Wednesday, January 31

Republican outcry over Governor Bill Richardson's fundraising

Some people think that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson makes an excellent presidential candidate. He has served as a United States Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and now as Governor of a Western state with a rapidly growing population.

...but is he legally allowed to raise funds while serving as Governor?

The El Paso Times reported Tuesday that Richardson raised about $60,000 at the home of an El Paso supporter this week. Now Steve Terrell at The New Mexican is reporting that state republicans think the Governor is breaking the law.

In a letter to Attorney General Gary King, Senate Minority Whip Leonard Lee Rawson of Las Cruces noted state law “prohibits the governor and legislators, among others, from soliciting contributions for a ‘political purpose’ from January 1 until, in the case of the governor, 20 days after the legislature adjourns and, in the case of legislators, until adjournment.”

Rawson also wrote, “The Lobbyist Regulation Act similarly prohibits registered lobbyists from contributing ‘to the campaign funds of any statewide elected official or legislator’ during the same periods.”

According to the Richardson camp, this law is intended for state elections and should not stop candidates for federal office.

Denver needs $55 million for convention

Now that the Denver Host Committee has completed its job of landing the 2008 Democratic National Convention, executive director Debbie Willhite is stepping aside.

“I am not a heavy-duty fundraiser,” Willhite said. “For the next year, job number one is raising the money,” she said.

The convention will run from August 25-28 and is expected to attract 35,000 people, including 4,950 delegates and alternates.

The Post Independent reports that local organizers will have to raise $55 million toward the convention’s total budget of $80 million. The federal government will contribute the other $25 million for security.

The article also says that Denver officials claim they have commitments for $25 million toward the local share. However, Willie Shepherd, the Host Committee’s finance chairman, did not immediately return a call.

Tuesday, January 30

Is it just me?

...or does anyone else think this headline seems a little ironic:

"USDA Rural Development awards grant to New York City corporation"

The $300,000 award is part of a $6.4 million package that is being provided to 33 organizations in 22 states.

Monday, January 29

Is "Flight 93" firing Ketchum?

Flight 93 National Memorial partners hired Ketchum two years ago to generate $30 million in private donations for the proposed landmark. Despite bringing retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks and former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge on as honorary national chairmen of the fund-raising campaign, the group's fundraising has not met some expectations.

This past Sunday, Kirk Swauger at The Tribune-Democrat reported:

Though officials have not outwardly derided Ketchum, there has been an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the agency, which has raised $10 million in two years despite the national release of a Flight 93 movie, two cable television documentaries and the exposure that goes with them.
The Pittsburgh agency was paid a flat fee of $80,000. Now, just weeks before Ketchum’s contract is set to expire in February, the partners announced they have retained T.C. Benson study the ongoing fundraising efforts.

Benson will make suggestions after evaluating the partners' objectives, fundraising efforts and possible future opportunities.
A Ketchum representative, Jason Zajac, declined to speculate about whether his company will be retained when contacted by the Associated Press.

Similiar to the problems experienced at the World Trade Center site, the Flight 93 National Memorial finds itself behind on fundraising plans and facing larger than planned design costs. In September of 2005, the Flight 93 coalition unveiled plans for a memorial that was to cost between $30 million and $58 million to build.

Sunday, January 28

Rudy's fundraiser

Speculation that Rudy Giuliani was about to declare his intention to run for president in 2008 intensified on Saturday when the former mayor of New York City visited New Hampshire. On Friday night Robert Novak reported:

Texas Republican contributors are being solicited to spend $30,000 for dinner with former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani at the Houstonian Hotel in Houston Feb. 1 to finance his “presidential exploratory committee.” The “private” dinner will follow a 6:30 to 8 p.m. cocktail reception, costing $2,100 a person and $4,200 for couples.

The best-known host of Giuliani’s Houston event is billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens Jr., chairman of the private equity firm BP Capital Management. Also on Giuliani’s Texas fund-raising team are Tom Hicks, whose company owns the Texas Rangers baseball team; oil industry executive Jim Lee; and lawyer Patrick C. Oxford.
Novak also reported that Rudy will hold an event January 29th in Pacific Palisades, Calif., at the home of Bill Simon, the 2002 Republican candidate for governor of California.

