The Best Birthday Gift of All
The 2014 program was launched on television Sept. 1 with public service advertising. Coats could be dropped off at Tuchman Cleaners. On Oct. 5 at the Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens game, representatives from various partners surrounded the stadium. Approximately $9,000 in cash and 3,100 coats were donated from fans going to the sellout game. The cash was used to buy additional coats, hats and gloves. Adding results from other collection sources, these totals have continued to swell to approximately $25,000 in cash and 9,000 coats — the most cash and coats donated in one year during the history of the program.
Why do I love this program so much? It is simple yet complex at the same time. It takes the resources, staff and volunteers of several organizations to pull it off.
Distribution day is held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Whether it is sunny, rainy, snowy or hailing, more than 4,000 families line up outside the fairgrounds several hours in the dark, before the 8 a.m. door opening, because they need winter garments for their children. It is a family affair because parents need to bring in their children to be fitted. To see the joy in the eyes of these children when they receive their new coats is amazing. The gift of giving is wonderful. I wish each coat donor could meet his or her sponsored child at this event. This act breeds greater acts of kindness and generosity.
I do not know about you, but I am deeply saddened by the constant state of negative affairs in this world. Many families abroad and in our own community continually experience despair and sadness. If we can do one thing
to make their day happy, let's do it, regardless of what it is.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.