Bigger, Stronger, Better
Thoughts from a member of our Executive Team as a leader in the affordable housing industry.
Director of Philanthropy
One of the best things about Archway is that we don’t shy away from the loftiest of goals. When our President and CEO announced that the theme for 2022 would be Bigger, Stronger, Better, not one person flinched. We all knew we were up to the challenge and could succeed for 1,600+ reasons – our residents. The individuals and families that call our communities home are the reason we do this work, and we know that anything less than Bigger, Stronger, and Better is unacceptable.
As Director of Philanthropy at Archway Communities it is my responsibility to ensure we have the philanthropic dollars needed to support our work, in particular the services we provide. This fundraising is essential to our growth and our ability to provide the highest quality work possible. At Archway, finding money for our essential supportive services can be incredibly difficult. Following the pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, the movement for racial justice, and natural disasters, the last two years have shown us all how deep the needs are for many people in this country. When it comes to philanthropy, the reality is there just isn’t enough money to go around. However, many generous and innovative funders have seen the need to step in and support Archway. And for that we could not be more grateful. But there is always more work to be done.
At Archway, it is an essential part of our DNA to provide access to what we see as the human needs trifecta: safe and accessible affordable housing, food security, and the supportive social services people need to thrive. And frankly, providing high-quality support to help people thrive and find stability doesn’t come cheap. Consider that for Archway to run a successful and supportive affordable housing community, of say 75 units, we need to employ a minimum of one full-time onsite Service Coordinator, one full-time onsite Property Manager and one full-time Maintenance Technician to support our residents. These employees are overseen by Directors who together manage the residents who reside across our portfolio of 11 communities. Each day, Archway’s Service Coordinators provide an array of supportive services to meet the unique needs of a diverse population of residents. This encompasses everything from food banks to case management, programming for youth, ESL, and citizenship classes, evidence-based practices to support those struggling with substance misuse and/or mental health issues, and essential community engagement to bring people together and build a sense of community. This also includes ensuring that our communities are safe, secure, accessible, and up-to-date so that all residents have the opportunity to live with dignity and respect. It is for all of these reasons and more that Archway has a fundraising goal each year for our supportive services of $1 million. These funds enable Archway to provide the highest quality services while also having funds to maintain our properties, retain the best staff, and ensure all of our residents’ needs are met.
The last few years have been illuminating to us as a country. Some people are feeling thankful for their health, their homes, and their stability while many others are struggling following the loss of a loved one, lost income, lost housing, and/or losing the feeling of being stable in their lives. The hopeful news is that according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), charitable giving increased by nearly 3% in 2021, and it is on track to increase again in 2022. This is impressive given nonprofits saw a 5% increase in giving during 2020 and many experts expected a sharp decline that hasn’t yet materialized. People are feeling generous and want to support those who are struggling, but we need to talk more about how to make gifts that truly make a difference.
Unrestricted giving to nonprofits is often viewed as problematic – with donors fearing too much goes to overhead and not enough to the mission. However, it’s how organizations deploy their funds that can make the biggest impact. According to Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, as of midyear 2021, the conditions facing American households continue to be disparate. While high-net-worth households have enjoyed steady gains, most Americans are still recovering from the economic crisis. Unemployment rates in 2021 have declined from the highs seen at the beginning of the pandemic, but rates are still higher than pre-pandemic levels. These struggles are very real for many Archway residents and providing comprehensive support has never been more important. Archway’s supportive services are the lifeline many individuals and families need to maintain their housing, raise their children, keep food on the table, find a new job, or just connect with a neighbor in a healthy and supportive way.
It is vital that we keep open minds about what it means to make a charitable donation and the trust we place in the organizations that carry out the work. All support is appreciated, especially when times are tough as they are now. Archway is committed to this work and will always place the needs of our residents over everything else. I’ve had the honor of working in the nonprofit sector for a long time, and without question the Archway team is the most passionate, strategic, and enlightened group deeply committed to the work that is being done. Therefore, next time you are thinking about donating, consider everything that happens behind the scenes that makes all of the vital work happen and when in doubt there is always a Director of Philanthropy that is happy to help and answer any questions. If you ever want to reach me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you will consider making a donation to support Archway and the life-changing work our team does across Colorado each and every day. We invite you to be a part of our journey to be Bigger, Stronger, and Better throughout 2022.