It is difficult to fathom that the Development Office at the Murphy Centre is now one year old! What a year it has been. We were just beginning to hit our stride when Snowmageddon descended, causing us to reschedule our Corporate Awareness Event until March 3rd. We were barely back in the office for two weeks when COVID 19 arrived presenting challenges to virtually every facet of personal, business and societal life.
We are now back in our offices for the first time since March 16, 2020! We have been busily working from home in the interim and have enjoyed a time of vacation but now we are ready to resume our daily routine.
“Inspiring Lives – The Murphy Centre Story”: On Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020, after a ‘snowmageddon’ induced postponement, the Development Office held the Murphy Centre’s first Corporate Awareness Event at the Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi. The venue for the ‘invitation only’ gathering of corporative executives was provided by restaurateur and celebrity chef, Todd Perrin. Exquisite seafood hors d’Oeuvres were provided by Ocean Choice International. The Honorary Patrons for the event were Nora Duke, Executive Vice-President for Sustainability at Fortis, Inc., and Shelia Williams, Music Therapist, Motivational Speaker and Entertainer. Through their testimonials and the remarks of Executive Director, Tim Turner, our guests learned a little more of the Murphy Centre Story and its positive impact in the community. Development Coordinators, Anthony Murphy and Derrick Moore, are grateful for the help and support of staff in everything from shuttle service to acting as host-greeters. This first Corporate Awareness Event has proven to be an important opportunity to establish and grow sustainable relationships in the furtherance of Murphy Centre goals and objectives
COVID 19: In line with government regulations we exited the Offices on Torbay Road on March 16th to set up our home offices for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t long before we were surveying staff to determine the major impacts of COVID and the accompanying isolation on our participants. In short order it became very clear that a major impactor was the lack of mobile devices and internet connectivity for our participants. We heard stories of extreme efforts participants engaged in to acquire connectivity in order to stay current with their work. Good fortune came our way when Fortis Inc. selected the Murphy Centre to receive $20,000 to enable us to provide both devices and connectivity to participants at both our Academic and Career Services sites.
One of the tools we invested in at the outset of the Development initiative was Foundations Search. This software enables us to access Foundations across the country whose aims and purposes align with those of the Murphy Centre. Many Foundations made funds available as part of the COVID response. Through one of our searches we happened upon the Community Foundations Association of Canada. This organization, along with their provincial counterparts, was tasked with distributing some Federal money allocated for COVID relief. Working with the provincial Executive Director, Pauline Martin, we were successful in being granted $40,000.00 toward the annual cost of our Readiness Program. We were overwhelmed with gratitude as this gift helps us to meet a significant programming need in our organization. United Way provided us with a grant of $2,500.00 to be used toward our technology support initiative of device provision.
Other Grants: Prior to COVID we had been working with NL Growlers President, Glenn Stanford to profile the Murphy Centre at a home game on March 20th. This game was cancelled. The Growlers wanted to show their support for the Murphy Centre, even though their revenues were decimated and provided us with a cheque for $2500.00 and a commitment to profile us at a later time. This gesture was most appreciated.
We had approached United Way prior to COVID regarding the possibility of them providing support for our Readiness Program. RNC Superintendent Pat Roche notified us of a gift of $10,000.00.
VOCM Cares Foundation had also been approached to assist us with the Readiness program. Development Director, Tara Haley apprised us of a $7,000.00 gift just before we went off on vacation.
We are most appreciative of the generosity of our community partners. In concluding this section, we would be remiss if we did not mention the receptivity of granting organizations to the work of the Murphy Centre and to the stories of rejuvenation evident in the lives of our participants. They understand the crucial need for our Centre to provide timely academic and career services interventions which can be the means of preventing our participants from even more challenging realities than they currently face. There is something in our message of Renew a Spirit ~ Inspire a Life which resonates within the consciousness of potential donors.
New Website: The New Murphy Centre Website (www.murphycentre.ca) was launched on August 17th, 2020. Congratulations and appreciation to the website committee (Kim, Cathy, Sondria, Derrick, Corey, Tim and Tim). Going forward, the dynamic trio of Trudy, Cathy and Corey have generously agreed to receive training re editing and management of the website. From the perspective of Development, one of the key features on the home page is the ‘Donate Button’. Derrick and Tony spent considerable time taking online courses in a program called ‘e-tapestry’ which is a donor management system offered by a company called Blackbaud. The e-tapestry program enables us to manage and optimize our online donor experience. These online courses were required in order to insert the ‘Donate Button’ on the webpage which was developed by Waterwerks…A Modern Agency. (Encourage people in your circle to explore our website…including the ‘Donate Button’!) While some adjustments and changes on our website are pending, the creation of a user friendly Murphy Centre website is a progressive step forward for participants, staff and our growing number of supporters. To borrow Corey Follett’s words, “…we can be forward thinking about content that should be posted so that we can inform/educate/advertise and celebrate…”
Skills, ExplOre, Achieve, Revive (SOAR): SOAR is a new initiative spearheaded by the Development Office of the Murphy Centre to explore the need for, and desirability of, a collaborative project to address common concerns experienced by the Murphy Centre and the Skilled Trades Industry. The research questions put to potential partners were:
- What do local trades colleges find to be missing in applicants for admission? What are the gaps and deficiencies?
- What do local trade industry companies see as missing from or deficient in potential employees or existing entry level employees?
The responses to these questions yielded a variety of common concerns.
On March 19th 2020, a working group from the Murphy Centre, Trades NL, The Construction Association of Newfoundland & Labrador, The Association of Business Trades Educational Colleges (ABTEC), as well as the College of the North Atlantic (CONA) was formed to investigate the possibility of designing a custom built program to address the identified concerns.
The Murphy Centre is uniquely positioned, with our existing academic and career services programming, to deliver this initiative in an ongoing manner. The benefit to Murphy Centre participants is the opportunity to explore the Skilled Trades as a career option.
This collaborative venture is ongoing.
The Year Ahead for Development at the Murphy Centre: Having had a very successful first year for the Development Office at the Murphy Centre, the Work Plan for the 2020 -2021 year has been developed and approved. While research of foundations and various potential sources of revenue are a constant, the devil is always in the detail and there are many variables at play. In broad strokes, the work plan to the end of the calendar year includes the following chronology: September hiring for a two-month position within the Development Office; preparation for Corporate Launch. October issue of ‘Development @ MC’, Media engagement, Preparation for Corporate Launch. First week of November and throughout December increasingawareness and the launch of the first annual online and residential “Inspiring Lives” appeal (Nov. 4 to Dec.31). The January to June portion of the Work Plan will be included in the October issue of ‘Development@MC’.
The need for Murphy Centre is apparent. We respectfully ask that you consider our work as you contemplate your individual and organizational philanthropic initiatives over the next year.