Success is not based on luck.

There’s a method and a process to philanthropy. We can teach you a system that works.

Our clients achieve lasting success.

Successful philanthropy is one of the keys to a sustainable future. Our clients have invested in their futures, and are achieving results. Here are just a few examples:

Strong Annual Fund

Baxter Community CenterLiteracy Center

The Literacy Center serves more than 1,000 adults each year, primarily in Kent County. They provide mentorship, classes and employer support for people who need assistance with reading or writing English. The Literacy Centered relied heavily on grants to fund their work, and they wanted to diversify their funding sources.

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When we began working with the Literacy Center, they had a very strong grant-writing function, but a very small donor database. We worked with them to implement our complete model of annual fundraising.  That work included:

  • Creating a case for support
  • Identifying entry-level opportunities for new donors to learn about the mission
  • Creating and implementing a calendar for donor communication
  • Revitalizing their donor events by making them mission-centric
  • Cultivating donors to give at their highest level
  • Engaging volunteers to solicit gifts and be ambassadors for the organization

Through this work, the Literacy Center achieved impressive fundraising growth:

  • X% increase in number of donors
  • Increased by X% the number of donors giving $1,000 or more annually
  • Energizing (how many) volunteers to advocate for the organization

Baxter Community CenterBaxter Community Center

Baxter Community Center was born in the 1970s as a community response to social injustice and unmet needs in the community. After successfully completing a capital campaign, Baxter knew it had to maintain relationships with all the new donors who had made the campaign successful…but they didn’t know how to do it.

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Baxter engaged Kennari Consulting to work with them on a thoughtful and comprehensive donor retention and renewal strategy.  We assessed their status, and them helped them implement a holistic plan based on our annual fundraising model:

  • Continue to cultivate campaign donors and convert them to annual givers
  • Renew the donors who had become connected with Baxter during the public phase of its campaign
  • Expand opportunities for new donor relationships through events
  • Train their board to successfully promote the organization’s mission

Baxter succeeded in its goals.  They are serving x% more people today than they were (how many years) ago.  They have also been able to expand their programs thanks to the steady support they receive from donors through their robust annual giving work.

Successful Campaigns

Mary FreeBedMary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
$66 million advancement campaign; $16 million capital campaign

Mary Free Bed is a regional leader in rehabilitation services, providing treatment to more than 10,000 patients per year. In less than four years, they established a Foundation, and then completed a $66 million campaign to renovate existing facilities, build a new building and add services. This total included a $16 million philanthropic component, with the rest coming from other sources. They actually exceeded their goal, raising $17 million through gifts.

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Mary Free Bed has, for many years, received generous philanthropic support from its Guild members. However, in order to achieve the organization’s vision of greatly expanded service, they needed to develop a robust annual fundraising function to complement the Guild. Mary Free Bed approached Kennari Consulting in 2012 for assistance in starting up their Foundation and building their annual fundraising capability. We helped them:

  • Create a 5-year proforma to anticipate fundraising costs and structure funding
  • Establish a development department and hire staff
  • Complete a feasibility study for a capital campaign
  • Implement an annual fund program
  • Create a planned giving program

We implemented our complete model of fundraising with Mary Free Bed, helping them follow each step to achieve both campaign as well as annual fundraising success.  We drew upon a variety of our team members and their skills to help the Foundation achieve its goal. In just four short years, the Foundation achieved the following:

  • Completed (and exceeded) a $16 million capital campaign
  • Implemented donor communications and solicitations through quarterly newsletters and a year-end appeal
  • Established a Community Engagement Committee of 22 members for the purpose of connecting others to the mission
  • Launched two successful annual events for fundraising and donor acquisition

“Kennari Consulting was extremely helpful to us when we established the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. We were able to get “up and running” in very little time with our new donor software implementation, a successful first-time annual appeal, a comprehensive feasibility study, and a successful $16 million capital campaign. Their insight on best practices and the philanthropic community in Grand Rapids has been invaluable.”

Darrow Goodspeed
Major Gifts and Donor Relations Director
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

KrocKroc Center
$32 million capital campaign; $15 million in philanthropy 

In 2004, Mrs. Joan Kroc left a charitable gift of $1.7 billion to The Salvation Army. Her gift was designated for 25-30 new youth and family centers throughout the country. The Salvation Army in Grand Rapids knew there was a tremendous need for the kinds of services that could be provided in a Kroc Center. They wanted to apply, but needed help with the application and the fundraising component.

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The grant requirements for the Kroc Center included significant demographic research, as well as a needs assessment that would link specific building features and programming to the particular needs of the community. We helped The Salvation Army:

  • Complete its demographic research
  • Identify an appropriate site for the center based on research findings
  • Implement a carefully-designed campaign to secure the necessary philanthropic funds
  • Train the campaign cabinet
  • Engage the public in fundraising at the appropriate point
  • Develop ongoing annual fundraising strategies to help with operating expenses

The Kroc Center opened in 2010. A recent independent study documented a “halo effect” on the local economy of more than $8 million in just one year. The Kroc Center has more than repaid the community investment, and serves thousands of people each year with unparalleled excellence and commitment.

