Elli Fugate

Hi, my name's Elli. 

  Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.  

OG Nebraskan  - I just left campus serving as the Team Director of UC - Santa Barbara and I can't wait to get back to SoCal. Currently, I serve as a Annual Giving Officer / Missionary at FOCUS National Head Quarters.  This is my sixth year on staff and you probably wouldn't believe the things that Jesus has invited me into even if you were told, but that's a risk I am willing to take. This is my story.


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Where I serve

From the plains of Nebraska and South Dakota to the beaches of Santa Barbara; I have been radically blessed to serve with FOCUS the last five years. It has been a unique opportunity to be able to serve the mission of FOCUS (to reach college students and transform the next generation to become Saints) as a Missionary, Team Director and now as an Annual Giving Officer in Genesee, Colorado at FOCUS HQ. Below (These are MY girls - any gray hairs I have can be credited to them)

OG from a small mid-western town in central Nebraska, I graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a Bachelors in Journalism. Upon hearing the call from God to serve Him through FOCUS I decided to forgo a mainstream Advertising career to begin my first year of mission work at the University of South Dakota. I absolutely fell in love with the work of being a Missionary. Two years later, I was asked to serve as the Team Director Missionary at the University of Santa Barbara - California. Here is where I truly felt alive. I loved serving the students at UCSB forming authentic friendships and walking alongside them into a deeper encounter with the love of Jesus Christ! I also, enjoyed praying with students and encountering their spiritual poverty over multiple cups of coffee in the early mornings, evangelizing on campus and surfing with my girls. I now enjoy bible studies after my office job fundraising for FOCUS, evangelizing strangers in Gondola rides to the top of the mountain right before we shred down the mountain.

My Story

College is a time of discovering who you are and what you desire to do. Not necessarily who God desires that I become. During my time at UNL I was living a secular life with a Catholic title. I was raised by a faithful Catholic mother with a devotion to the rosary and I was confirmed a Catholic. By the time I came to college my faith was reduced to a title. I was Catholic, but I didn't know why. I just knew I couldn't miss Sunday mass. It wasn't until I was confronted by an atheist outside the Student Union who questioned my faith that I realized I needed to discover why I was still carrying the Catholic title or ditch it entirely. Jesus allowed me to encounter him radically through small yes's and a lot of no's. I started saying no to my secular life of living in a sorority allowing my life to be run by the world and yes to the promptings of my heart to live a life of freedom in the love of Jesus Christ. 


On a mission trip in the Caribbean, my life was radically altered. I discovered the identity behind the Catholic title and the joy of finding Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. I know it sounds overtly Catholic and romantic, mostly because it was. I finally realized I was a daughter of God, beloved by my creator and that he would never abandon me because he makes himself present in the Eucharist.  I finally had met, "normal" young Catholics who were joyful, actually funny and who lived lives of wild adventure. That encounter changed everything. Under enormous pressure to join the mainstream Advertising world after college my two worlds collided. My faith or my career... I chose FOCUS and found both.

As a missionary, my greatest desire is to lead students to know the one person who can truly fulfill the deepest longings of their heart, Jesus Christ. My life has been transformed by Jesus because I have encountered him in prayer. It is this experience of freedom and joy that gives me the desire to  bring this joy to others and introduce them to the life-changing message of the Gospel. In His ministry on earth, Jesus humbled Himself to meet us on our level, taking on our humanity, and spent most of His time investing deeply in a few. I look to Jesus’ own example to find the best method of reaching the world. I've been constantly amazed by the different souls I've encountered on campus.

Your Impact

I deeply believe in the mission of FOCUS that it is the most effective way to invest in the future of the Catholic faith. I have come to experience and find true that the Fellowship of Catholic University Students is the premiere leader in Catholic evangelization. I believe this because I have witnessed the Acts of the Apostles lived out fully at the University of South Dakota and the University of California - Santa Barbara. I have seen lives transformed from addictions to sex, drugs, and alcohol and I have seen the radical freedom that students are now living in. Aside from the spiritual reality of freedom students are encountering and the power of the Holy Spirit to help them evangelize. I have yet to find a Catholic organization that focus's on evangelization that holds themselves to producing the results that FOCUS does.   

When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. I've been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and I will schedule an appointment. I'd be honored to share this mission with you. There is also a button at the bottom of the page that links to my support team. Thank you for considering to partner with me in the call to evangelize. 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"  - Isaiah 6:8

Answer the call to be sent on mission by partnering with me. Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.

Know, Love and Serve God

We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.

Build Virtuous Friendships

By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

Teach Others to Share Christ

We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on …