By Becky Jascoviak, MBA – GPF Board Member and Grant Writer at Kids Alive International
Kids Alive International, the organization I am blessed to serve, is celebrating 100 years of ministry this year. It’s an incredible milestone that very few companies reach, let alone non-profit organizations. What do 100 years look like? In 1916…
- The Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world.
- Crossword puzzles hadn’t been invented yet.
- Only 23% of the world could read and write.
- Average life expectancy was only 48.
At Kids Alive, 100 years look like this: what started as two little orphans taken in by a missionary couple in China in 1916, has now become nearly 7,000 children in 15 countries worldwide. We provide loving homes and promising futures to children who have no hope, a family for one who has been abandoned, an education for one whose father only made it through 2nd grade, a supplemental reading program for a refugee child who has been out of school for three years, and above all, love.
It’s why I do what I do: connecting people of passion to the people and projects that will light their fire for a change in the world; connecting donors and dollars to desperate, displaced people. And for 100 years, Kids Alive has faithfully provided people the opportunity to connect with abandoned and abused children through a variety of giving programs including individual child sponsors, service team building labor, and project and program proposals for major donors.
As the 100th Anniversary approached, we sought to create a donor program devised to spur the ministry on to the next century – a future-focused appeal, rather than simply a celebration of the past. A three-year plan called the Next Century Initiative was established along with a new fund called the Independence Fund. These two programs, in tandem, provide a way for donors to help build the facilities and infrastructure needed to care for more kids, as well as provide a pool of funds to provide for ongoing needs of our students as they grow into adulthood.
Within the Next Century Initiative, there are tangible building projects such as schools, care centers, and residential homes, within each of our countries. Also, there are programmatic funding opportunities such as education, training, and discipleship. This balance allows us to speak directly to the passions and desires of each donor. A vast majority of our donors give to site-specific programs and projects. Perhaps they sponsor a child in the Dominican Republic; they are also inclined to want to make sure that the student has a classroom conducive to learning.
We started in 2013 gearing up for 2016 with a quiet phase of donor cultivation and specific major donor proposals. Designed as a three-year giving plan, this program garnered a substantial foundation on which to build the public phase, including extra or special one-time grant giving, matching campaigns, and some fully funded projects. We then expanded to our mid-level donors and a broader reach of grant funding positioned in support of sustaining the ministry long-term. These two phases together have yielded over half of the $6 million we hoped to secure through the Next Century Initiative.
It is 2016, and we are off to the races with our celebration events around the country – the truly public phase of bringing the field here to the donors. We’re hosting large presentations and small intimate donor circles, we’re presenting at conferences, and donors are going out of their way to connect with their passions through special gifts.
How will you celebrate your next milestone?