Challenged to raise $100,000 to match two grants, New Heights turned to the community for support and the results were a resounding success.
Not only did New Heights raise $100,000 to match $50,000 grants from the Foundation for Seacoast Health and Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, but a late fall fundraising push combined with a fundraising event at LizFit Fitness in Portsmouth netted nearly another $35,000.
“Thank you,” said New Heights Development Director Lee Frank to all of the organization’s donors. “The community responded in enormously generous fashion.”
The challenge was issued last spring and was met by the fall, according to Frank. He noted that 61 percent of the donors who helped New Heights meet the challenge were new, first-time donors, a fact he hopes bodes well as the organization continues to expand its programming and reach into the community.
“I view it as a vote of confidence and now we need to move forward and demonstrate to donors that their confidence is well placed,” he said. “Our programs go nowhere without the support of the community.”
New Heights Executive Director Tracey Tucker said the importance of new donors cannot be overstated.
“I think we were able to expose our programs and what we do to more people,” she said. “Anytime we can do that is a positive. The fact that we received support from so many new people was icing on the cake.”
She added that New Heights is extremely grateful to the Foundation for Seacoast Health and Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for their continued support.
“They’ve both been unbelievable supporters of ours and provided critical funds to move our programs forward and reach more kids,” she said.
Simon Delekta, senior program officer for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, said it was inspiring to see the number of people who stepped up to help New Heights meet the challenge.
“The community really came through, and because of their generosity New Heights is better positioned to bring positive experiences to hundreds of kids across the Seacoast,” he said.
Outside of the challenge, Frank said about $30,000 was raised during the organization’s annual fall fundraising appeal, an effort that included fundraising events where students and families who have taken part in their programs share their experiences.
He said the various events represented an opportunity for the organization to showcase the skills it teaches students, skills he said that research shows are lacking in the current workforce. These skills include communication, problem solving, leadership and team building.
“We have a compelling story to tell about the impact we have on the young people who participate in our programs,” he said. “The ability to tell potential donors what we’re already doing and what we have planned down the road is important.”
An additional $5,000 was also raised for New Heights during a special December spin class fundraiser at LizFit in Portsmouth.
Tucker and Frank said the money will be invested back into New Heights programs, including scholarships and the expansion of partnerships with the Portsmouth School District as well as elementary schools in Newington and Saint Patrick Academy in Portsmouth.
Founded in 1987, New Heights provides experiential learning programs that range from Adventure to STEAM. Once offered out-of-school, many of these programs are now available in the classroom and/or during the school day in select school districts.