Mackinac Straits Healthcare SystemMackinac Straits Healthcare System
$46 million capital campaign; $5.5 million in philanthropy
$9 million capital campaign; $2.5 million in philanthropy   

Mackinac Straits Healthcare System serves the 12,000 residents of Mackinac County, along with more than two million annual tourists. Over the course of six years and two project phases, the Healthcare System has invested $55 million in new facilities and expanded services, including $8 million in philanthropic gifts.

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We began working with the Mackinac Straits Healthcare System in 2010 to support their aggressive growth plans. This is a challenging geographic area in which to work, because so much of the donor base is seasonal. Timing and prompt execution of fundraising strategies are important keys to success.

We assisted them with:

  • A recommendation to form a 501(c)(3) Foundation
  • Conducting feasibility studies
  • Phasing their projects for community adoption
  • Building donor relationships
  • Cultivating donors for lead gifts
  • Communicating project progress and keeping donors engaged
  • Donor acquisition events
  • Securing repeat gifts throughout the phases
  • Training the Foundation Board and Campaign Cabinet in fundraising techniques

[QUOTE – Rod Nelson]

YWCA West Central MichiganYWCA West Central Michigan
Insert $$$ amount here 

YWCA West Central Michigan serves almost 5,000 people per year, primarily women and children who are victims of domestic and sexual violence. They needed to cultivate their donor base in preparation for a $6.2 million campaign to renovate their primary service building and emergency shelter.

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The YWCA worked with Kennari Consulting to evaluate their donor base and create a targeted plan for donor cultivation. Then, when the time was right, they could begin their project and start raising funds for the renovation.

We helped them:

  • Identify donors who had growth potential
  • Create an individual cultivation plan for their top 50 donors, as well as more generalized plan for their top 300 donors
  • Engage volunteers to assist with donor development
  • Implement a successful capital campaign, raising $6.2 million in (how long)
Having expertise and community knowledge at the table is key to a successful campaign. Kennari’s staff possesses both. As a result of the YWCA’s Transformation Campaign, the way our organization is able to support those who turn to us is greatly improved.

Carla Blinkhorn
YWCA West Central Michigan

Innovative Public/Private Partnerships

Gerald R. Ford International AirportGerald R. Ford International Airport
$34 million capital campaign, $20 million from corporate sponsorships and philanthropy

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRFIA) is the “Gateway to West Michigan.” The region’s one and a half million people depend on quality air service to fuel thriving business and leisure economies. But the progress and potential future growth of the region was hampered by an outdated and inefficient airport terminal space that did not properly reflect West Michigan as a vibrant place to live and work. Airport management needed find a way to fund a $34 million terminal renovation.

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This project began in 2014, as the airport sought to find a new funding solution to fuel growth. Funding for an airport typically comes through government bonds. However, issuing a bond at this point would have burdened the carriers and made Grand Rapids a less attractive market. The region could not afford to lose the low-cost carriers they had worked so hard to cultivate.

We helped them:

  • Envision a public/private partnership, in which one-third of the funding would come from airport operating funds, and the remaining two-thirds would come from a mix of corporate marketing investments and community gifts.
  • Conduct a feasibility study to gauge reaction to this idea and identify potential corporate partners
  • Approach corporate partners with the opportunity to invest in “philanthropic marketing”
  • Develop a unique sponsorship package, tailored to the corporate objectives of each potential sponsor company
  • Target foundations that could make community-based investment in the airport

This project has progressed rapidly, and funds are being raised at lightening speed. We anticipate the airport will fully fund its project by mid-2017.

[Quote from Brian]

Grand Rapids WhitewaterHeart of the City Health Center
$29.2 million campaign; $4.1 million in philanthropy 

Cherry Health provides primary health care services (medical, dental and behavioral) to more than 57,000 patients in Kent County annually. They are the largest federally qualified health center in Michigan. Cherry Health wanted to create an integrated system of health care delivery that would increase their capacity and achieve better patient outcomes. The sought to do this by consolidating care for low-income patients in a single building right in the heart of Grand Rapids.

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Although Cherry Health could make a substantial contribution to the project through operating funds and a loan, they did not have the financial capacity to fund the entire project. Then a unique funding opportunity came their way. Cherry Street was able to leverage federal grant dollars to local philanthropic support at a rate of 3:1. The catch was that they had a very short time in which to raise the money. We helped them:

  • Write a case for support
  • Conduct a feasibility study
  • Identify candidates for lead gifts
  • Recruit and train a campaign cabinet
  • Implement a plan to raise the money in the required time

Cherry Health was able to leverage $17.1 million in government grants on this project, thanks to their success in local fundraising. That eased the burden on local donors, dramatically increased access to healthcare, and created more than 100 new healthcare jobs.

