In 2016, a generous $2,000 matching grant from FOSW to Waterfront Village enabled us to successfully launch the Village and retain the services of Bob Craycraft as Executive Director. With Bob’s leadership, we met the grant’s 1:1 matching requirement and were able to grow our membership to 66 households, nearly 25 percent above our “launch goal” of 50 paid household memberships. We also put in place a dedicated Board of four persons and the nucleus of a cadre of volunteers who received formal training and began to deliver services to their Waterfront neighbors. The Village offered, in its first year, a growing menu of activities designed to educate, inform, entertain, and increase the engagement of seniors within the Southwest community. We launched a website, dcwaterfrontvillage.org, designed to help spread the word and assist members and potential members in learning about the Village and its activities.
In 2017, based on the experience of other senior Villages, as well as our many interactions with our Southwest neighbors, we determined that the best way to build our membership to a sustainable level was to undertake a regular outreach program aimed at exposing as many people as possible to the concrete benefits to be gained from Village membership. That program, the “Waterfront Village Wellness Outreach Series,” was successfully carried out in partnership with various public and private health care and wellness providers and consisted of half-day classes, talks, demonstrations, and discussions on a range of issues and topics. It enabled us to further grow our membership to over 180 individuals.
An additional benefit of FOSW’s 2017 grant was an enthusiastic response from our donors that resulted in the formation of our own donor’s society, Friends of Waterfront Village. The matching grant campaign produced nearly twice the amount solicited, resulting in the 2017 grant tripling in value to us, while creating an ongoing giving society that will benefit our organization for many years to come.
Building on this fundraising success, FOSW’s 2018 grant enabled the Village to establish a planned giving program by providing funding for a consultant to advise Village staff on the structure of the program and to allow staff to create a planned giving program brochure and website page to provide information to members and others about the new program. The program has already received notification of several members having made or who are planning to make bequests, including one of $20,000.