In Athens County, the poorest in Ohio, staff and volunteers at the nonprofit Athens Foundation came up with a daring idea: to host a locally sourced, gourmet dinner for four hundred people. The meal would be held on the brick-paved main street of the town of Athens, raise funds for the food bank, and increase awareness of the persistent local struggle with food insecurity. The logistical challenges were daunting, but the plan would unite the community around the common theme of providing for its own.
Since then, Bounty on the Bricks has become a touchstone event that raises close to one hundred thousand dollars for the food bank. In The Community Table, Athens Foundation executive director Susan Urano translates her nonprofit’s experience with a large-scale annual fundraiser into a step-by-step guide for development professionals, community leaders, and volunteers. Photographs and recipes enhance the book’s appeal.
Urano guides readers to consider why one should mount a fundraiser, who the stakeholders are, what social and financial value the event will bring to the community, and how partnerships might augment the payoff. Using real-life examples, she explains how organizers can learn from mistakes and illustrates methods of team building, conflict resolution, and problem solving. Sample timelines, budgets, publicity plans, and committee structures round out The Community Table.
Susan Cole Urano is the executive director of the Athens Foundation. She serves on the boards of several nonprofits and has been executive director of four organizations. Susan lives in rural Ohio with her husband, David.
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