Client Stories

Baptist Hospital Foundation, Louisville, KY

For decades, The Baptist Hospital System (BHS) has been recognized as a leader in healthcare excellence. That success has been facilitated in part by the work of the Baptist Hospital Foundation (BHF). Charitable funds raised through the Foundation help BHS maintain its high margin of excellence, and hospital officials knew that the Foundation would play an even larger role in the future. That’s why the hospital leadership decided to engage The Covenant Group. They wanted to conduct a development audit and philanthropic culture assessment to determine the most effective ways to structure and position the Foundation to maximize growth.

Sue Tamme, President of the Louisville Market for Baptist Healthcare Systems recalls, “We needed to assess our current situation and get a broader understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. The Covenant Group gave us an ‘outsiders perspective’ on how we were operating internally. They brought depth, understanding and experience which were very helpful.” Tamme also noted that The Covenant Group developed a comprehensive plan with fresh ideas and they identified new internal programs that they helped the Foundation implement even before the study was completed. One of the prominent areas of need the study uncovered was staffing. The Covenant Group noted that the Foundation simply could not achieve the intended growth without the leadership of an experienced Chief Development Officer. Again BHS and BHF called upon The Covenant Group to provide Executive Search services and help them find the right candidate to fill this role.

Sue Tamme explained, “We felt like The Covenant Group had the experience, the background and the professional knowledge to understand what kind of candidate we were looking for and where to find that person. Their interview process was in depth and gave us a clearer understanding of the candidates’ true capabilities. They were able to uncover their experience, skills and track record of success and present us with a group of screened, qualified candidates that best fit the position.” Tamme further notes that the benefit of using The Covenant Group as compared to doing the search internally was focus. “With an internal search the people involved are trying to juggle many priorities. The Covenant Group was able to focus solely on finding the right candidate for us.”

The Covenant Group’s work with the Foundation has already proven to be fruitful as the Foundation recently secured the largest gift in its history. Clearly, BHF is well on its way to new levels of growth and achievement. Tamme noted that they now have a comprehensive and strategic fundraising plan in place as well as a new Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at the helm. She believes that they are prepared to “hit the ground running.” Tamme credits The Covenant Group’s Executive Search process as being very targeted and focused with very dependable results.

She concluded by saying that she would recommend The Covenant Group to other firms seeking fundraising counsel or Executive Search services. “Their knowledge of the local community, professionalism and experience are among The Covenant Group’s greatest strengths”.

St. Agnes Catholic Church, Ft. Wright, KY

St. Agnes Catholic Church and School is a community of faith and learning that has served the people of Fort Wright since 1930. The original church building constructed in 1938 and the first school building (1955) are still in operation today. The historical beauty and utility of the church and school stand as reminders of the long-standing tradition of faith and service of St. Agnes parish. However, as structures age, updates and periodic improvements are necessary to keep facilities modern, safe and efficient. Such was the case when St. Agnes decided to conduct a feasibility study and capital campaign.

Father Mark Keene, pastor at St. Agnes recalled, “Our school building needed a series of infrastructure updates. We conducted several engineering studies which helped uncover the needs and gave us an idea of the associated costs.” After reviewing eleven different consulting firms, the St. Agnes team selected The Covenant Group. “Their process was unique. It gave us a clear model of how the campaign would be organized. This helped us envision it, and overcome our fears.” Father Keene added, “We also appreciated the way that Len and Joe brought elements of their own personal faith into the process.”Read more

Beechwold Christian Church, Columbus, OH

Beechwold Christian Church is a mission-minded congregation. With “Pursuing God, Pursuing People” as their slogan, the church was attempting to eliminate anything that would hinder them from achieving their goal. One such hindrance that needed to be addressed was debt. Patrick Mauger, Executive Minister, explained, “We needed to eliminate about $1.2 million in debt. The funds that would be freed up would allow us to make some capital improvements, increase staffing and allocate more resources into other areas of ministry such as children’s programming and missions.” As a congregation with fewer than 300 members, $1.2 million seemed a daunting goal.

After interviewing several firms, the decision was made by church leaders to engage The Covenant Group. Mauger referenced “impressive expertise coupled with the right amount of motivation” as key reasons for their selection.

