Interviewed: Amanda Aronoff, director of development and public relations
Headquarters: 1515 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19130
Web site: www.projecthome.org
Mission: “The mission of the Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care and Education) community is to empower persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to address structural causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society.”
History: “Project H.O.M.E. was founded in 1989 by two incredible women with very different personalities, skills and styles — but with a shared commitment to the dignity of each person: Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon.
“In just 16 years, Project H.O.M.E has grown from an emergency winter shelter to an organization with 416 units of housing, three businesses that provide employment to formerly homeless adults, and a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization program in North Central Philadelphia. The latter program includes the state-of-the-art Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, which provides educational and workforce development programming to children and families; economic development initiatives; and a home-ownership program for the working poor. To date, Project H.O.M.E. has leveraged more than $50 million in equity toward housing and economic development.”
- 115 full-time employees
- $11MM annual operating budget for fiscal year ending 2006
- 45 percent public and 55 percent private funding
Development department: Director of development and public relations; associate director of development; two development officers; a development associate/donor liaison; volunteer coordinator.
Development philosophy: “Project H.O.M.E. undertakes all of its work, including its fundraising, in a spirit of building relationships and community. We believe that it is critical to connect donors in a meaningful way with the real people impacted by their gifts, and we work hard to keep donors actively involved and advised of various events/happenings/success stories.
Biggest challenges: “In the face of highly publicized large contributions, it has been a challenge to communicate to donors that smaller donations (through our annual appeal and newsletters) remain absolutely critical to our ability to continue our day-to-day work. We have also found it challenging to engage in capital campaigns while continuing to raise the needed funds to meet the operating expenses of the organization — especially in such a way as to avoid taking from one pot to give to another.”
What works: “Nurturing leadership at every level of the organization; growing without losing sight of our community-based origins; working with (and not just “for”) the community and the homeless men, women and families we serve.”
A question for your peers at other organizations: “Are you having as much fun as I am?”