E-Alerts & Press Releases

American Fundraising Professionals Honors JP Sarbanes as "Unsung Hero" for His Work with the PJC

Dear Board, Staff, and Friends,
 I am delighted to tell you that one of our own has been selected by the Association for Fundraising Professionals for recognition as an "Unsung Hero."  John P. Sarbanes will receive the award on National Philanthropy Day, Monday October 30, during a luncheon at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel. John was nominated by several “generations” of PJC leaders (board and staff) for his dedication and commitment to strengthening our financial picture. The nomination letter is below.  

  JP: Congratulations! (and thank you!)

 Another good friend of the Public Justice Center, the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund will be recognized at the same luncheon as the 2006 Foundation of the Year. (Someone else beat us to that nomination, though we wholeheartedly endorse the recognition!!)  If you are interested in attending the luncheon, you can purchase tickets here: http://www.afpmaryland.org/ 

John Nethercut, Executive Director

Public Justice Center's Nomination of John P. Sarbanes:

The Public Justice Center respectfully nominates John P. Sarbanes, Esq. for recognition as an “Unsung Hero.”

Nominee’s Affiliation with organization: John P. Sarbanes has been affiliated with the PJC for more than 15 years as a volunteer lawyer, star fundraiser, staff mentor and board member. He served one term as the organization’s Board President. (1994 – 1997.)

Nominee’s special contribution to organization: Whether serving as a board officer or volunteer, John's vision has been a guiding light. An action-oriented volunteer, he leads by example. He always thinks big and drives the organization to greater programmatic and fundraising heights. He motivates others around him to do the same, laying the bricks for the organization’s solid foundation. He has an uncanny ability to inspire those around him with his passion for and vision of the PJC.  He has helped develop leadership within the organization, serving as a mentor for each of the organization’s four Executive Directors.

John’s passion for the PJC’s work and potential for impact is contagious and shines through in his fundraising efforts. He is not one to rest on his laurels, but instead is always looking forward for new and innovative ways to support the organization he truly loves.

Although there are celebratory anecdotes to be told from every year of John’s affiliation with the PJC, one only need to review his recent actions to see why we think he is so special:

  • John has helped create a “Sustaining Partners” campaign, which enlists annual support of $1,000 or more from individuals committed to the PJC
  • He helped execute the sold out PJC’s 20th Annual Gala , with keynote speaker George Soros,  which was a resounding financial and friend-raising success. And he didn’t stop there:
  • Literally moments after the Gala ended, John was helping the organization to ride the momentum of its most successful fundraiser ever. With a solid goal of securing multi-year support dedicated to operating support, he worked diligently for the next 12 months with staff to bring home three significant gifts that are historic in proportion and designation (for both donor and organization.) Such notable foundation gifts include a $750,000, five-year grant from the combined efforts of the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund and the Fund for Change, a five-year $250,000 operating gift from the Lois and Irving Blum Foundation and a three-year, $750,000 grant from Open Society Institute to support our growing Appellate Advocacy project.

He is a fundraiser who truly understands the work of a small non-profit organization, and one who is helping to build its infrastructure and program reach. That is perhaps a most significant point to make to this committee as you consider John’s nomination. He has diligently worked to secure more and larger operational gifts each year. He has also helped the organization broaden its programmatic reach from local to regional and national initiatives. It is in this capacity that he demonstrates his full understanding of the implications of growing the operating budget. To illustrate with numbers: John has been the lead board fundraiser in growing the Public Justice Center from a $400,000, 7-person operation in 2000 to a $1,4000,000, 16-person organization in 2007. John's leadership in developing relations with foundations, law firms and individual donors has directly supported its programmatic growth. He works for true donor loyalty and builds on its successes.

Finally, it is important to note that John is one of the co-founders of the Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellowship, a living memorial to the legacy of Fourth Circuit Judge Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Each year this non-profit organization funds and recruits a fellow at the Public Justice Center to support the Appellate Advocacy Project. The fellowship position is competitive and attracts a dazzling pool of applicants from the best young lawyers in the nation.  His work with the Murnaghan Fellowship steering committee has concentrated on attracting endowment and operational funding – working simultaneously to create and perpetuate this living memorial.

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