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A Dream to Rebuild New Orleans: Young High School Teacher Raises Over $1 Million to Build a Field of Dreams in the 9th Ward

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

banner2Nearly 5 years after Hurricane Katrina decimated the city of New Orleans, the city is getting a boost of hope from a project started by a teacher at George Washington Carver High School.

Fresh out of college, the now 24 year-old Brian Bordainick joined Teach for America to help make a difference for kids growing up in the inner-city. When he showed up for his first day at G.W. Carver High School, he didn’t see a school – just eight trailers in the parking lot of an abandoned school.

Shortly after starting at G.W. Carver, Bordainick was asked to step in as the school’s athletic director – and become the youngest athletic director in Louisiana history. Hoping to help reshape a program that was once great (the football program won multiple district championships and has an alumni roster including NFL-great Marshall Faulk), Bordainick faced many challenges as the school did not have resources to support the program.

But as Bordainick began to piece together the program, he learned of an NFL grant program for $200,000 in matching grants to rebuild football facilities and decided to pursue the grant to build a state of the art football field and track for the 9th ward community – called “The 9th Ward Field of Dreams”. Throughout this process, Bordainick eventually found an architecture firm to provide a budget a rendering of the project, which proved to be slightly more than he had anticipated – $1.85 million dollars.

Although told by many that this was an impossible dream – Bordainick pushed forward with the 9th ward project and over the last year has raised over $1 million dollars, has garnered support from Nike, and even scored a feature for The 9th Ward Field of Dreams on ESPN. With just a little more help, The 9th Ward Field of Dreams will be built.

“Together we can prove that against formidable odds, a few people crazy enough to believe in their own power to create change can overcome a seemingly impossible challenge.” –

Learn more about the 9th Ward story in the videos below, or text “DREAM” to 50555 to make a donation and help The 9th Ward Field of Dreams reach its goal of $1.85 million and bring hope to the city of New Orleans.

Anything is Possible from The Canary Collective on Vimeo.

Brian Bordainick Talk @ The Feast from Chris Schultz on Vimeo.

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2 Simple Ways to Increase Your Online Giving

March 2nd, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in Fundraising

Several weeks ago I decided to feature a local nonprofit organization I worked with years ago for Twitter’s #CharityTuesday, thinking that I might be able to drive a few extra dollars their way.

So I paid a visit to their website to make a donation and copy the url.

I searched and searched for a way to give.  I knew that they had the capability because yours truly had set it up all those years ago.

After searching through several pages, I finally came across this paragraph at the bottom of one page:

If you would like to donate via the internet please go to or Once on one of those sites you can just search for ORGANIZATION’S NAME. You will then be lead to our donation page.

Folks I couldn’t make this stuff up.


One of the first rules of thumb is to make it EASY TO GIVE.

If you’ve been in the field of nonprofit fundraising as long as I have – particularly if you’ve been working with smaller organizations – you may well recall the time when boards argued endlessly about whether or not their organization should even have a website.


According to the 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, while 2008 certainly wasn’t a red-letter year for fundraising in general, even in today’s tight economic times, nonprofit organizations showed a 43% increase in online gifts.  In fact, the total amount of money raised online increased 26% from 2007 to 2008.  Further, studies show that about half of those who receive your appeal for funds in the mail will go first to your website (the same holds true for that program officer reviewing your grant proposal, by the way).

It goes without saying that your organization should be collecting email addresses (my newsletter, The Grow Report, recently featured  simple, step-by-step instructions for setting up your web-site’s email opt-in box and systematizing your email newsletters). donatenow

Now, optimize your website for online giving by following these two simple rules:

  1. Make giving an online donation as easy as possible.  Include a conspicuous “Donate” button on every page of your site.  Yes, conspicuous.  Yes, every page.
  2. Include a hyperlink “Donate” button on every email sent out by every staff member within the signature line (and what’s to say you can’t request that your board do the same?).

Yes, I know you’re swamped.  Yes, I know your resources are limited.  Yes, I know that there’s more to online giving than these two steps.  Confucius say:  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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Exciting Partnership Includes Student Support, Municipal Government Grant and Private Philanthropy

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Fundraising

100209athleticsTrent University’s new Community Sport and Recreation Centre is being bolstered by the City of Peterborough’s decision to invest $1-million into the facility’s construction.

The facility, which includes a strong commitment towards community use, fulfills the objectives contained in the City’s Vision 2010 Strategic Plan for Recreation, Parks and Culture by designating the Trent Community Sport and Recreation Centre as the third recreation centre serving the residents of the City.

Trent students have also contributed significantly to the project by previously approving a multi-year, $50 levy per student.

