The Work and People That Got Us Here

by Scott Carroll

     Talk of a future move has been around the BFC since before I became involved with the clinic in 1993, and real work preparing for our Capital Campaign has been going on longer than most of our alumni and current volunteers are probably aware.  A great deal of gratitude goes out to BFC Alumni Cynthia Cox, Yves Gibbons and their peers, who, in years past, began the organizing for this campaign and move, pulling together sections in defining our space needs and goals, and strengthening our internal structures and our partnership with Trinity Methodist Church.  We are also grateful that Cynthia and Yves have continued to help us as advisors.  

     The second wave of advances on the Capital Campaign came with help of our first campaign working group: Yves, Spencer Knight, Patrick Shibley, John Day, Jane Maxwell, Jason Elcock, and Alvin Chan.   We made progress on the research and ground work to ready us for later stages of our campaign. This included conducting extensive telephone interviews with over 40 current and former volunteers, strengthening relationships with all of our City Council Members and then Mayor, Tom Bates. Additionally, we gathered insight and feedback from people instrumental in other local campaigns, such as US House Member Ron Dellums’ former Chief of Staff, Robert Brooks and UC Berkeley’s former Director of University Health Services, Steve Lustig who worked on Lifelong Medical’s $1.5 million renovation campaign, Dana Van Gorder who oversaw the SF LGBT Community Center during their $12 million building campaign, and Liz Sloan who oversees Stanford Medical Center’s $1.9 billion campaign.  We worked with local real estate experts Michael Koreman and Laurie Capitelli (who was a City Council Member at the time) to delineate property and cost parameters, and with Capitelli and development consultant Mark Rhoades to explore how partnerships with for-profit and non-profit organizations, such as low income supportive housing developers, could play a role in access to properties.   We also worked with architects Alex Prusakov and Ana Smorodinsky to line us up with people who can help us when we get to the design phase of a project. Alex also connected us to WRNS Studios in San Francisco which has agreed to be our pro-bono architecture firm (thanks to Do Kwon for being part of that meeting).  

     The third and most recent wave of work has been preparing for and entering into our Quiet Phase - Lead and Advanced Gift activities.  This has included working to capture on video and in photographs unique and compelling individual stories that illustrate the transformative impact the BFC has on clients, volunteers, alumni, partner organizations, and our community.   The work of BFC volunteers such as Dental Coordinators Kevin Hahn and Clay Carter, oral surgeon Craig Bloom and dentists Daniel Nam, Clint Toura, Brian Hathcoat, and Daniel Ningrone has been immensely helpful as they identified potential stories, connected with clients, and aided us in following and documenting over a year of appointments. The openness and generosity of people who have shared their stories, like former GMHC volunteer Juan Cadena and clients such as Qadir and Amanda have given us a great start to what will be a growing collection of human stories behind our impressive statistics.  

     Our networking on the city and state relations front continued with Jane Maxwell and Alvin Chan joining me in establishing a relationship with our local State Senator, Nancy Skinner and her staff who have offered their help in this and other stages.  Kent Sack, Jane Maxwell, Alvin Chan, Leroy Blea and Arvin Javadi joined in for meetings with current Berkeley Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, newly elected downtown councilmember Kate Harrison and their staffs for discussions of how the City could play a greater a role in helping find temporary or permanent home for the BFC and assist us in reaching potential lead gift and advanced gift donors.  Because there are legal restrictions on the number of council members who can gather outside of an announced council meeting we also met for individual parallel conversations with the other council members who were new to the job in 2017: Cheryl Davila, Ben Bartlett, and Sophie Hahn.     

     The bulk of the administrative and coordination work of the campaign to date has been with the invaluable help of Alvin Chan. We have worked on evaluating and selecting the technology/tools needed for activities later in the campaign, such as the web based program for supporting peer network fundraising.  With help at various points from Jane Maxwell, John Day, Leroy Blea, Nandita Krishna, and Suleiman Allen, we have brainstormed, written and edited our Alumni Network Survey as well as scoured BFC archives and our memories to form the beginning of our Alumni Association database. With assistance from Kara Borowski and students from the College Internship Program (an organization that aids young adults with autism gain job skills) we have begun populating our databases for managing our individual, foundation, corporation and small business prospect outreach.  And we are working with Ned Henry and Tina Bakolitsa of the Tech Committee on developing our Capital Campaign website.  

     As we begin 2018 we are forming a broadened BFC Capital Campaign Working Group. We are looking for people who want to get involved and help on the tasks that make up the activities listed in the table above. The group will also take on the work started in the last 6 months of 2017 by the internal capital campaign committee, who were Kent Sack, Cam Nevin, Mac Nevin, Hunter Jackson, Jon Marley, and Arvin Javadi, including overseeing the work on the campaign and helping to move projects along their timelines.