21st Century Parks, Louisville, KY

The story of 21st Century Parks began with a successful founding campaign that raised $25 million. Dan Jones, President and CEO of the organization recalled, “We had a clear vision and outline of the project, but we knew we needed to raise more money and to strengthen our case for support to take it to a broader audience.” Upon the recommendation of Bill Juckett, Board Chairman, Mr. Jones engaged The Covenant Group to conduct a feasibility study.

“We needed a more formal test of the market and to put the whole project on more solid footing.” Jones added, “The feasibility study process provided us with valuable research, data on what percentage of donors would give a second time, a clear campaign structure, valid recommendations and a target amount to raise.”

Jones mentioned that another benefit that came from the study was the recommendation to add a seasoned, experienced Director of Development to the team. The Covenant Group helped the organization recruit Christen Boone who was just putting the finishing touches on a successful campaign at Actors Theatre. “Christen was instrumental in helping the campaign transition from theory to action. Since she had already worked with The Covenant Group on the Actors’ campaign it was an easy relationship that helped the campaign build early momentum.”

Jones described The Covenant Group as being vested in the campaign’s success. “Many consultants finish the study, give you the report and then leave. The Covenant Group was so involved. They continually touched base to ensure that we were on track.” He continued, “They are highly competent, very experienced and knowledgeable. They provided a broad perspective by equipping us with useful data on other campaigns and best practices in the field. All in all, they are excellent. In total the campaign raised $150 million.”

Jones calls the campaign a huge success. He is proud to say that 21st Century Parks achieved all that they wanted to achieve through the campaign. “As a result of the funds raised we have been able to buy 3700 acres which will be built into a 4 park system. It will open within 3 years.” Comparing the progress of this campaign to those of peer cities, Jones marveled, “There are at least 5 or 6 big park projects going on now nationally. The only one that is 100% financed is here in Louisville. When you compare the size and the pace of our campaign to those underway in much bigger cities like New York and Chicago, it is so unique and amazing what we have been able to accomplish. The Covenant Group’s work contributed a great deal to that success.”

Jones closed with a hearty recommendation. “Of course I would recommend The Covenant Group to other organizations. There is such a good spirit in the firm. It was such an easy working relationship. They are true professionals. Flexible, available… I have nothing but the highest appreciation and regard for Len and his associates.”