Saturday, January 27

May receives Hart Award

Larry May received the 2007 Max L. Hart Nonprofit Achievement Award yesterday during the DMANF’s Annual Washington Nonprofit Conference.

The annual award is named for Max Hart, the now-retired longtime Director of Fundraising for Disabled American Veterans. The DMANF uses the award to recognize a steadfast advocate, supporter, and champion of professionalism for the nonprofit fundraising community.

May began his direct marketing career in 1978 as a copywriter at Milton Pierce and Associates. In 1980, he joined Walter Karl, Inc. as a copywriter for the List Management division, Qualified Lists. There he learned about nonprofit fundraising from DMA Hall of Fame honoree, Don Kuhn. During May’s 13 years at Walter Karl, he ultimately became president of the company’s Fundraising division.

In 1991, May joined Direct Media Inc. where he began to build May Development Services (MDS). MDS provides direct mail fundraising services to a variety of non-profit organizations, specializing in health, social service and religious appeals. Last year, MDS helped nonprofits send more than 350 million pieces of fundraising mail, making it the largest list brokerage for nonprofit mailers.

I saw May deliver his acceptance speech. He joked with the audience, but challenged them not to be embarassed at dinner parties when telling people that they design address labels for direct mail fundraising letters.

"Remember," he said. "Every time you send a potential donor a solicitation - you are giving them a chance to be a better person today than they were yesterday."

Friday, January 26

A load of buffalo?

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog caused a stir the day after Christmas. His friend received a water buffalo from her dad through a fundraising program run by Heifer International. Greenspun read the small print which said there was no actual buffalo given to a poor family... it was only a symbolic gift and he declared it might be "the crummiest possible Christmas present."

Robert Thompson is a concert violinist who recently moved to China. He read the blog post and contacted Greenspun to tell him he knew first-hand it would be helpful for a poor farmer family to receive an actual water buffalo. Greenspun immediately asked if he could send the money for Thompson to purchase one and deliver then it to a family.

In early January, Thompson filmed his adventure to find, buy, and deliver one water buffalo to a family that needed it. The 8-minute video is well worth your time. Seriously... it's a great video.

Yesterday, Tom at asked that I comment on his blog entry on the subject, so here goes: I personally have no problem with the type of campaign Heifer is running. But then again, I would still give my money to Plan or Children International, even if I found out my child sponsorship was symbolic. Readers of this blog will know I don't often look favorably on donors who insist on restricted use donations and if a symbolic item helps provide a visual reminder of an intangible fundraising campaign - more power to them.

Wednesday, January 24

The best fundraising conference in America?

The Nonprofit Federation of the Direct Marketing Association holds an annual fundraising conference in Washington, DC. The two day event starts tomorrow, but fundraisers (and their vendors) have already begun arriving in DC as a special pre session "master class" starts today.

There are more than 25 sessions this year, covering a wide range of subjects, such as:

* Integration: When 2+2 = 5 and How to Get Those Results
* Creative Testing Against Powerful Controls
* Managing an ROI-based Acquisition Program
* Planned Giving: The Myths Debunked, The Realities Brought to Light
* Data Here. Data There: The Challenge of Marketing in a Multichanneled World
* 30 Outstanding Traditional and Web Direct Marketing Focused Tips in 45 Minutes

While other organizations like the AFP hold bigger conferences in different cities each year... I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this conference is the best one of the year.

"A fundraiser" will be at this year's events and seminars. I'll be blogging some updates later this week... maybe we wil even be speaking to each other in person.

Tuesday, January 23

Bankrupt donor and broken dreams

Maybe it should have sounded too good to begin with. In 2005, a millionaire named John B. Smith, Jr. announced the creation of an annual $100,000 grant called the Laureate Award for seniors at his alma mater of Delsea Regional High School.

Smith Jr. grew up on a large family farm, which he turned into a windfall of $1.6 million when he inherited it and sold to developers.

Students could choose how to apply the $100,000 award - either toward personal or professional development or educational costs. In 2005, two students received the award. Last year, only one student was named.

An article appeared in the Courier Post Online on January 3rd with news the donor was reneging on his pledge. This weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer picked up the story:

In an interview, Smith denied that the funds would not be available in the future. "We're in a position where we'll have to suspend the activities of the award for the time being. Clearly this is a hiatus of sorts," he said.

Smith would not discuss the nature of his financial difficulties or his agreements with the students.