The $16 million expanded and renovated complex will serve the needs of the disabled, seniors, families, community sports teams, and Trent varsity athletes and intramural programs. With its Silver LEED designation, the new building will be an additional green asset for the University and City, and serve as a magnet to attract national and international sporting events.

eatures of the expanded complex include:

* Fitness centre
* Swimming pool retrofit
* Family/disabled change room
* Men’s and women’s change room upgrades
* Team change room
* Therapy pool
* Indoor rowing/paddling tank
* Climbing wall
* International competitive squash court
* Clinic for Health Excellence
* Multipurpose room
* Flexible classroom space
* Improved access to stadium, river and facilities
* Outdoor pavilion
* Respectful integration of the natural environment into recreational programs
* All inclusive memberships

The economic activity flowing from these events will generate the purchase of related goods and services, thereby stimulating the local economy. The building activity which is well underway, is a combination of new construction and renovations and will result in 180 plus jobs across different trades. The new facility is also slated to be the host venue for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national Women’s Rugby Championships in 2010 and 2011.

Some of the latest construction highlights include:

* Structural steel installation – 98 per cent compete
* Roof decking – being installed
* Electrical system installed and operational
* Block wall supporting the climbing wall – under construction
* Therapy tank foundations are being poured
* New insulation – being installed on the River side of the building
* Preparations for installation of copper cladding
* Sprinkler systems – being installed
* Glass curtain wall – installation beginning in February
* New Cardio equipment – February

To support the project, a community wide team of nearly 100 volunteers are working together with campaign Co-Chairs Dr. Peter Adams and Mr. Gary Wolff, to raise $4-million towards the project. To learn more about the campaign and how you can participate, please visit:

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Alumni Participation Reaches All-Time Low

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Marketing

Last week, the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) released its annual Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey results. In addition to a steep decline in overall giving to colleges and universities last year, the report also revealed that alumni participation rates had hit their lowest level (10%) in the history of the survey.

According to CAE, alumni participation has been declining slowly since 2002, when it was 13.4%. Contributing factors might include:

• Increased student loan debt, likely reducing the sentiment that alumni “owe something back” to their alma mater.

• The proliferation of nonprofits over the past decade, creating greater competition for philanthropy.

• Large (often misunderstood) endowments, fostering skepticism about the true “need” of many colleges and universities.

Declining alumni participation represents a real problem for institutions, and extra annual fund mailings, more e-mail blasts, and additional phonathon shifts don’t address the fundamental issues. Donors are motivated either out of loyalty to an institution or support for a cause. For many years, annual giving managers at educational organizations have built their strategies around the former. Going forward, we need to focus more on the latter.

Loyalty is an asset, but useless when it doesn’t exist in the first place. However, when we talk more about the causes that our educational institutions support (research, shaping future leaders, etc.), we will have begun to address the real issues behind declining alumni participation.

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British Financial Firm Typecasts Wealthy Donors

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Marketing

Wealthy donors typically fall into one of six categories according to new research from Barclays Wealth. The resulting report, Philanthropology: The Evolution of Giving, contains profiles drawn from the responses of 500 high net worth investors in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Though there are significant differences among the six types, they share a common entrepreneurial approach to giving and aim to make as big an impact as possible.

Privileged youth

Typically younger, these donors have inherited their wealth. Giving time and energy to charitable causes offsets some of their guilt about their comfortable lifestyles. They are very generous with their time, and use their social networks to support social welfare causes across the globe.

Eco givers

Eco givers are most likely to be young females who have worked hard for their wealth. They expect a high degree of accountability from the charities they support. This group primarily supports environmental charities.

Altruistic entrepreneurs

This group comprises middle-aged business owners with strong ties to their roots. They have earned their own wealth and strongly believe that sharing it is a duty. Their philanthropic behaviour is often driven by their desire to support the communities in which they grew up.

Reactive donors

High-earning male executives dominate this group. They usually give to charity because they believe their peers expect it, rather than through a social or moral conviction. They also tend to give indirectly through purchases from brands that support charities.

Cultured inheritors

In their late 50’s and 60’s, these donors generally have created their own wealth, although some have also inherited it. They plan both to leave their wealth to their families and continue the legacies of parents who may have been heavily involved in charitable work. Their social and moral beliefs drive their motivation to give.

Professional philanthropists

Consisting of high-level executives and successful business owners, this is the oldest group. Nearly all of them have created their wealth rather than inheriting it. They donate, but also support charities by offering their business expertise. That leads them to be more demanding of charities as they expect to see the impact of their donations.

Emma Turner, head of client philanthropy at Barclays, advises, “Alongside traditional giving, charities should increasingly be welcoming the non-financial support and entrepreneurial skills that a lot of today’s wealthy can bring.”

An earlier Barclays report published in July 2009 found that respondents were still highly committed to giving, despite their assets and businesses being under strain in challenging economic conditions. The research revealed that 75 per cent of respondents had not decreased their charitable contributions, while 26 per cent had increased their giving in the last 18 months.

