Accomplished Fund Raiser Joins AMS as Director of Major Gifts

Web-Mary Lavin PortraitWASHINGTON, D.C.—The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) has a new senior staffer in charge of fund-raising. Mary Lavin came on board today as Director of Major Gifts.
Reporting to the Vicar General and working closely with the Archbishop, Ms. Lavin is responsible for identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding fund-raising prospects in concert with the archdiocese’s strategic priorities and objectives.

In a global nonprofit organization that receives no government or military funding and depends entirely on private giving to meet a growing operating budget now approaching $5.2 million a year, she has her work cut out for her, but says she’s up for the challenge: “I look forward with great enthusiasm to representing the AMS throughout the United States, meeting with and thanking those whose support and generosity make possible the fulfillment of the mission of the AMS, and working to engage new individuals and resources in support of the same.”

Before joining the AMS, Ms. Lavin served as Senior Manager of Strategic Gifts and Director of Fundraising for the Cleveland, Ohio Foodbank. Under her leadership, the Foodbank saw an 11% growth in operating and program support in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, an increase from $9.5 million to $10.6 million; and major gift fund-raising rose from $610,000 to $860,000, a 41% increase.

Ms. Lavin’s success at the Cleveland Foodbank is but the latest in a long track record of professional accomplishments in various capacities of fund-raising and administration at colleges and universities, Catholic Charities and health care services throughout the Midwest and Northeast.

They include John Carroll University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Wheaton College, College of the Holy Cross, and Catholic Charities Services Corporation of Cleveland.

Ms. Lavin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from John Carroll University and a Master of Science degree in Social Administration/MSW from Case Western Reserve University.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, welcomes Ms. Lavin to the AMS family. In announcing the appointment, Archbishop Broglio said:

“I am anxious to have this global Archdiocese avail herself of Mary Lavin’s proven experience in the field of major fund-raising. While it is not my favorite aspect of my present role, it is vital to the health of the AMS. I am counting on Mary’s expertise to assure a sound financial footing for the ministry which has been entrusted to my pastoral care and oversight.”

Among pressing archdiocesan financial needs depending on Ms. Lavin’s fund-raising success is the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program for educating new priests to relieve a growing shortage of Catholic military chaplains.With 39 young men now in the program, the projected expense over the next five years is up to $2.5 million.This is in addition to other operational expenses for worldwide clergy travel, religious education, faith formation and other pastoral programs, maintenance of sacramental records, marriage tribunal activity and a full range of support services, building maintenance and administration.

To meet these challenges, the new Director of Major Gifts draws on a strong set of relationship building skills. “Relationships are the foundation of all philanthropy and fund-raising efforts,” she says.

Ms. Lavin is also driven by determination—the kind she demonstrated as Director of Alumni Relations at John Carroll when she orchestrated the university’s first alumni ROTC reunion in 60 years. The highlight of the weekend was having a distinguished alumnus, General Carter F. Ham, serve as keynote speaker just three weeks after he assumed command of the U.S. Army, Europe.

“Where there is a will, there is a way,” she says.