"I have great apologies to express at this point," he said, "and find it very unfortunate and am doing the best I can to seek a resolution to these matters."

Hiatus indeed. The article describes how a parent of the one of the students had to confront Smith after failing to receive a payment. In fact, to date only a total of $31,250 has been paid to the three $100,000 winners.

How is it that no one checked on Smith Jr.'s finances? Why wasn't money set aside ahead of time? For their part, the students seem to be taking the news with grace... but I'm no where near as forgiving to this deadbeat donor.

Monday, January 22

Sore feet end fundraising attempt

The Los Angeles Times reports:

An 18-year-old Orange County man who vowed to run 200 miles in 48 hours to raise money for a children's hospital cut short his effort Saturday because, he said, his feet hurt. Jesse Zweig had started running about 2:30 p.m. Thursday to earn $20,000 in pledges for Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Early Friday, as he reached the 90-mile mark after 22 hours of running, Zweig said his feet began to hurt from the pavement. He managed to continue his mission for nearly another day by running laps around the softer track at his alma mater.

By 1 a.m. Saturday, though, he said he had reached his limit. "I wanted to finish, but my body wouldn't let me do it," Zweig said. "I'm hurting. I feel an aching pain in my leg and foot."
Some donors have said that Zweig's early finish wouldn't affect their pledges. Usually we would make some kind of joke here about Jesse's foot pain... but I'm pretty impressed that he ran around a track for nearly a full day to try and complete the mission. So instead, we offer our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Sunday, January 21

Presidential fundraising race heats up

The field is getting crowded for the Democratic nomination for President. This weekend, Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson announced they would join John Edwards, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd and others. There are more than seven serious candidates exploring or officially declared with three others like Al Gore, Wesley Clark, and John Kerry still silent.

It is not "vision" or "message" that will eventually separate these early candidates. It is fundraising. So, the race is on to hire the best fundraisers, get big name donors, secure fundraising endorsements, and ultimately attempt to raise $75 million before the end of this year.

Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny at The New York Times had an excellent front page story today on the head-to-head competition between Obama and Clinton. It paints a picture of the ground battle underway right now in the New York, Hollywood, Chicago and across the country.

Friday, January 19

Bacon makes 'Six Degrees' a fundraiser

About a year ago, Kevin Bacon bought the domain name Today the actor will be at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, to launch the site as an online charitable-giving site that is inspired by his namesake game and driven by today's obsession with celebrities.

I have to admit, even after reading this article in the USA Today, I'm not really sure I understand how it's going to work... but it seems as if potential donors will be able to learn more about the charities their favorite celebrities support.

Some of those already on board (and their charity of choice):

Kyra Sedgwick (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Nicole Kidman (UNIFEM)
Tyra Banks (Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation)
Ashley Judd (YouthAIDS)
Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek (Clothes Off Our Back)
Dana Delany (Scleroderma Research Foundation)
Jessica Simpson (Operation Smile)
Will Ferrell (Cancer for College)
Kanye West (Kanye West Foundation)

The USA Today article explains how Bacon teamed up with the non-profit group Network for Good, AOL and Sundance sponsors Entertainment Weekly. But it also explains that long before the corporate players stepped in, Bacon says he was inspired by Paul Newman's salad dressing.

Wednesday, January 17

Convio acquires GetActive

Convio, Inc. today announced that it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire GetActive Software, Inc. Both companies provide eCRM software and services vendors within the nonprofit sector.

Convio's clients include American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, AVON Foundation, Easter Seals, Farm Aid, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sierra Club, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Thirteen/WNET New York.

GetActive has more than 800 clients, including The Humane Society of the United States, AFL-CIO, University of California, CARE, Oxfam America, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Are you ready for Girl Scout Cookie season?

Have you been hit up to buy Girl Scout Cookies yet? I bought six boxes at work yesterday, which is a lot less than the 1,000 boxes Ellen Degeneres bought from a troop in Ashtabula, Ohio.

The group put out a press release Monday which says Americans purchase approximately 200 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies each year. This is the program's 90th year and not only does the program instill inventory, sales, and marketing skills... it also listens to customers. In the early 1990s, Girl Scouts added low-fat and sugar- free varieties. For the 2006-2007 season, all varieties of Girl Scout cookies are now zero trans fat per serving.

