Kathy Bremer: A Public Service Expert Chooses the CDC Foundation

All my life I have been a volunteer.

Kathy Bremer, managing director at BoardWalk Consulting and longtime CDC Foundation Board of Directors Advancement Committee member

Kathy Bremer cannot be pigeonholed. Through careers in journalism, public relations, nonprofit and executive search work, she has combined her passions for public service, fostering connections and making a difference.

Bremer grew up in Queens, New York and attended Harvard University, where she played varsity tennis and squash, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and took part in a variety of extracurriculars. She grew her interest in public service while volunteering with a large family in a low-income neighborhood in Boston. She says of this time, “I was deeply touched by the family and the opportunity to expose the children to new dreams and possibilities. That was formative for me.” 

As a writer for the Harvard Crimson, she developed an interest in journalism—an interest that would lead to her first job. After college, she accepted a job and a one-way ticket to Japan, where she worked as an editor of international publications and English-language radio broadcasts and wrote for Newsweek. This adventure was the first of her five careers. 

Upon returning from Japan, Bremer worked for a decade in public relations and advertising on Madison Avenue, beginning her second career. “I took on public service campaigns to use my volunteering gene,” she said. During this period, she met her husband Alan while visiting a summer house on Long Island.  

Bremer joined CARE, the international humanitarian organization, as senior vice president of marketing and fundraising, and the family relocated to Atlanta in 1993. That was career number three. “Working for CARE was a transformative experience—a life-changing mission, so many stakeholders, and so much to learn.” It was her first nonprofit leadership role, “rewarding, and with a vertical learning curve.” Under her leadership, CARE Atlanta saw a 40 percent growth in private resources. In her travels throughout the developing world, she connected with mothers on several continents. “Mothers everywhere have similar dreams for their children.” 

Kathy Bremer

Alan and Kathy Bremer

Kathy, Alan, Nick, Scott Bremer & Nora Landes

After CARE, Bremer began her fourth career running the Atlanta office of Porter Novelli, a global public relations firm. One of her biggest clients was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for which Porter Novelli worked with CDC on autism, HIV/AIDS, teen sexual awareness and branding. When CDC Foundation launched in 1995, she and Alan became supporters. 

In 2007, Bremer transitioned to her fifth and current career as managing director at BoardWalk Consulting, a national executive search firm specializing in nonprofit leadership. “I love connecting people to mission, and nonprofits to leaders who will enhance their mission impact,” she says. It has been in this role that Bremer has engaged with the CDC Foundation most directly, by helping recruit some of the Foundation’s core leaders. She is proud to have led the search that brought Dr. Judy Monroe to the CDC Foundation. She performed the search for Nedra Jones as Chief Financial Officer and introduced Laura Croft our Chief Advancement Officer to the Foundation. Having spent more than a decade serving on the CDC Foundation advancement committee, Bremer has also served on or chaired the boards of a dozen other nonprofits. 

In all her experience, “you can’t imagine a better match than Judy Monroe as the CDC Foundation’s President,” she continued. “Her broad leadership background before and at CDC enabled her to cast a vision and to build bridges, understanding and collaboration. Things just took off from there.” 

Bremer recognizes the important bridge the CDC Foundation forms between the work of CDC and the public. “I think sometimes public health is not as well understood as it could and should be,” she added. “CDC Foundation is there to enable CDC to take the steps forward that are needed in public health. Supporting the CDC Foundation is equivalent to supporting the work of CDC, giving CDC the resources, partners and flexibility it needs to do the kind of work that we need.”

Kathy and Alan Bremer Pose in front of Statue while Traveling


Today, Bremer lives in Atlanta with her husband Alan, her “best friend of 42 years. We love art, exploration and travel,” she said. “We have two grown sons and we take them on trips from time to time. We’re family folks.” Bremer and her husband rely on these values to guide their giving, choosing to support organizations that make a difference in people’s lives. In addition to making annual contributions to the CDC Foundation, the Bremers have included the CDC Foundation in their will, helping the Foundation build a larger organizational endowment to provide much-needed unrestricted funds. (Currently, the CDC Foundation must raise its operating costs each year.) Finally, the Bremers appreciate that leaving a legacy gift allows them to make a larger contribution than what they can give during their lifetimes. 

“Over the arc of time, she explained, “this organization will benefit from greater sustainability through these kinds of gifts.” As a public service expert, Bremer knows that contributions to CDC Foundation are a way do the greatest possible good. 

I think the CDC Foundation is extraordinarily efficient, well-run and deserving of support from all of us.

If you wish to leave the impact of a lifetime and become a member of the Healthy Futures Society, the CDC Foundation has tools for you to explore. You can always reach out to Helene Erenberg, director of major gifts and individual support via phone at 404.443.1139 or by email with any additional questions about supporting the CDC Foundation.

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