Posted on November 15, 2022
When Kathy Rogers, Penn-Mar’s Chief Advancement Officer and I presented the idea of launching a major capital fundraising campaign in the midst of the pandemic to our Board of Directors, they were understandably skeptical of the timing. As we shared the vision of our campaign, that skepticism evolved quickly into very strong support. After researching what we believed was possible, their reaction when they heard that our fundraising goal was $7.5 million also evolved quickly from wondering if we were a bit too ambitious to asking, “how can we help?”
Yet less than two years later, our “Building Bold Futures Campaign” is nearing 90 percent of this audacious goal.
At stake is nothing less than the future of Penn-Mar Human Services. We need to ensure its growth and survival for the people we support today, and for those children born today who will need our services 18-21 years from now. With that as a guiding principle, the Campaign addresses key elements that government funding does not support but are necessary to secure the organization’s future.
Penn-Mar’s essential services rely on our ability to attract and retain a critical workforce of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Our nationally recognized Career Ladders Program for DSPs offers much-needed credentialing and performance-based incentive pay, funded through the growth of the Michael James Pitts Endowment.
To better enhance our service delivery and support our team members, we recently launched a “Belonging Initiative” to help our current and future workforce experience a gratifying career path. To improve the quality of life and increase independence for the people we support, there is a continuing need for accessible transportation vehicles and new technology.
Finally, the Campaign funds are earmarked for the completion of construction at our Far Hills site to greatly reduce the expense and challenges of running multiple locations, and to our General Endowment Fund that is used to support innovation and emerging needs that fall in line with our mission of supporting Courageous Living.
Personally, I have never been tasked with raising money to this degree, but I was well aware that as the primary leader for Penn-Mar I couldn’t approach folks asking for their generosity if I wasn’t prepared to step-up myself in a meaningful way.
My wife Terri and I have made a 5-year sacrificial pledge to support the Campaign and we have subsequently increased our donation. As a family, it is the largest pledge we have ever made to any cause. This investment in Penn-Mar was not as easy as just dashing out a check; it is a financial sacrifice for us. Yet we believe strongly in the impact this donation will have for the organization and feel fortunate that we are able to make the commitment.
Our board of directors, community partners and many of our team members have also stepped up in a big way in making sacrificial gifts to our campaign. We have done so, not seeking credit, but seeking the strongest future for Penn-Mar which affects lives each day.
A friend of mine working on a Church fundraiser says, “God shovels in and we shovel out and He has a bigger shovel!” I can’t top that line and while I’m not good at asking for money, I am good at sharing stories and encouraging people to invest in our future.
My satisfaction during this fundraising period has been about much more than the dollar amounts we’ve secured. It comes from being able to tell compelling stories that have created a contagious energy and excitement around our passion for our mission. It’s heartening to see so many people wanting to Live Courageously with us.
Our “Building Bold Futures Campaign” will culminate at the March Gala. Your donations, large and small, will help us meet our $7.5 million goal to successfully cross the finish line.
If you are a Year End Annual Appeal contributor, your donation will help us raise that additional $500,000 to meet our Campaign goal and strengthen our organization both now and in the future.
We are grateful for whatever you can invest to help us make both of these fundraising initiatives a success.
From our family to yours, we wish you a Thanksgiving holiday filled with an abundance of happiness and good health!
For more information about Penn-Mar’s “Building Bold Futures Campaign,” visit https://buildingboldfutures.penn-mar.org/