Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In Which We Discuss the Chestnut Hill Community Fund

Having read in the Local that the Chestnut Hill Community Association's Fund is facing a financials crisis-a shortfall of $40,000, I've been watching my mailbox expecting the solicitation for the Annual Fund Drive to arrive. After all if, even after borrowing money for cash flow purposes, the fund can't meet its obligations to provide promised funds to the Senior Center, Teens, etc., wouldn't you think the chosen leaders of this nonprofit would have gotten a jump on the other local nonprofits who would also be asking this community for their help as the year ends.

When the late Maurice McCarthy was President of the CHCA, he understood that the management and growth of the Fund was the singular most important job that the Directors of the CHCA needed to attend to as a whole. All well-run nonprofits understand this, too. So Maurice held a Fund Kickoff in early October to announce his goals. He prepared each board member with a packet of materials including the who, what, where, and how's and even paper and pencils.

Maurice raised the highest amount of money the Annual Fund Drive had ever raised. He was proud of this and he was proud of every board member for their part in making this happen. He did this without the aid of a fancy database and fundraising program.

Since then, and even with the Annual Fund Drive managed over these ensuing years by the same president the fund amount has decreased each of the last few years. What's worse is that a database and a very sophisticated fund raising program were purchased in 2003, but no one knows if they are in operation. Perhaps, that is because no money was permitted for staff training- a grand total of $2000.

In the last 6 weeks or so, my family has received Annual Fund Appeals from our high schools, colleges, post graduate schools, museums, churches, charities and more. When the mismanaged and misguided CHCA comes calling this family will have no funds left.

Marie Lachat

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