Client Profile: Jubilee Family Development Center
Jubilee Family Development Center, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, was founded in 1999 in response to the community’s overwhelming need for a program that would target Lynchburg’s at-risk youth, leading them away from lives of crime and drugs. By offering the kids programs and services to help develop their academic and social skills, the organization helps them focus on very different futures and achievable goals. Jubilee’s kids are loved, tutored, mentored, challenged, and motivated by dedicated staff and a multitude of community volunteers.
Throughout its 11-year history, the organization has served over 500 children per year and their families. Jubilee provides year-round programming, with offerings in educational enrichment/academic assistance, athletics and technical/vocational awareness and training aimed at enhancing the workforce through its new Occupational Outreach Center. The results have been extraordinary: 75% of all students attending the afterschool program have increased by at least one letter grade; 60% of all students in the college prep program enroll in an institution of higher learning.
Like many organizations, the economy has taken its toll on Jubilee, and fundraising efforts have been difficult given that a small community like Lynchburg doesn’t have great numbers of local corporate and foundation funders to turn to. What have they done? Three things:
1. They’ve refocused their board on the financial realities of their organization and their fiscal responsibilities as board members, making painful cuts in staff and operations to assure funders and community partners they can remain financially viable.
2. They’ve sharpened their message. Using the media, direct mail and special events, they’ve focused their story on the impact they’ve had, the increase in demand for their services, and the powerful testimonials of kids who have come through the program.
3. They’ve reconnected with their historical donors and board members. This weekend, they’re hosting a critical Spring Event to raise awareness and funds for their program. Hosted at a supporter’s home and underwritten by sponsors, the event will allow their Executive Director and Board Chair make a direct appeal to community leaders and funders who can most impact their future.