of Gomez’s persistence and dedication is the work she has done toward setting up the Dr. David W. Knotts Memorial Scholarship fund. (Knotts was an alumnus who died in the summer of 2015 in a car accident along with his two young daughters.)

“Kim has worked hard to get this fund to the endowed level and create a legacy with this scholarship that will assist a student who has lost a parent,” said Diane Sanders, director for philanthropy and annual giving. “She has been the key person planning fundraising events for this fund and engaging alumni, getting many back on campus for these events who would normally not have come back.”

Helping people is not just a day at work for Gomez; it is a way of life.

Prior to CCU, she worked as business services coordinator at Goodwill Industries. She began a career in social work in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1992 as a missionary and worked in a residential home for abused and neglected children.

“I am very passionate about permanency planning for foster care and feel that many of our community are just one paycheck away of being at risk of homelessness,” said Gomez, who is a founding member of the St. Croix Mission Outreach Program board, which partners with Atlanta Mission to help individuals with substance abuse challenges.

Locally, she belongs to the Rotary Club of Carolina Forest Sunrise. At a recent meeting, when members were asked to choose an issue where they felt they could make an impact in other people’s lives, she chose homelessness. Then, to ensure that she actually put her choice into action, she joined the Habitat for Humanity of Horry County board to help people get their own homes.

“It goes back to helping the homeless population and breaking the cycle of poverty, allowing people to make good financial choices, and helping create a safe environment for their children,” says Gomez. “I’m thoroughly excited.”

Gomez’s paternal side of the family is originally from Conway. She was very close to her father, Milford Causey, and when he died in 2010, she was devastated. Her father and mother, in banking and real estate, respectively, always stressed the importance of being community-minded.

A year following her father’s death, as Gomez was living and working in the Virgin Islands, he appeared to her in a dream and told her to move back to the States with her children.

“I took it on faith,” said Gomez, a single mother who is a very spiritual-minded person. She and her two children – Gabriella and Antonio – moved back to Myrtle Beach five days before the start of the school year.

It was two years before she got the job with Goodwill, working with business owners to hire people with disabilities. Then she met Chris Johnson, executive director of the Chanticleer Athletic Foundation, at a fundraiser, and she offered to volunteer with the annual gala auction. Shortly thereafter, she was hired to work in philanthropy. “I am so blessed to be here working to help Coastal and our students,” said Gomez, who loves to teach students the importance of stewardship.

“Kim is someone who just randomly meets students on campus in passing for one reason or another, and she ends up becoming their mentor,” said Sanders, who nominated her for I Spy. “I think that God just places her in their path. She provides them a listening ear and words of wisdom when they need it, as well as a good laugh from time to time!”

Soisson, who is most widely known as coordinator of the Feel the Teal customer service initiative, went through Leadership Grand Strand with Gomez and couldn’t agree more.

“We see Kimberley running all over campus (and always in heels) helping fellow co-workers, volunteering for this committee or that – but what many people do not see at CCU is how much of her time she gives to others within our community.

“She bleeds teal and does so on and off the job. It is Kimberley’s character and the level of servant leadership she brings to CCU that makes her a stand-out employee and representative of CCU. She gives so much to this local community – and CCU wins out every time she does,” Soisson said.

Related Photos

Kim Gomez, left, and Diane Sanders with country singer Lee Brice. At a Rotary Club meeting, Kim Gomez decided to do something about homelessness. Kim Gomez with her children Antonio, a ROTC senior at Carolina Forest High School, and Gabriella, a sophomore at Carolina Forest. From left, Kim Gomez, Diane Sanders and Lynn Fox at a CCU event. From left, Kim Gomez, Eileen Soisson and Diane Sanders Kim Gomez with son Antonio, an ROTC student at Carolina Forest High School. TEAL 1000 is a fundraising campaign in the Office of Philanthropy.
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