Note: This story is from a WIN email delivered on 9/1/21.
In this installment of our "Celebrating Those Who Give" series, we profile Courtney Gotlin, who shares a unique story of involvement, commitment and personal experience as a member of the Women's Initiative Network for Kennedy Krieger Institute. For Courtney and her husband, Matt, giving back is a family affair. They set an example for their children by volunteering as often as possible with the kids.
What should our audience know about your background?
I grew up in Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia (Go HOOS!) in 1997 with a degree in finance. I then moved to New York City to do investment banking, where I met my husband, Matt. He moved to Baltimore for work in 1998 and I returned to the D.C. area until we got married in September 2001. I worked for the Baltimore Ravens in marketing until our first child was born in 2003. We are blessed to have one son and three daughters—Jake (18), Maggie (16), Evie (11) and Grace (8). I have been fortunate to be able to stay home with them, giving me the opportunity to volunteer my time with their schools and amazing organizations like the Women's Initiative Network!
How did you learn about WIN?
I first learned about WIN from Dara Schnee several years ago, when she took me on a tour of Kennedy Krieger Institute. Also, my husband, Matt, is on the Kennedy Krieger Board of Directors, so I have learned a lot about the Institute from him.
When did you join WIN?
I started attending events in 2015 and officially joined in 2016.
How have you been involved with WIN?
I have been on the planning committees for the Hats & Horses events, which were incredible. The events have raised money for a much-needed transport van, huge renovations for the therapeutic pool and even an assisted walking device for patients with spinal cord injuries. I have fond memories of creating horse centerpieces at Art with a Heart with my children and husband. I've also been able to participate in the 2019 Fall Fête, and in several Wine Walkabouts and other events, from assembling welcome bags to supporting inpatient families to virtual volunteering with my daughter.
What is your favorite WIN memory?
During the pandemic, I was able to participate in a wonderful Zoom art project with my oldest daughter, Maggie, and some of Kennedy Krieger's inpatients—it was all sports-themed for March Madness, and it was so nice to be able to connect with the kids while doing something fun. The nurses and other staff members did an AMAZING job making it special and spirited for all of us.
What impact has your involvement in WIN and the Institute had on your life?
I feel so fortunate to be able to see the breadth of what Kennedy Krieger has to offer…not only the work they do for people with spinal cord and brain injuries, but the incredible research that doctors like Dr. Rebecca Landa are doing on autism spectrum disorders…and our son was even lucky enough to participate in a clinical trial for ADHD over the past several years. Kennedy Krieger truly changes peoples lives for the better. It is such a special place, and it is our honor to be involved!
What would you say to encourage others to join WN?
Giving back through WIN helps me remember that life is a gift. Helping others in need is truly the best way to honor that.
Thank you, Courtney, for being an important part of WIN!
One of the horse statues created with Art with a Heart
by WIN members and their families for the 2016 Hats & Horses
Edwin Villamater, Jennifer Grossman, Courtney and Matt Gotlin, Ally Villamater, and Andy Grossman at the 2016 Hats & Horses.
Matt Gotlin and daughter Evie, creating winter crafts to be used as decorations for Kennedy Krieger's inpatient rehabilitation hospital in 2016.
Courtney Gotlin modeling at the 2019 Fall Fête