Just as Life Remodeled’s mission of remodeling lives one neighborhood at a time seeks to make enduring change where it invests, becoming a sustainable non-profit requires expertise in areas like fundraising.
Kelly Cleaver became Life Remodeled’s first Director of Development in January, assisting CEO Chris Lambert on cash and in-kind fundraising efforts for the two-year project to transform Durfee Elementary-Middle School into a Community Innovation Center.
Longer term, she is focusing on strengthening relationships with current supporters, helping develop new relationships with prospective partners and establishing a fundraising strategy, including a strong donor base to make future projects possible.
“My passion for fundraising comes from a desire to help connect people who want to help make a difference with meaningful opportunities to do that,” Kelly said.
Her resume includes development roles at the College of Creative Studies, Crime Stoppers of Michigan and Gleaners Community Food Bank, which, like Life Remodeled, benefits from a mix of financial and in-kind contributions. At Life Remodeled, every dollar donated generates $4 of impact because of the discounted labor and materials from corporate partners.
Joining the Life Remodeled staff brought her together with Dominique Rhodes, recently hired as Group and Events Director. As fellow Spring Arbor University alumni with a shared passion for loving and empowering people, “Nique and I are two peas in a pod,” Kelly said.
Both work on creating relationships to foster Life Remodeled’s longevity.
“It’s really impressive how well Life Remodeled has done for itself without having a development person,” Kelly said. “There are so many dedicated volunteers who have brought in people from their own circles. Almost everyone who gets brought in really wants to get involved. Some give time or expertise. Some give money. Some do both.”
Chris personally raised much of the $16 million in cash and gift-in-kind contributions invested in the Cody Rouge, Osborn and Denby neighborhoods from 2014 and 2016. In Kelly, he now has behind-the-scenes help for the multi-faceted Durfee project, expected to require $4 million to $5 million to complete.
“So much of what Life Remodeled does is about relationships, and we’re blessed to have the relationships that we do.” Kelly said. “At the same time, there are only so many hours in a day that Chris has for keeping all of this going. That’s where I come in. And my job is to help keep track of our moving pieces, and help make sure that we are being the best we can be in all of our relationships.”