For the first 10 years of existence, NeighborLink had only one employee and a modest operational budget that allowed Andrew Hoffman, our executive director, to spend the majority of his time working on mission related work. During those 10 years, NeighborLink grew in both volunteer engagement and operational budget that came in to help with projects as well provide enough support to bring on a second employee in 2014. Since then, we've continued to work hard with the resources we have to execute our mission as well as make time investments in writing more grants, doing more fundraising, and simply creating innovative ways to allow folks to direct their dollars towards the things at NeighborLink that are meaningful to them. As NeighborLink has grown, we've done our best to strengthen the organization's structure to manage the growth well.
We have scores of individual donors to thank for being a part of building the foundation we've needed to survive and thrive off of. We also have a dozen foundations to thank as well because of their willingness to provide both big and small grants that are increasing our capacity. The size of NeighborLink has quadrupled in size the past four years because of these donors. While we know that our staff has worked hard over the past couple of years, we wanted to see if there was more to the story of why after 10 years of doing relatively the same work we're finally we're seeing the growth we were working hard to see in those early years.
In an effort to adequately thank these donors and to learn more about our growth story, we hired Lindsay Hotmire Creative in June of 2017 to interview a handful of our most committed foundation leaders. Each foundation leader gives an overview of what their foundation focuses on, how they're connected to the community, what they're seeing, and what they think of our work at NeighborLink as it relates to their foundation's mission. Below you can find links to each foundation's story and any supporting content we have that aligns with their foundation's focus as it relates to NeighborLink's work.
One of the key themes we see in each report is the widespread commitment these foundations make to so many organizations and our community at large. The amount of resources and support they offer nonprofit organizations is staggering and impactful. Without their support, Fort Wayne looks tremendously different for those relying on social services or community assistance of any kind. Thank you to each foundation for your ongoing support of so many organizations like NeighborLink, and for your willingness to share your story with us.
Click these links below to read the stories or to download our 2016/17 Annual Report