Girl Scouts of the USA, approves and currently licenses two bakers: ABC/Interbake Foods and Little Brownie Bakers. The bakers employ American labor union members using American-grown agricultural products and American-made packaging materials.

Their own website includes an FAQ page saying:

Nationwide, an individual troop/group receives from 12-17% of the purchase price of each box sold. The troop holds the money earned in its treasury, and its girl members vote on how to use that money.
That would be between $0.42 and $0.60 from each $3.50 box of cookies goes to the individual troop/group.

In your a numbers geek like me, you might also be interested to know that the biggest sellers are Thin Mints, which makes up 25% of sales, followed by Samoas at 19% and those peanut butter patties ("Tagalongs") at 11%.

Tuesday, January 16

AIDS group cancels fundraising marathons

For the past nine years, the Whitman-Walker clinic has partnered with Walk-The-Talk Productions, a Washington, DC based for-profit company, to hold fundraising marathons in several cities across the country.

While Whitman-Walker received all of the fundraising dollars, it had to pay for the hotel rooms, airline tickets, marketing and about a 4 percent fee to Walk-The-Talk. As costs increased over the years, the clinic ended up spending about 50 percent of the total amount raised.

Yesterday, the Examiner reported that the clinic has decided to cut ties with the company that organized the marathon and focus instead on the annual walk and other fundraising programs with a higher return on investment.

Although Whitman-Walker raised about $3 million in 2005 through the AIDS Marathon, expenses associated with the event meant the nonprofit only took home about half of that, said Kim Mills, Whitman-Walker’s director of communications.

Richard Zeichik, national director of the AIDS Marathon, said more than 10,000 runners raised about $25 million for Whitman-Walker Clinic over the past nine years, $14 million of which went directly to the nonprofit’s programs.
Regardless of the fundraising ratio... that's a lot of revenue to pass up.

Monday, January 15

Washington Free Clinic closes

In 1968, the Washington Free Clinic was the first of its kind on the East Coast to offer free and low-cost healthcare on the East Coast. It helped establish the practice of offering anonymous STD testing and as the AIDS epidemic grew it's service expanded to include HIV testing and other services.

But the clinic has been hamstrung by budget cuts and a reduction in money from fundraising and government sources in recent years. In 2005 after a major loss of federal HIV-AIDS funding it almost closed, but a sudden rush of fundraising helped keep the doors open.

Still, over the past year even that money has declined. The 1,800 patients who rely on the free clinic will be forced to turn to Whitman Walker Clinic on Friday. (Credit to the newscenter staff at for this story and the Washington Post has a bigger story here.)

Thursday, January 11

Charities lose out as legal gambling increases

Kenneth Lovett at the New York Post had an exclusive scoop today on the impact legalized gambling is having on the ability of churches and other nonprofits to raise funds through bingo, pull-tabs, raffles and Las Vegas nights.

The North American Gaming Almanac reported that in New York these groups raised more than $140 million in 2001, the same year the state enacted the largest expansion of legalized gambling. The report shows that charitable-gambling revenues was down to nearly $122 million in 2002 and in 2005 it continued its fall to just over $97 million.

Perhaps earlier reports which blamed the closure of bingo halls on new smoking bans may be a little off the mark... especially if it's true that during the same period the charity revenues dropped 40%, the overall gambling revenue in New York jumped by 23 percent.

Wednesday, January 10

Spaghetti scandal could prompt rule change

Last Thursday this blog wrote about the recent "scandal" involving four players from the Ohio State football team. Friends of the players organized a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help the families travel to Arizona for the national championship game. The players left the event after speaking to an assitant coach by phone and the players were cleared of wrongdoing.

Initially, Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith wouldn't comment on whether the controversy should prompt a rule change. On Sunday, the day before the Florida Gators beat Ohio State in the college football national championship game, Florida coach Urban Meyer was quoted by the Akron Beacon Journal indicating support for changes in NCAA rule.

``I heard the story about the get-together to raise money. That's nonsense,'' Meyer said Sunday. ``To think about all this money being shuffled around and here is a star player whose mom can't afford to go out there, that's not right.

``I certainly don't have the answer. The families having a spaghetti dinner so they can watch their son play in the national championship game, that's not right.''

The Gainesville Sun offered an insightful analysis of the of inequality exposed by the controversy.
...when Meyer was pressed on the issue, he said players receive money for expenses before bowl games. He finally offered some criticism of a system that doesn't allow fundraisers to help players' families travel to games.

