Jane Burgess speaks about the future of fundraising for the HMMPL Foundation
As the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library (HMMPL) prepares to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee, we thought it wise to sit down with one of the newest members of the HMMPL Foundation Board of Directors – Jane Burgess of Zionsville – about the importance of fundraising and how to do it The Foundation is working through the current economic climate to raise the funds necessary to support both branches of HMMPL and their robust range of programs and services offered by library staff.
Exemplary fundraising skills
Burgess has lived in Zionsville for 20 years with her husband Claude and their two children, Kristin and Thomas, who are graduates of the Zionsville Community School (ZCS) system. Burgess served three terms on the ZCS School Board. Burgess is also a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Boone County and past President of St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild. She is also heavily involved in her church – Zionsville Presbyterian Church.
“I’ve started mine [fundraising] Traveled with the ZCS School Board when I was first elected in 2008,” said Burgess. It has been one of the greatest opportunities and honor to serve our community in this way.”
Some of the highlights during his tenure on this board that Burgess is most proud of are initiatives such as Strong in Every Way, the approval of the multi-use stadium and sponsorship of that stadium with Ascension St Vincent Hospital, and the death of the operating levy the school in 2012 [which was renewed in 2015].
“We [the school board] Secure the most lucrative sponsorship for ZCS to offset the cost of the multipurpose stadium,” said Burgess. “Together with this partnership with Ascension St Vincent Hospital, we have been able to add athletic trainers and school nurses to this package. It was really exciting to be a part of [process] also.”
During his tenure as President of St Margaret’s Hospital Guild in 2020-21, Burgess’ greatest challenge was raising money from the Guild’s flagship fundraiser – The Decorator’s Show House and Gardens – amid the COVID pandemic.
“The silver lining on the horizon [challenge] was that we were thinking about how we did a number of things and the way we did the showhouse,” Burgess recalled. “We issued timed tickets and increased our sponsorship.
We created a ‘market place’ rather than a café and everything we did ended up making it very successful. We raised $316,000 for the Center for Nursing Excellence at Eskenazi Health – during a pandemic. It was amazing how the guild members, designers, contractors and landscapers came together and really did nothing short of an amazing feat over that time.”
Burgess also led the 2017 fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Boone County.
Burgess added, “We were able to raise $97,000, which was almost the price of building a house. Living space is very important to me. I started on this board 6 years ago and have been involved in various roles for over 20 years. It’s important that everyone has a place to call home, and Habitat helps people — not handouts — while transforming the way they live their lives and providing families with a safe home.”
The growth of the foundation with a growing population
As HMMPL’s service areas continue to grow, so do the needs of residents. The HMMPL Foundation’s focus is on expanding support for HMMPL employees and the essential programs and services it offers during this period of expansion and beyond to ensure a strong commons for current populations and future generations.
Burgess expressed her gratitude for the invitation to join the Board of Trustees of HMMPL and looks forward to bringing her board and fundraising experience to continue to serve the community and county where she lives.
“I felt very honored to be asked to participate [the HMMPL Foundation Board] because I think the library is such an important part of the community,” Burgess said. “The staff is truly phenomenal and it really has been an easy and natural transition from serving on the ZCS School Board to becoming a member of the Board of Trustees. Both serve our community; our children and families, and I think it is an exciting time in the life of the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library.”
Burgess continued, “The foundation encourages creativity and ingenuity among employees. The Foundation is a mechanism that allows us to provide HMMPL employees with the financial needs that enable our employees to implement their innovative ideas. We are so excited to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and the Book Ball event will bring the community together for something so positive.”
Fundraising amid global economic uncertainty
In addition to his experience, Burgess brings to the Board of Trustees a proven track record of successful fundraising during challenging times. When asked to share her thoughts on fundraising for not just one entity, but two entities, and how the HMMPL Foundation views fundraising in the current economic climate, Burgess stated, “What I’ve seen time and time again in our community is their generosity. People support the causes and organizations they believe in. Certainly these are financially challenging times. I also believe that people still have the spirit of generosity for the cause they believe in. This is exactly the kind of community we live in. It never ceases to amaze me how willing the people in our community are to get involved and do whatever it takes. We work together to achieve the goals.”
We spoke to HMMPL Foundation Co-Presidents Catherine “Cathy” Coscia and LeeAnn Biggs about what they think Burgess brings to the Foundation Board.
“I have worked with Jane for over 20 years in many different volunteer roles, from Sunday school at church – when our children were the same age – to St Margaret’s [Guild]’ Coscia shared. “I watched Jane prepare for school board meetings and we were elders at ZPC together. Jane brings all of these strengths to the Board of Trustees and her experiences illustrate her deep involvement in the community. Your willingness to work on the board of trustees is very effective.”
Biggs concluded, “Our kids were in the same senior year at Zionsville Community High School. So I’ve known her all these years and we’ve been very involved with show choir things and activities at the school. Because of her service to the community and because I have always had good experiences with Jane, I am – personally – very glad that she has joined the Foundation Board.”
For more information on the HMMPL Foundation Board of Directors and the upcoming Diamond Jubilee Book Ball, visit hmmplfoundation.org.