Katie Moore is the UMFS Major Gifts and Campaign Manager at UMFS. She’s been with the organization for nearly nine years and currently is leading the Be a Champion Capital Campaign, which is helping fund a new residential treatment building in Richmond (pictured in the rendering above), as well as improvements to Charterhouse School and the UMFS campus. This is third installment of an interview in which Katie gives an overview of the Be a Champion Capital Campaign and its impact.
Katie, how and when did UMFS make the decision to embark on a Capital Campaign?
The planning for this campaign actually began back in 2014. Our amazing Board of Directors really wanted to envision the future for the agency and what a new campus would look like. So that planning was about a two year process, and then in 2017 we felt ready to bring it the public and begin the fundraising efforts to put the plan into action. We’re on year four, and it’s so exciting to start seeing the vision come to life.
Can you walk us through the construction occurring on the UMFS Richmond campus?
We broke ground on the campus construction in August 2020, and that was really clearing the site, some demolition of old buildings and getting the land ready. Now we’re at the point where scaffolding (pictured) is going up and we’re starting to see that structure and construction fully underway. Our projection for completion is late Fall 2021, but it’s so exciting to see all of the hard work coming together. We’ll definitely be doing some virtual interior tours and even some hard hat tours with the community as we get closer to finishing the space – so keep an eye out!
Pictured: Historical aerial photo of the UMFS campus in Richmond.
Have you heard from families who’ve received services from UMFS? What do they say about the organization?
I recently had the privilege of speaking with a mom whose child went through our mental health treatment program this past year. There are so many things I learned, but one standout point she shared was how included she felt in the process while her son was going through treatment. She was able to learn and start to understand his triggers and underlying reasons for some of the behaviors he was exhibiting. I could hear the gratitude and gratefulness for being brought into the process, because it has really helped her understand how to handle things better moving forward – equipping her with the tools she didn’t have previously. The process is never perfect of course, but hearing stories where your services have really made an impact on not only a child, but also the family unit, is really gratifying. Now, he has a job, is really starting to enjoy school, and is working through his challenges to the point he can begin focusing more on just being a kid.
What are you hearing from donors in terms of why they choose to support UMFS?
I would say my all-time favorite part of my job is hearing why people choose to support this project and UMFS in general – it just brings up so much about that person, and a lot of times it’s because that person or donor has a personal connection with mental health in their own family and understand how important that work is. Other times, it is faither connections or those that are a part of the foster care system or are adoptive parents themselves – that direct connection can be a huge motivator for people as well.
Recently one of our committee co-chairs shared that one thing that stands out as something she feels passionate about, and why she feels so committed and called to donate her time and money to UMFS is – we are an organization that focuses on holistically helping children and family units in the community. The longevity of the organization, the ever-evolving program offerings and strong leadership from the beginning of our agency is such a testament to the reason we have been able to survive 120 years.
Lastly, there was a couple that gave us a very generous six figure gift over the summer, and the reason he chose to give is because he said we were really the leader in Virginia working to improve family and social services. He feels very strongly like we are really pioneering innovative ways to serve kids and families in the community and working smartly to make those changes and have a true impact.
How has working for UMFS impacted you? Any moments or celebrations that stand out?
Working for UMFS has completely transformed my definition of what a family is – in the best way. What I mean by that is whether you are a biological family, adoptive, or foster family, the core sense is that you have a team of people who are your supporters and your champions. I am so blessed to have great family support, but working here and hearing the stories of what people have been through and how they have had this journey to find their family, or just that support to help them get back on track, has profoundly impacted how I view the world and other people. Those are the stories that really broaden your mindset and help you be a better human. That sense of working together and building strong communities and strong families – in all of our work – is so important to being successful.
What else would you like to share that we haven’t touched on?
When someone chooses to invest in this Capital Campaign project, we just want them to know that not only is this program transforming real lives, it’s extremely sustainable. We have been around for a long time for a reason, and that’s because we take smart risks, we have a great Board of Directors who is making sure we are responsible with our investments and are making smart decisions to keep our programs going. I just really want to convey that this is a really great investment, and the impact will be felt for many decades to come. Anyone can be a philanthropist! No matter your age, we can all choose what type of community we want to live in, what type of cause we want to support, and with any dollar amount.
UMFS Volunteer Brittany Heare conducted this interview. Brittany is the Director of Client Services at ethnographic research firm Feedback in Richmond. In both her career and personal life, Brittany is passionate about working with people and cultivating meaningful relationships. She enjoys volunteering, hanging with her husband, 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, and sometimes she escapes to the Outer Banks for some downtime at the beach.