At the recent 2018 Downtown Intersections in Harrisonburg, we continued our tradition of acknowledging outstanding achievements in comprehensive downtown revitalization efforts through Merit Awards. They recognize the hard work, dedication and success of Virginia’s Main Street communities and their achievements across the four points of the Main Street Approach®. This is the second in a blog series to highlight each of the seven awards.
A strong organizational foundation is key for a sustainable revitalization effort. The focus is on ensuring that all organizational resources – partners, funding and volunteers – are mobilized effectively. Accordingly, the Outstanding Fundraising Effort award goes to the Main Street organization that has displayed the most creativity and success in securing funds for its downtown projects. From an effort well-played, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance (HDR) Director of Resources Lauren Huber and Executive Director Andrea Dono accepted the award for the Friendly City Fortune mega-raffle.
In 2017, HDR launched the new fundraiser where they sold $100 tickets and awarded $250,000 in prizes, which included cash, vacation packages, outdoor recreation vehicles, and several cars and SUVs. Prizes were given away during Valley Fourth, Harrisonburg’s Fourth of July celebration hosted by HDR. The Friendly City Fortune was their riskiest and most successful fundraiser to date. The goals were to earn unrestricted income, to find a new way to raise money from outside of the typical donor base and start being able to fund new and bigger Main Street projects.
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance achieved all of these goals and raised nearly $200,000 on top of their other traditional revenue streams. The success of the inaugural raffle allowed HDR to fund more grants, beautify downtown, support more businesses and build a more sustainable organization. Through the process, HDR sharpened their marketing skills and learned new ways to reach new audiences. As a result, brand awareness for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and the Friendly City Fortune has hit an all-time high.
Congratulations Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance (and all the prize winners)!