Rebecca Luedke Thomas: Psychology major
Over the past 12 years, Rebecca Luedke Thomas ’98 has witnessed a major new emphasis in global health work: measurement.
“In decades past, measuring results was challenging, hardly heard of,” says Thomas, a project administrator for PATH, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on creating and deploying new technology to solve global health problems. “Now everybody has to have a plan. Donors want to know their money is being used how they think it should be used.”
Hired at PATH in 2001, Thomas began as program assistant for one of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s first major global health grants: the $100 million Children’s Vaccine Project. Their team had to show results, and they did. Ten years of research and funding contributed to a new vaccine for Japanese encephalitis and massive scaled-up efforts to protect millions of children from preventable diseases in China, Indonesia, India, and beyond.
Now, as project administrator for the “shared services” team, she helps to manage budgets for human resources and operations. “We’re showing good stewardship of PATH’s funds,” she says.
That stewardship has earned PATH nine years with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, a website that evaluates nonprofits for their effective use of funds.
But for Thomas, stewardship also connects to her own calling to Christian service, shaped by her relationships with faculty mentors while an SPU student.
“We’re a service-based organization, and I’ve always had service as a part of my life — I’m just the behind-the-scenes person,” she says. “I feel grateful that I’ve learned so much more about the world through working in an organization like this.”