December 13, 2019
First Fundraising Dinner Event Produces $247K for May Institute

June 15, 2015 — The May Institute, a Randolph-based national nonprofit that provides educational, rehabilitation, and behavioral healthcare services, which has operated for 60 years, recently held its first-ever fundraising dinner event, raising $247,000, nearly two and a half times its goal for the evening, attracting more than double the number of attendees it had sought.

“The evening was a tremendous success, both from a fundraising perspective – thanks in large part to our generous corporate donors – and also from the standpoint of community and celebration,” said Lauren C. Solotar, president and CEO of the May Institute and event co-chair. “For 19 years, I have had the privilege of coming to work every day and being invigorated by our dedicated staff and the remarkable and resilient individuals and families we serve. This was an evening to celebrate them all.”

The event, held in April at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, sought to raise $100,000 and draw 150 attendees. Instead, 350 people attended, helping to raise $247,000, which will directly support the organization’s programs and services.

The proceeds from the event represent more than 20% of May Institute’s budgeted development goal for this year.

“Having never hosted a special event of this scale, May Institute set a goal of $100,000,” said Eileen Pollack, senior vice president for communications and public relations. “Our hope was that the event would raise visibility for the work we do with children and adults with a broad range of special needs, as well as create an opportunity for our community to come together.”

While the May Institute has participated in the Rodman Ride for Kids for the past eight years to support its Massachusetts children's services, this spring’s fundraiser was the first to more broadly support the organization's children’s programs and adult services, technology advancement, and employee initiatives.

She noted that one of the key goals identified in May Institute’s current three-year strategic plan is to foster a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization and among its constituents, and said that Anniversary Celebration – 60 Years of Shaping Futures, Changing Lives directly supported that goal.

Revenue from corporate donors increased significantly over their giving in the previous fiscal year: 90% of corporate donors that renewed their annual contributions through sponsorships and raised their giving levels. In addition, a dozen corporations contributed to May Institute for the first time.

Funds were raised through corporate sponsorships, individual donors, live auction, and individual ticket sales, and, Pollack said, the fundraising committee, comprised of business partners, parents, board members, and friends of May Institute, was integral to the event’s success.

The major fundraising effort of the evening was a live auction, conducted by Robin S.R. Starr, vice president of Skinner, that included big-ticket items such as a South African safari; grandstand seats at the finish line of the Tour de France; and tickets to three Tony award-winning Broadway musicals. Winning bidders raised close to $25,000.

Leading corporate sponsors included Presenting Partner United Benefit Services (UBS) and Anniversary Partner Century Bank. Visionary Sponsors were Arbella Insurance Group and Telamon Insurance & Financial Network. View a complete list of corporate sponsors and hosts.

The Reverend Liz Walker, pastor of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church, and former WBZ TV news anchor, served as mistress of ceremonies.

The event also provided the organization with the opportunity to unveil “Faces. Voices. Lives. 60 Years at May Institute,” a multi-media initiative that shows the faces and tells the stories of individuals who have impacted and been impacted by May Institute over the past 60 years.

Founded in 1955 on Cape Cod by Dr. Jacques May and his wife, Marie Anne, the organization today provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals, as well as training and consultation services to professionals, organizations, and public school systems at more than 150 service locations across the country.

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