EEFC Fundraising and Outreach

Jay House Samios

Jay House Samios

Welcome to the second issue of the all-new, online Kef Times. I’m delighted to release to you the second issue in what we are planning as a thrice-yearly publication. I encourage you to share the articles you find most interesting, and let Julie and the rest of the team know what you think of their work.

Thanks to volunteers, we are moving forward with an improved database that will better equip us to communicate effectively with different groups of people, including funders, potential campers and new communities entirely. Since East Coast camp, a team comprised of Jeanne Busch, Noel Kropf and Martie Ripson has stepped up, taking on the task of assessing and setting up a new, more powerful database.

I am also happy to provide the following updates to our work in Fundraising and Outreach.


  • I am in conversation with the Good Family Foundation, which previously funded Forum Folkloristika, about a proposal for subsequent funding. Foundation representatives and I are discussing a project that is a good fit for both the EEFC and the Foundation. That conversation will be ongoing through this fall, and I expect to know more about our next steps before the end of 2014. In addition, Board Member Nancy Leeper has agreed to take on a preliminary search for foundations that offer grant opportunities that are a good match for the EEFC.
  • At both of our camps, we raised a grand total of $33,000 through auctions, pazar and donation stores, which means we exceeded at-camp fundraising goals by nine percent.


  • This year, we have put together a core team dedicated to focusing on marketing the EEFC and our workshops. Elena Erber is the chair of the committee charged with this work, and we were recently joined by Eva Salina as a committee member. With this team in place, we have a new focus on marketing for the purpose of making more people aware of our workshops and bringing more (and new) people to camp. The team will work closely with Workshop Manager Rachel MacFarlane and other Board members to target specific groups, such as past campers who have not returned in a while, past scholarship recipients and people whom we don’t reach yet.
  • One arrow in our quiver is the scholarship money that we raised at the two auctions. We anticipate this being a powerful tool for reaching people who are not currently coming to camp.
  • We are also working with a volunteer marketing expert to better understand the EEFC’s brand image (how we are perceived, rather than who we think we are). The purpose of this is to help us do a better job communicating with the groups mentioned above, as well as to help us be clear about what our current practices do communicate, whether intentionally or not.

Next month, look for an update from me on what’s happening with the Program Committee, the fall board meeting, and the latest word on the organization’s finances.

Fundraising and Telling Our Story

Jay House Samios

Jay House Samios

At our most recent board meeting, the Board and I began a process of examining the Board’s relationship to fundraising. I am excited to see their interest in a sometimes daunting issue, and their commitment to stewardship of the organization we love so much. Fundraising in this economic climate takes a coordinated effort. We will need all the help we can get—more on that below!

As Corinna mentioned in her note from the Board, we initiated a spring fund drive this year, something I expect we will continue on an annual basis along with the end-of-year fund drive. I am pleased to report that, as of this writing, we are more than 50% of the way to our goal of $15,000, thanks to your generosity. Corinna and I will also be taking on the roles of Auction Maven for West and East Coast camps, respectively. This is a good opportunity for us as lead fundraisers for the EEFC, since the auctions at camp represent our largest fundraising events each year.

In my 18 months as Executive Director, I have heard a few community members urge us to use more varied fundraising, such as grant writing, or seeking large gifts from new donors. Getting the full support of the Board is exactly what we need to be able to back up these good ideas with a real plan. That, combined with the efforts of our new Development and Marketing Committees, means we are well on our way to getting this process going, But, yes, we need more helpers in this effort. We need you. We will begin building a database of foundations, individuals and other entities that may be viable candidates for funding our mission to promote, celebrate, and educate the public about Balkan music and dance. As with any relationship, however, the one between funder and “fundee” requires cultivation. We welcome your ideas for specific organizations and people that would be interested in the work we are doing.

Some of the exciting things I see coming up in the next 12 months include a project I will kick off at both camps this year, interviewing people about their favorite stories from the history of the EEFC. It’s my sense that, as would be the case in any “village,” ours has a myriad of stories that, if documented, would speak volumes about the meaning represented by its inhabitants. Dances and songs have been preserved; endangered instruments have literally had new life breathed into them. For the purposes of fundraising, I am looking to uncover the stories that will make it clear to the world why the EEFC matters. I am seeking stories that show our impact in areas such as cultural preservation, cross-cultural exchange, arts education, adult education and other areas. Please drop me a line if you have such a story to share, or if you would be interested in doing the same sort of thing, at camp or locally in your community. I also expect to have a report on Čoček Nation’s (the East Coast kids’ band) performance at Golden Festival in NYC last January, which was supported by donations made by campers at Iroquois Springs last year.

If you are interested in getting involved, we are looking for people to join in our outreach and storytelling efforts in the coming year. You needn’t commit to long-term committee membership if that’s not for you; instead, you can, for example, work on a project basis researching foundations and other folk organizations, or turning stories into documentation for grant proposals. We need your help, and we welcome your input.

Jay House Samios

EEFC Executive Director