UF players received a total of $300 for meals and other expenses the week they spent in Arizona. As a reward for participating in the game, organizers give them a portable XM satellite radio and a Tourneau watch, gifts that fetch hundreds of dollars in stores.

Meyer, by contrast, received a bonus of $150,000 for appearing in the game and would receive at least another $75,000 for winning. That's on top of more than $1.5 million in salary this year, which is part of a seven-year, $14 million deal.
The game had a payout of $14 million to $17 million per school. The money is divided evenly between the Southeastern Conference and its dozen member schools, which also split $6 million for Louisiana State's appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

I understand the goals the NCAA is going after here... but a college athlete could suffer a career ending injury at any time, I agree with Nathan Crabbe "letting athletes share in the wealth when it's being created seems to me like something worth talking about."

Monday, January 8

Making the case for admin costs

In case you missed it, Rachel Emma Silverman and Sally Beatty at The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article two weeks ago on the increasing need for charities to find donors who understand the need for unrestricted flexible donations.

In recent years, many donors have been critical of charities that spend money on themselves, rather than on delivering services to needy beneficiaries. Many givers have chosen to support charities that spend only a tiny fraction of their budget on overhead expenses, such as staff pay and facilities, while others have imposed restrictions on how their gifts could be spent. Such selective giving has been made easier by a host of recent charity-watchdog Web sites that evaluate how leanly and efficiently charities operate.

But now, nonprofits are trying to convince donors that spending money on overhead isn't such a bad thing. Indeed, some charities have begun seeking gifts specifically to help fund overhead expenses. Charities argue that they need to spend significant sums of money on administration and fund raising in order to grow and to attract quality staffers. Costs also are rising: New federal rules require some charities to update their governance and accounting procedures. And philanthropy advisers say finances are only one measure worth watching; donors also must consider how effective a charity is at its purported mission.

Because the truth of the matter is... if you give your donation and demand the 100% be used on programmatic work for children (for example) - the charity is forced to fund the much needed admin and overhead costs with the dollars from another donor's donation. So even with the most efficient and effective nonprofit organizations, this demand for "restricted use" can amount to little more than a financial shell game.

The article concludes with advice for donors:
And once you choose a charity that you trust and that has a mission you agree with, philanthropy advisers recommend allowing the charity to use the money as it sees fit, rather than imposing tight restrictions on how the gift must be spent. That gives the charity maximum flexibility to spend the funds as new needs and challenges arise.
Let me know if you or your group has conducted a successful campaign using a specific ask for the funding of overhead and/or administrative costs.

Friday, January 5

Stealing from the church

From the New York Times today:

A survey by researchers at Villanova University has found that 85 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses that responded had discovered embezzlement of church money in the last five years, with 11 percent reporting that more than $500,000 had been stolen.

The Catholic Church has some of the most rigorous financial guidelines of any denomination, specialists in church ethics said, but the survey found that the guidelines were often ignored in parishes. And when no one is looking, the cash that goes into the collection plate does not always get deposited into the church’s bank account.

Hmmmmm... I guess it's a good sign that in 93 percent of those cases, police reports were filed.

Thursday, January 4

Altria stubs out corporate donations

It has been rumored for some time that a major reduction in philanthropy was looming as Philip Morris parent company Altria restructured the corporation. Jennifer Goodale, the vice president in charge of contributions at Altria, was quoted in The Art Newspaper today as saying, “We anticipate that our programme will be significantly reduced in 2008.”

Ms Goodale has sent notices to grant recipients alerting them that the grants they receive in 2007 may be their last. It is well publicized known that Altria supports a lot of domestic violence shelters and soup kitchens. Those that did not have a diversified base of funding could face the possibility of closing.

Larger museums like the Whitney Museum of American Art will not close if it loses its Altria money. However, the cuts could be severe. The Whitney receives more than $500,000 per year to support exhibitions at Altria’s corporate headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Altria has also sponsored each of the past five Whitney Biennials, providing $500,000 for the 2006 edition.

According to The Art Newspaper, other museums that rely on Altria funding include El Museo del Barrio (which got $313,000 in 2005), the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Menil Collection in Houston ($150,000 each), the New Museum of Contemporary Art ($210,000), and the Museum of African Art in New York ($105,000).

