Fundraising Professional of the Year
Like many nonprofits, Union Rescue Mission has been hard-hit by the recession. Demand for the organization's services, which include the downtown Los Angeles shelter and Hope Gardens Family Center in Sylmar, a district in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, increased by 45 percent in the last two years, but donations were down 21 percent.
On May 24, Union Rescue Mission CEO Andrew Bales issued an emergency appeal for donations through his blog, Twitter, Facebook, text messages and snail mail. Unless the organization could raise $2.8 million by June 30, the end of its fiscal year, officials feared they would have to close Hope Gardens. As a result of this effort, the Save Hope Gardens fundraising campaign raised $3,821,860.50 in 37 days across seven different communication channels.
"It was nothing short of a miracle," says Liz Mooradian, historian and special assistant to the CEO at the organization.
Although much of the money raised came from huge gifts like $1 million in matching contributions from a managing partner at Guggenheim Partners and a closing $250,000 gift from the Louis & Gladyce Foster Family Foundation, Andrew says those are only part of the equation.
"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and [they] really stepped up," he was quoted as saying in media reports on the campaign. "But it's not just been the big gifts. It's been other people stepping forward with what they can that has helped get the matching funds."
Andrew closed out the campaign the way he started it — with a post on Twitter: "Thanks 2 you http://urm.org has received $2.9 Million towards $2.8 Million goal 2 Save Hope Gardens!"
Over the course of 2010, Andrew also personally cultivated $3.2 million in gifts. And while we're honoring him specifically here, all signs point to the Save Hope Gardens campaign as a massive team effort that inspired many people — from staff to donors — to have a little faith. Well, a lot of faith, actually.