Ep. 112: A New Take on Philanthropy in Senior Living

May 21, 2024 |

JD Shuman, president & CEO of the Asbury Foundation and CFO Andrew Jeanneret share Asbury's journey as they expand their philanthropic focus.

In this episode, JD and Andrew talk about the strategic plan guiding the philanthropic efforts of the Asbury Foundation and its key areas of focus. We also discuss the role of the CFO in supporting philanthropy both internally and externally, obstacles that Asbury has faced in expanding its philanthropic focus and how they are overcoming these obstacles. In addition, we discuss how philanthropy is reflected in the organization’s operating budget, the metrics they use to measure philanthropic success, and their advice for senior living executives.

Asbury Foundation’s Philanthropic Pillars
Asbury Foundation knew that their residents invested in many philanthropic projects outside the walls of their senior living community, so they developed a strategic plan in 2020 that incorporates projects beyond benevolent care. Their areas of focus now also include capital projects, associate scholarships and education, innovation, and special projects.

Why the CFO Supports the Philanthropic Mission
Andrew shared that JD and his Foundation board are very aligned with Asbury’s board of directors and the organization’s mission and strategic initiatives. Furthermore, the Asbury Foundation helps donors develop by bringing their passion and goals together. Considering these reasons, Andrew is eager to help JD and his team increase philanthropic support.

Obstacles Faced in Expanding Philanthropy in Senior Living
The most significant difficulty the Asbury Foundation has faced as they worked to expand their philanthropic focus and increase fundraising is something that all senior living providers face -- so many organizations have a “bake sale” mentality in which they put fundraising, foundation, or development on a separate level that they might invest in their operations. Instead, they remain focused on event-focused fundraising that is time-consuming with limited fundraising potential.

As a result, JD truly appreciates Andrews' financial support since it has allowed them to expand their workforce, which has been crucial in developing a team with tight relationships with the donor family in each community.

Guard Rails for Operating Budget
Asbury takes the approach of allocating Foundation staff expenses to the community for which the team member is fundraising. At first, this practice was not supported by Executive Directors, until they realized the return on investment (ROI) that they’re receiving from having an embedded fundraiser.

As it relates to creating the operating budget, JD's team has an internal budget that he creates when they budget. That is a mix of restricted and unrestricted gifts. The restricted gifts are sometimes more challenging to accept, taking a little longer, whereas the unrestricted ones usually have a good flow. Asbury includes unrestricted amounts in their operating budgets, knowing that the team is also fundraising for restricted gifts as well.

Contributions From the Residents
The overwhelming percentage of gifts made each year to the Asbury Foundation comes from the residents. They might get a few grants, but the staff’s priority is cultivating relationships with current and prospective residents.

[34:35] Asbury involves employees in contributing to the organization’s culture of philanthropy, especially the board and the leadership team.

Favorite Projects
The investment that has happened and occurred in Asbury communities around brain health has been amazing to see. They have the Rosborough Wellness and Brain Health Center for Excellence that was built in 2022, including a rock wall, Rocksteady boxing, etc. Other projects mentioned include a performing arts center on one of their campuses and the associate scholarship program.

Metrics To Measure Philanthropic Success
The Asbury Foundation has a minimum 3.5 ROI requirement for their fundraising team and for events that they hold. This ROI expectation is just the minimum requirement. In actuality, they hope that ROI is between 3.5 and 4.5 times the investment made in staffing.

Advice For Senior Living Organizations
JD and Andrew recommend that organizations just get started with fundraising as soon as possible. If you don't have a real long history of a foundation or a philanthropic purpose, start someplace, even if it's as corny as the bake sale, and then grow upon it.

[46:36] Start thinking of philanthropy as a revenue-generating division. Be deliberate in your approach, invest, and operate with the expectation of a minimum ROI of at least 3.5X. Furthermore, don't fear thinking big; think outside the box. It develops a culture of resourcefulness that the foundation is here to foster relationships and be an asset, helping people to achieve their financial goals and to leave a legacy that is meaningful to them.

Go to https://www.asbury.org/ to learn more about Asbury Communities or www.theasburyfoundation.org to learn about the Asbury Foundation.
You can contact JD on his socials: Linkedin | Twitter | jshuman@asbury.org
You can contact Andrew on his socials: Linkedin | ajeanneret@asbury.org

About the Guests:

JD Schuman, President and CEO of the Asbury Foundation, is an executive-level development professional with over two decades of expertise in the senior living industry. He has extensive, successful, experience managing strategic plans, an innovative major gifts and planned giving program and overseeing capital campaigns, mentoring team members, and annual giving programs.

Prior to assuming his current role at Asbury Foundation, he dedicated a decade to the organization, eventually ascending to Vice President of Development. In 2017, JD became President of the Homewood Foundation, part of Homewood Retirement Services, where he increased annual giving to new levels. At Asbury, JD was integral to the success of such critical campaigns as the construction of the Richard D. Rife Center at Bethany Village and significant increases in philanthropic support across the Asbury system. JD has a bachelor’s degree from Strayer University. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and holds certifications from the Association of HealthCare Philanthropy Madison Institute in Planned Giving, Foundation Management and Major Giving with a Campaign Focus.

Andrew Jeanneret, the Chief Financial Officer at Asbury, oversees the financial and accounting functions of the Asbury not-for-profit system and its affiliated entities. With over 30 years of experience in finance, Andrew has held senior financial and accounting positions within the healthcare, accounting, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, insurance and technology industries over the course of his career. Andrew joined Asbury from Learn It Systems, LLC, where he served as Chief Financial Officer. He was responsible for all financial functions including general accounting, revenue processing and financial analysis for a rapidly growing behavioral health and education services company.

Before joining Asbury, he served as Chief Financial Officer with Millennial Media Inc. (MM), a mobile marketing and advertising pioneer. He also served as Chief Financial Officer for Dialysis Corporation of America, as Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer at MGI Pharma (formerly Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc.), and as Assistant Controller and Director of Treasury Services for Life Technologies, Inc. He received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Boston College, and his MBA in International Business and Finance from The George Washington University, and he is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The Asbury ranks as the nation’s 16th largest not-for-profit senior living organization according to the LeadingAge Ziegler 200. With eight continuing care retirement communities, home care and home health care services, pharmacy and outpatient therapy management services, as well as Asbury Foundation, and ThriveWell Tech. With a workforce of approximately 2,800 associates, Asbury is dedicated to serving over 4,300 older adults in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Committed to its not-for-profit mission of service, Asbury strives to provide a home and care to all residents, even those who have outlived their financial resources. Each community also endeavors to provide additional programs and services without placing an undue burden on residents. Fulfilling these aspirations, the Asbury Foundation stands as a dependable pillar of support for each community.

About the Show:

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