The Season for Giving is
12 Months Long...
by Kaveh Kashef
2016-2017 OCBF President
In my last article, I wrote that The Oakland County Bar Foundation (The Foundation) was about to pass the $2 million milestone of grants awarded. We have now passed that mark and we embark in our audacious goal of achieving $4 million in grants awarded. To do so, The Foundation is in the process of evolving from a nonprofit with a four-month fundraising window to one that receives contributions from its generous donors all year round. We are asking for your help in this process.
Historically, the vast majority of The Foundation’s fundraising efforts have been directly associated with The Foundation’s Signature Event in late April or early May. The Foundation’s grants are funded by the generosity of the individuals and businesses that commit during the first four months of the year to serve as sponsors or individual-ticket purchasers of the Signature Event. As those who have attended the Signature Event will attest, it is a wonderful event that will continue for years to come. The Foundation’s fellows program is also a fantastic way for members of the Oakland County community to support The Foundation’s mission of funding legal aid and education programs, and facilitating and enhancing access to justice for underserved people and communities across Oakland County and Southeast Michigan.
The Foundation and the people who believe in its mission can do more for the community, and it starts with making fundraising a year-long effort. My personal mission as this year’s president of The Foundation is to help create a model of giving that transcends the fundraising generated by the Signature Event and fellows program. We should become an organization that receives the support of our friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, community stakeholders and the public at large because they believe in our mission and the programs we fund, and for no other reason. Stated another way: people giving to The Foundation, simply to give.
Over the past decade, The Foundation has received noteworthy contributions from this type of benefactor. Although their altruism and support of The Foundation has not gone unnoticed, it has been unrecognized. We have remedied that omission, as we now include the names of all of our donors – including the names of those who are not Signature Event sponsors – in the 2015 edition of The Foundation’s Annual Report, which will be issued next month. The Foundation’s legacy program is another opportunity for individuals to support The Foundation. The participation and commitment from the members of the board of trustees of The Foundation and the board of directors of the OCBA, as well as other members of the Oakland County legal community, has been incredible and will assist our efforts going forward to increase the endowment that is funded through legacy bequests. To date, The Foundation’s efforts have resulted in pledges, commitments and cash gifts in excess of $200,000.
This fall, through the efforts of our executive director, Terri Ticknor Gilbert, The Foundation was selected by Hour Detroit magazine to be one of 60 local nonprofit organizations to participate in its Give Detroit Challenge 2016. It is a fundraising campaign launched by Hour Detroit where organizations in Southeastern Michigan compete to raise the most money for their organizations, with the top team winning a grand prize cash donation of $20,000. The competition ended on November 10. However, as of the date of the writing of this article, The Foundation had generated more than $3,000 through 27 individual contributions, many of which were made by friends and family members of individuals who are affiliated with The Foundation or the OCBA.
Finally, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 (the day after Cyber Monday), The Foundation is planning to participate again in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. Since its founding in 2012, #GivingTuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours and activities that bring about real change in communities. All members of the Oakland County Bar Association, among others, will receive emails from The Foundation asking them to participate by making a donation to The Foundation. This will be The Foundation’s third year participating in this movement, and we hope to continue the trend of raising more each year than the prior year. We invite you to join us.