After a year and a half of planning, and another two and a half years of fundraising, the King County Bar Foundation is pleased to announce that its 125th Anniversary Campaign has successfully met and exceeded its goal with more than $1.1 million raised to support pro bono and diversity programs.
The campaign was launched to honor the King County Bar Association's 125th anniversary in 2011. While the Foundation had long maintained a modest endowment fund, most fundraising efforts by our KCBF trustees were of necessity focused on immediate financial needs to support our programs - especially in recent years because of the Great Recession.
But our bar leaders, including eventual campaign co-chairs Kathryn Battuello and Harry Schneider, and notably past-KCBF President Diana Carey, saw an opportunity to extend our annual fundraising successes and launch a one-time special campaign tied to the historic quasquicentennial anniversary.
Discussions began in the fall of 2010 and expanded during 2011 to include exploratory meetings with senior bar leaders and the creation of an exploratory committee that worked through critical assessments of the bar's capacity for a special anniversary campaign. This included focus group meetings involving past bar presidents.
Initially we dreamed about raising $125,000 for a 125th Anniversary Campaign - more than the bar had ever raised for a special fundraising effort outside annual giving. But as discussions continued, we started to wonder aloud if we might double, triple or even quadruple that amount based on the enthusiasm we were sensing among bar leaders.
With each meeting our excitement about the possibilities and our anxiety about the work involved grew in equal measure. Candidly, some were concerned that we were taking on too large an effort and that we might fail. We found ourselves unable to take the final step to announce a campaign.
Then two events in the fall of 2011 proved instrumental in the decision to move forward. First, KCBF learned that it was the beneficiary of an estate gift from Anita Moceri, a public defender who had passed away in August. We estimated initially our share of the estate would result in at least a $200,000 gift to the Foundation - money, which by tradition, KCBF would earmark for the existing Endowment Fund. (Please see KCBA President Anne Daly's column on page 2 to learn more about Moceri and her generous gift.)
Second, Diana Carey, who had actively participated in the many discussions throughout the year, issued a challenge to the exploratory committee - one that she had seen help another nonprofit organization move forward with its endowment campaign. She pledged in late October 2011 a gift of $25,000 to the 125th Anniversary Campaign if the committee could secure an additional $50,000 in pledges by year end. The result was that everyone on the exploratory committee was inspired by Carey's generosity and began to reflect on what they personally could commit in response to her challenge.
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