When taking over Capitol City Youth Services (CCYS) in 2010, Executive Director Kevin Priest saw an opportunity to expand the only runaway shelter for at-risk youth in the Big Bend. Knowing there was federal funding available for the operation of a Transitional Living Center (TLC) for at-risk youth ages 15-18, if they had the facilities to host such a program, Kevin approached Capital Events (CE) President Jason Zaborske with the idea of organizing a Capital Campaign to build a $1 million Transitional Living Center housed on existing property of CCYS. With his development director focused on grant writing and continuing funding of existing programs and services, Kevin needed Jason and CE to come up with a fundraising development plan to motivate the Big Bend community, to support this effort to build a new facility to provide much needed services to youth who have nowhere else to go after they leave the runaway shelter. This new facility would allow troubled youth to have a roof over their head, and provide counseling services and life skills needed to get a job and start rebuilding their lives.
In January 2011, CE was hired to become the fundraising consultant for the project. CE quickly developed a Capital Campaign development plan, and began to implement the plan with staff and existing board members. In their 25+ years of existence, CCYS had primarily relied on state and federal funding to support their shelter, and although they hosted some smaller fundraising events, they had a only a small amount of private donations and corporate support. CE and CCYS worked on developing a new annual fundraising event, The Tally Awards. The event recognizes local businesses and allows for online voting of Tallahassee residents' favorite restaurants, businesses and organizations. CE designed the event and a sponsorship package focused on providing exposure and benefits to potential sponsors, while maintaining the integrity of the voting process. CE managed the corporate sponsorship outreach for the Tally Awards by identifying potential sponsors, and creating the materials and tools needed to outreach and organize the fundraising event. CE also organized and managed the Capital Campaign Leadership Committee, consisting of local corporate and community leaders to secure donations for the new TLC, and raise more than $400,000 in less than 2 years. CE developed naming rights for the new TLC by developing a detailed brochure outlining the promotional benefits available to potential donors. CE also developed an annual membership benefits brochure and campaign designed to solicit smaller gifts from individuals such as CCYS board, staff, volunteers and vendors.
Having successfully raised over $400,000, on December 6, 2012, Capital Events attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new CCYS Transitional Living Center. The event was celebrated and hailed as a major accomplishment for the Big Bend community and for CCYS. In 2012, the new CCYS Tally Awards fundraiser generated a net profit of more than $40,000, with a sold out crowd of more than 500 attendees. The CCYS Annual Membership Campaign, generated more than $10,000 in net revenues for CCYS in 2012, and will continue to provide a steady stream of revenue to CCYS going forward.