Reach for the Stars: The 2014 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards Winners
Chrostowski says it took a lot of explaining to foundations and donors that EDWINS was indeed a registered 501(c)3 and that the training and business went hand in hand as part of the social mission. The board began meeting in 2011 and started planning events for 2012. A garden party friend-raiser in the summer of 2012 attracted 100 of Cleveland's business leaders to learn about EDWINS. Then a small fundraising effort in autumn 2012 brought in $15,000 to pay for basic expenses.
But fundraising for EDWINS began in earnest after a media blitz in early 2013. Chrostowski says one local philanthropist gave the first major gift of $25,000 in March. Led by Fieldman's tireless efforts, EDWINS raised $422,000 in just more than nine months, and the restaurant opened in November.
Fieldman aimed his fundraising efforts on traditional Cleveland-focused foundations, as well as national partners like the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, wealthy local families, nontraditional funders like Social Venture Partners and individuals, who gave more than $29,000 via a grassroots Indiegogo campaign.
"Foundations and individuals alike responded well to the basic tenets of EDWINS: economic development for Cleveland, individual empowerment for students and a profit-making restaurant that would provide the sustainable funding so necessary to successful nonprofits," Chrostowski says. "It took many hours of grant writing, innumerable conversations with potential donors large and small, a handful of trips to prison, and more, but Matt's commitment turned the dream into a reality."
In addition to the fundraising, Fieldman also spearheaded the creation of a support network that assists EDWINS students outside the restaurant, creating, along with Chrostowski, "a whole ecosystem of partner nonprofits to offer everything from substance abuse counseling to job coaching, to literacy, to financial counseling, to housing and a wide variety of other critical support services."