The company has done good things by giving away more than $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind donations over the past ten years. However, it is a little ironic that this announcement came the same day Altria hit a new record high. Let us know if your charity has received one of these Dear John letters from the company.

Tuesday, January 2

Ohio State football players cleared of violation

Next Monday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes will compete for the NCAA college football championship against the Florida Gators in the BCS Championship bowl.

To help the families of four players travel to Arizona for the game, several people organized a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on December 23rd. According to the Associated Press, starting tailback Antonio Pittman and his backup, Chris Wells were at the dinner. However, they left midway through after Paulette Wells, Chris Wells' mother, called Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman to ask whether it might violate NCAA bylaws.

My guess is that the coach flipped out and scream something along the lines of "Get your butts the heck out of there!" Almost 100 people at $8 per person attended the fundraiser. Dawn Stiggers-Ferguson, a friend of one player's family and the fundraiser organizer, first said the money would go instead to local youth football organizations. But in a statement last week, she said the event lost money because of the cost of food and supplies.

An Ohio State investigation has concluded no NCAA rules violations occurred and the players will not be suspended. However, I on the other hand, have some serious questions for Dawn on how she spent more than $800 on spaghetti.

Monday, January 1

10-year-old girl saves soup kitchen
A simple and inspiring story to start your year

Recently, a 10-year-old girl named Liz Feller received $60 as a birthday gift from her friend. Liz told a local reporter that it was too much money for a child to spend on herself. Instead, Liz wanted to find a charitable way to use it.

Soon after that, the fifth-grader learned about the financial struggles at Peekskill's soup kitchen near her house. The nonprofit that runs this important service had recently lost a $20,000 annual grant from Kraft Foods. The church was unable to make up the difference on its own to operate the $36,000 annual budget of the kitchen. So, the soup kitchen needed to raise more than thirty thousand dollars.

Liz's first thought was to simply donate the money. But then it dawned on her that she could do a lot more to help if she got a little creative, and so Liz invested the money into buying beads of assorted colors, shapes and sizes. She even asked her grandmother to give her money for Christmas so she could amass a larger collection. [While the story doesn't say, I bet Liz used the first $60 as a challenge grant opportunity and hit her grandma up for another $60 - or maybe even $120.]

She ended up donating a grand total of $863, which she raised by making and selling beaded jewelry... Liz sold her creations to friends, her mom's co-workers and fellow members of the Reformed Church of Cortlandtown. The jewelry became so popular, she had a hard time keeping up with the orders.
That's a fanfastic return of 400% on her $120 investment. But, what if we were honest and assume she received additional donations of professional services or other help worth about $400. That would be a fundraising ratio of 0.60 - or sixty cents to raise a dollar. There are some critics who would scream "Scandal!" as soon as they saw numbers at this level.

But, using a fundraising ratios is sometimes too simple of an ROI measurement.

The Journal News reported that Liz has been the largest single fundraising campaign contributor. The additional media coverage of Liz's efforts have helped fuel more more giving and those benefits are often not included in the ROI analysis.
The Rev. Douglas Leonard, the church pastor, remembers when Liz first told him about her idea. She and her mother had taken him out for lunch at a diner, and the youngster "was literally bouncing up and down in the seat telling me about it," he said.

Leonard is also the president of the Peekskill Area Pastor's Association, an interfaith organization known as PAPA, which started the lunch program in 1981 and has worked ever since to sustain it. It was PAPA who asked the leaders of its numerous churches, mosques and synagogues to solicit donations from its members for the soup kitchen.

What followed was a miraculous rally among 80 or so houses of worship and hundreds of individuals from throughout the greater Peekskill area. As a result, the campaign has now raised more than $32,000 and is beginning to look more for more secure funding options for next year.

Nice work Liz. You are an inspiration to fundraisers, donors, and stakeholders in thousands of nonprofit organizations across the world. Check out a video version of this story here.

Donations to the Noontime Meals Program may be sent to The Rev. Mark Ioset, treasurer, Peekskill Area Pastor's Association, Peekskill Presbyterian Church, 705 South St., Peekskill, NY 10566To discuss sponsorship, contact Dan Alverio at the Salvation Army, 914-737-0280. Salvation Army, 117 Nelson Ave., Peekskill, NY 10566