Case Study

By the Hand Club for Kids grows its mission more than five fold


By The Hand Club for Kids is a faith-based nonprofit in the heart of Chicago dedicated to serving youth in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Founded in 2001, this after- school program takes kids by the hand and walks with them from kindergarten through college, supporting them in a holistic manner — mind, body, and soul.


In 2009, the By The Hand budget of $2.8 million was funded primarily through one special event. With increased demand for its services and imminent capital needs, By The Hand realized that this event strategy would not sustain its growing mission. The organization needed to advance its development operation and find new sources of philanthropy.
From the beginning, Mission Advancement was interested in listening to our concerns, passions, desires, and fears, so they could then, based on their understanding of us and their expertise, build an approach that addressed our needs
Donnita Travis
Executive Director By The Hand Club for Kids, Chicago, IL


By The Hand engaged Mission Advancement in 2010 to grow funding for its expanding mission. One of the first objectives was to establish a major gifts program to reduce dependence on its one special event. This not only required a culture shift within the development team, but throughout the organization. Board members were engaged so they felt ownership and a commitment to this new strategy. The Executive Director’s job duties were adjusted to allow her to dedicate 50% of her time to fundraising with a portfolio of donors. To ensure strategic alignment, the head of development also became a direct report of the Executive Director.


Over the past decade, Mission Advancement has provided counsel for three separate capital campaigns raising more than $27 million, while concurrently growing operational funding. Since 2010, By The Hand’s budget has grown to over $10.2 million, almost all of which can be attributed to the major gifts strategy. Today, nearly $8 million is held in 5 portfolios managed by major gift officers who see themselves as ambassadors of the mission.

Since 2007, Mission Advancement has helped nonprofits create people-centered fundraising strategies to significantly grow their missions and impact more lives.


Amount raised


Budget growth


Held in portfolios

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