He went on to recount the steps that were employed in order to ready the congregation for the task at hand. “The Covenant Group played a vital role in helping us prepare for the campaign. They really understood our DNA as an independent Christian Church.” Mauger continued, “They provided keen insights into fundraising and they led us through a strategic planning process which resulted in a unified leadership team ready to tackle the challenges of a capital campaign.”

With The Covenant Group’s offices nearly a four-hour commute from Columbus, church leaders were amazed at the high level of personal involvement of the consultants in the campaign. “They were readily accessible, engaged and gave us such a personal level of service,” the pastor marveled, “We knew they had other clients, but we always felt like we were the only one.”

To date, the campaign has raised over $1.4 million. Mauger is thrilled to say that the campaign results have accomplished what they had hoped at the outset. In addition to the funds raised, he shared several other positive benefits of the campaign. “First, our church body has a renewed sense of focus. Both the elders and the body are united in the direction we are heading.” Mauger added, “Second, our stewardship giving is also up. The campaign actually resulted in having a positive effect on normal tithes and offerings. We didn’t expect that.” Continuing the list he added that there is “a general excitement in the congregation about what they have been able to achieve.”

Mauger concluded by describing The Covenant Group associates as professional, knowledgeable experts.” When asked if he would recommend The Covenant Group to other churches seeking fundraising counsel he laughed and said, “Absolutely, I already have.”

Wellspring, Louisville, KY

Wellspring is Kentucky’s leading provider of housing coupled with services to individuals struggling with psychiatric illness. Nearly 45,500 adults in the Louisville area suffer from some type of severe mental illness. Since 1982, Wellspring has been providing supportive housing coupled with psychiatric rehabilitative services for people living with mental illness. In order to better serve adults experiencing psychiatric crisis, Wellspring developed a plan to build a new crisis stabilization unit, realizing that they would need to raise the funding to do so. With an eye towards the future, Wellspring leaders also determined that they needed to raise sufficient funding to renovate and refurbish existing structures and fund their ongoing maintenance, develop seed funding for new opportunities, and establish a centralized administrative center. To accomplish these ambitious goals they sought help from The Covenant Group.

Nancy Doctor, Director of Development recalls, “We needed a “reality check,” a true assessment of our potential to raise the needed funds. If we had tried to survey potential donors ourselves, we would not have gotten nearly as accurate of an estimate of our capacity.” She added that although she was not on staff when the decision was made to hire The Covenant Group, she immediately had a favorable first impression. Board members who had previously worked with The Covenant Group were extremely complimentary. They shared many positive stories about past campaigns where they had worked together with Len Moisan and his team. Kathy Dobbins, Wellspring’s Executive Director is pleased to say that The Covenant Group lived up to their strong reputation. “Everything The Covenant Group did to help us position the campaign in the initial stages was helpful. From the development of the case statement; to our campaign materials; to the training of our Board members in solicitation strategies; all these steps laid the foundation for eventual campaign success.” Doctor doubts the campaign would have achieved the same results without the counsel of The Covenant Group. “They brought such a high level of professionalism, a wealth of experience and a strong track record of integrity and campaign success… just being associated with The Covenant Group helped us raise more money. Their connections to key players in the community helped us open the right doors.”

Board members are pleased with the results of the campaign, the proceeds of which now top $2.1 million. As a result, the new crisis stabilization unit is now operational and has doubled the services available to the community. Dobbins lists additional benefits of the campaign, “Not only can more clients be served, but our program sites are safer, more comfortable and more energy efficient. And with the agency’s new administrative center, the total workplace environment is improved. Due to the increased space, we now have in-house training facilities and we can host on-site Board and committee meetings, which we could not do before.”

Doctor concluded by saying that she would recommend The Covenant Group to other organizations seeking fundraising counsel; in fact she “does it at every opportunity.” Dobbins added, “They really meshed with us and were a great fit for our organization. They motivated our Board members to keep the campaign moving…they were vigilant and tenacious, yet respectful. Personally, more than just having received good counsel, I feel like we’ve made good friends.”

