Youth Villages stories

Youth Villages stories

Erica Ellis portrait

Erica Ellis joins Youth Villages as North Carolina Director of Development

Jun 24, 2021 | Blog

With more than a dozen years of experience in fundraising, Erica Ellis joined Youth Villages as the North Carolina Development Director this past May. Because of her expertise in growing a donor base and stewarding relationships with partners, Youth Villages is thrilled to welcome Erica to the YV family and have her lead the fundraising efforts across the state.

If you have any questions about supporting our communities’ vulnerable kids and families, or how you can get more involved with Youth Villages’ work locally, you can reach out to Erica at or 704-510-5642.

Q: What attracted you to Youth Villages?

A: If you looked at my career you would see that my passion lies with helping children in need whether that was a need to be protected, a need to be found, a need for better health, or a need for support. Ultimately, though, all of them have needed hope. I believe that every child should be able to dream and hope for a brighter future, and Youth Villages gives that to struggling children and those aging out of our public systems.

Q: What do you think sets Youth Villages apart in its work with North Carolina children and families?

A: Youth Villages is way ahead of the industry curve when it comes to putting analytics behind the mission. When they expanded into North Carolina in 2005, they brought with them their research and evidence-based services. These programs have earned them the trust of the State of North Carolina, which now offers a 4:1 match for [gifts to] the LifeSet program, which helps young adults aging out of foster care and other public systems. That is the kind of innovation that will truly change lives!

Q: What are you most excited about in taking on this role?

A: What am I not excited about?! I love getting back to the mission and I love being able to share with donors the ways they are [helping] change the lives of these children. Not all of us are parents, but all of us have been a child and a teenager. Think about who was there for you when [you] were in trouble or having a rough time. Many of [the kids we serve] are alone and have no natural supports like family. [Youth Villages provides that support] system: a collective of staff, community members, public officials, and donors. I can’t wait to be a part of growing this collective support system, because together we can give these kids hope and the ability to dream of a brighter future.

Q: What are you passionate about outside of your work? Will you get to engage in this passion over the summer?

A: I believe in family and the power of family. I grew up with all my extended family right down the road, and the furthest was only a few hours away. I want my four children (5, 6, 21 and 22) to know their entire family and have those meaningful connections. After the hard year we all have had, I am eager to travel to Michigan and Pennsylvania to visit with all our family members we haven’t seen in over a year. There will be no better vacation! Oh, and seeing the Michigan lakes will be an extra bonus.