Sarah Daniels, QENO director, standing near columns on the UNCW campus

September 2, 2021

Sarah Daniels '12, '14MPA has lived in numerous places across the country, but in Wilmington and at UNCW, Daniels found a home.

Over the past decade, she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNCW, has been an employee, taught part-time in the Master of Public Administration program and facilitated numerous community partnerships.

“Now, I not only have a home in Wilmington but also within UNCW,” said Daniels, the new director of Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO).

Before being named the new QENO director, Daniels served as the executive director at New Hanover Disaster Coalition, coordinating disaster relief efforts. She is also a former executive director at Feast Down East, a nonprofit affiliated with UNCW through the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program. Its mission is to create a healthy, accessible local food system that supports economic growth in the region.

While pursuing a degree in political science at UNCW, Daniels became interested in working with nonprofits.

“Supporting local nonprofits allows me to be a part of making our community a better place for everyone who lives here. The people who work in this sector tend to be caring, generous and passionate individuals who share this passion for the well-being of others,” she said. “As a result, many are also actively working to alleviate the issues that cause the needs and inequalities that necessitate social services. Big-picture thinking rooted in deep connections and relationships is the most fulfilling kind of work I could hope to be a part of.”

Daniels is grateful to be in a place where the university is a tremendous resource and an integral part of the community, she added.

“UNCW offers an abundance of resources to local nonprofits, including capacity building services through QENO, student and faculty engagement, and community partnerships related to research or other collaborative efforts,” she said. “Whether receiving continuing education or hosting a student intern, local nonprofit organizations benefit from having access to additional support through the university community. Because many of them operate on limited resources and the needs they serve are great, this access creates a tremendous value for those organizations.”

Working with QENO allows Daniels to support nonprofit work related to a wide variety of social issues.

“I see the interconnectedness of social systems and understand the importance of working across communities and institutions to bring about lasting structural shifts,” said Daniels. “QENO has a strong reputation for working with individual nonprofits, and I’m excited to build on that in ways that enhance collaboration, specifically in the realm of public policy advocacy.”

-- Venita Jenkins