Penn-Mar Makes History and Exceeds Endowment Campaign Goal at 31st Annual Gala - Penn-Mar

Penn-Mar Makes History and Exceeds Endowment Campaign Goal at 31st Annual Gala

Posted on March 22, 2023

By Kathy Rogers, Chief Advancement Officer, Penn-Mar Human Services | Executive Director, Penn-Mar Foundation

Kathy RogersI am writing to you with a heart filled with gratitude for the tremendous support we received from donors and friends who attended our 31st Annual Gala this month. Their generosity and commitment to our mission helped us to achieve two historic milestones in one incredible evening.

This year’s Gala was the official public celebration of meeting the $7.5 million fundraising goal of our “Building Bold Futures” Campaign. We went into the event confident that we could close out the campaign that evening, and did we ever!

Following an emotional appeal from our President and CEO, Greg Miller, and a mission-focused video presentation featuring five people supported by Penn-Mar giving voice to how the organization is helping them live a life of their choosing, the event’s revenue topped $1 million – a Gala record – with $530,000 of that earmarked for Building Bold Futures.

When we began exploring the possibility of launching a campaign right before the pandemic in 2020, it was with the intent to cover renovation costs for our Day Learning Program location in Pennsylvania.

Given the enormity of the COVID crisis, we had to push the pause button on the renovation during the lengthy lockdown. Yet in a very strange way, this global nightmare helped us to better reflect on our campaign goal: Do we focus on one particular element, like the renovation, or launch a major campaign to support many aspects of the organization? We decided to “Go big or go home!”

Did some people think we were over-reaching at such a fragile time? You bet. But we had faith that a thoughtful approach would ensure our success.

One of the most critical elements of the campaign was getting early input and commitments from potential donors. During a three-month exploratory process, we interviewed 60 donors, Board and team members, giving us the opportunity to weigh in on potential goals, areas of support and involvement.

With the due diligence and engagement phases behind us, the next critical piece was building a volunteer leadership team including people from our Board, Foundation, families and local businesses.

We spent a great deal of time cultivating, training and supporting nearly 100 volunteers who were instrumental in helping us identify our theme and goals.

Board member Jon Kinsley, our dear friend and ardent supporter who died tragically this year in a skiing accident, and Elizabeth Pitts-Madonna, an equally fervent supporter, and Chair of the Penn-Mar Foundation Board, co-chaired our ambitious Campaign.

This largest-ever fundraising initiative will allow us to:

  • Provide the best possible services to the people we support and their families
  • Continually invest in our critically important Direct Support Professions (DSPs) via our Career Ladders program and other initiatives
  • Strengthen our organization both now and in the future

We achieved our audacious $7.5 million goal by attracting both large and small donations. Every dollar made a difference and every contribution validated the importance of the essential services we provide to people with disabilities and the critical need to continually pursue and implement innovative ways to support them in living their best lives.

One family contributed $1 million to help support DSP training and development through our Career Ladders Program.

Another generous donor pledged a matching gift up to $1.5 million.

And we were particularly moved by those who embraced our mission and contributed from their heart, like the server at our Gala who donated $1,000 on-the-spot after listening to the fundraising appeal while waiting on our guests.

In the end, it’s not just about the money. It’s about the Penn-Mar mission and our ability to continue to be leaders and innovators, providing excellent support beyond what government funding can do.

With the outcome of this campaign, we will be able to support not only those who are already a part of Penn-Mar, but children with disabilities who are born today, and who may look to Penn-Mar for support in the future.

It has been my honor to serve beside so many passionate and generous supporters of Penn-Mar whose commitment made this historic and incredibly meaningful achievement possible. Please accept my gratitude on behalf of all the courageous people and families we support.

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