As citizens and civilians, it’s easy to assume that federal funds cover all of the needs for the military. In our recent work with the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation we learned that this is not always the case. Critical services for our men and women in uniform, and their families, can at times go unfunded. Here is where organizations like the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation (FMAF) step in to fill the gaps.
The FMAF was founded in 2011 by the Fort Meade Alliance to manage charitable initiatives that support the Fort Meade installation (located in Anne Arundel, MD), military personnel and their families, civilians and the broader Fort Meade Community. The FMAF partnered with Due East beginning in 2015 to build the organization’s infrastructure, develop a local constituency of volunteers, donors and advocates to support its mission, and design and manage a $3.6 Million capital campaign.
Fort Meade is a hub of national defense in Due East’s backyard. In recent years, Fort Meade has posted higher rates of chronic disease, behavioral health disorders and substance abuse than other U.S. Army installations. The goal of the capital campaign was to fund a new Resiliency and Education Center on Fort Meade focused on emotional, physical, social, spiritual health and family strength.
Driven by its Board of Directors and input from former Garrison leadership, the FMAF envisioned a state-of-the-art building with programming that would better address and provide solutions for a wide range of mental health and education needs. Among these were suicide and substance abuse, continuing education and workforce development.
With support from Due East, the FMAF embarked on an unprecedented initiative to fund this project. The FMAF increased its donor base by 102% from 2017 to 2018 and raised $3.6 million during an 18-month active fundraising period. The campaign, which finished $5,000 over and ahead of its goal, revealed the power of reaching out to community leaders and garnering their support. Political, corporate and philanthropic leaders in the community were involved from the beginning as part of the planning and preparation and their level of giving can be correlated to their level of engagement.
“A lot of people feel a sense of pride now, they’ve created something that otherwise wouldn’t have been a reality for the Fort Meade community,” said Barb Kappel, Due East Advisor and Director of the FMAF’s Capital Campaign.
As is the hope with any capital campaign, this initiative raised more than just funds. Visibility of the organization has increased, and a heightened sense of unmet needs in the community has been gained. Both creating a strong base of support for the foundation to use as a spring board for the next phase of growth.
“The awareness created through this campaign is really helping to identify other avenues where people can get involved and give back,” said Deon Viergutz, President of the FMAF. “The Foundation has grown through this effort and we will be even better positioned to respond to future needs of Fort Meade and the region.”
Here are 4 Key Takeaways from the campaign that may be applicable to your next capital campaign too:
• There is broad interest in challenges/opportunities facing veterans and active duty military and their
families among local philanthropists
• In areas where federal support is assumed, donor prospects need a clear explanation of the needs that
federal dollars don’t cover
• Corporations want to engage beyond writing a check
• Key constituents give when they are personally engaged and immersed in an experience
Are you embarking on a capital campaign soon? We’d love to help you envision your goal and design a plan to exceed it. Click here to connect.