Never underestimate the power of a challenge to transform an organization.
When leaders of the Fort Meade Alliance and FMA Foundation decided to build a Resiliency and Education Center on Fort George G. Meade, they embraced the $3.6 million challenge. Tackling that daunting fundraising goal propelled the Foundation to develop the skills to successfully execute a capital campaign. As expected, the effort generated an additional strength. It positioned the Foundation to build a broader community and further expand future services to military members, families and veterans.
“One of the thrusts we had in 2016 was building the foundation for the Foundation,” said Foundation President Deon Viergutz.
Foundation leaders spent time honing the vision of the 501c3, elevating its business practices, learning the rigors of professional fundraising and developing a polished presentation for the Ready, Strong and Connected capital campaign. To date, campaign volunteers have raised $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, and delivered formal requests for major funding to the State of Maryland and the Video Lottery Facility Local Development Council. Now, they are making donation requests from private foundations, corporations and individual contributors. And that’s where the Foundation is finding its wider community.
“The Foundation’s work is allowing us to think broader and look beyond the membership of the FMA to build relationships with people and organizations who share our passions,” Viergutz said.
The Foundation’s work to strengthen resiliency services to military members, families and veterans; expand STEM education to Maryland students; provide security clearance training to Maryland students and workers; award scholarships to Meade High School seniors; and advance transportation improvements in the Fort Meade Region resonate with many individuals, companies, foundations and agencies.
“People are always impressed by the breadth of the activities of the Foundation and its impact on the community,” said Tim O’Ferrall, FMA General Manager.
And those activities are expanding in 2017. The FMA and Foundation have forged partnerships to launch a pilot of STEM Core – an intensive program of curriculum, internships, special projects and personal support – at the Community College of Baltimore County. Working with Anne Arundel County Public Schools, they will soon provide more services to help Fort Meade Region teachers better understand how to best serve the military child. And the Foundation is currently making preparations and securing corporate partners to provide expanded job training, internships and employment prospects to service members who are preparing to transition out of the military.
“Through our work on the Ready, Strong and Connected campaign, we are building a constituent base that supports these kinds of efforts,” Viergutz said. “That constituency is interested in supporting the Resiliency and Education Center but also other projects of the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation. This will help us expand support to the Fort Meade community for many years to come.”
The Foundation is also organizing fundraising events – such as the Backyard BBQ, scheduled for April 27 – that will be attractive to individuals and organizations of the FMA and those who might not attend FMA business events. To purchase tickets, click here.
Fundraising for the transformation of Fort Meade’s Kuhn Hall into a Resiliency and Education Center is entering a phase of seeking donations from private foundations, corporations and individuals, said Barb Kappel, Campaign Director. The renovation will provide 160,000 people on and off post with a top-quality, centralized center for all types of resiliency services as well as educational courses from several colleges and universities.
“One of the rare aspects of this capital campaign is that once construction is completed, the Army will assume all programmatic and operational costs. So we know the Resiliency and Education Center is going to be a valuable and sustainable resource for the people of Fort Meade,” Kappel said.
If fundraising proceeds on schedule, construction of the Resiliency and Education Center will begin early next year and wrap up by the end of 2018.