St. Joseph, Bardstown, KY

Instead of following our typical case study format, we felt it appropriate to let this original letter speak for itself.  It came from the pastor, Father William Hammer.  It was sent on 4/28/08 from the Pastor of St. Joseph parish, Father William Hammer.  His remarks were in no way solicited and we publish them with his full knowledge and permission as follows:

“I want to thank you very much for the wonderful job that you, Joe Cecil and The Covenant Group staff offered to our parish in our recently completed “A Time to Build” Capital Campaign.  From the very beginning of our initial interviews and throughout the process I have always appreciated your approach which is faith-based upon principals of good stewardship and community building.  I do believe that our parish is stronger and grew spiritually throughout the process.  Your advice and counsel insured success beyond our initial expectations.”

I remember when we approached you about our original vision of an elementary school addition for approximately $3.3 million and you encouraged us to dream bigger of a “stretch goal” which then led us to consider renovated space for a fellowship hall and we raised the goal to $3.8 million.  Then as we continued our interviews and further developed our case statement, we envisioned a new fellowship hall and raised our goal to $4.8 million.  As we approach our “A Time to Celebrate” thank you party for the over 200 volunteers who assisted us throughout the process and as we are looking forward to a ground breaking with the start of summer, we are very near to a pledge total of $5 million.

You and Joe helped us in so many ways, beginning in the feasibility phase, setting a realistic campaign calendar, providing us with draft materials we could very easily adapt, the binder of detailed job descriptions and tasks, and most importantly the training.  Throughout the many months of preparation and training I always heard very favorable feedback from the parishioners involved.  I believe we would not have been nearly as successful had it not been for Joe’s and your guidance, support and encouragement.  To exceed our “stretch goal” and to do the outreach we were able to accomplish was a daunting undertaking for a parish of over 1,800 families, but it was made more manageable with your help.  Both the parish and I are better for the opportunity we had to work together.  Again, my thanks to you, Joe and your staff.”

Louisville Deaf Oral School, Louisville, KY

The Louisville Deaf Oral School was at a crossroads. After 50 years of operating as a leading educational facility for deaf and hard of hearing children, they had begun the process of determining what they were going to be for the next 50 years. The Covenant Group stepped in to help them realize a new vision.

Louisville Deaf Oral School had decided it was time to expand their mission. They embarked on a capital campaign to raise funds for the new Edith & Henry Heuser Hearing Institute. This unique institute would continue to provide child education to the deaf and hard of hearing, but would also house an on site medical clinic, an assistive device center, a hearing research facility, and numerous other facilities for the deaf community.

“Originally, we hired another firm to help us with a feasibility study,” commented Mona McCubbin, Louisville Deaf Oral School’s Director. “They said we might be able to raise between $1.5 and $2.0 million for an educational institute. We decided to call on The Covenant Group to help us plan and execute our campaign.”

“One of the biggest things that Dr. Moisan brought to our project was a steadfast belief in our vision and a lot of enthusiasm. Dr. Moisan’s enthusiasm was contagious! He helped us in numerous ways, from consulting and helping us to determine which strategic actions we should take to conducting training for our board members. The Covenant Group performed additional feasibility reviews, found key donors in the community and set us off in a new direction.”

“As a result, after less than one year we have raised over $4.5 million, and we believe that we will finish the campaign later this year with nearly $6.0 million in donations. If we had not contacted The Covenant Group, we would have short-changed our cause.”

Thanks to The Covenant Group’s input and direction, Louisville Deaf Oral School will occupy their new building debt-free and set a national standard for a facility of this type.

Brooklawn Child & Family Services, Louisville, KY

Brooklawn Child and Family Services faced a challenge.  The organization, which provides residential treatment programs that help severely emotionally and behaviorally troubled boys, experienced an 80% increase in referrals from state agencies between the years 2004 and 2006.  Also, over the previous four years, the number of children served daily in residential care programs increased from 65 to 107.  Brooklawn was out of space and something had to be done.

The Board and staff knew they needed new facilities, but they were a bit uncertain as to how to proceed.  That’s when they turned to The Covenant Group for help.  The first step was to conduct a feasibility study and they combined it with a development audit.  Mike Schultz, Vice President of Development, recounted the key role this approach played in the overall success of the campaign.  “These processes were very helpful.  The outcomes gave us a good idea of who we were as an organization and what we would be capable of achieving in a campaign.”Read more

St. Michael Church, Louisville, KY

Explosive growth at St. Michael Church helped parish leaders realize it was time to embark on a building expansion project. “We not only wanted to expand our worship space,” explained David Miles, the campaign chair, “we also wanted to expand our recreational and educational space. We knew we weren’t professional fundraisers, and much of our parish’s future was at stake based on our ability to raise money. We needed help.”