Download the report at

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Study Finds Public Discontent With Colleges

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Marketing

Most Americans believe that colleges today operate like businesses, concerned more with their bottom line than with the educational experience of students, according to a new study. And the proportion of people who hold that view has increased to 60 percent, from 52 percent in 2007.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said that colleges should use federal stimulus money to hold down tuition, even if it means less money for operations and programs.

The study, a joint project of Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, also found that most Americans believe that colleges could admit a lot more students without lowering quality or raising prices, and that colleges could spend less and maintain a high quality of education.

“One of the really disturbing things about this, for those of us who work in higher education,” said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, “is the vote of no confidence we’re getting from the public. They think college is important, but they’re really losing trust in the management and leadership.”

According to the study, “Squeeze Play 2010: Continued Public Anxiety on Cost, Harsher Judgments on How Colleges are Run,” a growing share of Americans believes that college is essential to success — 55 percent, compared with 31 percent in 2000. But at the same time, a dwindling share — 28 percent, compared with 45 percent a decade earlier — thinks college is available to the vast majority of qualified, motivated students.

“People are increasingly seeing themselves caught between these two trends,” said John Immerwahr, a senior research fellow at Public Agenda and an author of the report. “It’s a new kind of misery index. This is really important, and it’s really inaccessible.”

The report is based on a December telephone survey of more than 1,000 Americans. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.05 percentage points.

The report found some areas of optimism. Nine in 10 Americans say it is somewhat or very likely that their own high-school-age child will attend college, and the majority believe that almost anyone who needs financial help to go to college can get loans or financial aid.

But 83 percent said that students had to borrow too much money to pay for college.

In “Iron Triangle,” a 2008 study of 25 college presidents, Public Agenda and the center found that most saw an unbreakable link between the cost of running their operations, the number of students they can educate and maintaining educational quality.

To serve more students or offer higher quality education, the college presidents said, would require more money — and conversely, cuts in their budgets would inevitably translate into either a smaller number of students or diminished educational quality.

According to the new report, the public disagrees.

“It’s nice to think that we can have guns and butter, but it’s not that easy,” said Terry Hartle, the senior vice president of government and public affairs for the American Council on Education. “The public is not always right.”

While it is true that colleges and universities could provide higher education for less money, Mr. Hartle said, it would require cuts in areas that most people see as fundamental to quality.

“We probably wouldn’t have libraries open as much, we wouldn’t update I.T. regularly, we wouldn’t have small classes,” he said. “Running a first-class college or university costs money. It’s a very labor-intensive enterprise, in which it’s common to spend 70 to 76 percent of the budget on faculty and staff.”

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University of Toronto Experiences $1.5-Billion Loss

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Marketing

The University of Toronto’s foray into aggressive U.S.-style investing is coming to an end following a decade of disappointing returns and a $1.5-billion loss that wiped out nearly 30 per cent of the school’s pension and endowment funds in a single year.

The move was announced quietly over the weekend in a letter to faculty and staff from university president David Naylor and follows the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel led by Hal Jackman, a former chancellor and major donor to the school.

That report, also made public on the weekend, finds that University of Toronto Asset Management, a corporation set up in 2000 to boost returns by applying the investment style pioneered at big U.S. schools, “has not achieved its mission.”

It recommends that the university bring the asset manager back under its direct control and that its exposure to risky investments such as hedge funds and private equity “be scaled back significantly.”

Dr. Naylor in his letter said he intends to act on the report’s recommendations and will make “fundamental changes” to the oversight of endowment and pension funds, which will include a new board of directors comprising senior university staff. UTAM’s leader will become the university’s chief investment officer and will report directly to the president.

“The university administration for its part needs to take careful stock of its current return targets and the risks associated with those targets,” he said.

The decision to bring the oversight of UTAM in house marks the end of an ambitious attempt by the University of Toronto to mimic the investing approach developed at Yale and Harvard universities, with a heavy reliance on risky “alternative investments,” rather than stocks and bonds, in an effort to increase returns.

The opposite happened.

The Jackman report finds that even in strong markets, performance was “disappointing,” lagging other funds. Since its inception, the manager has had an annualized rate of return of just 2.7 per cent. In 2008, a bad year for all investors, the fund got hammered with a loss far greater than its peers, thanks largely to a bad bet on the strength of the Canadian dollar and exposure to expensive hedge funds.

In reaction, the university was forced to stop payments from its endowment – a loss of $62-million or about 5 per cent of its operating budget. Those payments will resume next year.

Even now that markets have rallied, the report finds UTAM’s investment in alternative assets, which are difficult to sell, has dragged down results. Returns were just 3.8 per cent to September, compared with an industry average of more than 12 per cent.

George Luste, head of the university’s faculty association who has long been critical of UTAM, said the changes do not go far enough and do not hold anyone responsible for the botched strategy.

“All they are doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” he said. “This acknowledges the problems, but it does not say why the mistakes happened.”

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