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Case Study: Jewish Family & Career Services (Louisville, KY)



Jewish Family & Career Services (formerly known as Jewish Family & Vocational Service) is a nonprofit comprehensive human services organization that serves the Louisville Metro community. Founded in 1908, the roots of JFCS began within the Jewish community, but today JFCS serves people of all faiths in Metro Louisville with programs focusing on family, work, education, older adults, immigrants and refugees.

In 2007, as JFCS approached its Centennial, staff and board leadership envisioned a $2.75 million campaign specifically targeted for growing the organization's endowment. Knowing that an endowment campaign was an unusual and ambitious step, JFCS leaders sought expert outside counsel to assess the feasibility of such a campaign and they turned to Ashley|Rountree for advice. In addition to conducting numerous confidential interviews with leading donors and prospective donors, our consultants also evaluated JFCS annual programs, looking at the potential to sustain critical annual donations and also grow major gifts program during and after an endowment campaign. Knowing that the board had not undertaken such a campaign in many years, we also worked side by side with staff and board to provide board training that would strengthen their capacity to engage in a major campaign and serve to clarify roles and expectations.

Due in large part to information confirmed by Ashley|Rountree consultants in confidential interviews, our assessment study concluded that the $2.75 million campaign was feasible. The JFCS board accepted the study's recommendations and moved ahead with their campaign, asking Ashley|Rountree to provide ongoing campaign management. Midway through the campaign, the goal was raised to $3 million thanks to the early success of major gift solicitations. Our consultants helped the campaign committee and JFCS articulate that the new, higher goal reflected increased needs and JFCS was now able to build upon the early success of the campaign. In the months that followed, the campaign topped $3.2 million in cash and confirmed planned gift commitments to the JFCS endowment, including a lead gift of nearly $1 million. The final goal tally also provided an extra $275,000 in new programmatic funds.

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Case Study: Hosparus (Louisville, KY; New Albany, IN; Elizabethtown, KY; Bowling Green, KY)

Hosparus is the region's leading hospice care provider, serving more than 5,000 patients annually in 36 counties across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. A Joint Commission-accredited, nonprofit hospice organization, Hosparus has been providing care, comfort and counseling for over 30 years.

After undergoing a significant change in staff leadership, Hosparus turned to Ashley|Rountree in 2009 for assistance to help provide campaign direction and counsel for a new capital campaign. The campaign envisions a $14.5 million effort to support renovation and construction for facilities used for staff at the headquarters in Louisville, as well as offices in New Albany (Indiana) and Elizabethtown (Kentucky). The campaign supports new programs and endowment funds, providing much-needed stability in a time of shifting health care funding dynamics. Our consultants helped provide structure and recruiting strategies for campaign volunteers and directed efforts to cultivate and secure major gifts. The campaign is currently in a quiet phase but has already secured three $500,000 gifts—the largest in the agency's history. Our consultants recently devised a comprehensive, 30-county prospect-screening program to assist Hosparus staff and board in boosting new prospects for gifts to the campaign.

Recently, Hosparus asked Ashley|Rountree to evaluate its annual giving programs and make recommendations on how to grow and sustain a new base of entry-level donors during the campaign. Using best-practice methods from peer hospices nationally, the program was redesigned to focus on gaining new support from families served by Hosparus and improving the cost-efficiency for special events, among other efforts. Later that same year, Hosparus leadership asked Ashley|Rountree to serve as interim staff, leading a staff of 18 in Advancement and Public Affairs, and to direct a national search for a new Senior VP. Both the reorganization and the search were successfully concluded within 4 months.

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Case Study: Volunteers of America - Kentucky (Louisville, KY)

Volunteers of America of Kentucky (VOAKY) is committed to serving individuals and families throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Southern Indiana, by creating positive change in the lives of individuals and communities through a ministry of service.

In addition to being one of the region's largest and most comprehensive human services organizations, VOAKY is an interdenominational church with a distinctive ministry of service. VOAKY opened its first location in Kentucky in 1896, the same year social reformers within the Methodist faith founded the national organization on the promise to "go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand," filling important gaps for those who would otherwise be overlooked. Today the organization provides professional services to individuals with developmental disabilities, families facing homelessness, individuals at risk for HIV/AIDS and affected by HIV/AIDS, veterans who are homeless and addicted, and other individuals recovering from addiction.

Seeking assistance with a strategic initiative focused on community engagement, the organization turned to Ashley|Rountree. Ashley|Rountree evaluated Volunteers of America's major gift program and focused on increasing corporate support in the Louisville Metro area. Efforts included identifying qualified prospects that were uniquely matched to the organization's mission, developing winning strategies to secure new gifts and consulting on potential future board leadership for the organization. Through the entire project, Ashley|Rountree staff remained on-call providing timely coaching and guidance to senior staff.

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Case Study: Seven Counties Services (Louisville, KY)

Seven Counties Services was founded in 1978 and seeks to build healthy communities by helping individuals and families who are affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities, addictions and abuse realize their potential. It serves as the state-designated regional behavioral health and developmental services center for the core seven counties of Metro Louisville, and it is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Kentucky, with 1,400 employees assisted by more than 400 volunteers, all serving about 32,000 persons each year.

In 2007 the staff and board reached out to Ashley|Rountree for expert guidance in strategic planning, asking our consultant to create and guide a board retreat process that would result in a new multi-year plan for the entire organization. Although their organization is among the largest nonprofits in the state and the staff includes several of the region's most highly respected administrators, Seven Counties leaders realized that they needed unbiased assistance from the outside in order to assure that this planning process was open, thorough and responsive to long-term needs of the region. This activity, which took place in 2008, would also need to examine the fundraising or advancement plans in order to insure that funding was balanced. The consultant from Ashley|Rountree designed a comprehensive 2-day planning retreat that looked at mission, vision, situational and SWOT analyses, and programmatic/funding implications.

The process moved into specific strategies and action steps, followed by creation of a planning task force that implemented the recommendations from this retreat. In 2011, Seven Counties successfully and smoothly navigated a significant transition in its top leadership, a process that was assisted in great measure by the early planning efforts that were completed a few years earlier.

Steve Moss, Board Chair for Seven Counties, recalls, "the task of developing a strategic plan was daunting, but with the help of Jeff Ashley and Chris Stevenson, we conducted two all- day retreats that helped us really drill down into the process. With what we learned, the board and the staff are now a well-oiled machine. The staff has taken ownership and we have a document that serves as a lighthouse in the navigation of difficult times we are in."

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