“I’ve been involved in several of the parish’s campaigns,” Miles said, “many of which we managed ourselves, and one of which was managed by a company other than The Covenant Group. For this particular campaign, because of its size and importance, we needed to hire the best. The archdiocese gave us several people to interview, and based on all of those interviews, The Covenant Group was the obvious choice for us.”

“Dr. Moisan, Dr. Rothwell and The Covenant Group team are experienced, very professional, and extremely dedicated to what they do,” Miles said. “I knew they were a first class group of people when we hired them to help with our campaign. They had a good plan and a very structured plan. They were absolutely the best group for the task at hand.”

Father Gary Davis, the pastor of St. Michael Church, realized that The Covenant Group stood apart from companies like it. “The staff at The Covenant Group never told us what we needed to do without listening to us first. They came in and asked us about our priorities. They clearly brought us the necessary experience and knowledge, but it was focused on what they learned as a result of their truly listening to us.”

“They were extremely cooperative and patient,” Father Davis added. “I can recall many times when I likened their patience to Job. If our staff or volunteers asked them the same question twenty times, they took the time to answer that question each time until everything was understood. If they weren’t there in person, and we had a question or concern, it took one phone call to have it addressed.”

The original goal the leaders discussed was $1.6 million, but The Covenant Group encouraged them to put all phases ($5.1 million) in front of the parish. To date, St Michael Church has raised nearly $3.5 million. “I never felt we were capable of reaching the full $5.1 million, but I certainly didn’t object to shooting for more,” said Fr. Davis. “I felt that reaching the $3 million marker would be a huge success, and we have already exceeded that.”

David Miles explained: “They spent a lot of time organizing and training the key players, and they provided sample letters Father Gary would need to send out. All of the information we needed was available to us, and the path they provided us was very well structured.”

“We amazed ourselves at what we were able to do,” Father Davis said. “The Covenant Group really pushed us to succeed in our campaign. They helped us structure a plan, they helped us call forth volunteers, and they counseled us every step of the way so that we would be successful. Having their counsel really benefited us. They gave us direction, encouragement and a wealth of information that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. I’ve already talked to several other priests about using The Covenant Group in their fundraising campaigns. I know they will always be our first choice in future campaigns. If it weren’t for The Covenant Group’s expertise, we would not have been able to raise this much money.”

Actors Theatre, Louisville, KY

The recently completed Actors Theatre of Louisville capital campaign achieved amazing success. “We beat the original $12 million goal by $1.5 million,” said Christen McDonough-Boone, Director of Development.

In addition to the $13.5 million raised in campaign gifts, Actors Theatre also generated $3.5 million in annual commitments. “Dr. Moisan instructed us to ask for the campaign and annual gifts at the same time”, said Todd Lowe, President of the Board. “This strategy obviously worked.”
In 2004, The Covenant Group conducted a feasibility study for Actors Theatre. “The feasibility study process was really helpful, especially to the strategic planning phase of the campaign” said McDonough-Boone. “The interviews and ground work completed by The Covenant Group helped us craft and then refine our case statement, uncover new donor sources and word our case in a way that helped generate people’s interest and involvement.”

Lowe agreed, “The organizational skills that The Covenant Group brought to the campaign were very helpful. They showed us how to plan, implement, really determine the nuts and bolts of the campaign.” Both cited following the campaign plan as key to achieving results. Lowe stated, “Dr. Moisan convinced us that following the campaign plan was crucial.”
In addition to campaign planning, the counsel provided by Dr. Len Moisan of the Covenant Group was extremely helpful in each stage of the campaign. “I really appreciated Dr. Moisan’s counsel throughout the campaign process, and even now I still call him for input at times,” stated McDonough-Boone.

Both people noted that they would not hesitate to call The Covenant Group again for campaign services or to recommend them to other organizations seeking campaign counsel. “The Covenant Group is dependable, creative, thoughtful and extremely serious about what they do,” remarked Lowe. “They have a terrific record of structuring and conducting campaigns that exceed goals.” McDonough-Boone added, “The level of experience, support and professionalism Dr. Moisan and his team brought to our campaign helped to ensure our success.”