By: Eula Tatman, Vice President of the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama
The Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama (CFNEA) recently expanded its footprint to include serving an additional eight counties in Northeast Alabama. Tornadoes that ripped through the State of Alabama in April left communities in Northeast Alabama with the major task of gathering resources to rebuild. CFNEA was in an unusual situation in that we have a service area covering nine counties but only had funding resources to assist one county with tornado recovery. We were immediately faced with trying to engage and cultivate a diverse support base for our new geographic area.
A couple of weeks after the storms, we had the opportunity to meet with Pam Truitt of The Patterson Foundation (TPF). She was in Jacksonville, Alabama at the First Baptist Church of Williams to present a dollar-for-dollar match to the gift cards collected by a Florida radio station for tornado recovery efforts.
Via e-mail we scheduled a meeting and that was the beginning of an enormous partnership opportunity that has introduced us to new strategies for building philanthropy throughout Northeast Alabama. After a few teleconferences and exchange of e-mails, TPF graciously offered CFNEA a matching challenge of up to $100,000 to leverage gifts from new donors throughout Northeast Alabama for tornado recovery.
What a challenge! This was great! Not only would we have the ability to double the funding resources for our Tornado Recovery Fund, but we also now had the resources, thanks to TPF, to leverage our gifts in our new counties.
Although the reason for our quick descent into our new counties was not for a more festive occasion, CFNEA is grateful for the terrific way TPF sought and chose to partner with us. Our communities quickly responded to the challenge, meeting the $100,000. Encouraged by our partnership to raise funds to help elevate the impact of the crisis, TPF challenged CFNEA to an additional $100,000 for tornado recovery efforts.
Through TPF’s innovative way of inspiring collaborative philanthropy, we went above and beyond our usual fundraising strategies and were able to take a proactive approach to growing philanthropy. TPF provided a means for us to not only accept donations but to also create avenues to seek donations. CFNEA used the matching challenge to encourage and energize donors throughout Northeast Alabama. The challenge became a call-to-action for donors to support CFNEA and allowed us to encourage a broader base of donors to share in CFNEA’s mission.
Ultimately, CFNEA met and exceeded the challenge presented by TPF. I am so pleased to say our partnership with The Patterson Foundation will help rebuild the homes, lives and families of Northeast Alabama. CFNEA will maintain the relationships and the momentum gained during the challenge. This opportunity has given CFNEA a means to raise both funds and friends forever.
Thank you to The Patterson Foundation!