Build It and They (Really) Will Come
I must confess that I am very tired as I write this blog. I have spent the last several days working to generate time, talent and treasure for St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Ind. Fishers is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. It is a suburb of Indianapolis. As chairman of the parish council, I have a very distinguished leadership role.
I'm tired because I was carrying heavy tables up a hill to load on a truck, taking more than 300 metal chairs from the lower church level to a warehouse, cleaning hundreds of trays over and over, plus other miscellaneous tasks. Have you ever tried when banks are closed to obtain 500 one-dollar bills from local businesses? It is a harder effort than I thought it would be, to say the least.
This was all for St. George's first festival. If you're interested in the challenges of a first-time festival, read on. Our church was built in Indianapolis in 1926 at a near downtown location. In 1962, the church moved to another location several miles north of downtown. There are more than 250 families in the church. In the early 2000s, a demographic study determined where most of the parish members lived. The parish council and priest decided to buy property in Fishers several years ago with the dream of building a new church one day.
Fishers is about 20 miles north of Indianapolis. Approximately six years ago, a capital campaign was established to generate several million dollars to build a new church. The campaign, with the help of a bank loan, enabled the new church to be built in a beautiful location on a hill looking down on a heavily traveled street.
As the new church opened in 2013, the concept of having a festival evolved. The church was known for having festivals each year in the former location, but everyone knew this would be different. In the past, more than 2,500 people would attend a several-day event. We guessed at least double that amount would attend a festival at a new location.
F. Duke Haddad is currently associate director of development, director of campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC in Fishers, Indiana.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 12 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.