Grand Rapids Public SchoolsGrand Rapids Public Schools

Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) are undergoing a remarkable transformation, under the leadership of Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal. The school system successfully implemented phase one of its transformation plan from 2012-2015. Once it had shown results, the system wanted to move into phase 2. This involved creating intense collaborations with community organizations for theme schools. It also involved advance work with city master planning and development agencies to ensure schools were placed in areas of forecasted need. A combination of bond issue and private philanthropy was needed to raise almost $200 million for this phase.

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GRPS engaged Kennari Consulting to strengthen alliances as they moved into the fundraising phase of the transformation plan.

We helped them:

  • Create a case for support
  • Approach very specific and targeted funders to gauge their support
  • Understand the complementary projects that were under discussion, and help position GRPS within that network
  • Create alignment between the school system and the Student Advancement Foundation to ensure successful outcomes in the fundraising phase
  • Identify boundaries for their work and fundraising that would make it distinct from other partner agencies

The bond issue passed in November 2015, and now we are helping GRPS move forward with fundraising efforts.

[Quote from John or Teresa]

Building Endowments

Grand Rapids SymphonyGrand Rapids Symphony
$40 million endowment campaign

The Grand Rapids Symphony embarked upon a $40 million endowment campaign to secure a sustainable revenue stream that would complement their ticket sales and annual fundraising. The Symphony successfully completed this campaign in three years.

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The Grand Rapids Symphony was in the midst of planning for an endowment campaign when the 2008 recession caused a significant contraction in philanthropic giving.  We worked with them for three years to build up their major gift program and position them for success when the market eventually bounced back.  This pre-campaign development work paid off when the market rebounded in 2013, and the Symphony began their endowment campaign.

Like many arts organizations, the Grand Rapids Symphony receives only a portion of its revenue from ticket sales. Arts organizations typically rely on endowment income for roughly one-third of their total revenue. The board wanted to come closer to that percentage, which required a significant increase in the endowment fund.

We helped the Symphony:

  • Articulate their case for support
  • Evaluate community support for the project
  • Form a campaign cabinet
  • Solicit lead gifts and cultivate donors
  • Diligently work to achieve their $40 million goal over three years
  • Implement a planned giving component in their campaign, including the Legacy of Leadership Circle

“Kennari Consulting assisted the Grand Rapids Symphony with reaching ambitious and aggressive donated revenue goals. Kenner’s formula of versatile services, targeted solutions, and local relationships helped increase our annual operating revenue, endowed funds and build a planned giving program.” 

Diane F. Lobbestael
Vice President for Development
Grand Rapids Symphony

Grand Rapids Public SchoolsBlandford Nature Center
$40 million endowment campaign (update this)

Blandford Nature Center provides 143 acres of unspoiled beauty for people of all ages to enjoy. They derive a portion of their revenue from membership, a portion from grants, and the remainder from philanthropic gifts. Prior to 2014, Blandford had an extremely small endowment fund, and they did not have a legacy society to honor people who had made planned gifts.

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Blandford embarked upon a comprehensive campaign in 2015. A portion of the campaign was dedicated to building their endowment fund, so that they could reduce their reliance on grants. However, they needed the infrastructure and knowledge to accept planned gifts as a part of that campaign. They also needed the tools to cultivate donors for planned gifts after the campaign ended.

We helped Blandford:

  • Evaluate their infrastructure and set up systems to track and acknowledge planned gifts
  • Create marketing materials that explain legacy giving options to their donors
  • Create the Circle of Stewards Legacy Society
  • Identify and cultivate potential donors for membership in the Circle of Stewards Society

In less than two years, Blandford has secured 11 future gifts, and they are just getting started. With the national average for planned gifts at approximately $31,000, the investment in planned giving will pay significant endowment benefits as Blandford continues to develop this strategic fundraising capability.

Grand Rapids SymphonyPaws With a Cause
$40 million endowment campaign (update this)

Paws with a Cause trains hearing and service dogs for people with disabilities, provides lifetime support, and promotes awareness through education. They occasionally received planned gifts from grateful donors, but did not have a system of cultivating new gifts.

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Grateful clients are a very important source of legacy gifts, and Paws with a Cause has many such clients. The occasional gifts they did receive were very welcome, but came completely out of the blue.

We helped them:

  • Evaluate their planned giving capabilities
  • Determine what kinds of planned gifts they could accept
  • Build the necessary infrastructure, including the PAWS Legacy Society
  • Implement Crescendo, a web-based tool for cultivating planned gifts
  • Target and cultivate donors for potential legacy society membership

They now have more than 60 people in their legacy program, and continue to work on this important strategic aspect of their fundraising capabilities.

"Sandi and her team have helped us realize that fundraising is an achievable skill. It's not just based on personality, or who you know. We have developed confidence in what we can do because the basic building blocks have been put in place."

Jack Greenfield
CEO & President,
Arbor Circle

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