Paulette Bolofer-Fulkerson was born in Bohol, Philippines and immigrated to Detroit when she was eight years old. She is passionate about communities, especially those in Detroit, her adopted hometown. Her enthusiasm for supporting communities stems from her own experience growing up in a diverse neighborhood in the Evergreen-Outer Drive community, and through her work with nonprofits focused on literacy, and college-access for first-generation college students in Detroit.
Paulette graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, specializing in Exercise Physiology/Cardiac Rehabilitation, and a Bachelor of Science in Apparel & Textile Design, specializing in Functional Design. Her interest in these fields were fed by her desire to marry form and function, designing with thoughtful intent, and improving people’s lives through better design. Before returning to Detroit, she had stints in Kentucky, New York and Southern California. When she returned, a volunteer experience that allowed her to assist struggling readers in Detroit changed her career trajectory. She has been working with and in service of K-12 and post-secondary students from Detroit and surrounding areas since 2011 in multiple roles. Paulette’s diverse interests and experiences have given her a broad yet deep understanding and high regard for the work of nonprofits. Her time as a Fellow in Challenge Detroit’s fifth year reawakened her love of design and reinforced her commitment to continue supporting and advocating for youth, families and communities.
Paulette joined the Challenge Detroit leadership team in September of 2018 to focus primarily on recruitment, the Fellow experience and community engagement. In her spare time, Paulette enjoys spending time with her husband Ryan and their pandemic baby Oren, her immediate and extended family and friends, playing sports (competitive volleyball being her favorite), being outdoors, engaging youth in physical activities, tending to her growing urban jungle, and introducing people to The City. She also has an interest in mental health—specifically normalizing it and increasing access in communities where it is stigmatized (Thanks to my college advisor Kevin Nadal for introducing me to Filipino American Psychology).