The Braille Monitor                                                                                         June, 2002

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Open Letter from the President

by Marc Maurer

Marc Maurer
Marc Maurer

From the Editor: The following letter is being sent to donors to our Capital Campaign to build the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind. For your convenience a copy of the prospect-identification form follows it.

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to bring you up to date on our progress with our new building. We have been raising funds for this exciting new venture for almost three years, and we have gifts and pledges in hand totaling $15.6 million with prospects for another $3 million. The building is now under construction. The foundation has been laid, and much of the ground floor and a substantial portion of the next level are in place. The framework for the entire structure is planned for installation soon. As you might expect, the view of the construction site from the fourth floor changes frequently.

You will remember that the estimated cost for construction of the National Research and Training Institute for the Blind when we began the Capital Campaign was $18 million. We have worked hard to keep costs in line, but we want a building which will be substantial enough and well enough equipped that it will serve our purposes for at least the next fifty years. As often occurs, the estimates were not quite high enough. The current projected cost is approximately $19.5 million. Many doubted that we would be able to raise the money for the research and training institute. However, we always keep our promises--especially the ones we make to ourselves. As I have already said, we have gifts and pledges in hand totaling $15.6 million with the prospect of an additional $3 million. We have received appropriations from the state of Maryland totaling $3 million, and we have asked for $3 million to be appropriated in future years. These appropriations are not yet made, but we have been informed that it is quite likely that they will be.

For all of your help in the effort to raise the funds for the research institute, I offer my thanks. We have done together what no one of us could have done alone. The spirit of our organization is demonstrated in our commitment to make things different for ourselves and for all those who will be affected by the work we do in our new facility. Many blind people will not know how we have helped to improve their lives, but we will know. I am most appreciative of the work that you have done to make this innovative venture possible. I take the liberty of thanking you on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind but also on behalf of the thousands of blind people who will benefit from your efforts but who will never realize that you are the reason for their good fortune.

So what comes next? How do we establish the programs we need in this new facility? How can we determine what the needs really are? And of course how do we raise the rest of the money? For each of these questions I am relying upon you. I need your imagination; I need your suggestions; I need your assistance to locate other donors who can help. Some time ago I asked you to think of people who might be willing to join us in this exciting effort. Many requests have already been made, but some additional ones must be made. I am asking that you think of people who can be approached for a donation.

The best way to get such donations is for you to approach the people that you know. However, some people believe they need help in doing this. Therefore we have individuals who can go with you to make requests. Mr. Vince Connelly has been a primary worker in the Capital Campaign. If you have somebody to suggest who might make an additional donation, please tell him. His phone number is (410) 659-9314, extension 368. Mrs. Ramona Walhof, Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind, has also done substantial work on the Capital Campaign. You can call her for assistance or suggestions at (208) 343-1377. Both Mr. Connelly and Mrs. Walhof will be at the National Convention. If you have suggestions for Capital Campaign contributors, please track them down.

Of course I will also be at the convention. We have been doing exceedingly well in the Capital Campaign. However, we are not finished. We must bring this phase of the effort to a close. When we have completed the campaign to build the facility, it is of vital importance that we use it to advantage. We will undoubtedly need to raise money for the operation of the facility, and we will need to put our best imaginative effort into creating the programs we operate there. The blind built it, and the blind will run it. With this in mind I call upon you to let me have the notions and the plans that you can imagine to make our facility the best in the world.


Marc Maurer, President


NFB Confidential Donor Prospect Form

Name of referring party: ______________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________                        

Phone: (H) ______________________  (W) __________________________

Prospective donor’s name: _______________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________

Phone: _______________________ Employer: ________________________

Relationship to the referring party:

_____ Relative    _____ Business Associate      _____Friend

_____ NFB Supporter     _____ Other (specify) ___________________

Why this individual might give to the Capital Campaign:

_____ Blind or low vision him/herself

_____ Friend or family member who is blind

_____ Interest in and/or commitment to the NFB

_____ Wants to be associated with a national project

_____ Supports other blindness organizations

_____ Other (specify) ______________________

Most likely to make a five-year total pledge of:

_____ $100,000 or more    _____ $50,000 to 99,000    

_____ $25,000 to $49,000  _____  $10,000 to 24,000   

_____ Less than $10,000

Can you get this individual to meet with you & another NFB representative? ________

If not, how would you suggest making contact with this individual?______________________________________________________

Other information known about this prospective donor which would be helpful, i.e., types of charitable causes supported in the past, approximate net worth, special interests, desire to be recognized for gifts, etc. _________________________

Who solicited this prospect referral? __________________________

Date _______________

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